An inexpensive wedding rehearsal dinner
Simple Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Ideas on a Budget
TDS Reader Solutions
Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Has Mom In a Panic
My brother Daniel is getting married this year. His bride's mother is paying for the ceremony. My mother only has to plan and serve the pre-wedding dinner. My mother is so upset! She has to feed over 20 people and might have to rent a meeting hall for this.
Anyone with advice on cheap accomodations, food, entertainment if needed, and anything else would greatly be appreciated.
Use Your Home for Rehearsal
Is your mom's home large enough to hold 20 people? My Aunt was in a similar predicament with my cousin's rehearsal dinner. She hosted a very nice informal buffet in her home for a party of about 30 people.
She purchased all the food from Costco which was not only much easier than preparing all this food but also cheaper. She did gourmet rolled sandwiches, a variety of salads, relish tray, punch bowl, beer and wine. Since she didn't have formal seating for this many people, she kept the food simple and easy to serve and eat. We all mingled in the dining room, living room and patio. The food was good too!
Do you have a family member or friend that would open their home to you? If all the food was brought in already prepared, it would be easy to clean up afterwards. Use color coordinated plastic plates and flatware if you don't have enough dishes to serve everyone. Do you know anyone who lives in an apartment complex with a recreation room or a clubhouse that is available for rent? Maybe you know someone who is a member of an organization like the Elks or a similar club. Oftentimes, these club offer their facilities to private parties for a nominal fee. My cousin checked into the Elks Lodge and had her reception there, and they didn't even know any members . Why not check any community centers? My girlfriend had her wedding reception at a community center at the beach. It was $50 to rent for several hours and had a nice view.
Danielle V. in Burbank, CA
Church Hosts Wedding Rehearsal Dinner
A year ago I was in your mother's shoes. I am a widow working full-time, didn't have much money and sure couldn't afford to take 40 people to a restaurant to eat and wasn't about to cook a meal myself for such a crowd.
My daughter-in-law came to the rescue when she suggested I ask the Pastor at the church where they were to wed if I could use part of the fellowship hall for my rehearsal dinner if I promised to clean up real good.
It had a wonderful kitchen attached. Then I decided since most everyone likes bar-b-que around here, I would call a couple of local bar-b-que places and get an idea of what it would cost for them to provide the meal. Well, that was nothing new to them and they had all kinds of options. The price per person was reasonable, and the restaurant brought all the food in disposable trays and large aluminum foil containers. They even threw in ice, condiments, plates, plastic cutlery, and cups.
As you might imagine, it was certainly nothing fancy, more like an indoor picnic. The food was good and there was plenty for the hearty appetites in the crowd. It might not be acceptable by your standards, but I felt proud of how well it was received by all. It saved me a ton of work, and clean up was a snap since everything could be thrown in garbage. We even took the leftovers home and I served them later in the weekend to my 12 nephews and nieces and their little ones who had come all the way from Texas and Massachusetts and stayed at my house.
No 'Standard' Wedding Rehearsal Dinner
Don't get stressed about the rehearsal dinner! Today's trends for weddings and wedding events are flexible, unique, and customized. I have a catering business and we have done several different types of rehearsal dinners. Here are some of what I've seen. The rehearsal dinner is at the church in the social hall following the rehearsal. Food can be ordered, catered, or made by the hostess and/or her supportive family. If you are fortunate to have family that lives nearby or very close friends, they usually ask if they can help with anything. This is the perfect opportunity to make your son (or future daughter-in-law's) favorite home cooked meal or dish. Some options are lasagna, garlic bread, and salads.
Another option is to have the rehearsal dinner at your home. Several different menus can be used here. You can go with a fancy wine and cheese party, (buy the fancy plastic wine glasses, rent them or borrow from your friends). Besides wine or champagne and cheese, you could also serve other hors d'oeuvres like a veggie tray and fruit tray with dip. There are lots of mini- hors d'oeuvres available at most warehouse price clubs (like Sam's club), or at restaurant supply companies, usually at a pretty reasonable price.
The main thing to keep in mind is that everyone is a little stressed and wired for the wedding. A relaxing evening before is very welcoming to the guests. I've also found that most people aren't as concerned with the meal as you might think they are.
As a final option, you can always go out to eat. This can sometimes be worth the money if you are busy with other wedding preparations. A group of 20 is not so large that most restaurants would be able to easily accommodate you.
Remember, you're supposed to enjoy the planning and festivities of the wedding!
Owner/Operator of Weber Catering
Reviewed January 2018
Take the Next Step
- Some of these frugal tips for an outdoor BBQ wedding reception might work just was well for the rehearsal dinner And here are a few more ideas for an inexpensive outdoor rehearsal dinner.
- No need to overspend on a wedding gift either if your budget is tight. Consider one of these inexpensive wedding gift ideas that the new couple is sure to appreciate.
- Discover more smart tips for planning a dream wedding on a small budget by visiting the Dollar Stretcher Library.
- Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
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