Tuesday, February 10, 2009

#521: rehearsal dinner.

Hi, I have ask you to post what you are thinking of for a money-saving rehersal dinner? Here's my deal: the grooms parents are a different religion and at this point are refusing to come or pay anything for the ceremony. Obviously, we are devasted about them not willing to come (especially becasue we have tried everythign to get them to come.) Anyways, this also means we are footing the bill for our rehersal dinner and we need something cheap to do becasue we are already footing the bill for most everything else for the wedding. Please help. Any tips or anything on cheap rehersal dinner ideas. I don't want to punish my family and friends by not doing anything

i haven't talked much about the rehearsal dinner because...i haven't thought much about it. i don't know what the tradition is when it comes to who pays for what...but i do know that we are footing the bill for everything and anything that involves the wedding. and that includes the rehearsal dinner.

thinking out loud:
1) our rehearsal will most likely be held on friday morning, the day before the wedding. which means. we will be having a rehearsal lunch.
2) after the rehearsal, we can trek it over to a nearby restaurant.
3) or, we can trek it over to someone's house and cater.
4) and if we do the latter, i could cater from somewhere like california chicken cafe, wahoos, or boston market. yum.
5) ok, so now that i've thought about it, i think i will cater. not only is it cost effective, but it will keep things cool and casual, which is keeping in line with the vibe of the weekend. i just need to figure out whose house i could borrow.

so, in conclusion, catering from a local fave is what i plan to do. there are simply soo many fantastic cheap eats out there...it would be an absolute shame to not consider their catering services.

alternative options:

*costco is a great resource for bulk goodies, especially if you're open to prepping the foods yourself. which i'm not. but if you are, i'd say there's a good chance you could save even more money going this route.

*i'm not into the idea of potlucking because i feel like making my peeps work wouldn't go over so well. BUT. you may have family members or close friends who are totally into potlucking. i don't. but if you do...do it, prove it.

at the end of the day, you are not "punishing" anyone if you decide not to have a formal/informal rehearsal dinner. in fact, maybe you could have a small desserts and tea type gathering instead right after the rehearsal if that works better for your budget.

the entire point behind a rehearsal dinner/gathering/anything is to say thank you. that's it. so as long as you do that, whatever you do as a sidenote to strengthen your expression is just that. a sidenote.

words are mightier than food*. hear me?

*not always but definitely so in this instance.


Lara said...

I just stumbled on your blog and wanted to add a comment about my brother's rehearsal dinner. My parents didn't want to spring for a big fancy dinner (it didn't reflect my brother or his wife's style) and so my dad arranged the whole thing to be catered by a local eatery. The apartment complex they live in has a room you can rent and then I was assigned to hit up Costco for drinks and paper goods. There was no big headache and it was really fun. And the food was good too!

cats said...

there's a restaurant downtown LA called Home Girl Cafe that has the BEST healthy, organic, "foodie" mexican food. i use them all the time to cater parties and they're very reasonable and the food will blow you away.

Linda said...

We went the Costco route. Sandwiches, cold shrimp, dips, chips, etc.

Anonymous said...

We're planning on having a backyard cookout/pool party. We're fortunate enough to have a house we designed for entertaining and a backyard with a pool.

The Southern version of CostCo, Sams, has many pre-made appetizer options, and hotdogs and frozen hamburger patties are insanely easy. We'll probably have our moms take care of the side dishes (potatoe salad or whatever). No much prep, but everyone can come together for a cozy social time.

We're actually doing the rehearsal AFTER the party, that night. That way we can invite anyone who wants to come, and the only people who have to stay are those intimately involved with the wedding.

Stephanie Lyn said...

It's always helpful to check with your caterer for rehearsal dinner discounts. Mine offers 20% off, which is good if your caterer is affordable to begin with.

Anonymous said...

One word: BBQ! :) My friend had a summer wedding and she threw a BBQ right after. It was fun and casual. Although, it really depends on the time of year you throw it. :) Good luck!

vanessa said...

Here's a question. Do you even need to have a rehearsal dinner? How big is your wedding party?

It's just me and my fiance, no wedding party.. so we're not having a rehearsal dinner.

However, we will most likely be meeting up with whatever out-of-towners arrive early, and just doing the pizza, wings, and beer deal-y-o. Or maybe we could go to the local diner. They have awesome food and are CHEAP. Like $5.00 for a bacon cheesburger deluxe with loaded french fries cheap. WHERE ELSE can you get that for a 5 spot any more?

Anyway we still have 6 months so I'm not really worried about that yet. But good luck to you!

Bridechka said...

How about having a rehearsal brunch? Or tea? There will be less food to buy and so it will for sure be cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting my question. I love all the ideas and comments. But here is one more question for you.....is it appropriate to only invite the people in the wedding and not their significant other to a rehersal dinner/or bruch?

Eli said...

A friend of mine joked about renting an In and Out truck but I think it sounds kinda cool!! I'm not having a rehearsal dinner...for a couple of reasons. Instead, my boo and I might host a cook-out/bbq the next day :)

talda said...

my friend held her rehersal dinner at her parents' house on their deck and we feasted on a spanish soup and nachos. it was a BLAST. rehersal dinners don't have to be fancy. just think of it as a casual get together and you'll be fine. you can pick up appetizers at trader joe's or costco and whip up some punch or have sodas. or you can order pizzas! i think one of the bees did that actually.

MLK1973 said...

We liked the idea of having an excuse for everyone to be together other than the wedding, wanted it to be super casual, and didn't want to cut into our budget. So...we had our rehearsal dinner at a pizza place. It was *dirt* cheap and super fun. We'd do it again in a heart beat.

Vilija said...

Unfortunately my fiance and I also have to pay for our rehearsal dinner. We've got a bunch of out of town family guests and although, they are not 'in' the wedding and will not be at the rehearsal they're coming to the dinner.

My friend has graciously offered up her house and we too are doing a casual BBQ dinner, no fuss. If the house was not an option I would have rented some space at a local park and grilled there (the wedding is in May).

I think that the original idea of rehearsal dinners was to acknowledge and thank everyone involved with helping out at your wedding. I therefore, do not think it's tacky to exclude +1 guests - especially if they're already coming to the wedding.

Anonymous said...

I am loving all these great ideas!! Thanks so much for responding.

CaitStClair said...

We'll be doing a Milkcan dinner. It's cheap (cabbage, carrots, potatoes, sausage, etc.) all boiled together and suprisingly delicious.

Broke-ass Bride said...

Well played, TTO.
California chicken cafe is the shiz.

Dubbs said...

i did costco, and i chose a residential neighborhood clubhouse (and i would've easily settle for apartment poolside/clubhouse).
i was kinda preoccupied with thoughts about the next day but thining back, it couldn't have turned out better.


Spitfiregirl said...

We're doing a low-key BBQ at the house we've rented for my fiance's family (we are also staying there). it has a big deck with views of the sf bay/ mtns. Costco, here we come!

qasia said...

As to whether or not to invite the sig. others...A lot depends on the situation. If everyone's local, then I think it could be appropriate to only have the wedding party since the s.o. is going to be off doing their own normal thing anyhow. But if any of your wedding party is coming from out of town and has a s.o. coming with them, I think it would be insensitive not to invite them, because you're potentially leaving the s.o. in a strange place by themselves when they traveled there FOR YOU (and their s.o. who's in the wedding). That's one of the reasons it's common to invite the wedding party AND all out-of-towners to the rehearsal dinner...to thank them all for the troubles they've gone to not only to be in the wedding, but travel to the wedding as well.

Meg said...

We're doing a picnic, but you don't have to do anything at all! If you *do* choose to do something, I feel pretty strongly that you need to invite significant others. I've been a significant other of a groomsman, and there are enough awkward situations (not being seated by your other half, and having to make small talk all night with someone you don't know). The last thing you want to do is create more of them!

Do something totally chill and your style, whatever that is - pizza, tea, boston market. All people really want is to be with you before your wedding day. They want your time. They could care less about your wallet.

ThickChick said...

Thankfully my in-laws are paying for our rehearsal dinner but this post had me thinking - what would I do in her shoes?

Spaghetti. Garlic bread. Salad.
15 bottles of $2 buck chuck.
At my home. Viola!
Dinner for 30 at a cost of around $100 (or less)!

Brittany said...

Sarah over at $2000 wedding had a welcome picnic. She picked up sandwhich stuff at Whole Foods and had a sandwhich bar for guests to make their own sandwhiches. Her site says that she spent $317 on the food and she invited all of her out of town guests. I thought that was a super cute way to not seem cheap and to include everyone at the same time.


Skeeta said...

Im doing the same thing but I think I will order form Olive garden. You can get take out pastas and breadsticks from them. If not, I will do Boston Market. I also rented a picnic table/ hut at so we will do an informal picnic at the beach and I will buy sods, paper goods, etc. Nice and cost efficient. ;o)

Jenn said...

A friend of mine did everything herself...instead of a rehearsal dinner she had a luncheon. Her family made different sandwich "spreads"...tuna salad, chicken salad, etc. and had a variety of croissants and rolls to put it one. They also had fresh fruit, smoked salmon, and cheese cubes. It was light and classy, and much easier and less expensive then a big "to do"...

east side bride said...

Please invite all of the out-of-towners to the rehearsal dinner! We had a "destination" wedding, which meant we invited *everybody* We catered a super casual picnic on the beach, and everyone got to meet each other. The next day at the wedding the party wasn't just getting started, it was keeping on!

p.s. Not to poo-poo the idea, but keep in mind: the night before the effing wedding you are planning your house will be a train wreck and you might not want to host a party.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much again for all the great comments!! There are so many great ideas out there that i never thought of! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

As An event decorator I tell brides this is your day, your rules!!
As to who pays its a team effort you both should..
As to where, If you can find a home with lots of space clear out the room the day before 2 if possible and rent.. Yep rent folding tables,
chairs, china glassware etc.
Find a local party rental supplier its cheap they deliver and pick up.. You don't even have to wash anything(they do it at the warehouse).. If you break a glass or plate thats included..
Then there is plastic (smartyhada party.com)its all disposable
Get a friend be the bartender someone to pick up help in the kitchen (thats what the bridesmaids and groomsmen should, pitch in)You shouldn't do a thing that day except smile and thank everyone who came..
As to decor find out if there is a flower wholesaler in your area they will work with you, keep it simple one kind of flower then give away at the end.
If there is a Costco in your area this is your next best thing. Talk with someone in the floral dept. ahead of time to pre-order..
If its a brunch keep it simple serve all types of tea sandwiches you can goggle for quick recipes.. Create salads like fruit,vegetable, pasta etc.. Place nuts and olives all around serve a fruit punch and wine keep it simple..
Ask your guests bring a cake how fun will it be to have all types, be sure to have a table solely for this..
You can also call your local fire dept. They may have a "Hall" if so its a big room they are so cheap to rent they have a kitchen, tables and chairs you can bring in the rest and you can decorate..

If you use a restaurant remember its a retail version of doing it yourself and there will be an added gratuity at the end..

Oh.. And yes you have to invite there significant other this a wedding rehearsal, celebrating being a couple ie, couples..

Remember have fun its a party!!
Hope this helps..

Anonymous said...

My friends were in a similar situation and so the bride's parents, who were already paying for enough, hired a friend to make several pans of lasagna and a giant salad inexpensively, then held the dinner in the church basement after the rehearsal, which they didn't have to pay for. A few bottles of soda and, voila, a RD for less than $100.