• 02/09/2023

What Is a Rehearsal Dinner? How to Plan One on a Budget

Guests sit at a dinner table.

Revivalist is a reader-supported endeavor and our posts may contain affiliate links. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

There are a lot of factors that go into wedding planning. The couple has to pick a venue, decorations, food, music and who to invite, all while balancing an often-tight budget. One step they may end up forgetting is the rehearsal dinner, which is a kind gesture to show the wedding party and guests. But what is a rehearsal dinner anyway and how should a couple plan one?

Luckily, the rehearsal dinner is probably one of the most manageable parts of a wedding. It’s a time when everyone can sit back and relax before celebrating the following big day. Here’s a look at what a rehearsal dinner is and how to plan one without going overboard.

What Is a Rehearsal Dinner?

A rehearsal dinner is a meal everyone sits down to after rehearsing the wedding ceremony. It’s meant to give thanks to the wedding party, along with anyone who helped plan the wedding. Traditionally, the groom’s parents pay for the dinner, but this is obviously subject to change today.

The guest list can differ, too. The tradition started with only the wedding party and immediate family, but people grew to dislike how restrictive this felt. Couples also began to invite anyone who traveled out of state to come to the ceremony, along with close friends or extended family. However, couples who prefer to keep things small can stick to the traditional route and perhaps allow a plus-one for each invitee.

Planning a Rehearsal Dinner Without Breaking the Bank

While rehearsal dinners are relatively stress-free, they still require a bit of planning. However, some couples may accidentally go too deep and what should be a simple meal into a second reception. Keep planning easy with these tips.

1. Only Invite Who’s Necessary

Some people might feel a lot of pressure to please their family and invite them to everything to keep them happy. However, it’s vital to recognize the purpose of the wedding — celebrating a lifelong partnership. Couples stressing about who to invite to the rehearsal dinner can stick to their wedding party and immediate family.

2. Choose A Location Based on Comfort

The fact that a rehearsal dinner is not a second — or first, based on the order — reception bears repeating. There’s no need to pick something fancy to please others. It could be at one of the pair’s favorite restaurants or even an at-home barbeque. Everyone can dress comfortably, too — after all, this meal is all about having fun together before the wedding.

3. Prioritize the Gifts

The couple getting married will usually give their wedding party gifts at the rehearsal dinner as thanks for all they’ve done to prepare and celebrate the big day. If you would rather have a simple meal, spend more on the presents than the food to show appreciation. Some gifts cost less than the price of a dinner, so the couple can focus on buying these instead of a fancy dinner.

What Is a Rehearsal Dinner and How Can You Stick to Your Budget?

Getting married has risen in cost considerably, but that doesn’t mean couples need to empty their savings accounts to make things official. Plan a rehearsal dinner on the cheap by lowering the number of invitees, only dining where you’re comfortable with the prices and opting for presents over a big meal.

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

We would love to connect deeper with you!

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.