Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
I recently attended the wedding rehearsal dinner of my niece that was so wonderful. They had put up a big-screen TV and played a musical show made with pictures of the couple's dating days. It was perfectly synchronized to music and because it was professionally made, the results were awesomely romantic and touching! They got the show custom-made for them by SmilingSnaps and I had never seen anything like that before.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
Any ideas for a rehearsal dinner for 50? The bride's parents are having a $20 a plate wedding for 300 people. I hate to look too cheap, but I am on a budget! (It is a summer wedding.)
By Jilly from WI
Why have so many, most of the weddings I am familiar with, it is just the bride/groom/attendants, and family. Spouses aren't even included.
Look up large quantity recipes, growlies for groups. This website has over 500 make ahead or large quantity recipes and lots of self catering tips. I used this website extensively in making ahead lots of recipes for my daughters wedding. It turned out beautifully!! There is also tables on this website to tell you how much of an item you need to feed xx amount of people. I hope this helps!
What is the weather like for you at that time of year? If it's pleasant, why not have an old-fashioned bar-b-que? As weddings can be stressful, you can do something that is fun and relaxing.
If you can it is usually best to have a Rehearsal Dinner that is casual. Many times the families are meeting for the first time,and a casual atmosphere is less intimidating and allows everyone to relax and have fun. A picnic or Barbeque is probably your best bet for a nice dinner that is more affordable. Limit the proteins and serve a lot of salads and vegetables and fruit. and serve the grooms cake for dessert. Many times a novelty Grooms cake just sort of gets lost at the wedding day reception. And sometimes the funky look sort of ruins that presentation if it is a formal affair. And most importantly, remember if you have fun, all of your quests will, too.
I am also hosting a rehearsal dinner for 40 in the summer at my church building. My brother is making the homemade bar-b-q. I am getting the plates, napkins, cups, tablecloths & serving dishes at a local Dollar Tree store. I'll get the potato salad, coleslaw and big cake for dessert at Sam's Club. These ideas should help keep my costs down. I plan to make this rehearsal dinner a fun occasion for all.
I would suggest doing a spiral ham and a turkey breast or chicken salad with and assortment of rolls and potato/pasta salad and cole slaw/salad. This is a great casual idea that I'm sure everyone would enjoy and you could really do a great pic nic theme!
We did mostly finger foods at my daughter's August wedding. We had a large (20.00) shrimp cocktail, ham and cheese rolls, turkey rolls, veggie platter, fruit platter, chips and dips and assorted canned drinks. Everyone found something they liked and it was inexpensive.
Good luck to you and the future "Mr".
Threw 50th anniversary pig picking. Purchased a roll of red & white check thick paper cloth, cutting each to table & taped edges & corners to fit neatly. You can get buy using 3 red & white cloths then purchase red & white solid paper clothes(make certain to tape all sides & corners. Take a hike into to the woods. Cut the ends of pine branches. Size depends on size of table. Creates a circular "spray". Place small to medium pinecones on top of the pine spray. Smells nicely as well. To step it up, use Elmer's glue on inside & out on pinecones & sprinkle red, or silver glitter. Silver will match you eating utensils if you don't use plastic. If you do use plastic, place red forks on white tables & white on the red. Cover the "serving" table with the red & white tablecloth to keep the theme & make food presentation a step up. Red plastic plates with red Solo cups will match theme perfectly. Back to pine needles, cut the branch as short as possible keeping the circular spray, but just strip needles to fill in gaps. Per table spray depends on table size. Use a large one on round tables or two on long tables. If alcohol is served(beer, b/c cheaper). Use an oblong galvanized or plastic tub filled with ice, placing beer in ice with just tops showing. Cool affect. Anything from nature will work. Smooth stones scattered around the pines or "other display tables". Depending on budget you can purchase bags of "sea glass from TJ Maxx or craft store, scattering down long tables or near the ends of pine needles here & there. Remember, when decorating always use odd numbers...3 pine comes or 5,7 if a larger table...Good luck...Only persons noticing a "problem" will be YOU, guests don't know what to expect & think it part of the plan.
My groom and I are paying for every aspect of out wedding. So we are a little strapped for cash when it comes to the rehearsal dinner. I was going to have sandwiches or something at the house.
But we live with members of his family in a cramped house and some of our friends and my family don't feel comfortable at the house. Does anyone have a good idea for what to do in my situation?
By Bridge from Bucks County, PA
If this is in the spring, summer, early fall make reservations for a certain area of a nice park and have a picnic. You could set up things like volley ball, etc. for entertainment. Most cities don't charge for using a park, or if so it is minimal.
My sisters prepared our rehearsal dinner in the church fellowship hall. We had ham salad and chicken salad sandwiches with vegetables and fruit. I'm sure they had pie and desserts, also. It's been 42 years ago! Other places that might be available for little or no charge would be senior citizens halls (some are really nice for events), bowling alley (you provide some snacks and everyone pays for their games and drinks), legion hall, Knights of Columbus halls, etc. We are doing a pizza dinner in an historic house. We are preparing everything but the pizza. Hope this helped!
Thanks everyone for the ideas.
Check with your parks and recreation department. Many parks have covered pavilians that you can get for free or little to nothing. Depending on the time you can get brisket for cheap and cook it and prepare it ahead. Take care w/sandwiches as cost can sometimes be much higher than chicken or brisket or ham. You could provide the meat and ask family to bring the sides desserts drinks, etc.
As far as the wedding goes, check thrift stores for wedding dresses. One near me must have had a bridal salon donate all of their inventory and there were bridesmaid dresses and wedding dresses all for less than $100. My oldest wanted a small wedding. She had her husband to be found a double decker party boat for a song. We had brisket, ham, salad bar w/pasta salad, slaw, 5 bean salad, etc. Beans and bread. The boat was limited to 70. I found small lanterns that held votives for the tables. People changed and swam in the lake for a lot of fun.
My youngest daughter we did a family meal in the back yard as his mother was from out of state. We booked and outdoor facility on a Sunday afternoon for the wedding. Cut the cost by almost 50%. Was cheaper to have them cater and get the facility than to rent the facility and cater myself.
For flowers we purchased the first wedding from Sam's club, the second wedding, our grocery store floral department gave us the best price on the flowers my daughter wanted.
Another way to cut cost is to ask friends if they have access to facilities at a low cost, ie neighborhood association community center, military chapel, pavilion. Also, ask friend about decorations they might have. I bought white tablecloth material on the bolt for $1/yard, white golf tees and used this for aisle runner for wedding. golf tees anchored it to the ground. Used for 2 weddings, then separated later (after washing) and hemmed and gave to daughters for wedding memento.
We also cut bamboo from neighbors yard (w/permission) and used for greenery. Anyway, did each wedding for $3,000 dresses included. People still come up and talk about how much fun they had and how nice the weddings were. If you want to use live flowers on cakes check out edible flowers to make sure what you want to use is not toxic.
Instead of a rehearsal dinner I thought we could have all the family members and wedding party for the meal after the wedding rehearsal. Between the 2 families, if everyone came it would 80 people then add in the pastor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and maybe dates if they have one.
I am looking for a catered meal for 80 to 100 people that will not cost me an arm and a leg. We were looking at BBQ thinking that would be the least expensive, but I am open to suggestions. The wedding is in July, but I like to plan ahead.
Thanks for your help.
By Ginnie C
The rehearsal dinners that I have heard of are strictly for close family members and participants in the wedding. No dates allowed. You could serve sloppy joes, and various salads. Or else make it pot luck with the closest family members bring dishes to pass.
As it's not a rehearsal dinner, but a dinner in general after the rehearsal, I would have the worlds largest salad bar! It's summer, no one wants anything hot or that might be messy to eat. You can rent inflatable salad bars that hold ice, and bring your own additions such as bowls, tubs, etc.
I saw this once in a wedding in Tucson, which was outdoors and it was a stunning success. Cold, crisp and easy to eat, everyone loved it.
Get sliced deli meats, cheeses, and rolls. You can arrange them on dollar store trays, along with lettuce leaves, tomatoes, bowls of pickles, mayo, mustard, etc. Have someone make nice potato and macaroni salads, etc. If you want guests rather than immediate family and attendants, have them bring pot-luck dishes, bottles of pop, etc. Congratulations and good luck.
My wedding is in the spring and I have no idea what to do for my rehearsal dinner. I live in Maine so the springtime gets very muddy we are also on a very tight budget :/ Help please!
By Beth S.
Make the rehearsal dinner a pot luck. Have it at somebody's home, even if it is in a garage. Borrow folding tables and chairs or picnic tables. Also limit the people that will be attending. Just the attendents and the brides and grooms parents. I know some people that include spouses/significant others of the bridal party, kids, etc. With a pot luck you wouldn't really need any decorations and the cost would be minimal.
Reserve tables at a nice restaurant and invite the guests.
Hi Beth, I too live in Maine and hear what you are saying. My sister had a cook-out. Nothing fancy, hot dogs, hamburgs, potato salad etc. very casual. I actually toyed with the idea of having mine at a well known truck stop, the food is great and its very casual. Are there any smaller Mom & Pop restaurants that would work with you? Go to Sams club and buy lasagna, salad & rolls and have it at your house. Last suggestion: Pizza in or out! Best wishes to you & the groom.
My son will be getting married in early May 2014. He lives on the coast of South Carolina and wants to have a BBQ meal. What type of decorations would be appropriate for a rustic marina type facility right on the water that would be informal yet still present that "wow" factor without breaking the budget?
You can't go wrong with mason jars! Depending on what type of "mood" they're going for, try putting in some flowers or other types of filler to coordinate with their colors/theme.
Depending on where the dinner will be held, table centerpieces could be simple glass pillar style vases, fill half way with sand, add some shells and coral around the edges and a votive candle (the battery ones work very well). place these on top of a square of fabric in either the wedding colors or a color to co-ordinate with the venue (I love blue and white for nautical themes), sprinkle a little sand on top and add a few shells or starfish. Very inexpensive, easy to put together and looks elegant.
If you use wide pillar vases, fill them with bleached oyster shells (get them from a local restaurant), some water and a floating candle. If it's a more fun/casual atmosphere, exchange the glass pillars for toy sandbuckets and shovels, tilted on their sides with a little bit of sand they look festive and fun. It's also a great give-away for any children that might be there, and makes them feel special too.
Hope this is helpful, I co-ordinate and decorate for a lot of parties and nautical/beach themes are always one of the most popular. Here's an idea from pinterest as well, I love the wine cork sailboat.
This page is about luau wedding rehearsal ideas. A Hawaiian theme gives you wonderful tropical floral decorating and refreshment ideas.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
How can I plan a cheap wedding rehearsal dinner?
Weddingplannersis from Cinncinati, OH
How about a southern style dinner : cornbread ,pinto beans and chicken.
By the way in the *related links* column on the right of your post is another thread with rehearsal dinner ideas. (10/01/2006)
Chicken is cheap. I would find a nice recipe for chicken and then add your favorite veggies, cooked or raw, some cheap rolls and an inexpensive dessert. Coffee, tea and ice water work for drinks. Look through cookbooks to get recipe ideas. (10/01/2006)
My hubby and I had our rehearsal dinner at our house. We ordered pizza - but buying Papa Murphy's Take and Bake (or something similar) would work. We also got a big decorated cookie from Great American Cookie Co. - had our names and the dates on it. My SIL was at our place during the rehearsal getting things ready which was a huge help.
We weren't aiming for cheap, but it ended up being VERY reasonable - about $175 and we served about 40 people with lots of leftovers.
The biggest plus for us was that all the guests were able to mingle and visit without feeling pressured by time and seating constraints at a restaurant. Everyone appreciated the casual and laid back atmosphere! (10/02/2006)
Ok maybe we are the most frugal family, but we all brought something for the rehearsal dinner, as in a potluck and it went over really well. Everyone knew the rehearsal was the only time we could all be together without too many "outsiders" so we took advantage of it and had a potluck,sort of like a mini family reunion. Hey, it worked for us and all were fed and nobody complained. (10/02/2006)
Before my daughter and husband were married, we had the rehearsal dinner in Donato's party room. We used a few coupons, got 10 pizzas, salad, and drinks for 35 people for just about $200. The pot-luck sounds like fun, too! (10/02/2006)
By Margie M.
My daughter found a place to serve appetizers and that is what we did had an appetizer party. There were chicken wings, garlic pizza,potato skins, stuff like that Cost was about 200 but depends on what appetizers you choose. About 20 of us. (10/03/2006)
By Mary Ann.
We did a luau for my brother's rehearsal. We prepared all the food ourselves. My dad BBQ'd several Boston butts Hawaiian style, I prepared fruit salad with a simple honey dressing, pasta salad, Hawaiian rolls, and those mini cream cheese puffs and eclairs from the local cost club for dessert. We got decorations from Oriental Trading Co. for cheap, and it turned out really pretty. Everyone loved it, and we all had a great time. (05/31/2007)
For my Daughter's wedding, nothing was said about the Groom's family being responsible for rehearsal dinner, and being overloaded with everything else I decided on an Italian theme. I bought two of the big frozen Lasagnas at Walmart, Fixed a big pot of Spaghetti, (with frozen meatballs).
I bought Garlic rolls, and plain rolls, a HUGE Salad with different Dressings, and an Italian Pasta salad. Deserts were big bowls of Banana, Chocolate and Vanilla puddings and my Daughters favorite Peanut Butter Pie. I decorated with red and black and it was beautiful but SO simple and not a lot of cleanup with paper plates, etc. I think the rehearsal dinner should be fun and not so formal anyway. (06/04/2007)
Either hold it potluck-style with family and attendants chipping in their own favorites or buy frozen casseroles and sides for an easy setup. For my own rehearsal dinner in Oct. '07, I purchased frozen lasagna, garlic bread, salad, soda, and cupcakes at Sam's Club for 20 people, and everyone had a great time. (07/19/2008)
By Melody T.
My sister had a great idea to take everyone bowling. We had pizzas and wings. Adults drank beer and wine while the kids had soda and juice. What a great way to spend time with family. It was the best rehearsal dinner I've attended and so easy and affordable. (12/09/2008)
What would be a fun, nice way to have a rehearsal dinner without breaking the bank?
By patty from Plymouth, MN
My favorite rehearsal dinner was one that involved both families and wedding party meeting up after the rehearsal at the local bowling alley. Bride and groom ordered pizza and soda (alcohol was available from bowling alley for purchase by guests if they chose) and because we had such a large group we were able to get cheap per person rates that we all kicked in for. A great time was had by all. (01/05/2010)
I have been to several that were nicely done yet very simple.
You could try having a cookout if the weather permits. A pizza party could also be fun.
Another inexpensive idea is to have it at your house or a close relatives home and serve something simple. (Spaghetti, garlic bread, a nice salad, and cheesecake for dessert) (01/07/2010)
I'm getting married in May '09 and want to get some cheap ideas for our rehearsal dinner. Should I do it at home or should I pay more and go out?
My son is getting married next month, not much time to save any money. I need some advice on cheap ideas for a wedding rehearsal dinner since we are broke.