The Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner may sneak up on you if you aren't careful, how to avoid this? Planning!  These days the lines are blury on who pays for what, so try to address this with your families early on so that you do not have any surprises.  The in-laws may, or may not be planning on taking care of the rehearsal dinner, but do what you can to keep it affordable and organized.  Here are some questions to start with: Does your wedding/reception venue include your rehearsal time within your contract? Many venues are booked solid, so you may not be able to rehearse your ceremony on-site the night before.  Easy fix? If all of your wedding party members live in town, ask your wedding planner to set up another site visit earlier on in the week or month so that you can take photos and get familiar with the layout.  If this will be difficult to arrange, ask your wedding coordinator to assist you in creating a floor plan or layout that you can easily refer to when giving your wedding party the breakdown of where they will be entering from, and where to line up.  You can still practice walking down the aisle, even if it is just in your backyard!

Does your caterer offer rehearsal dinner packages? If your caterer has a restaurant or storefront they may have the option to hold your rehearsal dinner function in their facility.  Some caterers that have on-site banquet halls may offer affordable rehearsal dinner packages for their clients.  This could be anything from simple taco bars, pasta and/or salad bar, or tri-tip and chicken buffet.  It doesn't hurt to ask!

Which nearby restaurants or venues can accommodate rehearsal dinners? If you have a favorite restaurant or know of one that has a large banquet room, call ahead to inquire about reserving the space.  Make sure to ask if there is any special pricing available for large groups, and if there are any menu limitations due to the number of people.  Many restaurants will opt for a special menu that offers family-style servings, taco bars, or platters to simplify ordering and keeping cost down. 

Are +1's in our budget? If your bridesmaid has asked if her boyfriend can come along for the rehearsal dinner, you will need to make sure that you can accommodate this in your budget.  Not sure how to say no?  Politely explain that this time is for the wedding party and family members only, to spend time together and to also keep costs down. 

Backyard Rehearsal Dinner Many couples are opting for the backyard rehearsal dinner not only to keep the cost down, but to also create more of a casual environment and make the most of the time you have to visit with your friends and family before your big day.  This is a great time to have your family members participate by bringing side dishes, or consider hiring a caterer to serve the meal in your home.  The cost of renting tables and chairs may be less than eating out, so it is a great option if you and your fiance are paying for your rehearsal dinner.

Have a sticky situation with your rehearsal dinner plans? Ask The 530 Bride!