As soon the bride receives her precious engagement ring, the whole family starts thinking and planning for the wedding, and before long, the rehearsal dinner is next on the list. So, what is the average cost of this important part of the whole experience? Back in 2017, the average cost of a regular rehearsal dinner was $1,285. Here, we will see how things have changed since.
Recent History and Customs
During the past five years, the cost has risen some $100. In 2013, it was $1,184. This increase of 8% is nothing compared to the average cost of a wedding in this same period. It was 12%, which is $3,533, from $29,858 in 2013 to $33,391 in 2017.
The same study in 2017 says that the parents of the groom contribute 13% to the overall wedding costs, and traditionally, they are the ones who for the rehearsal dinner.
In 2019 and so far in 2023, the average cost of a rehearsal dinner is around $1350.
We will now say that in order not to worry about any extra cost, you should prepare around $1,500 for a rehearsal dinner. You will have to consider the following things:
Coordinate with the bride and groom, and make sure to ask them what they want.
The rehearsal dinner should never be or feel bigger or better than the actual wedding. Follow the regular “never upstage the bride” rule.
Establish a budget and stick to it beforehand.
Decide on the guest list before other more fun stuff.
Who should be invited?
As we said, the guest list is the first major step you have to tackle.
Start with the people like the officiant, flower girls, ring bearers, young attendants, musicians, and the people who will read or be included in the ceremony. If they will show up for practice, they must be invited. The spouses, partners, and dates of these people, and the parents of young attendants should be included next.
Then we move on to the parents, step-parents, grandparents, children, siblings, along with their respective partners. These will include most of the guests.
Next, are the friends and colleagues, and finally, the out-of-town guests and relatives from further away.
Rehearsal Dinner Theme and Menu
The bride and groom should be the ones who decide this. There are many popular options available. A restaurant or hotel is the most practical option, especially if you have many guests who will travel to your wedding.
If you want a more formal or special experience, you will probably go over the average cost of a rehearsal dinner. A more casual restaurant will save you some money, and these are usually the most fun to organize and attend. Also, the cost per guest, if you decide on a barbecue or picnic, is much different than a formal event. Research before you set your mind on the theme and ask for advice.
The menu will probably be the most expensive part of this important event. The food is somewhat directed by the theme and venue, so think about the whole thing together. Costs per guest vary from $10 to $30 for casual hosted affairs, $30 to $70 for casual restaurant dinners, and $70 to $250 for something more elaborate.
Following are the most common and loved themes for rehearsal dinners that can help you with the food choices:
Backyard barbecue, low country boil, Italian buffet, picnic, potluck, soup supper, Chinese, pizza party, pasta arty, boxed meals, taco bar, and fajita fiesta.
With food, make sure to ask your guests for any allergies to prevent unpleasant and dangerous experiences.
Rehearsal Dinner Venue
Four primary factors should be included in the venue decision:
- Does it go well with the theme?
- Is it large enough for all of the guests?
- Is it within the budget?
- Is it located near the wedding venue?
Restaurants are the most popular choices for rehearsals, mostly because they are conveniently located, very easy to find, and simple with the food planning. It is much more complicated to have a venue that needs catering.
Most people usually have fun with this part, as they enjoy picking out and deciding on table capes, flowers, and other ornaments and details. Your possibilities are basically endless, but keep with the theme and within the budget!
Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
If you worry about the budget, you can simply print and mail invitations or you send events or other types of electronic invitations.
If you want formal, go with paper and post, and if you opt for fun and casual, a Facebook event is perfect and time-saving.
Whatever you choose, the instructions and details have to be clear and reach all of the guests.
Once you have everything covered up, try to think positively about the upcoming event with all of your friends and family. Lastly, remember that the memories last longer than receipts, but also mind that credit card debt can stay with you for a long time!