Monday, July 30, 2012

10 Cost Saving Tips for Rehearsal Dinners

Rehearsal Dinners have two purposes, first, it is an opportunity for the bride's and groom's family to get together and to get to know each other a little bit and second, it is also a thank-you celebration for all the participants that are partaking in the wedding.

The participants in the rehearsal dinner include, the bride and groom, the bride's immediate family, the groom's immediate family, the maid of honor and bridesmaids, the best man and groomsmen, generally the parent's of the flower girl and parent's of the ring bearer, it is a good idea to have the flower girl and ring bearer too but it is not required.

Usually, siblings that are close in age should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. These other participants are optional, siblings that are not close in age, the grandparents and any special aunts and uncles, the spouses of bridal members that aren't part of the bridal party, officiants of the wedding and their spouses, also out of town guests, also very close friends to the bride and groom that aren't part of the wedding. Which members to invite, should all depend on your wedding budget.

Most couples tend to have their rehearsal dinner right after the final rehearsal practice for the wedding. Protocol states that the groom's parents generally cover the cost of a rehearsal dinner. If the groom's parent's can't afford the rehearsal dinner, other possibilities include the bride's family to help out, the wedding couple helps out, or check with other close relatives such as a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or sometimes a boss from a company could help defray the costs.

It's a good idea to find a rehearsal dinner location that's not too far from the wedding ceremony practice site. The site is recommended to be within fifteen minutes drive of the wedding ceremony practice site and highly recommended not to be more than 30 minutes from the ceremony site.

Some families include special activities at the rehearsal dinner. Sometimes family have a little roast and toast of the wedding couple, members of the family and bridal party may say a couple of words about the wedding couple at the rehearsal dinner, sometimes little games are played to see how well the guests know things about the wedding couple and how well the couple knows each other. The important thing though, is to not go too far, you don't want to embarass the couple or wedding guests, the event should be geared to good first impressions.

The last thing to note, you don't want to have the bride and groom out late or getting drunk. You want to be sure they are well rested for their very special day, don't plan any activities that will keep them out late. It's important for their marriage to get off to a great start!

The following are 10 cost savings tips for the rehearsal dinner:

Tip 1 - Consider a Restaurant for a Rehearsal Dinner Site
Depending on your budget, you could find a restaurant for a rehearsal dinner site, if the budget is really tight you might want to low key the occasion, do not mention the occasion as a rehearsal dinner or wedding to the restaurant staff and have everyone order off the menu, you can reserve an area as a party, some restaurants jack up the price if they know the event is a rehearsal dinner or wedding.

Tip 2 - Order Less Expensive Entrees, Have Hors d'ouevres Instead, or Have a Buffet Table 
Instead of having a dinner, make it a cocktail hour and have hors d'oeuvres instead, hors d'ouvres are a lot cheaper. Another option is have a buffet table instead, order less expensive entrees, make sure you have assorted entrees though. Have the food mostly served from a buffet table of chafing dishes and salad bar. A buffet table is generally less expensive than meals ordered from an entree menu.

Tip 3 - Consider an Outing Instead of a Formal Rehearsal Dinner
You might consider having a barbeque, a beach party, having a bowling night, a dinner theater, wine and cheese party or a ballgame night. Instead of having a formal affair, have the occasion geared to an interest. Just be sure whatever activity is chosen, the family and wedding guests would be also interested in following along.

Tip 4 - Consider a Rehearsal Dinner in a Family or Friend's Home
If a family member or friend have a beautiful home, have the rehearsal dinner in someone's home. The occasion could be a pool party, poker party, or party games surrounding the wedding couple. You can even have an outdoor theater featuring the lucky couple. There are many food options too, you can have pot luck dinner, hire a chef, order take out food from a specialty restaurant, pick up assorted hors d'ouevres and appetizers, or pick up a bunch of pizzas, sub sandwiches, or italian food.

Tip 5 - Have the Bride or Groom's Mother Bake a Groomsman Cake
Groomsman cakes have become popular for rehearsal dinners over the past decade. Groomsman cakes are cakes made to the groom's liking, served at the rehearsal dinner usually made to one of the groom's favorite flavors such as chocolate or chocolate fudge and the top of the cake is decorated to one or more of the groom's hobbies. Instead of ordering a groomsman's cake at a local baker, if the bride or mother of the groom like to bake cakes, have one of them bake and decorate a groomsman cake for the groom. Use a little imagination, the guests at the rehearsal dinner will be impressed.

Tip 6 - No Need to Decorate at a Rehearsal Dinner
A lot depends on a wedding couple's budget. Decorations or centerpieces are acceptable to not have at a rehearsal dinner, the event is more for close family and the bridal party. No one will be offended if you don't have decorations at your rehearsal dinner. The rule of thumb, if you can afford it, decorate, if the money is very tight, don't decorate.

Tip 7 - Rehearsal Dinner Invitations are not a Requirement
If you are looking to save a little money, it's not necessary to send out rehearsal dinner invitations. Rehearsal dinner invitations can be done in many different informal ways, rehearsal dinner invitations can be done by phone, can be done by email, can be done by informal mail, can be done using a couple's website, any way that is a convenient way to communicate. Rehearsal Dinner invitations don't have to be fancy, they don't have to be formal like the wedding and wedding reception, but however they are done make sure it's not in a sloppy way, you need to be leaving a good first impression.

Tip 8 - Find a Vanilla Banquet Hall for your Rehearsal Dinner
You might look for a banquet hall that is not a regularly functioning venue space. You might check out church halls, community centers, retreat centers, classroom complexes, empty banquet halls, VFW halls, retirement clubhouses, empty office spaces, Knights of Columbus Buildings, dining areas at less glamorous golf clubs, or private areas at restaurants. The rehearsal dinner areas you can take a vanilla area and just hire a caterer to drop off food. A quiet venue area might even be better than a formal venue area, this way you can have plenty of privacy for roasts, toasts, and wedding couple games.

Tip 9 - Have Everyone Order off the Menu instead of Ordering Entrees
Many restaurants will charge a lot more money if you order food off an entree menu instead of a restaurant menu. Instead of ordering food from an entree menu, have all the rehearsal dinner guests order off the regular menu instead, restaurants and special banquet facilities tend to have higher prices on their entree menus for rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions. Order the food off of their normal menu, you probably will save some money on tip money too.

Tip 10 - BYOB for your Rehearsal Dinner
Bring Your Own Booze, Bring Your Own Bartender, Bring Your Own Beer, and Bring Your Own Wine. If the venue allows you to, handle as much alcohol costs as you can. A venue will charge you a lot more for alcohol than if you brought alcohol to the venue yourself. A bottle of wine might cost you $25, you can get just as good wine that you like from a winery or local liquor store for $5. You can save a lot a lot of money from using a keg of beer or use wine carafes instead of bottle of wines. Bring your own bartender, if you use a venue's bartender, the venue may charge twice or three times for the same bartenders, they keep some money for overhead, if you brought your own bartender, the venue is less likely to charge overhead. You also can gear the liquor to the drinks your guests enjoy. If you can BYOB, you can save yourself a lot of money.

Make sure you check the Rehearsal Dinner location in person yourself before booking. Make sure the venue has an area that can be kind of private, you don't want outsiders to be intruding into your private celebration, you don't want speeches, toasts, or wedding rehearsal games or distribution of bridesmaid or groomsmen gifts to be intruded by other restaurant patrons. You don't want gawkers or be disturbed by others. Make sure you find a space that can be geared to the type of rehearsal dinner that you are looking for.

Also, no one says that a rehearsal party has to be the day before the wedding. If your wedding is on a Saturday, if a Thursday is a lot cheaper than a Friday wedding reception at a particular restaurant, consider one day earlier if it means saving significant money. A morning rehearsal dinner brunch is an option too.

See you on the other side!

1 comment: