Budget Weddings Forum

Rehearsal Options

I know I posted another thing about rehearsal dinner, but we are still looking at our options. My MIL offered to pay for our rehearsal despite her limited funds. My fiance and I are concerned about her covering the cost because she is also paying for his brother's rehearsal dinner and the brother is getting married 5 weeks after us. My MIL told my mother she was thinking about $15 a person for our rehearsal dinner. I am not sure what type of places to look at because we would like to have a nice sit down meal. A lot of the places where we are getting married are at least $25 and up per person and that doesn't include alcohol which my fiance and his friends want. I could careless about the alcohol because I don't drink. Our venue is in a highly popular area with a sky resort less than 20 minutes away so we are kind of limited if she wants to spend $15 a person. Based on all of the research and calls I have made, I don't think it will be possible to spend $15 or less per person. What do you suggest we do? She won't let us cover the costs. 
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Re: Rehearsal Options

  • I know I posted another thing about rehearsal dinner, but we are still looking at our options. My MIL offered to pay for our rehearsal despite her limited funds. My fiance and I are concerned about her covering the cost because she is also paying for his brother's rehearsal dinner and the brother is getting married 5 weeks after us. My MIL told my mother she was thinking about $15 a person for our rehearsal dinner. I am not sure what type of places to look at because we would like to have a nice sit down meal. A lot of the places where we are getting married are at least $25 and up per person and that doesn't include alcohol which my fiance and his friends want. I could careless about the alcohol because I don't drink. Our venue is in a highly popular area with a sky resort less than 20 minutes away so we are kind of limited if she wants to spend $15 a person. Based on all of the research and calls I have made, I don't think it will be possible to spend $15 or less per person. What do you suggest we do? She won't let us cover the costs. 
    “She won’t let us cover the costs”...took it out here bc I couldn’t bold the sentence since it was already bolded.  Just...tell her you’re going to throw your own RD.  Be courteous and full of gratitude but just politely decline her offer.  H and I hosted our own RD and it probably did come to around $15pp (and were in an expensive area)- Pizza, wine and beer at our place.  You and H should just host your own RD if what your FMIL has generously offered isn’t what you want.
  • I don't think you all could keep it at $15/person even at a casual pizza place, if you all also want to have alcohol served.  And certainly not for a nicer sit down restaurant.

    Out of curiosity, has your MIL looked for places?  Maybe if she looked, she would see the challenge and be more open to letting you all pay for some of it.  For example, maybe she could cover the food and you all could cover the tips and drinks.

    The WP and their SO's need to be invited.  Usually immediate family is invited.  Are there other people she wants to invite to the RD who don't need to be and then there would be enough money to move up the price per person?

    It sounds like you all want a rehearsal dinner, which is fine.  But I also wanted to throw out that rehearsals are rarely necessary, unless maybe there are a lot of attendants and/or the ceremony is complicated.  And if you all don't have a rehearsal, than you don't need to have a rehearsal dinner.

    Rehearsal dinners also don't need to be fancy.  I had mine at my grandma's house where my mom, myself, and my H prepared the food.  It was more an excuse to hang out with family and close friends that I don't get to see very often!  We also could have ordered pizzas or sandwiches.  Or a few platters of pasta. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • edited January 2019
    We don't have the option unfortunately to have it at someone's house because everyone lives 1.5 hours or more away that could possibly host it. His dad does live about 10 minutes away, but his father as a very small apartment. We are having our bridal party and their dates (20 people), my fiance and I, my parents, my grandparents since my grandmother is doing a reading at the wedding, his mother, his dad and dad's fiance, the parents of the ring bear and flower girl, and the usher so there really isn't anyone we could eliminate. The only other option if she really does want to pay for it would be to rent a place to have it then supply the food and drinks, but I think it would be expensive to rent a place. 
  • do you have the option to bring in pizza and beer (or something to that effect) at your venue the night before?  I've been to a few RD's that have been like that when the rehearsal is at the venue anyway.  Or of it's at a church, could you use the gathering space or community space at the church?
  • my other suggestion would be to find a place where your MIL could do food for about $15 per person and then you and your FI pay for the bar package.  Since that's important to him, I think that would be a fair compromise. 
    charlotte989875ei34
  • The venue is a hotel and it has the option to allow us to have our rehearsal dinner there, but it would be a sit down dinner like our wedding and she vetoed that idea. They would not be willing to allow us to bring our own food. I have called/emailed 15-20 people and the cheapest option I found was $20. The $20 does not include tax, gratuity which every place I called has a gratuity fee of 20% of the total bill, appetizers, desserts, or alcohol. We would have no problem covering the additional costs, but she insists that she offered to pay for everything so we wouldn't have to. 
  • Can you call pizza places?  I think if you're looking at that cost / head then you need to look into places that will have food family style or large dishes that are split like pizza or sandwiches.  Otherwise I would see if you can arrange for catered food to be brought in at any location even if it's a local hall. 


  • banana468 said:
    Can you call pizza places?  I think if you're looking at that cost / head then you need to look into places that will have food family style or large dishes that are split like pizza or sandwiches.  Otherwise I would see if you can arrange for catered food to be brought in at any location even if it's a local hall. 


    Not sure if renting a place then bringing in catered food would be any cheaper because we would have to locate a place to rent and none of us live in the area so I am not sure what type of places would let us rent out. I know I talked to a few places that do catering and their dishes come in half or full pans that range anywhere from $35-$75. Not sure how many pans we would need for 30 people. I guess my questions would be can we find a place that is reasonably priced to rent out and how much food and alcohol would we need. We would also have to provide all plates, napkins, and utensils.   
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    Why don't you just send MIL here so we can offer her suggestions and solutions and they might actually be considered?
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    MyNameIsNotInLoveInQueens
  • edited January 2019
    Why don't you just send MIL here so we can offer her suggestions and solutions and they might actually be considered?
    There is no reason to be a **Removed for ToS violation** about it. I just am wondering if would be any cheaper to rent a place then by food, alcohol, lines, and utensils.  
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    edited January 2019
    Why don't you just send MIL here so we can offer her suggestions and solutions and they might actually be considered?
    There is no reason to be a **Removed for ToS violation** about it. I just am wondering if would be any cheaper to rent a place then by food, alcohol, lines, and utensils.  
    And how, exactly would we know that? 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited January 2019
    Why don't you just send MIL here so we can offer her suggestions and solutions and they might actually be considered?
    There is no reason to be a **Removed for ToS violation** about it. I just am wondering if would be any cheaper to rent a place then by food, alcohol, lines, and utensils.  
    WOAH WOAH WOAH. Stop right there. Don't start with the name calling nonsense. 

    You have been given helpful suggestions (like every single one of your posts here). We don't live in your city/town. How are we supposed to know the going rate of rented venue? 

    levioosaei34InLoveInQueens
  • this hotel doesn't have like a meeting room or hospitality type room that you could use for a casual gathering?  In my experience it's often included (or they will throw in if you ask) if you have your reception and/or room block there. Might be worth checking out.
    ei34
  • Casadena said:
    this hotel doesn't have like a meeting room or hospitality type room that you could use for a casual gathering?  In my experience it's often included (or they will throw in if you ask) if you have your reception and/or room block there. Might be worth checking out.
    The thing is that the price is going to fluctuate based on where you are.

    For the price you're quoting the only way I could do that is either DIY or do things like get catered dishes of food brought to a place.     That said - I don't know what the cost is for local restaurants by you or what you're looking to do. 

    My overall suggestion would be to call your hotel.   See if they have a meeting location that can be used where you can bring in food.   If that isn't an option ask if they know of other locations.   Some communities have club houses that can be rented and outside food can be brought in.

    Or you may need to work with your FMIL to budget together and throw more money at this.

    OR you don't have an RD. 
  • I guess I was looking for more like an average amount someone should expect to pay for a sit down dinner for 30 people. 
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I guess I was looking for more like an average amount someone should expect to pay for a sit down dinner for 30 people. 
    That's going to vary based on where you live. I live in the NYC metro area. My prices per head are going to be more than someone living in say, North Carolina. 

    Casadenaei34
  • Another wedding blog I read introduced something called "The Olive Garden Rule" - which goes:

    The Olive Garden rule goes like this: Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks notwithstanding, at the Olive Garden, an appetizer, a salad, and a few glasses of wine will cost about $50 per person. Transition that to a hundred guests, and it would cost $5,000 to serve Olive Garden at your wedding. In short, could I have spent $15 a head at my wedding? Yes. But I would have served them a sandwich and a side of fries, with tables and chairs not included. And that’s not what I was asking my venue manager for. (This is from A Practical Wedding - which is a good, well, practical guide to wedding planning: https://apracticalwedding.com/common-wedding-mistakes/)

    The point is - think about what you'd spend at a restaurant or how much food typically costs at restaurants in your area and go from there. A rehearsal dinner is just dinner at a restaurant with more people, so it could cost any number of things
    ShesSoColdcharlotte989875banana468
  • Another wedding blog I read introduced something called "The Olive Garden Rule" - which goes:

    The Olive Garden rule goes like this: Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks notwithstanding, at the Olive Garden, an appetizer, a salad, and a few glasses of wine will cost about $50 per person. Transition that to a hundred guests, and it would cost $5,000 to serve Olive Garden at your wedding. In short, could I have spent $15 a head at my wedding? Yes. But I would have served them a sandwich and a side of fries, with tables and chairs not included. And that’s not what I was asking my venue manager for. (This is from A Practical Wedding - which is a good, well, practical guide to wedding planning: https://apracticalwedding.com/common-wedding-mistakes/)

    The point is - think about what you'd spend at a restaurant or how much food typically costs at restaurants in your area and go from there. A rehearsal dinner is just dinner at a restaurant with more people, so it could cost any number of things
    I had never heard of that rule before, but I know when we were discussing the rehearsal dinner I said to my fiance I don't think we could even spend less than $15 per person at Olive Garden. The hard part about planning all of this is that I don't live in the area that my wedding is in. I live in Maryland and my wedding is in Scranton, PA. I am from PA and my fiance is from NJ so we picked a place in the middle, but it makes planning more challenging. So because I am not familiar with restaurants in that area I have been doing a lot of research to try to find a place to host the rehearsal dinner that would fit within her budget, but so far no luck. I did find a few places that were approximately $18 or $19 a person before tax & 20% gratuity, but $18 or $19 a person does not include alcohol, apps, or desserts. Plus it is more than she really wants to spend. My fiance said he doesn't think it will be possible for us to find a place for $15. If we were not having it near a resort in the middle of summer then the prices might be cheaper.  
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Another wedding blog I read introduced something called "The Olive Garden Rule" - which goes:

    The Olive Garden rule goes like this: Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks notwithstanding, at the Olive Garden, an appetizer, a salad, and a few glasses of wine will cost about $50 per person. Transition that to a hundred guests, and it would cost $5,000 to serve Olive Garden at your wedding. In short, could I have spent $15 a head at my wedding? Yes. But I would have served them a sandwich and a side of fries, with tables and chairs not included. And that’s not what I was asking my venue manager for. (This is from A Practical Wedding - which is a good, well, practical guide to wedding planning: https://apracticalwedding.com/common-wedding-mistakes/)

    The point is - think about what you'd spend at a restaurant or how much food typically costs at restaurants in your area and go from there. A rehearsal dinner is just dinner at a restaurant with more people, so it could cost any number of things
    I had never heard of that rule before, but I know when we were discussing the rehearsal dinner I said to my fiance I don't think we could even spend less than $15 per person at Olive Garden. The hard part about planning all of this is that I don't live in the area that my wedding is in. I live in Maryland and my wedding is in Scranton, PA. I am from PA and my fiance is from NJ so we picked a place in the middle, but it makes planning more challenging. So because I am not familiar with restaurants in that area I have been doing a lot of research to try to find a place to host the rehearsal dinner that would fit within her budget, but so far no luck. I did find a few places that were approximately $18 or $19 a person before tax & 20% gratuity, but $18 or $19 a person does not include alcohol, apps, or desserts. Plus it is more than she really wants to spend. My fiance said he doesn't think it will be possible for us to find a place for $15. If we were not having it near a resort in the middle of summer then the prices might be cheaper.  




    Where are you looking? I can try to help. My parents are in PA sort of in the Scranton area. 

    knottieffd308519aec5b27
  • edited January 2019
    Another wedding blog I read introduced something called "The Olive Garden Rule" - which goes:

    The Olive Garden rule goes like this: Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks notwithstanding, at the Olive Garden, an appetizer, a salad, and a few glasses of wine will cost about $50 per person. Transition that to a hundred guests, and it would cost $5,000 to serve Olive Garden at your wedding. In short, could I have spent $15 a head at my wedding? Yes. But I would have served them a sandwich and a side of fries, with tables and chairs not included. And that’s not what I was asking my venue manager for. (This is from A Practical Wedding - which is a good, well, practical guide to wedding planning: https://apracticalwedding.com/common-wedding-mistakes/)

    The point is - think about what you'd spend at a restaurant or how much food typically costs at restaurants in your area and go from there. A rehearsal dinner is just dinner at a restaurant with more people, so it could cost any number of things
    I had never heard of that rule before, but I know when we were discussing the rehearsal dinner I said to my fiance I don't think we could even spend less than $15 per person at Olive Garden. The hard part about planning all of this is that I don't live in the area that my wedding is in. I live in Maryland and my wedding is in Scranton, PA. I am from PA and my fiance is from NJ so we picked a place in the middle, but it makes planning more challenging. So because I am not familiar with restaurants in that area I have been doing a lot of research to try to find a place to host the rehearsal dinner that would fit within her budget, but so far no luck. I did find a few places that were approximately $18 or $19 a person before tax & 20% gratuity, but $18 or $19 a person does not include alcohol, apps, or desserts. Plus it is more than she really wants to spend. My fiance said he doesn't think it will be possible for us to find a place for $15. If we were not having it near a resort in the middle of summer then the prices might be cheaper.  




    Where are you looking? I can try to help. My parents are in PA sort of in the Scranton area. 
    Our wedding is at the Radisson in Scranton so we were looking within 15-20 minutes of there for the rehearsal. We were looking at Italian places. I know there is a popular seafood place in that area as well, but my fiance is allergic to shellfish so that wouldn't work. Prior to last night, I reached out to probably 15-20, but I reached out to about 10 more places last night. One place is supposed to be mailing me their menu options so I have no clue the pricing for that place. Another place their basic package started at $22 plus tax and gratuity. The other places I haven't heard back from. 
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
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    Have you looked around the Dickson City area? 

  • I'm sorry but I just dont' see how it's possible to have a RD for $15 / person INCLUDING alcohol. Can you ask your FMIL about just paying the bar tab while she gets to "host" the dinner? It sounds like her budget is around $500, and I just don't see how that is going to include even beer and wine for 30 people
    ei34
  • Have you looked around the Dickson City area? 
    I have not because that is a bigger area so I thought it might be more expensive. I was trying to look in smaller towns that are close to Scranton, but I might have to try looking in Dickson City. Thanks for the suggestion. 
  • I'm sorry but I just dont' see how it's possible to have a RD for $15 / person INCLUDING alcohol. Can you ask your FMIL about just paying the bar tab while she gets to "host" the dinner? It sounds like her budget is around $500, and I just don't see how that is going to include even beer and wine for 30 people
    I think he is going to try talking with his mother about letting his father host the event with her. His parents are split so they don't ever talk, but he thought his dad might want to help, but I feel they are his parents so he has to be the one to make that decision. I am just researching it because his mother has asked if we have looked at some places. 
  • Have you looked around the Dickson City area? 
    I have not because that is a bigger area so I thought it might be more expensive. I was trying to look in smaller towns that are close to Scranton, but I might have to try looking in Dickson City. Thanks for the suggestion. 
    I just did a quick search and I have already called a lot of the restaurants that come up when you search for restaurants in Dickson City, but it I appreciate the suggestion. 
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    I'm sorry but I just dont' see how it's possible to have a RD for $15 / person INCLUDING alcohol. Can you ask your FMIL about just paying the bar tab while she gets to "host" the dinner? It sounds like her budget is around $500, and I just don't see how that is going to include even beer and wine for 30 people
    I think he is going to try talking with his mother about letting his father host the event with her. His parents are split so they don't ever talk, but he thought his dad might want to help, but I feel they are his parents so he has to be the one to make that decision. I am just researching it because his mother has asked if we have looked at some places. 
    Wait, your fiance is going to ask his mom if his dad can co-host the RD, but the dad hasn't offered and they're divorced? That's a terrible idea! What if she accepts? What will you tell his dad? "Oh hey BTW we signed you up to host/pay for the RD with your ex, hope you've got extra cash!"?!?! And if she doesn't want her son to help with the costs of the RD, what on earth makes anyone think she will want her ex husband to?!

    You should absolutely NOT assume people want to help, nor should you ask. If someone offers to help cover costs, you can accept, but HOLY TACKY, Batman, if you think calling someone up and asking them for money is okay. You are also incorrect that it's your fiance's decision how his parents spend their money. 

    I've never even been to PA and a quick google search supplied me with at least one pizza place in Scranton that does catering for $11 PP and had a page on its site for private events. 

    You CAN do this on your MIL's budget, you're just going to have to cut some things out (unlikely to afford sit-down meal or alcohol) and do some actual work and research here. Or you can decline her offer to host altogether and plan/pay for the RD you want.
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    MyNameIsNotInLoveInQueens
  • I'm sorry but I just dont' see how it's possible to have a RD for $15 / person INCLUDING alcohol. Can you ask your FMIL about just paying the bar tab while she gets to "host" the dinner? It sounds like her budget is around $500, and I just don't see how that is going to include even beer and wine for 30 people
    I think he is going to try talking with his mother about letting his father host the event with her. His parents are split so they don't ever talk, but he thought his dad might want to help, but I feel they are his parents so he has to be the one to make that decision. I am just researching it because his mother has asked if we have looked at some places. 
    Wait, your fiance is going to ask his mom if his dad can co-host the RD, but the dad hasn't offered and they're divorced? That's a terrible idea! What if she accepts? What will you tell his dad? "Oh hey BTW we signed you up to host/pay for the RD with your ex, hope you've got extra cash!"?!?! And if she doesn't want her son to help with the costs of the RD, what on earth makes anyone think she will want her ex husband to?!

    You should absolutely NOT assume people want to help, nor should you ask. If someone offers to help cover costs, you can accept, but HOLY TACKY, Batman, if you think calling someone up and asking them for money is okay. You are also incorrect that it's your fiance's decision how his parents spend their money. 

    I've never even been to PA and a quick google search supplied me with at least one pizza place in Scranton that does catering for $11 PP and had a page on its site for private events. 

    You CAN do this on your MIL's budget, you're just going to have to cut some things out (unlikely to afford sit-down meal or alcohol) and do some actual work and research here. Or you can decline her offer to host altogether and plan/pay for the RD you want.
    I am letting my fiance handle talking with his mother about the rehearsal dinner. He just asked if I could find some places and let him know the pricing. I am not sure what you Googled, but my fiance insists on having alcohol so that is not something he is willing to give up. I also would prefer to have a sit down meal. If she cannot afford it she should let other people help. My mother OFFERED to help her with it, but I don't know if she will let my mother help her.  
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Why not just tell your MIL that you and your FI will host the RD? 

    ei34InLoveInQueens
  • Why not just tell your MIL that you and your FI will host the RD? 
    She is coming to visit next weekend so we are going to have to sit down and talk to her. I have gathered menus from multiple places so we can show her what we have found. 
  • ei34ei34 member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited January 2019
    Why not just tell your MIL that you and your FI will host the RD? 
    She is coming to visit next weekend so we are going to have to sit down and talk to her. I have gathered menus from multiple places so we can show her what we have found. 
    You’re wise to have a sit down talk with her.  In person is sometimes best, so good to wait at this point. I do stand by my original advice above, I think guys should just host your own RD.  I know your FMIL wants to host it but honestly, you’re already co-hosting.  You’re doing all of the legwork and research.  My youngest sister’s shower is in March- my mom is paying ($50pp for 40 guests, I couldn’t if I wanted to!) and I ordered invites, recipe cards, I’ll send them next month, I’ll keep track of RSVPs, seating chart, favors, decor..we’re each playing an important role, so we’re co-hosting.  You guys should put an emphasis on collaboration and co-host (financially). Or, again, just graciously thank her but host it yourselves.

    edit- TK posted before I finished my thought 
    ShesSoColdcharlotte989875MesmrEwe
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