I'm trying to stay under $200 for a rehearsal dinner for 20 people. The rehearsal would be on a Wednesday evening near the end of September at about 6pm. I have thought of several ideas, but they don't work for one reason or another.
I thought we could do it at a park pavilion and buy some catered food without service, laid back. But it's going to be getting dark by the time we get there.
My fiancé and I live in a small apartment, and no one in our families or our bridal party has a house that can accommodate 20 people for dinner to have it inside, as I would rather not have people eating in two or more rooms.
I've seen suggestions of "pizza" for a cheap rehearsal dinner, and pizza or non-service catered pasta or sandwiches would all be fine if we had a large enough home to host it in. However, that is not the case. I'm afraid anything in a restaurant will lead to people ordering appetizers, drinks, etc that would run our bill up too much.
How can we have a cheap rehearsal dinner for $10 or less per person including tax and any gratuity we might have to pay in a restaurant or other venue? Everything I have seen involves like a three hour minimum with at least one server at like built in for $20 each per hour, even for a buffet. Anything that says they can accommodate a rehearsal dinner is $20-80 per person! Our wedding reception is only $30 per person including servers for salad, linens, plates etc, decor, and alcohol! I really hate this tradition/etiquette. We have to practice the wedding dinner (which will probably have no toasts either) which will nearly overshadow the wedding reception itself. It is meant for the families to meet, but my fiancé's family will not even be there because they do not support the wedding! I'm also afraid no one will even want to stay out so late to have dinner at 7pm on a Wednesday.
I nearly want to just say to everyone: Hey, join us for dinner if you can spare more time and money to pay for your own plate (our attendants barely have jobs and will have to pay for their attire and a gift should they choose to give us one)!
So suggestions of places that could give us a location and a set menu for under $10 per person would be great. We are in St. Louis if that helps. Now I'm wondering what the prices of Chuck E Cheese are these days. LOL.
EDIT: I now realize this may not have been the best place to put this... I was initially thinking "Do I need a rehearsal dinner?" That would be etiquette... Sorry. I'm not sure how to move this if I even can.