Pre-wedding Parties

DIY-BBQ Rehearsal dinner

I have a small budget for a rehearsal dinner for 35 people (there is no way to cut the guest list down) of $500.  I would like to do an outdoor BBQ rehersal dinner at my parets house September 21st in Vermont.  I have the following questions:

1- Do we have to have a tent?  If it rains my parents house is large enough for 10 guests to eat in their dinner room, 4 at the breakfast nook and 7 in the living room comfortably.  

2- It could be cool out- the average temperature is between 68 degrees and 45 degrees(at night).  Do we need to have some kind of outdoor heaters?  The dinner will begin at 5:00pm

3- The sunset is supposed to happen at 6:50 pm.  Do we need lights?  If so what kind?

4- I am VERY tempted to DIY for the food with help with some close family and friends.  Do you think I can/should do this?  I was thinking of doing:

1-Hamburgers/Veggie burgers (these can easily be pattied that morning and put in the fridge)
2- BBQ chicken-can marinate 1 day before
3-Corn on the cob- I can have my FI shuck these the day before??
4-Potato salad- my mother could make this that day or someone could bring it
5- Green salad- I could make this that morning or have someone bring it
6- Coleslaw-my mother could make this the day before or someone could bring it
7- A sundaie bar-my mother offered to make the hot fudge in a crock pot and I could easily store ice cream in their extra freezer.  Toppings could be put in the bowls that morning and covered Or
8-Fruit pies I make ahead and freeze

I will have some out of town family that would be able to setup the tables and chairs (my parents have access to these) and do some simple decorating w ith checked table clothes and some wild flowers/candles.  

If we need to have a tent ($300) for 20 by 20, lighting ($220), a heater ($210) and catering this party could easily get out of hand cost wise :/  

Any advice?
BabyFruit Ticker

Re: DIY-BBQ Rehearsal dinner

  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    A casual bbq is fine. Your menu is great, except that you or whoever is hosting should provide the food. No potluck. Consider some kind of soup or baked beans in case corn is out of season after the middle of Sept. You never know in New England : ) Plus the soup or beans  can be made ahead and kept hot in a crockpot. One less last minute thing to do.

    To be honest, I know my people would end up indoors, even if we were lucky enough to have the temps hold at 65. So I would skip the tent and squeeze extra tables/chairs indoors. Camp lanterns and candles would probably suffice for outside lighting early in the evening. The heater (or a fire pit) would probably keep a few people outdoors, longer.  But if it rains or gets chilly, everyone is going to end up inside.

    My SIL, who was a Martha Stewart type, used her garage for a large party at her house. They set up the grill  in the driveway, cleaned out the garage, set up long tables and chairs with coordinating tablecloths and napkins, paper plates etc...lined the wheelbarrow with plastic, filled it with ice and cans of soda and beer, bottles of wine. The tool bench was used as a side board. I wish I could remember more details, but it was a long time ago. I just remember the garage looked very festive and held quite a few people. No need to worry about lighting and there are electrical outlets for crockpots, coffee pots or music. The younger people gravitated toward the garage, while the rest of us headed indoors.

    Otherwise, I would look for an inexpensive banquet room to rent (Knights of Columbus, Elks, your church social room or your town's parks department might have something) rather than rent all that equipment. And your mom won't get her house messed up the night before the wedding.
                       
  • Thanks so much for the input.  I LOVE the wheelbarrow idea for drinks.  I don't really think we can squeeze more tables/chairs indoors and the garage isn't very homie.  I have price quoted tents with lights and heaters and I think that is going to be the way to go unless I change plans completely and do it at a restaurant or other location.  I am seriously considering upping the budget and hiring a caterer ;/  This is so complicated!  
    BabyFruit Ticker
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