Preparing for a wedding is a very complicated ordeal. You will have to make a lot of decisions regarding your reception and wedding ceremony, and as soon as you finish with these you will still have to cover important prewedding events like your rehearsal dinner. This is a great way to kick off the wedding weekend, but it is also the best time to greet guests coming from out of town.
A rehearsal dinner is a must-have wedding event for most people, regardless of whether you want to invite a large group of friends and loved ones or keep it intimate. This event is not only used to rehearse your wedding, but it is also a special way to enjoy the festivities of the wedding weekend before the big day, without the stress of the big day.
This is why the average cost of rehearsal dinner, for most people, is rather high. It’s very important to have a realistic wedding budget in mind while looking for browsing, for everything from something as complex as catering to something as simple as invitations. But how much does a rehearsal dinner cost?
How Much Does a Rehearsal Dinner Cost?
According to recent studies, the average cost of a rehearsal dinner is around $2,500. This is the cost of all expenses including the décor, catering, invitations, the venue itself, and more.
Some people consider not having a rehearsal dinner, but before doing so, keep in mind that along with the bachelorette party, this is one of the most popular prewedding events. It is even more common than honeymoons and bridal showers, with over 80% of couples hosting one before their wedding.
It’s tradition for the rehearsal dinner to be hosted and paid for by the groom’s parents. But in this day and age, most wedding planning and etiquette rules are either ignored or changed as couples put their own spin on the event.
It’s very important to have an honest conversation on the cost of a rehearsal dinner, regardless of whether you’re a loved one preparing to host the party in honor of the couple, or you’re part of the happy couple hosting your own rehearsal dinner. You will have to budget accordingly, to make sure you don’t turn it into a very expensive event.
Rehearsal Dinner Cost Factors
When it comes to a rehearsal dinner, there are several important factors you should consider:
Regionality is very important when it comes to the average costs of a wedding, and the rehearsal dinner is no exception. Those in the Midwest will only spend around $2,000 on average on this party, while people in New England and the Northeast will spend considerably more, about $3,500.
Destination or Hometown Wedding Party
This prewedding celebration costs roughly $3,400 when hosting a destination wedding, which is a lot more than those getting a hometown wedding who only spend about $2,200. This isn’t a surprise, as most couples considering destination weddings still want to invite all their wedding guest list to the rehearsal dinner as well, which turns it into a pricier event.
The venue you pick will have a big influence on the rehearsal dinner budget. Most wedding reception spaces have packages where couples can host the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. If you are given this option the space can be booked for a lower cost.
This also helps to show guests the place where the wedding will take place, as this will have a sentimental value for the couple. To find the best rehearsal dinner venue room, look around for party halls, event spaces, and private rooms inside local restaurants. You can even go for a more affordable option, like an evening of toasting in a close one’s backyard.
Having an intimate party that only consists of very close friends, immediate family members and the happy couple will cost less, and would be a great time to talk to loved ones and maybe welcome out-of-town guests.
The hosts are the only ones who decide the guest list. Keep in mind that the more guests you have, the more you will spend. In fact, rehearsal dinners with 50 or fewer guests will cost about $1,500 on average, while parties with over 100 guests will easily cost more than $2,700.
Decor and Food
The decorations and food would have to get on your list just after you’re set on a location. When it comes to rehearsal dinner menus, you can stick to a selection of entrées beverages, and hors d’oeuvres, as it isn’t common for these smaller gatherings to have a five-course meal.
A lot of caterers and restaurants have service packages for rehearsal dinners. This is why you should look around and then compare the available options, to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for. You can skip the added expense of setting up the decor if you manage to find a venue that is already properly decorated, like a restaurant or a wedding hall.
The happy couple also has to consider the attire for the event. The clothing for a rehearsal dinner isn’t what you’ll be wearing for your wedding day, which is why you can go for a bold outfit with a trendy accessory if you feel like it.
Changes in the Average Cost of a Rehearsal Dinner Over the Years
In 2021, couples spent, on average, around $2,200 for their rehearsal dinner, while in 2019 the cost was just under $2,000. The same party in 2022 had a slightly higher average cost in 2022, about $2,300.
Although a big part of the cost increase is a reflection of the effort businesses make to improve guest experience, inflation is another important factor.