Rehearsing your wedding is one of the best ways to overcome nervousness while simultaneously experiencing what will happen during the actual event.
Generally, a wedding rehearsal is held on the eve of the wedding. A rehearsal dinner usually follows a wedding rehearsal.
This pre-wedding ceremony serves as a way to strengthen the bond between family members, relatives, and friends of the bride and the groom.
However, what if you want to skip this tradition and focus on the ceremony the next day? Is it okay not to have a rehearsal dinner?
It is okay for you not to have a rehearsal dinner. No fixed rules, etiquette, or laws forbid you from skipping this tradition.
Some couples have their own reasons why they decided not to have a rehearsal dinner. For instance:
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Traditionally, the cost of the rehearsal dinner is paid for by the groom’s parents. Today, however, there is nothing wrong with sharing the cost between the couples’ parents.
Due to financial constraints or the lack of extra cash, some couples decide to have a simple and small wedding. They prefer to focus all their financial planning on the things that matter. So, a rehearsal dinner is usually not included in their checklist.
Lack of space
Some wedding venues restrict the number of guests that can enter the establishment.
For instance, hotels with small wedding halls or even public halls can’t accommodate too many people at once. Plus, with all the decorations, tables, chairs, and equipment that can take up space, finding room to fit many people at once can be quite hard.
Most of the time, invitations are sent out to the guests a few days or weeks before the dinner rehearsal. It is much easier to tell the caterers beforehand the expected number of guests attending the event.
However, you might get a call or response from some guests that they can’t make it to the rehearsal dinner due to personal reasons. So, having a rehearsal dinner with only a few would waste time and money.
What Are the Alternatives to a Rehearsal Dinner?
If you still think having people gathered on the evening before the wedding ceremony can be quite fun and meaningful, there are a few alternatives to a rehearsal dinner from which you can choose.
Some of these include:
Hosting a barbecue party can save you from splurging too much on your wedding budget. You can feed many people by having a barbecue in your backyard by spending just a few hundred dollars on food and drinks.
You also don’t have to worry about sitting or eating for too long because the event is on your own property. Organizing the party, decorating the place, and even preparing all the meals can also be done by the families without having to worry about hiring caterers or extra manpower.
Finally, you can crack a few beers and sit back with everyone while enjoying the rest of the evening.
Wine Tasting Party
Want to do something fabulous without going overboard in your budget? Then, host a wine-tasting party! You can do this in your local wine shop or bring a few exquisite yet tasty wines to your house.
You can choose to do this before or after dinner to alleviate everyone’s taste buds. You can also serve easy, go-to desserts with wine, such as cheese, hummus, chocolates, cashews, and berries.
Limit the number of glasses per person to prevent people from drinking too much. Also, if any guests can’t drive, assign one person to be a designated driver or call a cab.
Another way to replace a rehearsal dinner with something fun yet budget-friendly is by hosting a pot-luck-style party. All you need to do is find a public beach or park and ask for permission from the local authorities to hold a small event at the place.
Decorate the place with balloons, flowers, and folded tables and chairs. Bring a small sound system or speakers so you can play soothing background music. The best part of having a pot-luck is that everyone gets to bring their own favorite food and trade them with others.
This way, you can save a lot of money by not having to cook or prepare meals. But, ensure you serve them with fresh juices and cold drinks. This is because having an outdoor party, especially on the beach, can be pretty dehydrating.
If most guests or family can’t spare some time to gather together a day before the wedding, there is nothing wrong with organizing a small post-wedding brunch.
There is nothing odd with having selected guests, family, relatives, and friends sit together and enjoy brunch. You can also make a more personal toast and let everyone say a few words of their own. It is more intimate when people can share what they feel and experience.
If drinking at home might seem a little inappropriate because there are children or infants at the house, you can invite the adults to a small cocktail party at any of your favorite local bars.
Choose a place that is not too loud and crowded, and limit it to two or three drinks per person. You can also make an early booking to save the seats if the bars or restaurants allow it. This type of party is pretty straightforward.
So, you don’t have to worry about organizing or decorating the place. The most important thing is to catch up with everyone at the table and meet your old friends or distant relatives that you haven’t seen for quite some time.
Food Truck Party
Hiring a local food truck to serve your guests, family, and friends is also an excellent way to save money.
All you need is a large enough space in your lawn or backyard. Depending on the truck owners, they usually serve different kinds of food such as tacos, ice cream, fried food, Mexican food, and even desserts. Each food truck focuses on its specialty and uniqueness.
So, take your time to choose the best.
You can skip all the food and drinks and go straight to something much more interesting. Gather a large group of people, including family and friends, and do group activities such as bowling, karaoke, scavenger hunt, musical chairs, or even board games.
Finally, if you still want to grab a few drinks, head out to the nearest bar or dinner venue and have a quick bite.
Small Welcome Party
If the wedding starts in the afternoon or in the evening, you can host a small welcome party. Do an open bar and serve the guests a few drinks of their choice. Limit the number of glasses per person to avoid bloating from drinking with an empty stomach.
You can also serve simple meals such as cheese, bread, mixed salads, nuts, and sliced fruits to go with the drinks. This is one of the easiest and quickest ways to mingle with people before the ceremony.
However, if the itinerary is packed with many activities, you might want to skip this party. The last thing you need is to rush to do many things at once while getting exhausted before the main event.
Overall, a rehearsal dinner is just a small pre-celebratory ceremony that gathers everyone together to have a good time the day before the wedding.
It is also an event where you can thank everyone who has helped you to organize everything and those who showed up just to give moral support.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t afford it or decide not to have one. It’s not a big deal to skip a rehearsal dinner.