Save Your Wallet With These Budget Friendly Rehearsal Dinner Ideas

IMAGE SOURCE: @VIOLAMIRABILISDESIGN

IMAGE SOURCE: @VIOLAMIRABILISDESIGN

Weddings can be a burden on your bank account, and most forget about the additional expenses surrounding a wedding like the bridal shower, lodging for family, and the rehearsal dinner. To help you save on additional expenses, we've come up with budget friendly rehearsal dinner ideas your friends and family will love.


Image Source: Cedarwood Weddings

Image Source: Cedarwood Weddings

BUFFETS

Buffets are a great catering option for your rehearsal dinner because you can offer a few different dishes that fit into your budget. Who doesn't like a pasta and salad buffet, or some southern style mac and cheese and fried chicken?! 


Image Source: The Sweetest Occasion

Image Source: The Sweetest Occasion

APP STATIONS

Appetizer stations are perfect for the bride and groom who want a more cocktail hour style dinner. Friends and family can feel free to socialize and have a lighter dinner. You can make your apps themed to go with your wedding or have stations representing cuisine around the world! 


Image Source: Intimate Weddings

Image Source: Intimate Weddings

B.B.Q.

Barbeques are the laid-back option you didn't know you needed for your rehearsal dinner. Have a pre-wedding party and grill everyone's favorite burgers and dogs. Play backyard games, and just have fun!


Image Source: Blog Lovin

Image Source: Blog Lovin

MURDER MYSTERY

Gather everyone for an exciting murder mystery dinner night! You can play this in the comfort of your home if you have a small dinner guest list. It will help the happy couple forget about the stress of the upcoming day, and who doesn't love a party game?!


Image Source: Whimsical Wonderland Weddings

Image Source: Whimsical Wonderland Weddings

A PICNIC

If there is a beautiful park in the area, consider having your rehearsal dinner picnic style! Bring comfy blankets, pillows, finger foods, and champagne! Everyone can be involved by either packing their own food or bringing a dish like a pot-luck. 


The Total Budget Breakdown: Bride vs. Bridesmaid

Image Source: Sanctuary Weddings

Image Source: Sanctuary Weddings

It’s no secret that weddings aren’t cheap for anyone involved. Which can make for some confusion, uneasiness, and even awkward conversations when it comes to knowing who is financially responsible for what. While some brides may shift things, there are general etiquette rules most choose to follow. So, if you’re a bride looking for some guidance, or a potential bridesmaid trying to figure out if you can afford to stand by your girl on her big day, we’re here to help debunk the mystery!

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Typically, bridesmaids will be in charge of covering the costs of their own dresses and alterations. To try and keep costs low, see if a bride is willing to do a dress rental instead of having her girls purchase expensive dresses that they may never wear again! Many brides are trending towards Rent the Runway for their bridesmaids as they can have more upscale dresses at a fraction of the cost. If that’s not the direction a bride wants to go, see if she can pick a color and let each bridesmaid pick the style dress that’s in their budget.

 
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Once again, accessories and shoes are traditionally paid by the bridesmaids. Luckily, these are things you can most likely use time and time again. These items can fall anywhere in a large range on the price scale, so it’s definitely one of those areas that you want to discuss with the bride ahead of time to determine a budget to stick to.

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The financial responsibility of the bachelorette party falls on the bridesmaids. Planning a bachelorette party can easily grow into a monster of costs, so once again, discuss with your fellow bridesmaids to set a budget to stick to! Bachelorette parties don’t need to be a huge, expensive production. Traveling to a big destination isn’t realistic for most people’s budget. Consider a staycation or a fun girls weekend roadtrip instead of jetting off somewhere.

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When it comes to traveling to the location of the wedding, that falls solely on the bridesmaid. This would be the same if you were just attending as a guest. The couple is paying for enough as it is, it’s unrealistic for everyone’s travel to be in the budget for the weekend! If the wedding is an intimate destination wedding that is out of your budget, sit down and have a discussion with the bride and try to visit different options that may help you get there for a lower cost.

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As with the travel to and from the wedding, lodging for the weekend also falls on the bridesmaids’ shoulders. Ideally the couple will have secured a hotel block for the wedding guests offering a discounted rate on rooms to help keep costs lower. If you’re going solo, try to share a room with another bridesmaid to cut costs even more!

Image Source: Simone Lennon

Image Source: Simone Lennon

 
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Even as a bridesmaid, you should still be getting the newlyweds a present. Your presence isn’t present enough in this case! Check in with the other bridesmaids and see if there’s a specific item you can split and gift together. This gets the couple something special while minimizing individual costs.

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So this is where it depends on what route the couple chooses… if there’s a traditional bridal shower, the responsibility falls on the bridesmaids. However, if the couple opts for a Jack and Jill, they’re financially responsible. Check out our guide on throwing a Jack and Jill on a budget if that’s the route you’re going! If the bridesmaids are throwing a bridal shower, there are many ways to keep costs low and usually female relatives (mothers, aunts, etc.) will also pitch in and cover a lot of the costs.

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It’s the bride’s responsibility to pay for the florals for the big day. This includes bouquets for the bridesmaids and the boutonnieres for the groomsmen. Most couples will choose a floral package that covers all of the needs for the big day. Brides beware… the flowers will be one of the largest expenses of your day! To keep costs limited, pick in-season flowers and focus on one or two special elements you want incorporated. Unfortunately, that floral arch you saved on Pinterest is probably $3,000… aka your entire floral budget.

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It’s the big day! How’s everyone getting from point a to point b? If your party is getting ready for the ceremony at a separate location, it’s on you as the bride to cover the cost of transportation to the event. Same goes for your reception being at a different venue than your ceremony. Many brides will ride in style, choosing a limo or town car to transport themselves and their crew to the festivities!

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If, as a bride, you are requiring your bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup professionally done, the financial responsibility falls on you. If the bride is not requiring her bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup done professionally, yet a bridesmaid would like to get done up by a professional, then the costs fall solely on her shoulders.

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Your girls are spending a pretty penny to support you on your big day, so show your appreciation with a small gift of gratitude! This can be something simple like a swag bag when you ask them to stand with you for the big day or maybe gifting them each a matching accessory to wear the day of the wedding. Nothing big and fancy is needed, but a small token is a great way to thank them for all they do!

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If you’re in a situation where the bridesmaids need to be on location the evening before the wedding, the lodging costs fall on the bride. Most likely this will be for the rehearsal dinner, but if your bridesmaids were attending your big day as a guest instead of in your bridal party, they wouldn’t have to be there the night before or spend the money on an additional hotel room.

Image Source: You & Your Wedding

Image Source: You & Your Wedding

While these are great guidelines to follow, it’s important to always sit down with your crew and discuss a budget and any financial concerns you have. Wedding planning is stressful enough without the lack of communication, so make everyone’s lives easier and be open and honest to give everyone the best chance of creating a magical day!

Throwing a Jack and Jill The Everyday Girl Way

Image Source: Wedding Chicks

Image Source: Wedding Chicks

Weddings are already a major hit to the budget, but once you factor in all the extra traditional events - engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor parties, you name it - it’s easy to overspend. That’s why our favorite new trend in the wedding scene is going the non-traditional route. Skip all the extra planning, and condense all your pre-wedding celebrations into one big event with a Jack and Jill wedding shower! Jack and Jills are unique because they don’t leave anyone out; think of them as a bridal shower, but for the bride and the groom - and yes, men are invited! Tons of brides nowadays are opting for a combined, single celebration that brings all their loved ones together, and we’ve got the low-down on how to throw a fantastic Jack and Jill party under even the tightest of budgets!

Image Source: Brit + Co.

Image Source: Brit + Co.

First thing’s first: the guest list. Jack and Jills will inevitably have more guests than a bridal shower would, as both the bride and the groom get to invite their friends and family. The best piece of advice for a bride planning on a budget is to keep your guest list small! Don’t over-invite guests just because you feel like you have to - they can always make an appearance on the big day. Make your Jack and Jill a small and intimate celebration with the people closest to you and your soon-to-be hubby! Less people means more personal mingling, less food and drinks to pay for, and it gives you the freedom to play fun trivia games or pass out adorable favors to every guest. Our favorite favor idea is super simple and easy: create DIY pressed flower coasters. We love the idea of picking out some of the same florals you plan on using at your ceremony and tying those into fun arrangements for each coaster.

Image Source: Curb Alert Blog

Image Source: Curb Alert Blog

With a Jack and Jill party comes one major obstacle: most bridal showers just have finger food and tea time since they’re traditionally elegant and feminine events. Amping up your guest list to include men may seem a bit intimidating, since they’re likely to eat a good dozen of each of the hors d'oeuvre you spent hours slaving over. Consider approaching your menu differently to save time and money. An outdoor venue is not only free - backyards make a gorgeous event space, and you can play up the greenery and incorporate it into a beautiful spring party - but they’re also the perfect excuse for a classic barbecue! Make a packed topping bar, grill up some burgers and veggie skewers, and serve classic cookout food for a casual and relaxed event.

Image Source: Martha Stewart Weddings

Image Source: Martha Stewart Weddings

If you’re looking to save even more money and your gathering is on the smaller side, ask each guest to bring their best family recipe and style the event as a potluck. You’ll just be responsible for the drinks, and you can focus your energy on less daunting parts of the planning! We love the idea of creating one signature, personalized cocktail to serve up for guests and having a little bit of beer and wine available on the side. This cuts down the cost of alcohol substantially, and adds a touch of creativity and originality!

Image Source: Wedding Wire

Image Source: Wedding Wire

The key to decorating for a Jack and Jill on a budget is making sure there’s some personalization involved. Grab some customized disposable dishes with you and your hubby’s initials, search for some old thrifted picture frames and fill them with photos of you and your fiance, and incorporate your wedding colors into the decor. Romantic touches like a customizable date mason jar add some adorable decor, but they also function as a fun way for your guests to get involved! Have each guest suggest a date night and toss it in to reference when you’re inevitably stuck somewhere down the line, or even incorporate some classic trivia. Because both the bride and groom’s loved ones are involved, couple’s trivia is even more personal and is sure to be entertainment for everyone!

The everyday bride doesn’t have to settle for less just because she’s working with a smaller budget. With a Jack and Jill party, you can actually have more for less. It’s economical, easy to plan, and it’s so much more memorable to get all the guys and girls together to celebrate! The key is to set a budget, leave room for expenses, and stick to it. No one ever said a bridal shower had to be an exclusive, ritzy event, so make it more your style, involve more of your loved ones, and save some money while you’re at it!