So my fiancé’s parents communicated to us that they can only afford to pay for 10-12 people’s dinner and basically can only pay a portion towards the rehearsal dinner. The amount of people that would be at the rehearsal dinner would be 40 something and that’s not including out-of-town guests. We are in a pinch because my family is already paying a lot of the expenses as well as my fiancé and I and we cannot afford to take on the expenses of the rehearsal dinner. Any ideas as to some alternatives or something else we can do? I need some advice.
I agree that it can be super casual, like pizza, sandwiches, BBQ, etc. You also don’t have to invite the out of town guests if you/the parents don’t have the budget. That’s a courtesy but not required.
My sister did a super casual rehearsal dinner and ordered a bunch of pizzas and breadsticks from a local pizza place, and then my step mom brought salads and desserts. They had a couple coolers with different types of drinks (water, soda, beer and seltzers) and my step mom brought jugs of iced tea and lemonade. I think the total was around $100 for all of their rehearsal guests.
Limit the rehearsal dinner to immediate family, bridal party, officiant and partners only. It's not obligatory to include out of towners. As PPs say the rehearsal dinner can be casual, it doesn't have to be expensive. If you want to include more people, then cut back in other ways. Alternatively, rehearse the day of the ceremony and skip the rehearsal dinner altogether, or do a brunch or lunch after a morning rehearsal instead. There's no rule that says it has to be dinner. There are very few weddings that are so complicated that you can't go over things in a few minutes.
Definitely a nice casual relaxed event at home is the way to go. You’re spending enough on everything else, this is the one event you can downplay and not feel bad about it at all. You can order a a few half trays of different entrees from your favorite place for people to eat and can make or buy some cupcakes and cookies for desserts. Make a few pitchers of a special drink to offer and can have someone do a champagne toast to you. I’m planning on having mine right in my backyard.
If you do not have a large WP, you could skip the rehearsal entirely. Or go more casual for dinner and WP only. Practice in a room where you can lay down tape on the floor as a diagram of the room, if needed. Some use a hotel conference room where they're staying.
Why does the rehearsal dinner have to be lavish and expensive? Many circles go casual and inexpensive with no problems. The people attending don’t feel the need to dress up fancy either. More often than not, the fancy rehearsal dinners are only seen on tv. Pizza delivery from a favorite chain, ethnic restaurants, etc are common options. A welcome party is a newer custom that not every family does that tries to eliminate the rehearsal dinner and not everyone planning is able to navigate logistics. The rehearsal dinner is limited to those actually in the ceremony: bridesmaids, groomsmen, the couple, flower girl/ring bearer, parents, grandparents, siblings, officiant only.
A rehearsal is recommended when you have people involved who have not been in a wedding before. Do they know when to walk in and where to stand? Not everyone does even if the ceremony itself is simple. But as a guest , you can tell when it has not been practiced by anyone.