This Is How Much It Costs to Host a Rehearsal Dinner Today

Here’s how much to budget for this prewedding soirée.
by Sarah Hanlon
Outdoor rehearsal dinner
Anna Gomes Photo

Once you've made all the decisions for your wedding ceremony and reception, it's time to focus on one of the most important prewedding events: your rehearsal dinner. Not only is this an ideal time to greet guests who've traveled from out of town, it's a great way to kick off your wedding weekend. Whether you keep it intimate or invite a large group of your loved ones, a rehearsal dinner is a must-have wedding event. Not only is it necessary for, well, rehearsing, it's a special time for you to enjoy your wedding weekend before the excitement of your big day. For this reason, the average cost of a rehearsal dinner tends to be on the higher side. From invitations to catering, it's important to set a realistic budget. So, how much does a rehearsal dinner cost? Read on to find out. 
 
An internal study of over 27,000 couples who got married in 2019 reveals that the average cost of a rehearsal dinner is $1,900. This is representative of all related expenses, including venue, invitations, catering and décor. If you're debating whether you should have a rehearsal dinner, know that it's the most popular prewedding event. Nearly 80 percent of couples hosted one, making it more common than bachelorette parties, bridal showers and honeymoons. 
 
Traditionally, the groom's parents host and pay for the rehearsal dinner. But since it is 2020, after all, couples are putting their own spin on wedding etiquette rules. Whether you host your own rehearsal dinner or you're a loved one preparing to host in honor of the couple, it's important to have an honest conversation about the average cost for a rehearsal dinner. It's certainly not an inexpensive event, so be sure to budget accordingly. 
 
An intimate party means the cost will be lower, but this could also be a great time to welcome out-of-town guests and loved ones you don't see often. The guest list is up to the discretion of the host.
 
The venue will also play a large factor in your rehearsal dinner budget. Some reception spaces offer packages to host a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. If this is an option, you may be able to book the space at a lower cost. However, this is also a great way to introduce guests to the location of the wedding, especially if it's a sentimental spot for the couple. Scope out local restaurants, event spaces or party halls for potential venues. Or, host something in a loved one's backyard for a casual and affordable evening of toasting. 
 
Once you've nailed down the location, you'll want to finalize the decorations and menu. While you don't have to serve a five-course meal, hor d'oeuvres and a selection of entrees (along with beverages) is suitable. Restaurants or caterers may offer service packages for rehearsal dinners, so always check with your pros to consider all possible options before making any final decisions. Attire will also be an added cost for the to-be-weds. The rehearsal dinner is a great occasion to rock a bold outfit or a trendy accessory that you won't be wearing on your wedding day. 
 
Remember that the price of a rehearsal dinner is a reflection of the national average. Cost varies by region and event style, so use this as a general baseline to guide your budget. Ultimately, what you spend on our event is completely up to you. Whether you opt for an upscale soirée or you keep things casual with a backyard party, one thing is certain: Your rehearsal dinner is an important prewedding event, and it'll serve as the ultimate kickoff to your nuptials. 

 
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