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Average Cost of Rehearsal Dinner: Breaking Down the Expenses

A server writing down an order from a rehearsal dinner guest ordering off of a paper menu

Rehearsal dinners are an important part of the wedding festivities, allowing the couple, their families, and the wedding party to come together and celebrate before the big day. But, like any wedding-related event, rehearsal dinners come with their own set of expenses. In this article, we’ll break down the average cost of a rehearsal dinner and provide some tips on how to save money while still hosting a memorable event.

Average Cost of Rehearsal Dinner

The average cost of a rehearsal dinner can vary significantly, depending on factors such as the number of guests, location, menu, and level of formality. The average rehearsal dinner cost per person ranges anywhere from $30 to $100. For a party of 30 guests, that translates to a range of $900 to $3,000.

Factors Influencing Rehearsal Dinner Costs

Several factors can impact the overall cost of a rehearsal dinner, including:

Number of Guests

The more guests you invite to your rehearsal dinner, the higher the overall cost. This is because catering expenses, including food and beverages, are usually priced per person. Additionally, a larger guest list may require a larger venue, which can also increase the cost.


The location of your rehearsal dinner plays a significant role in determining the cost. A private dining room at an upscale restaurant, for example, will likely be more expensive than hosting the event at a more casual eatery or at someone’s home.


The type of food and beverages you serve at your rehearsal dinner will also impact the cost. A formal sit-down dinner with multiple courses will generally be more expensive than a buffet-style meal or a casual backyard barbecue. Similarly, offering a full open bar can drive up costs compared to a limited selection of wine and beer.

Level of Formality

Formal rehearsal dinners with elegant decor, professional waitstaff, and live entertainment will typically be more expensive than casual, low-key events. The more elaborate and upscale the event, the higher the cost is likely to be.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Rehearsal Dinner

While the cost of a rehearsal dinner can add up quickly, there are several ways to save money without sacrificing quality:

  1. Limit the Guest List: Keep the rehearsal dinner intimate by only inviting immediate family members and the wedding party.
  2. Choose a Casual Venue: Opt for a more casual setting, such as a park, a family member’s backyard, or a local restaurant with affordable menu options.
  3. DIY Decor: Save money on decorations by creating your own centerpieces and other decor items, or repurpose items from the wedding ceremony and reception.
  4. Plan a Potluck: If your rehearsal dinner is a more casual affair, consider organizing a potluck where guests bring a dish to share.
  5. Limit Alcohol Options: Save on beverage costs by offering a limited selection of wine and beer, or only serve alcohol during a specific time frame, such as during cocktail hour.
  6. Opt for a Buffet or Family-Style Meal: Choosing a buffet or family-style meal can be more cost-effective than a sit-down dinner with multiple courses.
  7. Be Mindful of the Time: Host your rehearsal dinner during off-peak hours, such as a weekday evening or a weekend afternoon, to take advantage of lower venue and catering costs.
  8. Consider a Brunch or Lunch: Hosting a rehearsal brunch or lunch can be less expensive than a dinner, as daytime menus are often more affordable.

Final Thoughts

While the average cost of a rehearsal dinner can range widely depending on various factors, there are plenty of ways to save money without sacrificing the quality of the event. By being mindful of your guest list, location, menu, and level of formality, you can create a memorable rehearsal dinner that won’t break the bank. Remember that the main goal of the event is to bring loved ones together to celebrate your upcoming nuptials, so focus on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that reflects your unique style as a couple.

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