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13 Creative Ideas for a Rehearsal Dinner on a Budget

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From food to decor, we have 13 wedding rehearsal dinner on a budget ideas to help you celebrate your big day while saving as much money as possible. These personal and creative ideas are bound to leave you and guests with lasting memories of your wedding weekend. Struggling to plan your wedding day? We’ve got you covered in our recent blog “How to Plan a Wedding”. Need some extra assistance planning for your rehearsal dinner and wedding day? We also do event coordination! Contact us here

Rehearsal Dinner on a Budget Ideas: Food Options

Breakfast for a wedding rehearsal dinner on a budget ideas can be fancy with fruit, mimosa's, and salmon.

Breakfast for Dinner

One of many wedding rehearsal dinner on a budget ideas is breakfast for dinner. With pre-made pancake mix, dozens of eggs, gallons of milk, bacon, and toast- it’s easy to buy these ingredients at a local grocery store and make a lot on a budget! This is one of the less common rehearsal dinner food options, and it will definitely be memorable for your guests. 

A backyard bbq can bring your friends and family together for a wedding rehearsal if you're on a tight budget.

Backyard BBQ

With paper lanterns, tablecloths, and twinkle lights- your backyard can transform into a magical evening with family and friends in the comfort of your own home. Burgers, hotdogs, pasta salad, chips: add all the works from your favorite summer BBQ tradition and decorate with white colors to make it more bridal. This is also a great idea to make sure even the children in the family have a great time. You can wrap up the evening with a movie on a projector or fireworks! 

A group of 4 people enjoying pizza at a wedding rehearsal dinner.

Pizza Night

Buy some pre-made dough, marinara, shredded cheese, and have a topping bar. If you have a brick oven or conventional one- they are so easy to make at home. Worst comes to worst, you can always order from a local pizza place and buy appetizers as well. This recipe shows you how to make pizza at home with store bought dough! It’s not the most glamorous idea in the world, but an intimate and stress free dinner with your bridal party will be one of the last opportunities you have to relax before the big day! 

A group of 7 people enjoying dinner in a park with a picnic basket and blankets.

Dinner in The Park

Parks with pavilions usually cost around $100 for an entire day to rent. You can pick all your own catering and there is so much space- this is an ideal option for people with a huge family who can’t host at home. 

Taco Bar

Another great customizable option for your rehearsal dinner is a taco bar! You can choose from chicken, ground beef, or any other meat you want. Make rice, queso, and prepare lettuce, guacamole, salsa, and beans. Load up on sour cream and chips as well! You can serve margaritas and make churros too.  Struggling to find out what else you should have? Find 16 taco bar ideas here! This is a great organized way to be sure that everyone can customize their meal especially despite dietary restrictions. 

You can decorate in bright colors with scarves and lanterns. Your margaritas can also be super bright and cheery. I love this option for summer weddings! 

A foot ruck catering a wedding rehearsal dinner on a budget.

Food Truck

If you want to support local businesses while on a budget, food trucks could be a great option for you! You could pay for one or several different types of food. Halal, burgers, Indian, crepes, Mexican- the options are endless! They can come to your home or your local park since they are entirely mobile. Food trucks are also great because you don’t have to prepare any of the food yourself. 

Need help figuring out your wedding budget?

We know that all weddings are unique and so are wedding budgets. Let us share a customized cost estimate based on YOUR preferences in catering, decor style, season and more.

Italian Restaurant At Home 

It’s hard to get much cheaper than pasta, sticks of butter, marinara sauce, and homemade garlic bread. This is probably the cheapest option on the whole list, but it’s a staple in most family’s weekly dinners for a reason. It’s a reasonable price, perfect for picky eaters, and you can make a ton at once. 

Charcuterie board and wine.

Wine and Cheese Tasting

While charcuterie seems really high end and expensive, it doesn’t have to be crazy. You can go to your local grocery store and pick up some unsliced meat and cheese to save costs. Take them home and slice them yourself (or buy them pre-sliced if you’re feeling lazy). You can arrange them on cutting boards and spread them out between multiple locations in your house. If you’re one of those people who struggles to figure out what to put on their charcuterie board like me, here is a perfect guide for making the perfect board on a budget. 

Then head over to your local liquor store and pick up some bottles of wine. You can pick up a variation of sweet and dry wine and some cute little plastic wine glasses for easy cleanup. 

Family Potluck

This is the cheapest option on this list by far. If you have a huge family that loves to cook, take advantage of that for your rehearsal dinner! All you have to do is request each guest bring a dish and then you just have to pick up decorations, plates, and utensils. 

If you want to make this extra special, request that every guest bring their favorite recipe printed out for the dish they brought and use it to create a family cookbook! 

Rehearsal Dinner on a Budget Ideas: Decor 

“Favorite Things” Goodie Bags

The bride and groom can pick out their favorite item and make goodie bags out of them to hand out to guests. You can choose to make separate bags or a singular bag with them mixed. For example, you could do “favorite snack” and do M&M’s and pretzels, or Hershey’s Kisses and gummy bears. Almost all of your favorite snacks and candy can be found at the dollar store to keep this gift super cheap. If you’re looking for other ideas for goodie bags for your rehearsal or wedding day- there’s a checklist for that! This is a fun little way to celebrate the bride and groom while sending your guests home with a gift!

Wedding photoshoot and dog photo printed for wedding rehearsal dinner decor on a budget.

Print Out Personal Photos

The bride and groom can go through and pick some of their favorite pictures together from their earliest photos to the engagement shoot. You can either print these online or head to your local pharmacy to print these out. They can be placed on every table at the rehearsal dinner and can be recycled for the wedding. You can put a story about each photo on the back so your guests can follow along with your journey to marriage. 

Fun Facts

Another cheap decor option to put on tables at the rehearsal dinner are “fun fact” cards. The rehearsal dinner is usually the first time that both the bride and groom’s family are coming together to celebrate the couple as one. 

You can buy notecards or cardstock at a grocery store or office supply store. From there you can write silly stories from the bride or groom’s childhood, their relationship, or weird facts that the other family would not know. These are great conversation starters for the families to get to know each other and these can also be recycled at the wedding! 

Letter balloons spelling out "bride to be", which can be used for multiple bridal occasions.

Letter Balloons

One of the most basic rehearsal dinner on a budget ideas is letter balloons. Every Pinterest bride has these at either their rehearsal dinner or bridal shower- but you can recycle them for both! You can spell out the bride’s new last name, a hashtag they are using for the wedding, or the date of the wedding! If you need more inspo for what you want your balloons to read (major decision, I know)- get some inspo here! Most of the time letter balloons have to be ordered online, but they can be filled with either regular air or with helium from a dollar store. 

Talk to the Experts

There are no “silly questions”. We know more about Wine Country wedding venues and planning than anyone. We can help you find a venue that matches both your vision and your budget.