How Much Should a Rehearsal Dinner Cost?

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Budgeting is the name of the game when it comes to wedding planning, and we’re here to help. When you’re in the process of making preparations for your wedding ceremony and reception, you’ll also need to consider your rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner is a great time to greet guests and members of your wedding party who’ve come from out of town, and it’s also an event that kicks off your wedding weekend. Whether you intend to keep your rehearsal dinner small and intimate, or if you’re planning to invite a large group of your closest friends, family, and loved ones — a rehearsal dinner is a traditional wedding event. Not only is its purpose to rehearse the wedding day itself, but it’s also a special time for you to enjoy some delicious food and maybe a few drinks prior to the nerves and excitement of your special day. For all these reasons and more, the average cost of your rehearsal dinner can be higher than you might expect. From invitations to catering, it is important that you set a realistic budget for your rehearsal dinner.


According to a study done in 2019, the average cost of a rehearsal dinner tends to be around $1,350. This dollar value represents all related expenses, including the cost of renting the venue, sending invitations, catering, and décor. If you’re on the fence about whether you should host a rehearsal dinner or not, know that it’s one of the most popular pre-wedding events. According to the same study, nearly eighty percent of couples hosted a rehearsal dinner, making it even more common practice than bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and honeymoons.

It was customary for the groom’s parents to host and pay for the rehearsal dinner in the past, but in this modern age, wedding etiquette rules have changed a bit. Whether you’re planning to host your own rehearsal dinner or planning one on behalf of a loved one, it’s important to have a general understanding of how much the average cost is for a rehearsal dinner. It’s certainly not going to be an inexpensive event, as with most things wedding-related, so you’ll want to ensure that you plan your wedding budget accordingly.


A smaller, more intimate rehearsal dinner means that the cost will be lower, but as we’ve mentioned, this could also be an excellent opportunity for you and your spouse-to-be to welcome your guests and loved ones that you don’t see often and that will be traveling from out-of-town. The guest list is always up to the discretion of the host, so if you’re planning on their behalf, make sure you invite all important parties—of course, depending on your budget, some concessions might need to be made, but the wedding party should all be in attendance.

The venue will be the key component in your rehearsal dinner budget. Some reception spaces offer packages that include a rehearsal dinner the night before the main event. You can probably book the space at a lower cost as part of a package deal if this option is offered. Also, another factor to consider is that if the venue is a sentimental spot for the couple-to-wed, it’s also a great opportunity to introduce guests to the location and fill them in on the backstory. Consider local Twin Cities event spaces, party halls, or even at a relative or friend’s home for potential rehearsal dinner venues. If you find that you’re at a loss, perhaps consult your caterer, as they can often be your best resource.


Once you’ve decided on a location, you’ll next need to finalize the rehearsal dinner menu and decorations. While it’s not required that you serve a five-course meal, a simple bout of hors d’oeuvres and a selection of entrees will often suffice. Restaurants or your rehearsal dinner caterers may offer service packages for rehearsal dinners, so always consult the experts in order to consider all possible options before making a final decision. Rehearsal dinner attire should also be a cost to consider for the to-be-weds. The rehearsal dinner is an excellent occasion to don a bold outfit or something trendy that you won’t be able to wear on the wedding day.

Remember that the average price of a rehearsal dinner is a reflection of the national average, and cost will undoubtedly vary by region or event style, so you’ll want to use this as a general guideline to planning your budget. Ultimately, what you spend on the rehearsal dinner is completely up to you. Whether you opt for an upscale rehearsal dinner with fancy attire, or if you plan to keep things casual with a backyard party, one thing is certain—the rehearsal dinner is an important pre-wedding event. It will serve as the jumping-off point for the wedding weekend.


If you’re feeling overwhelmed and are looking for some assistance with planning your rehearsal dinner or beyond, our experienced catering experts know how important food for your event is, and we’ll work with you to craft the perfect presentation. Sterling Catering is a full-service caterer that understands the importance of your special event, from the food to the bar, we’ve got it all! We at Sterling Catering specialize in weddings, rehearsal dinners, and customized menus and we promise to give you many reasons to feel confident and excited going into your special day. We dedicate ourselves to paying the utmost attention to detail to ensure a flawless event. Contact Us today, and we’ll get started!