My fiance and I just bought a house and have our hands full paying for that and the wedding; thus, we can't afford to have a rehearsal dinner too. Neither of us has parents, so asking for financial help is not an option. My sister suggested we have a gathering of the wedding party and family, but with the understanding that they have to pay for their own meal, but that seems tacky. What should I do?
It's not really appropriate to ask guests to pay for the rehearsal dinner, the reason being that the wedding party is required to attend the rehearsal; it is not an optional event that they can bow out of if they cannot afford the dinner. For this reason, you really can't expect them to pay for their own meal. You do have options, however. Think about hosting a rehearsal dinner only for those in the wedding party, which should keep it pretty small. You can cut food costs by throwing a casual and inexpensive pizza dinner or a barbeque in your (or a family member's) backyard. You could even have a pot-luck rehearsal dinner, and ask that each guest bring a dish. This way people can bring what they can afford, and you can still have a nice little pre-wedding get together.
Rehearsals + Brunches