Note: Average Cost is based on the spending of couples recently married not wedding vendor prices. This includes all types of weddings, event locations, purchases of both new and pre-owned items and purchases of services from professionals, someone that simply provides the service, or a hired family member or friend. Spending and prices can vary widely.
Better than a wedding budget calculator, use the wedding cost estimator to create a budget starting point or a wedding budget checklist
Sign In to view your current estimates or save new estimates
Register to save multiple wedding cost estimates
This is a very special event, the first big official celebration of your wedding weekend, a chance to treat your bridal party members and closest loved ones like VIPs at an exclusive event you've planned just for them. It's not always the parents of the groom planning and paying for this event; the wedding couple often takes on this event, just like they do for their wedding in general, and we also see all sets of parents co-planning this event.
The choice of restaurant needs to be top-notch, the menu impressive and delectable, service top-tier, d'cor stunning, and special moments planned with great expectation and emotion. This party is often planned to feature pricier menu items like lobster as a meal, whereas the wedding reception features less pricy menu items like beef and chicken. Such is the treatment of the VIP guests, who also may get champagne full-flowing throughout the night, while wedding guests will find their bubbly offering limited to a single small pour for toasts.
Hosting this event at home piles up a tremendous amount of expenditures, which often pop up along the way once committed to an at-home party. Expensive surprises. The idea of a separate, free-standing icemaker on the terrace outside stuns party hosts, but the bartenders (1 per 50 guests) who suggest it know what they're talking about. It may have been years since you had to babyproof your home, but with several toddlers attending your party, you'll need to babyproof everything from electrical outlets to lower cabinet doors. And buy new fire extinguishers if yours are on the old side. And likely board the dog for the night. It adds up.
And another detail joining the top-tier catering trend for rehearsal dinners is the trend for a lavish cake created by THE baker in town, the big-name artisan who makes all the big-name event cakes. The most expensive specialty fillings and d'cor effects are completely do-able on this smaller scale cake for 25 guests, as opposed to a 6-tier wedding cake for 250 guests. So this memorable cake gets a big slice of the budget.