How did you limit your rehearsal dinner/ welcome party? help!

posted 2 years ago in Parties
Post # 2
Member
42510 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

peonyinlove: The easiest thing to do is to limit the invitations  to the traditional guests- wedding party and SO’s;immediate family of the bride and groom and SO’s. You could then extend an invitation to others to join you later in the evening for a welcome drink.

It would be awkward and likely create hard feelings to invite your friends and not include extended family.

Post # 4
Member
42510 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

peonyinlove:  I think you need to decide what you are going to do before you send invitations. People will go ahead and make their travel reservations once they get the invitation. If they then get an invitation to the Friday event, it may require changing a flight with an additional cost.

Post # 5
Member
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

peonyinlove:  We did the same thing (caterers at my dad’s house) and had to limit to as close to 50 as possible, which was what we ended up with. We invited our wedding party and their significant others/fiances/spouses, parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles (but had to cut out their kids/my cousins because it was too much) first and foremost. At that point, we looked at out of town guests, and we essentially added to the guest list at that point very close family and friends who were coming from out of town, such as my DH’s adult cousins coming in from 3.5 hours away. He also wanted to invite his childhood soccer coach and his SO because we hadn’t seen them in so long and they were coming in from North Carolina. We ended up right at 50, and although there were some people we would also loved to have had, I finally broke it down and said that I will make an additional effor to talk to these other people at the wedding the following night, but not all wedding guests can come to the rehearsal, it’s just not feasible.

I would start with your immediate family and go from there, which you sound much like you’re doing. Just because your second cousin might be flying in (this is just an example, this may not be your actual situation) you will see them at the wedding and probably the brunch, so you don’t need to feel obligated to invite them and their whole family, be it kids, or SO or whomever.

Similar to what PP said, my SIL had a list of “things to do around town” that she had in her welcome bags at the hotel. This could be helpful for those checking in Friday night who are not attending the rehearsal.

Also, if there are a handful of really close friends you and your FI want to have over some possibly more “distant” family, I would invite them. The rehearsal is supposed to be much more intimate and more about people closest to you. I realize you have some family making a long trip to see you, but they didn’t book that flight with the expectation that they would be invited to all wedding related events (at least that would have been presumptuous on their part). I would just make a mental note to stop by their tables and stay a bit longer with them the night of your wedding.

Additionally, we sent out a little note that I printed on regular old paper with invites that was stuffed into those who were invited to the rehearsal’s invite envelope. If we had any RSVP no, then I removed them from the rehearsal dinner list, and we invited others personally if we had space and wanted to include others. I didn’t feel bad about it because it wasn’t nearly as formal as the wedding, and they didn’t know whether others had received an actual paper invite or not. It just gives your invited guests extra time to plan.

My ONLY regret was that I didn’t request an RSVP for the rehearsal, I just assumed that if they said they were coming to the wedding, they were coming to the rehearsal as well. It ended up working that way, but I freaked a few days ahead of time because I wondered if people were actually coming since no one had indicated to me otherwise. You might think about adding some sort of RSVP, like an email or something informal for that part.

To be honest, 50 is a large number for a rehearsal dinner to begin with, so while I understand that you feel bad about not being able to invite everyone who is coming from far away, the reality is that they are coming for your WEDDING and not the rehearsal. They should understand that.

Hope that helps at all!

Post # 6
Member
2007 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

julies1949:  +1, this is what we’re doing. Bridal party (which includes our siblings) & parents only for dinner, then we’ll be meeting any OOT guests at the hotel bar afterward.

Post # 7
Member
455 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

julies1949:  +1. This is exactly what we did. 

OP, the purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to thank your wedding party for taking the time to rehearse with you. So the only people who need to be invited are people who participated in the rehearsal and their SOs.

Once you start inviting people who aren’t involved in the rehearsal, it gets harder to draw a clear line. Not impossible, I guess, but would be the rationale for inviting your college roommate but not uncle Frank who also flew in from across the country?

I think inviting everyone to a casual welcome drink after dinner is the safest bet. Whatever you do, make the decision before you send invitations.

Post # 8
Member
479 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

We did a small rehearsal dinner with our parents, bridal party, and their SOs.  I also had my grandmother there because she was doing a reading so she had to be at the rehearsal, and my uncle and his wife and daughters drover her so they were invited too.  So it was a total of 20 people.  You do not need to invite all out of towners if you don’t want to.  Ours was the first time our parents were meeting and I just didn’t want a huge thing the night before our wedding.  

Post # 10
Member
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Bartram's Garden

I’m actually in a very similar situation!  We have 154 guests, all but 20-ish are from out of town, most of which are taking planes to get to us (some even from other countries!).  For our rehearsal the night before, we decided to invite the usual guests (wedding party and +1s, parents, grandparents), and then allowed each family to select 2-4 special people to invite additionally.  I selected people who came from other countries (becauase really, that’s just so crazy), and then those I felt were close enough to be included without feeling awkward.  Our dinner count is only 42 people, because we kept it so short and sweet.  We also decided to extend a brunch offer for the sunday after the wedding to all guests, as a way to save on the costs of a formal private dinner in favor of a more simple and casual brunch, and to allow everyone to feel included.  Because really, it’s all about the wedding, and the pre and post events aren’t even required!   

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