Post # 1
My fiance and I are having a small wedding (30 people attending), and we’re struggling with the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. We want to keep it small, but we know that etiquette states that you invite those in the wedding and those from out of town to the rehearsal dinner. If we were to do that, about 25 people of the 30 would be coming, what feels essentially like a second wedding reception. We’re thinking of just having the people immediately part of the wedding at the rehearsal and dinner, but we don’t know how “offensive” that would be. That however does exclude my two sisters, since they weren’t going to be part of the ceremony…. To add to it, my fiance is a bit uncomfortable around one of my sisters and she has been part of some fairly-serious family drama over the last year. So we’re basically trying to figure out what would be best. Any thoughts/advice on how to handle this?
Post # 2
Ettiquette does not state that out of town guests are invited to the rehersal dinner. The only people who should be invited to the rehersal dinner is those that are rehersing (wedding party, parents, spouces of wedding party, and the officent if they are close) The whole OOT guests being invited is based off the wedding industry trying to squeeze every dime out of you possible. There is absolutly nothing wrong with the rehersal dinner that you want.
Post # 3
I would just invite immediate family — your parents and siblings — to the rehearsal dinner. Sit the problem sister on the opposite end of the table from your FI. After dinner, you could always tell the rest of your guests that you will be having drinks at the hotel bar or some other convenient spot from 8:00-10:00pm if they would like to stop by.
Whatever you decide to do, just make it clear to your guests beforehand. For a guest, there is nothing worse than showing up to a wedding and not knowing what exactly they need to attend and what they don’t.
Post # 4
Etiquette does not state that OOT’s need to be invited to the rehearsal dinner. Normally the rehearsal dinner includes immediate family, anyone involved in the ceremony and their SO’s, sometimes extended to include grandparents.
The dinner offers a chance to ensure that the families have met prior to the wedding, and thank both family and wedding party for their support and participation.
Post # 5
To echo everyone else: Etiquette requires that those involved in the *rehearsal* must be invited to the rehearsal dinner (along with their SOs, of course). Nothing more.
It is customary to also include immediate family, but to exclude sisters would not technically be impolite – though it may cause more hurt feelings and additional family drama than it is worth.
In some regional circles (certainly not all) it is also common to include OOT guests. This, however, has never been a requirement of etiquette, merely a courtesy that is often extended in the Midwest (and perhaps the South?)
Post # 6
I agree that you can get away with not inviting OOT guests, but it’s a nice thing to do, especially if they’ve traveled a long distance. We also had a large percentage of OOT guests and so we decided to invite everyone and call it a Welcome Dinner. It was great to have some extra time to visit with everyone. We kept it very casual with homemade BBQ and it wasn’t expensive, at all, and we had a lot more guests than you. So that’s an option, if you’d like, but don’t feel obligated.