(Closed) Rehearsal dinner- inviting EVERYONE from out of state?!

posted 8 years ago in Parties
Post # 3
Member
1250 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

We had the same issue – in fact, most of our guests are from out-of-state in general, mind included. I didn’t want to end up with two wedding receptions – like you, I wanted the rehearsal to be a more intimate affair with the wedding party.

However, since a lot of my own family and friends are out of state too, I was pretty torn about the whole thing because I definitely had that same feeling that your in-laws are expressing about wanting to make the trip worth the while for people coming a long way.

We did a compromise. We’re having a smaller rehearsal dinner with just my parents, his parents, his grandparents, and the wedding party. That will go from 6-8pm. Afterwards, we’re hosting a small cocktail reception at the main hotel that everybody is staying at from 8-10. This will be open to all out-of-town guests. We’re paying to rent the space and for appetizers, then there’s going to be a cash bar.

This worked well for us because it allows us to have our intimate rehearsal dinner while still doing something special for out of towners.

Post # 4
Member
15 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I think you should roll with it. It will make your out of town guests feel all the more welcome and included. Maybe you could do a bridesmaids luncheon or tea that afternoon to give you, your wedding party and close family members an occasion for the more intimate celebration you’re looking for? 

Post # 5
Member
581 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

In my rehearsal dinner I am inviting only mine & his parents and the wedding party (bridesmaids and groomsmen) which includes his brothers and my sister.

Im very budget wise and after all is a rehearsal of the ceremony so only does participating in it should go to the dinner.

Post # 6
Member
2205 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

What about doing a “welcome dinner” the day before, or a welcome lunch before the rehearsal.  it’s a great way to meet and greet and fellowship without ruining the intimacy of the rehearsal dinner.

Then you could possibly offer a bunch of fun local attractions for out of town guests to do while you’re at the rehearsal dinner, or have everyone meet up for drinks after the dinner.

Post # 7
Member
5823 posts
Bee Keeper

I would recommend having a wedding party luncheon!  Your FILs are hosting the RD, so it is their prerogative whom they wish to invite.  But I totally understand that you want a small affair to show the wedding party you love and appreciate them too!  I’d recommend a nice restaurant rehearsal luncheon for JUST the wedding party (maybe even no parents, since they’ll all be at the RD…).  It’ll be a fun time for you and your FI to enjoy the company of all your friends who’ve helped you.  It may cost around $250, depending on the restaurant and number of people, but we did one and it was so much fun and SO worth it!

Post # 8
Member
2462 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

i had a similar issue with my ffils–they wanted to invite all out of towners, and i was originally thinking just bridal party and immediate family (with maybe a dessert reception for the oots after). since they’re paying, it was ultimately their call, and i think it will end up being lovely and very gracious

Post # 9
Member
20 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2010

I’ll second the ‘cocktail hour’ idea – that’s the route that we’re going.  Our wedding is a destination wedding for all intents and purposes, and so everyone is from out of town.  I desperately didn’t want a second wedding reception, especially since the venue that I wanted for the rehearsal dinner can’t hold everyone.

We’ve talked with the future in-laws about this (my fiance is on my side) and while we’re keeping dinner smaller (immediate family, wedding party, and my grandparents because I don’t want to be disowned), we’re planning on having just a relaxed space in the hotel lobby afterwards where everyone can come by as they get in and say hi, chat a bit, have a cookie or something, before heading to bed.  We expect that a lot of the guests won’t even be getting in until late, since our wedding location is a bit far from the standard airports, so a more open-ended event works well.

It helped that the in-laws didn’t really want to host for everyone.  She was just worried about how that was ‘how it’s supposed to be’.  I’ve already said I’ll be happy to take the heat for the decision, because it’s really important to me for this to be a relaxed and intimate event.

I’d recommend seeing if your fiance and your FFILs are comfortable with that kind of idea.  If not, I’ll second the idea of doing a luncheon just for your bridal party and immediate family.  I would also stress that if they really want the big dinner, they should be willing to help with more than just the financial aspect (this does include your fiance – he could do the legwork on this part if it’s important to him).  There’s enough stress in planning one wedding reception.  Who wants to plan two back to back? 

(At least, that’s my position.  Your milage may vary.  That being said, I am also doing the coordination on our rehearsal dinner, but they’re giving me free rein over what I want and just covering the tab.  It’s also a lot easier since we’re at least in-state with the wedding location and they’re not and not currently able to travel.)

Post # 10
Member
1684 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

The Rehearsal Dinner is usually the people involved in the ceremony and their sig. others and important family members (grandparents etc. like you mentioned), but sometimes people invite out of town guests as well. Most of the time it’s covered by the groom’s family so if your FFIL is paying, I’d just roll with it.  

If you want a special time set aside with your bridal party you should go for it. I think it’s a great idea. But it would be something different.

Post # 11
Member
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

If FFIL is paying, then I’d roll with it. My brothers was large (around 70) and ours will have 65 because of OOT guests and family. You know what though, at my brothers, It didn’t seem that large, because we spent so much time enjoying the family that we never get to see! I only was truly aware of my table and the 2-3 others family were at. We all wound up in a huge cluster just hanging out.  At the wedding, we didn’t get nearly as good “quality time” as everyone was dancing or what have you.

There’s def. plusses and negatives to both large and small… try and see the positive aspects and it may grow on you. 

60-65 rehearsal, 200 guests wedding

Post # 12
Member
751 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

This was one of our biggest wedding planning battles and we ended up with the same compromise as some of the other girls here – intimate rehearsal dinner for the WP and immediate family, followed by a “welcome party” at the local bar.  His parents are also hosting a small brunch for the family the morning of the wedding (evening wedding/dinner) that we don’t have to go to since we will be running around doing wedding stuff. 

It took awhile to get there but we found a compromise we could all live with, so just be honest with them.  For us, once I really clearly explained to his parents that I felt like the wedding party deserved a special dinner because of all of the support and work they did during the entire planning process they totally understood and agreed. 

Good luck!

Post # 14
Member
375 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I am kind of in the same boat.  My FI’s family always has everyone at the wedding.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins gf/bf.  Even if it is in state.  Well there is no way we can have his whole family come and not mine, so now we are looking at 80 some people for the rehearsal dinner when we are only expecting 125 for the wedding.  The whole situation sucks.  I thin we are going to try and suggest the intimate dinner and then a bigger thing after with everyone.  I think this might be the biggest stresser of the wedding!

Post # 15
Member
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I say just roll with it – it apparently means a lot to your father-in-law and he’s paying. And as someone who’s flown to many a wedding, I’m happy to do it (I wouldn’t go if I wasn’t), but it’s still a hassle (a lot of traveling time for one event). So I think it’s really nice to show those guests that you appreciate the extra effort they’ve made to be there with you. The rehearsal dinner will still be a lot more intimate than your reception and you’ll have time to spend with just your bridal party on the day-of.

Post # 16
Member
1752 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I agree with the thought of having another, less formal, less expensive event for the out-of-towners.  A brunch, or lunch or cook-out.  I would reserve the rehersal dinner for wedding members.

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