Who do I HAVE to invite to the rehearsal dinner?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
2150 posts
Buzzing bee

@BrideToBe14:  Rehersal dinner is only for those who are directly involved in the wedding. Bridal party, parents, grandparents, basically those who you listed.

I am not sure where this whole idea of inviting out of town and other guests to the rehersal dinner started, but you DO NOT have to do this! I wouldn’t even question it!

If you want to have a dinner for them, have a welcome dinner separate from the rehersal dinner. 

Post # 4
2565 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Anyone who will be at the rehersal + their SOs.  I don’t know where the whole “out of town guests” thing came from.  It’s not a mini reception, it’s a dinner after the rehersal.

Post # 6
42117 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@BrideToBe14:  You do not have to invite the OOT’s to the rehearsal dinner. For many weddings this would then lead to a RD almost as large as the wedding.

Inviting the OOT’s was likely started by some bride with a huge budget. We don’t have to copy everything done by someone else.

The primary purpose of the RD is to thank the wedding party for their participation, time and support. Secondarily, it can serve to ensure that the two families have met before the wedding.

Post # 8
3249 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Everyone in the wedding party, and their spouses/dates, siblings, parents & grandparents.  If a small number of people have flown in (for us it was 5, I think) then they should be invited.  If 20 people fly in, I wouldn’t say there’s an obligation to invite them all, and they will understand you couldn’t invite anyone who flies in.  You do not HAVE to invite people because they flew in, even if it’s only one or two.  They will not likely feel slighted, but they will feel very welcomed and appreciated if they are invited.

Post # 9
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Hi @BrideToBe14:  Here is a copy of the “traditonal” Etiquette Short & Long Lists of Invites for the Rehearsal Dinner… perhaps this will help you sort out your Minimums & Maximums:


* Groom’s Parents who are the Hosts

Traditionally the Groom’s Parents issue the Invites and Pay for the Rehearsal Party… not the B&G. If it is a joint-hosted event (you guys have money in the mix, then you’ll want to work it out with the Groom’s Family so as no one is offended in the mix in regards to their roles and a loss of face to others)

* Bride & Groom (Guests of Honour)

* Bride’s Parents

* All the Bridal Party (and their SOs)

So if Cousin Sally is one of your Bridesmaids she gets an Invite along with her SO… but no need to invite her Parents or her brothers & sisters

* Bridal Party Children – such as … Jr. Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, Ring Bearer  (and their Parents)

* The Wedding Officiant (and their spouse if they have one)

* Any one who has a “special” role in the Wedding… Reader, Soloist, Musicians  (and their SOs)

* Siblings of the Bride & Groom (and their SOs)


Add on…

* Grand Parents, God Parents, and Any Special Guests who are coming to the  Wedding (like Aunt Martha & Uncle Phil who flew in from Australia)

* And in some cases… where money isn’t a concern… the Rehearsal Dinner can  also be open to all the Out of Town Guests who are in for the evening before the  Wedding

Hope this helps,


Post # 11
10899 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

@BrideToBe14:  You do not have an obligation to invite all of your out-of-town guests. And you do not need to invite the dates of your bridal party or anyone else unless they are considered, according to the rules of etiquette, to be a social unit (i.e. if they are married, engaged, or living together — the latter only because etiquette chooses to presume that couples who are living together are secretly married, even though most people do not actually presume that.)

You should also invite your officiant and all those who are participating in your rehearsal,  including singers, musicians, those doing readings, etc. and their spouses, finance’s or partners if they qualify as part of a social unit under the definition noted above.

Post # 12
6158 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

@BrideToBe14:  we had a small rehearsal dinner (wedding party, immediate family, and a few extra special guests)

then we invited anyone who came into town early or was local and wanted to join us to meet us at the hotel bar for drinks with the bride and groom.


Post # 13
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@BrideToBe14:  My FILs insisted on inviting all the OOT family – which is their side.  Not what I wanted but since I’m not paying for it (the whole break down has been traditional so FILs handling the rehearsal dinner) I don’t feel like I can say much.  As long as all those people don’t show up to the rehearsal, I’ll survive.  I intially only wanted to invite the bridal party and their dates, the parents, grandparents and siblings.  But now we’re getting aunts, uncles and cousins too… Oye.

Post # 14
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

People in the wedding party, their dates, and your/FI’s grandparents/parents/siblings.

Post # 15
7915 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

@BrideToBe14:  dont open up the rabbit hole! Keep it traditional with the direct family and bridal party/dates. There is no etiquette saying you have to host all out of town people for the dinner. That sort of welcome dinner is a totally seperate, totally optional event. 

Post # 16
487 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@BrideToBe14:  In my experience, only the bridal party and parents go to the rehearsal dinner. After all, they are the ones who are technically rehearsing. I’m seeing a lot of people put bridal party partners and siblings who aren’t in the wedding. Why? They don’t have to rehearse.

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