(Closed) Who is normally invited to the rehearsal dinner?

posted 5 years ago in Parties
Post # 3
396 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Parents of the bride and groom, Grandparents of the bride and groom. Bride and grooms siblings. All wedding party members (and typically their guest).

Post # 4
1202 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Rdickson90:  I think it depends on who is hosting the rehearsal dinner, in the US it is traditionally the groom’s parents. If you have people in your bridal party (best man, Maid/Matron of Honor, etc), you should invite them and their spouses/bf/gf especially if your wedding requires them to travel. The groom’s parents and your parents and I always think it is a good idea to invite grandparents too. 🙂 Like the PP, your siblings and his siblings. And some people invite their out of town guests also as a nice gesture. I just tend to think the guest list depends on who is footing the bill and what a comfortable amount of people is. 🙂 Hope this helps. 

Post # 5
983 posts
Busy bee

We just had this topic…I found this on Wikipedia:


rehearsal dinner is a pre-wedding ceremony in North American tradition, usually held after the wedding rehearsal and the night before the wedding ceremony.

The guests generally include the couple to be married and others who form the wedding party, but may also include extended family and out-of-town guests. The rehearsal dinner costs are traditionally incurred by the groom’s parents. However, modern traditions allow for either the bride’s or the groom’s parents to incur these costs.

The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is for the relatives and friends of the bride and groom to meet and have a good time. The couple generally takes this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped with the wedding preparations. Activities generally include toasting (or roasting) and the presentation of small gifts for those who have helped plan the wedding.

Post # 6
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

If you are having a Family Wedding… Rehearsal Parties can be a lot of fun.


Groom’s Parents are the Hosts.

Bride & Groom (Guests of Honour)

Bride’s Parents

All the Bridal Party (and their SOs)

Including the children roles… Jr. Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, Ring Bearer (and their Parents)

The Wedding Officiant (and if they have a spouse)

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

— — —

The Rehearsal Dinner is the official occasion when the Groom’s Parents / Family shines.  (Bride’s Parents get all the limelight day of)

It is also a great opportunity for everyone to meet one another… in that there are usually some folks who haven’t done so beforehand

It can be a fun time for memories and speaches… and Best Wishes for the next day

Sometimes it is an occasion for gift exchanges…

Bride & Groom often giving their Bridal Party their Thank You Presents then

Or ones to their Parents

Or to each other

(all of these gifts given in public is optional)

If it is an “intimate group” sometimes Wedding Presents from the members within the group are opened… but again this is optional… and sometimes dependent on local customs or how the B&G feel about doing so in public

Food is typically served, but there is no strict guidelines on what it must be… could be sandwiches in the Church Hall… Munchies at a Pub / Bar… or a sit-down Meal

And lastly… there is often a FUN cake served… known as the Groom’s Cake.  And it features a theme that corresponds to the interests of the groom (ie sports, cars, etc are popular ones)

Hope this helps,

PS… If the Wedding is being held in the Bride’s Hometown, and the Groom’s Family is coming in from Out of Town, then often the two families will work out the plan together on WHERE to hold the Rehearsal Party… as one assumes the MOB / FOB will know possible venues better etc.  It is OK for the Groom’s Family to ask for advice in this regard.

When I was married the first time… My Parents actually co-hosted with my Fiance’s Parents… as they were coming in from Out of Town to our small town, and there weren’t a lot of places we could go (ideal for the situation).  My Parents had a large home, so they offered it up as the location.  My mother and her church group did a lot of the eats (finger sandwiches, squares etc).  Not a huge issue, because it was the same church ladies who were going to be doing our Midnight Dessert Buffet at our Wedding… lol, they just made more.  (Of course the Groom’s Parents paid for the food… and took the role of Hosts… so they provided all the liquor etc for the house party.  It was a FANTASTIC Party, and a great night, I have very fond memories)


Post # 7
1748 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

All immediate family (+ dates) and everyone participating in the wedding (+ dates). This is what we’re doing, but I had a sister who did all family and wedding participants, as well as all out of town guests- it was super casual and it worked. It depends on what y’all want to do.

Post # 8
1311 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

We will be having a rehersal dinner right after the Rehersal that will happen on Thursday (wedding is on a Saturday).

We are paying for the wedding ourselves and won’t have family included in the ceremony so we will only hold the dinner for our wedding party and their spouses if they wish to bring them.

Post # 9
7561 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

You’ve gotten a lot of my opinions, but here’s my list – from “must-haves” to could invite

1. Bride and groom

2. Parents

3. Bridal party

4. Grandparents

5. Out of town guests

6. Extended family

Post # 10
8216 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

We wanted ours small and low key so we only invited immediate family (our siblings stood up for us). We did not include dates but everyone was local so it’s not like someone’s SO was brooding away in a hotel room alone.

Post # 11
6127 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

Looks like I’m the odd one…I’m only having the people in the actual ceremony.

1. Groom and myself

2. Our parents

3. Bridal party and their dates (they’re all engaged/married)

My cousin did the whole “bridal party, grandparents, immediate family, some family friends…” thing and it was just way too many people for my taste.

Post # 12
8580 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

We are doing all the bridal party, our siblings [which are part of our bridal party], my niece [flower girl], grooms parents, brides parents & anyone else invited to the wedding who is coming out early.

Post # 13
1113 posts
Bumble bee

Ours includes the whole wedding party and their immediate families, grandparents, immediate families of the bride and groom, out of town family members, and a few families who are extremely close friends of the couple.


Post # 14
51 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

As about 60% of our guests are out of town, we cannot accomodate all of them at the rehearsal but we will have some (specifically those who traveled in with my parents).  I definitely think grandparents should be included if they want to come as well.

Post # 15
1261 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Kind of wondering a bit of this as well. I mean I know the traditional people, but my cousin’s bride-to-be first of all insisteded that the rehearsal dinner be held at a specific place (isn’t that decision normally up to the people paying, i.e. my Aunt and Uncle?), and also has a huuuuge bridal party. As in more than 10.

So those paying don’t really want to do +1s for all of them, maybe just for the married and engaged ones. Can anyone tell me what the protocol on that would be?

Post # 16
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

TO @arabbel: Wow, your Cousin’s Bride-2B is one nervy / pushy dame… as you’ve stated the proper Etiquette is for those who are Hosting (paying) to make all the major decisions in regards to Invite List, Location and Menu.

Honestly, if I was one of the Hosts (in that I myself am over 50 and have grown kids)… I’d be tempted to say something to the Bride (or at least the Groom… assuming the Hosts are from his side of the Family)… and letting them know EXACTLY how things ARE GONNA BE.  Period

Despite her insistence… Lol, either that or get her to pony up some cash.

That said, although money can be a concern… it is considered rude to leave off Plus Ones for attendees at the Rehearsal Dinner… in that unlike a Wedding, these folks are all “in the area” usually to begin with… especially if it is an Out of Town Wedding for most attendees… PLUS the fact that it is Dinner.  So if say my Hubby is the Best Man, and I’m back in the Hotel Room it really isn’t nice to not include me for this social… as we are a “unit” and have travelled together… plus it makes sense for the Meet & Greet to be able to say “Grampa, this is my Best Man Bill, whom I went to College with, and his Wife Susan… they came in from Boston for the Weekend”

So ya, as a minimum the Plus Ones should go out to Marrieds / Engaged / and Living Togethers… but Plus Ones for all would be the right thing to do.

Hope this helps,


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