Post # 1
We’re having a Destination Wedding in napa/sonoma and we’ll be paying for it all ourselves (so budget matters). We’ll be giving all of our guests welcome bags w/snacks & water & local info, etc. Half of the guests will be staying at the same smaller hotel where we’ll have our wedding. Because of the ease of dealing with the hotel and not setting up transportation, any pre- or post-wedding events will also be at that same hotel/venue. I’m wondering what we should do for a rehearsal dinner and/or welcome party.
Will it be rude/odd to have a rehearsal lunch/dinner only for our bridal party & immediate family members (approx. 30 ppl) at the hotel when 30 of our other guests will be there and will likely be able to see the dinner? (another 6o guests will be staying at another hotel, so they wouldn’t see the dinner)
Do we need to have a welcome party of some sort for everyone the day before the 5pm wedding? If so, what is sufficient? Drinks? dessert/cupcakes? hors d’oeuvres?
Post # 3
I see no reason why you cannot have a rehearsal dinner for just the family and wedding party. I don’t think most people expect to be invited just because they are from Out of Town.
Post # 4
- Wedding: April 2015 - Now Sapphire Resort
All of your guests made the trip for your wedding so I would say it’s only polite to host a welcome event that includes everyone. That’s what we intend to do. I plan to have a small bridesmaids breakfast the day of, so they get the special treatment they deserve and I think that is enough. If you have a rehearsal dinner that excludes people who travelled all that way for you, you run the risk of hurting feelings.
Post # 5
@JAXBCHKAY: I get what you’re saying. So you think it’s fine to do some type of welcome party for everyone at the conclusion of the rehearsal (so your bridal party & immediate family still get food/drinks of some sort) and just have a nice brunch/lunch for bridesmaids & for groomsmen separately on the day of the wedding?
Post # 6
FWIW, I personally don’t understand inviting people other than those in the wedding party/immediate family to the rehearsal dinner. My friend did that, and it kind of made the rehearsal dinner less special. (She invited friends from college, etc that were not in the wedding. They ended up sitting with her, and the rest of the wedding party got scattered to different tables. Poor etiquette, IMO.)
I don’t think just because they are out of town they should be invited. I think it would be nice to do some sort of welcome thing, maybe drinks and dessert?
Post # 7
@tnbellebee: right, we would not invite extra ppl to the rehearsal meal. We will either do a rehearsal meal with bridal party & immed fam or not, do a welcome party for all or not. And we have to provide food to bridal party on day of also, I think.
Post # 8
im doing a destination wedding in tennessee, everyone but 8 people are coming from out of state or country. A lot of our guests are turning it into a week long vacation and will be there early so I’m planning on doing the rehersal with just the bridal party and then having a welcome bbq for anyone who’s there.
we’re not doing anything super fancy or huge. we’re doing skewers with chicken, sausage, veggies, shrimp and bbqing them and then pasta salads and other odds and ends. we’re also doing s’mores.
i’d do a seperate thing for the wedding party but not all of them will be there friday before lunch so that’s out of the question.
hotels over charge for food and drinks so that’ll matter for your budget. you could always do the dinner at a restaurant in town before you reherse and then do a cocktail welcome party at the hotel if you want. or if there’s a park near by do it there? nothing says it has to be at the hotel.
Post # 9
I think you should have a quick rehersal and then invite everyone to a welcome/rehersal dinner. I get it, weddings are expensive, but it cost your guests money to attend your dw. You want them to feel welcomed and appreciated for attending.
Post # 10
I don’t think it would make sense for us to do a welcome dinner for everybody (approximately 150 ppl) the night before the wedding – that’s why I didn’t list it as a poll option. That’s basically like paying for 2 weddings- our budget can’t accommodate that & our guests won’t expect/require it. Holding a full dinner and drinks for 150 ppl at a restaurant would end up being nearly as pricey as doing it at the venue.
I appreciate that ppl are coming from out of town (it’s domestic, so across the country will tend to be the longest travel), but I think an afternoon welcome party of drinks and dessert, along with their welcome bag, seems like enough of a welcome considering the # of guests.
Post # 11
@Shkragoldfish: we are having a Destination Wedding and instead of a Rehearsal Dinner we are doing a wecome party the night before the wedding with heavy appetizers and wine/beer. I woud rather have something fun with all the people who have travelled than a formal sitdown dinner.
Post # 12
- Wedding: October 2013 - The Down Town Club, Philadelphia
We are a Destination Wedding, and we are having a small (40 ppl) rehearsal dinner followed by a “meet & greet” at a local bar. It will be a cash bar, but we are hosting apps and deserts.
This way, we still get to see people before the wedding, and no one can feel left out.
Our wedding is a full top-shelf open bar, so I don’t feel badly about not hosting the welcome party bar. I don’t want everyone getting drunk the night before!
Anyway, my point is: You could/should so both – a small dinner, followed by a low-key welcome party.
Post # 13
Would it be possible to ask the hotel for a small private room to hold the rehearsal lunch/dinner? I don’t know what the norm is for your social circle, but for ours, it really is not expected for Out of Town guests to be invited to the rehearsal dinner unless they’re in the wedding party. For a Destination Wedding that size, I honestly would not expect a welcome party either. It becomes like hosting a second wedding reception, unless it’s just welcome drinks.
We are also doing a domestic Destination Wedding and we are having the rehearsal dinner for wedding party and relatives only. We have small extended families, so it’s only 30 people including cousins, aunts and uncles. It will be a private party held on a different part of the venue property, away from the other guests. I’ve been to other weddings where this was done, and it was fine.
To honour my family’s cultural traditions, we’re having a tea ceremony the day after the wedding and inviting everyone to come for a dessert evening. I guess it’s sort of like a farewell party instead. The costs per head are working out to be not much cheaper than the reception!
Post # 14
For us, doing drinks & dessert for everybody would be much cheaper than the reception and would be pretty close in price to doing a rehearsal dinner for only bridal party & close family because we can buy the desserts for under $200.
I’m thinking that even our bridal party would prefer to just have the welcome party. Probably no need for a rehearsal dinner when it would be the night right before the wedding when the groomsmen & the bridesmaids, separately, will spend the entire next day and afternoon together w/o the rest of the guests eating 1 or 2 nice meals that we’ll cover. Especially since it’s semi-DW, I’m guessing everybody would prefer to spend the day before with our extended groups of friends and families instead of separated. The area is also known for amazing restaurants and it can be pretty hard to try to fit all of the enticing options in.
@Summer_Rose: No, the venue doesn’t have any indoor/private area large enough for the whole rehearsal dinner.