(Closed) conflicting traditions with rehearsal dinner

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
48 posts
  • Wedding: January 2014

@MindyMarie:  Do you think you could get your Fiance to bring it up in a casual way to his parents. You don’t want to get mixed up in possibly offending your Mother-In-Law by voicing your concerns since she is the hostess. There might be a chance that since his family isn’t as close knit- it had never crossed her mind you’d want extended relatives there.

As for the oot, my friend had a similar request and though her Mother-In-Law complained about it to her FI-she eventually complied. I think that it’s really generous to include oot-but wouldn’t get too flustered if they don’t allow that. It could boil down to there are a lot of oot on FI’s side and it’s a cost deal. I’d focus on trying to get your loved ones included via your Fiance. 🙂

Post # 4
3374 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Sorry OP! You were exactly me. In the end I didn’t get to invite Out of Town guests and my aunts and uncles were kinda offended. (They even called me to ask what time the Rehearsal dinner was! Yikes!).

Whoever is paying normally gets to decide. Maybe you can offer to pay for your extra guests?

Post # 5
5778 posts
Bee Keeper

Nowhere I know is it tradition to include all family members and Out of Town guests, as that is a relatively new thing in the past 10 years,actually. Prior to that, RD’s were just the Bridal Party and immediate families.

If your Mom is asking, she must have a hint it may not be as she’d like, but it isn’t her party so I guess she’ll have to accept it as the FIL’s have it planned.

Post # 6
701 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

My take is that if you are not the parents, grandparents, or someone who is participating directly in the wedding then you are not invited.

Of course I also included all the bridal party and their spouses/dates.


Post # 7
389 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Well if the rehearsal dinner venue can’t fit all of those additional people, there’s not much you can do. If there is room, you could bring it up with your future in-laws. However, I think it is way too late in the game to ask your future in-laws to pay for so many additional people if they weren’t planning on it.

Maybe you could meet up with Out of Town guests and extended family after the rehearsal dinner. That is the norm in my circle of family and friends.

Post # 8
5956 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2018

Sorry doll, this ain’t your rodeo, but what you CAN do is happily supply the contact information for your in-laws who are hosting, let them explain why your Aunt Agnes isn’t invited…not you 😉

Post # 9
1361 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Sorry, but if youre Future In-Laws are hosting the dinner, they get to decide who to invite.

Post # 10
1289 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

UGH, this happend with our wedding! His parents wanted ONLY immediate family, and wedding party, but I’m an only child and extremely close with my cousins, aunts, and uncles.  It was non-negotiable for us to not invite them! Especially when NONE of my husband’s extended family came to the wedding (He is not close with his extended family).  My father talk to his parents and said that it was very important to us to have our whole family there and would be more than happy to pay for half, or all, if that made my husband’s dad more comfortable.  They bitched about it behind our backs (found out from his brother) but accepted my dad’s proposal.  My father ended up paying for the majority of the rehearsal dinner.  The way I see it is this:  If you are very close with your extended family, then absolutely invite them! Explain to them how important it is to you that they are present and you could offer to pay half (or even a little) as a compromise?

Post # 11
67 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I guess I’m kind of a brat because I sort of took over the planning of the rehearsal dinner. We are forgoing the restaurant idea and doing a “Rehearsal BBQ” in my dad’s back yard. I figure we’re going to get one of those taco carts where the guyy makes little street tacos for everyone. I just think it’s hard not to invite out of town guests. 


As an idea, my fiance’s cousin had an open house after the rehearsal dinner at her parent’s house. It was a really neat opportunity for me to meet more of his family and get to know them so I wouldn’t feel so awkward at the actual wedding!

Post # 12
8674 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@eimajleigh:  I get what you are saying and agree that OP’s parents should maybe talk to the IL’s if they feel really strongly about it but it is kind of putting the IL’s in a tough spot. Most peole I know would never let someone else pay for the party especially if they are traditionalists. It also puts the inlaws in a tough spot about inviting their sons aunts. uncles and cousins. Can you imagine how embarrassed they might be or what drama it might start if the grooms aunts/uncles/cousins found out they weren’t invited yet the brides were?

I would suggest throwing some other kind of dinner/event for everyone- say a meet and greet or the like at another time.

Post # 13
1289 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@j_jaye:  It’s true that if they are traditionalists and won’t allow anyone else to help with money then there’s not much she can do.  You have to know who you’re dealing with.

In my situation, they lived in Michigan and we live in California, which is where the wedding was so it didn’t make sense for them to plan it.  I also knew that they would have no problem letting my father pay.  I didn’t care as much about their feelings because they didn’t want to have to pay for the dinner at all.  They were going to make the bridal party pay for their own meals.  My family and I thought that was incredbily rude and that’s why my father stepped in.  My in-laws tend to be “traditional” only when it suits them.  For example, my Mother-In-Law threw me a bridal shower, which was nice, but didn’t invite ANY of my friends of family, who all live in Michigan, where the shower was held.  My husband had to convice her to invite my mom and a couple aunts! She only invited her friends who were NOT invited to the wedding! Major faux pas.  But I digress.

Who is paying for the wedding? If your parents are paying for the wedding and his parent are paying for the rehearsal dinner then it makes sense to even it out by inviting your family (and their’s too frankly!).  If that’s not the case then you will need to let them hold the reins, and have a meet up or party later on like  @j_jaye: suggested!

Post # 14
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

First and foremost… I see that this is your PREMIER Post here on WBee… so a BIG Welcome to “The Hive”

Lol, I am one of the resident Etiquette Snobs here… so here is the low-down (as per the Post Institute)

Traditionally the Groom’s Parents HOST and PAY FOR the Rehearsal Dinner.

And by all accounts your Inlaws have the REQUIRED BASES Covered… B&G, Parents, Sibblings & Spouces, Bridal Party & Spouces, GrandParents. Thats it … thats all

Anyone else is a GENEROUS offering… so GodParents, Aunts & Uncles, Cousins & their families, and Out of Towners.

NOT REQUIRED… just a nicety.

As someone else said… “This ain’t YOUR rodeo”… you may be the star attraction as the B&G, but you are not the HOSTS.

So it can be touchy broaching this subject with your future Inlaws… something that your Fiance as their son should be the one to do (if at all).  Gotta remember how we see all these posts here on WBee about Guests who try to invite themselves to Weddings… well hankering for an Invite to the Rehearsal Dinner is kind of the same thing… not polite to ask.

That said, if your Fiance does bring up the subject (IN PRIVATE) with his Parents then he should have some ideas of HOW this might go down IF the Guest List was to increase substantially…

1- He’ll need a very specific number on how many EXTRA BODIES would be involved (be precise… YOU do not want to go back later and revise that number… better to die a SHAMEFUL Death)

2- IF the numbers warrant that the Rehearsal Dinner would now need to be moved… he’ll need an idea of WHERE, and HOW MUCH that change would cost (could be a totally different venue… or type of after party… such as a Backyard BBQ as someone suggested)

3- AND lastly, if there is any funding available from other sources to off-set these additional REQUESTED GUESTS

Quite honestly if # 3 and # 2 aren’t do-able… then # 1 really doesn’t matter… and you can forget the whole conversation, and just stick with whatever the Inlaws have in mind.

Also, you should note, that although your extended family may be hurt by being excluded, they’ll get over it (you may have to explain… space is limited… the Inlaws have gone the traditional route for Invites)…

BUT whatever you do, don’t roll your eyes, or put your Inlaws in a bad light… that would be really really RUDE.  And I sure as heck wouldn’t be recommending that any of these “jilted” Relatives call up the Inlaws trying to weasel their own Invites… that too would look bad on you

The big thing to remember here is… if you make an Etiquette Faux Pas on this… and hurt your Future Inlaws feelings (or embarrass them)… that could truly effect your relationship with them for a long long time to come.  Which is WHY you need to think long and hard about doing something that goes against the grain here in regards to the normal RULES OF ETIQUETTE

Personally, I think I’d just let it lie.  And be grateful you have Inlaws who are even willing to step up to the plate and host such an event… there are plenty of Brides here on WBee who wish their Inlaws would be more involved.

As others have said, there is nothing stopping you & your Fiance, or your Parents, from giving your Guests other info… and suggestions on things to do… or organizing other events.  Putting together a Welcome Package, with maps, ideas, schedules, etc is a good idea for Out of Towners IMO

Hope this helps,


Post # 15
1289 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I think @This Time Round:  put it really well, especially if you are dealing with Western culture (which you probably are).  My In-laws are WASPS and my family is Middle-Eastern.  We had a whole different slew of ettiquette rules that my in-laws didn’t find worthy of considering (mainly that everything revolves around and includes the family). That’s probably why you’re getting a more…’aggressive’…take from me! Clearly I have some transferance issues with this! Carry on and follow the good advice (i.e. not mine!)!

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