Etiquette Snob here… lol
It is called a Rehearsal Dinner, ONLY Because that is what normally happens… Rehearsal followed by Dinner
BUT that doesn’t mean that is the ONLY possibility
Rehearsal can happen any time before the Wedding
And a Get Together (Meet & Greet) for all the Key Players is the primary reason for having the traditional Rehearsal Dinner any how
And that could be done over Dinner, Cocktails, Cake & Coffee… whatever works
(A BBQ would be fine)
Now I’m gonna tell you how this all typically goes down, and then you can work from there…
Where the Bride & Groom are the stars for all the Wedding Events, traditionally the Bride’s Parents “shine” on the day of the Wedding and the Groom’s Family the day before.
They are the usual Hosts of this Get Together / Meet & Greet. So you really need to be discussing the details with them and what they have in mind.
(Nothing says that the B&G can’t help out… even financially… BUT you don’t want to be stepping on toes here… as this is traditionally the Groom’s Family BIG Event… and you don’t want to lose face if they don’t have to)
As for Invites…
That all comes down to what can be afforded there is a SHORT LIST (the must haves) and a LONG LIST (the nice to haves) for this Event… so make sure you have all the required bases covered and no one who should be there is left out… a HUGE faux pas and can read as a SNUB.
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)
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 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)
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,
PS.. If you have more Questions about this Event… just ask.