Help! Rehearsal Dinner for Domestic Destination Wedding

posted 8 months ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
699 posts
Busy bee

We did JUST a dinner for the wedding party; none of the family was invited for dinner. After the dinner, everyone was welcome to join us. We provided wine/beer however we found that most of our guests actually brought their own wine/beer as gifts which was wonderful.

We just casually invited everyone to the ‘after’ rehersal party. Word of mouth kind of thing, kept it super casual and it turned out really well. If anyone was offended I didn’t hear anything about it

Post # 3
6642 posts
Bee Keeper

I would keep the actual rehearsal dinner as small as possible. Immediate fam, bridal party, partners. So that would be 26. I would skip aunts uncles and grandparents for this probably. Then invite everyone to your cocktail time. 

Why ist he only place you can do it $50 pp? Even if you took everyone out to dinner it probably wouldn’t be that much. You can also look at cheaper places – bbq or mexican are great cheaper options. If you’re renting a place, maybe you can have everyone over for dinner and order in some restaurant catering? 

I also had a domestic Destination Wedding. We were staying in a large villa, set up long tables and picked up some local BBQ. We had a shit ton of liquor for the wedding (providing ourselves) so we used that. 

Post # 4
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - Mountains

I believe that if they aren’t part of the rehearsal then they aren’t really invited to the rehearsal dinner. So for your welcoming or out-of-towners dinner you’ll need to choose. If you are doing a rehearsal then I suggest you feed those people and then everyone else can join for a welcome drink afterwards.

We aren’t doing a rehearsal dinner because we’re not doing a rehearsal (we don’t have a wedding party other than a flower girl) in part because we have some family drama that I have little patience with… ahem SIL. I know she will be upset that we’re not doing one but she will survive.

We might do a welcome drink for everyone instead to do ‘something’ but keep it brief.

Post # 5
1044 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

We had an extra event—a day-before BBQ lunch for friends—so that everyone would be invited to at least one “extra” event. So we did friends at the day-before casual lunch, then family+wedding party at the day-before rehearsal dinner, and everyone was also invited to a casual next-day brunch.

In your case, since you have a lot more guests and family members in particular, I would add a third hosted event for family at a less-expensive venue. Then the expensive rehearsal dinner could be just for the wedding party, but the rest of the out-of-town family could gather in a more casual/cheap place the day before that—say, rent out the basement of a bar and serve pizza or something along those lines.

(I also wonder whether you can do something less expensive for drinks at the rehearsal dinner. Can’t you just get a few bottles of wine for each table rather than spending $20/person on alcohol?)

Post # 6
47190 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would include those in the wedding party, their SO’s, anyone else with a role in the wedding and their SO, your parents and siblings. This will allow you to focus on the primary purpose of a rehearsal dinner- to thank the wedding party for their time and support. You are already including everyone else later for drinks. That is more than enough.

Post # 7
637 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

We did just wedding party and immediate family for the dinner and then met everyone at a local bar after. We had about 75 people who were extended family attending and it just wasn’t feasible to host everyone two nights in a row. Our rehearsal was 36 people.

Post # 8
2086 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

I’ve been to 2 domestic destination weddings and both times only the bridal party was invited to the rehersal dinner. Everyone else was invited to hang out afterwards, at a different location for drinks. Both times the drinks section was super casual. At one wedding it was at a nearby bar, at the second, it was at one of the lake houses they rented and it was just coolers of beer, etc. 

Post # 9
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - Baltimore, MD

We are planning on having 18-20 people at our rehearsal dinner – wedding party and their families, both sets of parents, my sister, and his grandma. We’ll be in town a few days before the wedding, so if anyone wants to get together, that would be the time for us to do so. If not, we’ll see them day of, if not the next day before we head home.

Post # 11
872 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

we didn’t have a wedding party, so no official rehersal dinner. We did, however, host pizza, snacks, drinks, and dessert in the hotel for anyone who wanted to attend as 90% of the guest list was out of town folks.

So perhaps, explore non traditional “rehersal dinners” and see if there’s something a bit more budget friendly.

Post # 12
335 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2019

clipclop1023 :  first of all, I live in St Pete and love it so much, that’s going to be a beautiful spot for a wedding!

And I would just tell the bridal party and most immediate family privately about the rehearsal and dinner, and send everyone an invite (even via email or whatever) with the start time for the open bar.

Post # 13
1044 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

I wouldn’t personally limit myself to the beach area; your guests are capable of taking a taxi. A 15-minute ride shared between four people is nothing compared to the cost of getting to the wedding in the first place.

We got married just south of there (in Sarasota), and for the most part there were plenty of cars to go around. Several people drove from Toronto. Others rented a car because they wanted to go sightseeing, or go to Disney World, or just have the freedom to leave the hotel. The rest managed with public transportation or Uber. It honestly wasn’t a problem for people to get to our pre-wedding events, and carpooling actually helped our different friend groups get to know each other.

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