Post # 1
My wedding is next month and our rehearsal dinner location has been determined and we were just about to pick our menu. My Fiance and myself each have 7 members in our bridal party and hoped to invite our grandparents, aunt and uncle from out of town and another aunt and uncle. The place we chose only holds 30 guests. So we just thought we would keep this even small and have ONLY bridal party and immediate family-no guests.
I didn’t think this was a problem until I heard from my Maid/Matron of Honor that a couple of my BM’s (who are in serious relationships) were disappointed and want to bring their dates. I feel awful. I didn’t realize this was something I should have considered more.
Now we have a location we love at a restaurant close by to our church that only holds 30. Our guest list would go up to about 35 if we invited our bridal party with significant (serious) others. We are in a tough position as we need to know got to my FIFL with this and he has worked so hard to get this place booked and is hoping to finalize the menu and send out invites soon.
Do I keep it at this place and go about as we were? Or do we try to please our bridal party by allowing them to bring guests, but have to start from scratch with planning and finding a location? Any advice would help so much… what is etiquette here?
Post # 3
Why does the place only hold 35? Is there a way for them to accommodate 5 extra people? Depending on the circumstances, I’d be tempted to have the extra 5 people come- it’s doubtful the restaurant would kick them out.
I do think it would be nice of you to let the BMs bring their significant others. Put yourself in their shoes- wouldn’t you want your Fiance to be there?
Post # 4
This place is in the city and it is just a small room that is separate from the restaurant. So it really is a matter of space and I think it would feel pretty cramped.
I know, I completely agree. I would want my Fiance there, but if I was in a wedding of a close friend and they said they wanted to keep it small and just do bridal party and immediate family. I would be understanding and wouldn’t be upset about it.
Post # 5
I think you need to figure out a way to invite the significant others, it’s rude otherwise, particularly if people have had to travel to come to the wedding.
Post # 6
I think that it’s best if you invite the bridal party’s guests to the rehearsal dinner. It gives them some time to meet other people, and that could make the next evening more enjoyable. The "dates" will be alone for a significant portion of your wedding day – why alienate them further the night before?
It sounds like you’ll have to decide your priorities. What’s important? You only can have two of these at once:
– the location
– your bridal party’s dates
– your aunts and uncles from out of town
Post # 7
Your Maid/Matron of Honor is not acquainted with the rules of etiquette! Technically only engaged or married couples (NO EXCEPTIONS) are allowed to bring guests. If you have cut them some slack for the wedding that is your decision. Social events, especially weddings are meant to be a place for young people to socialise among those of their class etc. This is one of those rules that insures it. I missed out on MANY weddings etc while dating boys whom I was not engaged to. Obviously my former boyfriend’s joked that they wanted to just buy a fake ring and take me along but it did not happen. The argument could also be made that if one does not wish to attend such events unescorted then one should consider a formal engagement or marriage. PS this exact same issue would have literally busted my rehearsal dinner and would have added an additional third. I am not making exceptions for my wedding either!
Post # 8
I think that your Maid/Matron of Honor put you in an akward positon. If your BM’s have issues with your guestlist for the rehearsal dinner then they should approach you themselves. In which then, you could tell them that the big party is the actual wedding the next day, the guest list is final and sorry if its inconvienent!
I’ve had issues with my Mom trying invite everyone in my family! I had to be firm and let her know that each extra person costs money, and for you, litearly no space! Don’t change the venue you love because of two guys your BM"S are "seriously" dating! It’s not about them, its about you and YOUR man!
If they’re real friends, they’ll get over it and hopefully be having so much fun at your wedding, they will forget all the drama!
Post # 9
This suggestion is inappropriate on so many counts and I agree with Hyacinth, it is not proper form. I would be firm and anyway, maybe in the long run you are doing these bridesmaids a favour to not include their serious boyfriends, A serious boyfriend is not a betrothed or a husband, they are what is called, a suitor. If they ever are serious, they can become engaged or married. THAT is when you know they are serious! You have the proper rules of etiquette on your side. In addition, at weddings where dates are included it is well known that it is "no fun" for the date of someone in a wedding party. That’s breaks.
Post # 10
Everyone makes their own decisions. In this day and age, not everyone decides to get married. Does that make them less serious? Not necessarily. This makes navigating etiquette a bit trickier and puts couples in the position to gage the "seriousness" of a relationship.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the engaged-or-married only rule. I’m also not a huge fan of having random people at a small event, so I could see this one go either way.
One thing to consider – for the family invites, do the people you listed out represent the rest of the family or are there family members coming to the wedding that won’t be coming to the rehearsal? That may also cause problems, so it might be easier to cut there and allow the wedding party to bring people.
It’s a tough situation for sure – the best you can do is try to make the best decision you can and explain in as clear a manner as possible. That may mean going to your wedding party and saying that you feel bad that you aren’t able to invite their dates and hope they understand. As long as you are clear about the situation and your struggle, they should be flexible. As a nice guesture, perhaps you can invite the dates for post-dinner drinks?
Post # 11
Sure, it would be great for them to have all of their significant others there, but that doesn’t make it unacceptable for them not to be invited. It’s ONE NIGHT. I’ve been to a few rehersal dinners (and weddings, for that matter), where I was not supposed to bring a date, and it was a bummer, but it was by all means not a big deal. Also, which would they be more upset about, not bringing their dates or causing you a bunch of trouble in your quest to accomodate their needs? As long as you present this to them in a non-bridezilla fashion and they are mature, understanding adults, they shouldn’t care in the least.
Post # 12
Is your bridal party traveling to come to your wedding? If they are and they’re bringing their SO (which you have admitted are serious relationships), you must invite them. It’s so rude not too. Pick another place or ask the restaurant if there is another way to set the tables up to fit 5 exrta people.
Post # 13
Ettiquitte deems it acceptable to not invite boyfriends, but what about consideration for those who are closest to you? I may be in the minority in thinking outside the strict ettiquitte box, but if I were one of your bridesmaids, I would be disappointed, too. I’m kind of an introvert, though, and my fiance makes everything more fun, so I’d probably change the location and invite the significant others because I’d hope if the situation were reversed, I wouldn’t have to leave him at home.
I am having a very small wedding, and therefore making lots of hard decisions in trying to keep things small myself- so can completely appreciate that- but I can’t imagine my bridesmaids leaving their boyfriends back at the hotel or at home during the rehearsal dinner. With that said, it’s okay ettiquitte-wise to leave your rehearsal as-is, but I’d take into consideration how much time and effort your bridesmaids have made to be a part of your wedding. If they’re all local, I think it’s different than if they’re spending money on an airline ticket and hotel and are in a foreign city.
I’m also of the thought that I would hate to separate the bridesmaids and groomsment from their dates, so would never have a separate "bridal party" table, but people do that all the time. It just depends on how you’re approaching things.
Post # 14
This has been a really tough call to make, I think it could have gone either way. All of our bridal party live in the area, no one is traveling. The people that are in relationships that aren’t engaged or married live with their significant others and/or own houses with them already. I feel I’m in the position where it would be impossible to please everyone. But in this case I do want to try to please the girls/guys who are the closest to us and who have done so much over the last several months. My shower was yesterday and the girls did so so much.
Update: my Fiance spoke with my Future Father-In-Law and he agreed that we should try to accommodate our bridal party AND invite my aunts who are closest to me. My Fiance did a great job explaining the situation. Crisis avoided. Hopefully. Now our task is to find a new place that can hold 40 people, although we loved the place that is not what is most important it is our friends and family. I guess things always have a way of working out. Fingers crossed that we can stay on the right track through the final months of planning.
Thank you all!!