Rehearsal Dinner?

posted 4 months ago in Beehive
Post # 2
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - Mountains

Rehearsal dinners and out of towner dinners get lumped into one sometimes and get used interchangeably. Your out of town guests want your rehearsal dinner to be an out of towners dinner. You are right that a rehearsal dinner is generally done post-rehearsal and is the immediate family and wedding party. But over time this has evolved to an ‘everyone’ included type of meal. Some bees on here are sticklers that it is a courtesy you should offer to people who travel for the wedding. But you have to decide for yourself.

It is not necessary to have a rehearsal of the ceremony, talk to your officiant about his or her preference. However, if you do have a rehearsal and your wedding party, etc is involved then you should have something for them afterwards- meal, cocktail reception, etc.

Post # 3
4481 posts
Honey bee

Step 1:  Are you having a rehearsal?

If no, there’s no more steps.

You only need a rehearsal dinner if you are having a rehearsal.  And it kind of sounds like you weren’t planning on one.  Lots of people don’t.  Unless your ceremony is complicated or with unfamiliar traditions that your wedding party should be aware of, it’s pretty much walking in a straight line and repeating things your officiant says.

Some people have rehearsals.  They want to work on the timing of music or the order of walking or the order of the ceremony.

If you’re not sure you want one, start by talking to your officiant to determine if it’s necessary.

If you want a rehearsal, then you need to host your rehearsal participants afterwards to thank them for their time and participation.  Kind of like when you buy your friends beer and pizza for helping you move.  It can be low-key, it can be in a restaurant, it can be in a hall, etc.  I’ve been to rehearsal dinners that have been ordering in pizza and pasta and eating it in one of the rented hotel suites.  I’ve been to rehearsal dinners in the private rooms of restaurants (both casual and fancy).  I’ve been to catered dinners that were almost like mini-wedding receptions.  It’s up to you.  The point is you host (i.e. pay).

The people you invite are the people who participated in your rehearsal, plus their significant others and usually your parents (who may or may not have participated in the rehearsal).  Other immediate family may be included (like siblings) even if they aren’t in the wedding party.

There are some who choose to open up the rehearsal dinner to other guests, particularly ones coming in from out of town.  This is optional.  The purpose of the dinner is thanking your rehearsal participants and anything above and beyond that is optional.


There are also some who host welcome dinners or cocktail parties, particularly if they have a lot of out of town guests.  Completely optional and a separate thing from your rehearsal dinner.

Post # 4
2925 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

annabananabee :  This is a really good explanation.

OP, we did not have a rehearsal dinner because we did not have a rehearsal.  Our venue wasn’t available that night (we had our ceremony and reception at the same place), plus since I was the last of my friends to get married, everyone had been through the drill before so we didn’t feel like we needed to have one anyway.

We did have a welcome dinner for everyone traveling from out of town, which was basically all of my husband’s family since they all live out of state.  We did this only because my in laws paid for it and wanted to open it up to everyone traveling.  This is not the norm I will point out.

We had it in the private room of a restaurant.  We had pizza (because our city is known for pizza and my in laws really wanted that for the guests) and it was pretty casual.  My immediate family came as well, and I did open it up to the bridal party, as a way of thanking them for standing up for us.  I’d say about 3/4 of our out of town guests did come.  Our dinner started at 6 and lasted until about 1 am.

If you’re not having a rehearsal, there’s no reason to stress about a dinner.  But if you are, it’s a nice way to thank everyone for all that they’re doing for you.

Post # 5
143 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2019 - City, State

I did not initially plan to have one either but realized it seems really useful to. rehearse for the ceremony, especially so people know where things are and what to do first and then after, all have dinner together as a way of bonding and getting to know each other better before the big day. It can be informal though! My brother had suggested I just get a bunch of catering party trays but I went a bit more formal just because it is also my thank you to the wedding party. You are supposed to let anyone with a spouse in your wedding party bring their significant other but I do not think it is necessary. Definitely have both parents there and anyone else involved in the rehearsal. You do not have to do one though because it is a lot of money and only seems necessary if you think people will need to rehearse. You can also think of it just as a social gathering and your thank you to everyone involved. 

Post # 6
3828 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

XxCharmedxgrlxx :  You are supposed to let anyone with a spouse in your wedding party bring their significant other but I do not think it is necessary.

I disagree with this.  It’s rude not to invite the spouses of your wedding party.  I don’t always go to rehearsal dinners with D.H., and he’s missed some of the ones I was in, but it’s polite to extend the invite. 

Post # 7
1152 posts
Bumble bee

gunnabamissus :  yeah, we invited everyone to our rehersal dinner after we practiced at the venue. It’s a nice gesture for our of town people and to thank your bridal party for rehearsing with you and being in your wedding 

Post # 8
1152 posts
Bumble bee

missinthecity :  could not agree more. If a spouse or plus one travels with a bri day party member then they need to be invited to wedding events. Otherwise they’re just going to sit in their hotel room and or eat dinner by themselves. Not okay. 

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