Post # 1
My first big dilemma! Very small wedding party, my second wedding, fiances, first. Fiance is paying for everything for the ceremony and reception, including rehearsal dinner. I evited the wedding party and our parents for the rehearsal and dinner. My mom called today asking us to consider including siblings (we each have 2 and all have SO’s and children) and some close friends coming in from out of town Friday before the wedding. We have no problem including such people, but we honestly can’t afford to pay for dinner for 30-40 people on Friday night and then 150 on Saturday for the reception. My mom said she thinks people will understand considering the economic times and mostly she wants families to be able to mingle and meet and provide a place for out-of-towners to eat and be with people they know. We get all that. So, my question is, how do we tactifully let people know they can come to this restaurant to mingle and visit and buy their own dinners? The restaurant handles banquets, so the space isn’t an issue.
Post # 3
Maybe you could send them an informal invitiation saying that you will pay for the first round of appetizers or something so that people realize you aren’t paying for the whole dinner? I don’t think I would book it as a banquet though because you might be required to pay the entire tab for that.
Post # 4
This is the problem we are currently facing. We just decided to have wedding party/SO, parents, siblings. We have a lot of Out of Town guests and if we invited everyone we’d be around 30-50 (same ballpark area as you). Maybe you can have your rehearsal dinner at say 6 then invite Out of Town guests to join you for drinks at 8? That way you will be done w/dinner but still get to mingle and meet other guests?
Also I have been an Out of Town guest and unless it specifically says ‘hosted by’ or ‘provided by’ I know personally I wouldn’t assume that anyone was paying for me.
Post # 5
I like the dinner you paying for your close friends and then invite them to mingle afterward for drinks. Maybe phrase it like “If you’d like to join in the mierriment, the bride and groom will be at Restaurant”
Post # 6
Skip the expensive restaurant, especially since rehearsal dinners are casual events to begin with. Call for pizza delivery with sodas instead if you can afford that. But yes you have to pay for it yourselves and you cannot ask guests to pay their own way.
Post # 7
Ok, I just had a crazy idea. Can you talk to the restaurant, maybe ask if you can reserve or set aside a space to allow your Out of Town guests to meet up? You might not be ableto garauntee a number,(so maybe they won’t go for it.) But you could word it to the OOTers as a plcae to meet up with fellow wedding goers and mingle, have dinner etc. That way, you don’t come across as paying for their dinners, but also, you can drop in on the meet up when the Rehearsal Dinner is over.
Maybe that’s crazy. But it plays out nicely in my head.
Post # 8
Is the place booked? I really recommend hosting them, but going with a more casual feel.
The other option is to have an early rehearsal dinner (dinner at 5:30?) then meet everyone for drinks and dessert at another location.
Post # 9
I really don’t think it’s OK to invite people to a rehearsal dinner and not pay. And I know it’s an “official” etiquette faux pas.
I agree with one of the posters above that if you can’t afford a sit down meal for everyone, do something super casual. Have a cocktail party at someone’s house or apartment, bust out your beer and liquor collection, and order pizzas, put out some snacks, and cut up some veggies and dip.
We similarly did not want to spend a lot on the rehearsal, so we rented out the party penthouse in my apartment building (about a hundred bucks), and are ordering some cheap local foods and are putting out our beer and liquor collection, which we bought in bulk. Our wedding reception is fancy enough that we don’t look or feel terribly cheap.
Post # 10
I was in the same delema… My fiancee and I are paying for all of it. Why have to pay for two wedding dinners ?? was my question because by the time your finished you’ve invited just about everyone who is coming to the wedding anyway right, at least i didnt want to hurt anyones feelings? that is how i felt and didnt find it too apealing. We tried hinting and everything and people just didnt seem to get it… so now we changed our plans completely!! We are having a lunch at one of our fabulous parks and any one can come 🙂 No hurt feelings, No huge expense (no really nice sit down dinner either, but that is what the reception is for). Just a nice fun get together 🙂 Well congrats and good luck with all of your planning 🙂
Post # 11
Is there a way either of your parents would be able to help out since it was their suggestion to expand the guest list?
Or maybe you could do an appetizer only rehearsal dinner, it seems like that would be more affordable. But it depends on your venue.
Post # 12
I really disagree with inviting people to an event and not being able to pay for them. Hosting an event requires hosting all of the guests equally. Either scale back your plans for the dinner to something you can afford, or only invite the people you can afford. Your rehearsal dinner can be really casual anyway, so why not do something fun and affordable like a bbq in a park, gourmet pizza, etc.
I also agree with Miss Britt in suggesting that if your parents want to expand the guest list, tell them you’ll need financial assistance to be able to do so. Explain that you’d feel uncomfortable inviting people without being able to be good hosts to them, so you’ll need some help if they want the guest list to get bigger. Good luck!
Post # 13
Thanks for all the suggestions! Very helpful! Update on the story…I phoned my matron of honor the night of the dilemma to pick her brain. Turns out, she and her hubby (who is our pastor marrying us) were going to offer their home for a backyard bbq for our rehearsal dinner if we hadn’t made plans yet (we were scheduled to see them the next day). So, very much serendipitously, our problem is solved! We are scaling down to a backyard bbq, and helping our friends who are hosting by supplying the drinks and some of the grilling fixins’.