rehearsal dinner etiquette

posted 1 year ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
696 posts
Busy bee

We have this scenario as well.

What we decided instead was to do a “beach day” with everyone. It is BYOB, bring your own picnic, whatever, just a chance for everyone to hang out on one of our favourite beaches, maybe do some surfing, that kind of thing. Then those that need to go to the rehersal, will go to the rehersal and the dinner. We just can’t host the ENTIRE wedding for the rehersal dinner

Post # 3
4602 posts
Honey bee

Where is it that etiquette states you have to?  I’m not aware of this “rule”.

It’s nice if you want to and are able to, but the only purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to thank the people who are taking part in the rehearsal of your wedding for taking the time out of their schedule to do so.  The only required invitees to the rehearsal dinner are the people taking part in the rehearsal and their significant others.  You could also not have a rehearsal and therefore no rehearsal dinner.  

Post # 4
725 posts
Busy bee

You do not have to invite all out-of-town guests to the rehearsal dinner. The only people you need to invite are immediate family and the bridal party/their spouses. 

A lot of people have started making rehearsal dinners into bigger events, more like welcome parties. We did a rehearsal dinner for 20 (immediate family and bridal party) then did dessert/drinks for any guests who were in town the night before the wedding (which, like you, was all of our guests). Totally unnecessary but it was a nice way to thank guests for traveling.

Post # 5
8919 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

alfalfasprout10518 :  It’s very considerate of you to be thinking of that, but I don’t think etiquette actually says you have to. It’s called the rehearsal dinner because it happens after the rehearsal and is a way to say “Thanks you guys. You took time out of your day to help make sure our day goes smoothly tomorrow. Let me feed you and let’s relax a little before the big show.” The only people you need to invite are those who will be at the rehearsal plus their significant others.

If you can also host a welcome dinner, or are able to make your rehearsal dinner do double duty as a welcome dinner for out of town guests, that’s very hospitable of you. But I don’t think it’s expected and I’m not aware of any etiquette saying it’s required.

Post # 6
2818 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

All of our guests were out of town, and none of them expected to be invited to our rehearsal dinner. We just invited the wedding party and their families, siblings, parents and grandparents. 

Post # 7
2003 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Etiquette, as far as I know, dictates that all involved in the rehearsal are invited to the rehearsal dinner. It doesn’t have anything to do with distance traveled to attend the wedding.

Post # 9
47208 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

alfalfasprout10518 :  Make sure to check the source when you are reading so-called etiquette advice. Many wedding related sites, tailor their advice to suit their sponsors and vendors.

If you want to check etiquette for a given situation, use an etiquette site.

Post # 10
541 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

We had a 80% out of town ratio at our wedding.  We had our rehearsal dinner with wedding party and very close family (around 50 ppl), and then invited all Out of Town guests (and in town guests as well) to join us for cocktails after dinner (around 8pm) at one of the hotels where many of our guests were staying (it also happens to be a very neat art deco bar in the city that’s kind of a must see).  It allowed us to do a little of both- and we loved it. 

Post # 11
448 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Someone told us that etiquette too.  I think that comes from way back when, when everyone and their mom mostly stayed in their hometown; if you had some out of town guests, it was nice to invite them as well.

For ours, pretty much EVERYONE (including us) came from out of town.  It would’ve been nearly a duplicate reception if we invited everyone from out of town.  We invited immediate family, bridal party and their families, and a couple of other family members to our rehearsal dinner.  It was probably 30  people.

Post # 12
238 posts
Helper bee


alfalfasprout10518 :  I would definitely invite everyone down to the hotel bar when you get back if you get a chance to. You can even make it casual and have everyone pay their way. I have a lot of friends who have done this with a lot of out of town guests, they just put it up on their website and spread it by word of mouth. It will give you some extra time to spend with your guests!

Post # 13
240 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

We had 75% of our guests from out of town. Rather than do a formal rehearsal dinner, we had a welcome dinner than was pretty casual/cheap and invited everyone. We did all you an eat pizza, pasta, salad, and sodas (and paid for alcohol although we know very few would drink) at a local pizza place. I think we paid about $13 per person with taxes and tip included in that.

Post # 14
73 posts
Worker bee

We’re getting married 8 hours away so 95% of our guests are out of town. To our dinner we’re inviting family, wedding party and select friends. The way we’re choosing the friends invited (about 15 people extra) is by those we never see. Most people are from our city, a couple moved away so we never see them, so we invited them. A few high school friends that I only see every 3 years are also invited. And about three family friends I never see since I grew up.

Post # 15
8552 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

All I can say is I’m  so glad rehearsal dinners weren’t a  thing when I first got married. All we had to do was walk up the aisle and take our places, and  the vicar told us the order for that!

Second time was so small and casual as to be almost unrecogonisable  as a wedding lol . 

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