Post # 1
Need some advice from you ladies.
We are having about 300 people at our wedding (yikes, I know, that’s a lot!)
Because of that, my fiance and I really want our rehersal dinner to be a much more intimate affair — Immediate family, wedding party, grandparents, and god parents … that would get us to about 50 guests (yes, I know, yikes again that’s a lot for some of you).
But, our problem is that his parents want to invite all out of town guests to the reheaersal dinner saying that is "proper etiquette" … I would say at least 50% of our guests are from out of town … that’s about 150 people at a rehearsal — that is a SECOND wedding!! We are very against this. His parents do understand but they also are pretty stuck on the "every out of town guest receives an invitation" thing. (I know we are so lucky that they are willing to host this event, but since it is him and his brother – and they will never get to have their "own" wedding, I fear that they are trying to make our rehearsal their wedding!)
I was thinking a good remedy would be to have our intimate rehearsal and dinner from 6-8pm and then a planned gathering at a bar nearby from 8-10?
What are everyone’s thoughts on this? What is the proper etiquette? Do we have to invite all people visiting from out of town? Is it something worth pushing or should we just back off and let them do what they want? I don’t want to be ungrateful for what they are giving us, but I also don’t want two weddings two nights in a row.
Thanks for listening and for any advice!
Post # 3
Sure, traditional ettiquette dictates that you invite all oot peeps to the rehearsal dinner. I think that the sentiment behind this is that you want to provide more than just the wedding for them to do, since they are traveling and staying overnight. I love your idea of a more intimate dinner, and then a bigger gathering later with everyone – I think that totally satisfies the hostess-obligation to give them something to do, while balancing your own desires too. And you’ll probably end up actually interacting with more people (which most peopls prefer) with your plan, than you would with everyone gathered for dinner.
Post # 4
I am in a similar situation, in that I want an intimate rehearsal dinner but still want to provide my Out of Town guest something to do (which is about 150 people).
I compromised by having an intimate (but casual) dinner outside at my parents home (of about 30 people). After the dinner approximately 8pm we are having a desert party (not sure what to call it yet) for everyone which will also be at my parents home.
I think your idea with the bar is a good idea and was our original idea until we though people would cringe with price, crowds, "un-familyness" of the idea.
I definitely say go for it there is always something you can do to make your Out of Town guest feel welcomed without indulging them in two dinners!
Post # 5
I have read that ettiquette only requires you to invite the people who are IN the wedding to the rehearsal dinner. I think your idea of a bar meet-up afterwards sounds great — we’re doing something similar.
Post # 6
Polelene – Thanks! I’m glad I’m not crazy in my thinking. I like the way you thought of it too — in regards to being able to spend time with more people. I can spend the two hour dinner with the most important people, then spend two hours with the others who took the time to come from afar and then spend the next night – the wedding!! – with all the other guests!
Jess – that’s what I thought – only the people who need to be at the actual wedding rehearsal need to be at the dinner!
Space – Our wedding is in a downtown city location (about 45 min from home) so we couldnt do that, but it sounds like a really fun idea. I like the idea of a "Dessert Party" instead of a "Dinner Party" I think that’s super cute!
Another thought I had was suggesting that they could host a day after brunch since everyone from out of town (and even many local people because of not wanting to drive after an open bar 🙂 )will be staying that the hotel for the night. But that’s a big undertaking too!
Post # 7
Your idea sounds perfect. Now you just have to be careful with that I can see someone asking if so and so can come, like your aunts and uncles and some cousins etc. But I really do think the after dinner get together at a bar is perfect and makes all parties happy. The atmosphere is better for mingling and catching up with people. Don’t even worry about the etiquette as long as the people who are in the rehearsal are at the dinner the rest is all your decision. People try to have other plans with oot guests like day after wedding brunch or bbq the next day or the day before the rehearsal some of the oot guests go out to dinner or something just to have some quality time. I hope your rehearsal dinner goes how you and your husband hope! Good Luck.
Post # 8
We are having a brunch the day after. we are also talking about having a get together at a local bar the night before.
Post # 9
Thanks all for your comments!
Post # 10
You’ve already got your question pretty well answered, but here are a couple of other options (we’re throwing these about for our own wedding, too):
You could have a "welcome dinner" on Thursday night (assuming you’re getting married on Saturday) for close family and friends. Most of the people closest to us live in the area or will be coming early to be able to see us, so this is our way of spending some quality time with them. Then on Friday, have something more casual like a BBQ or a meet-n-greet at a local pub.
If you don’t want to plan anything for Thursday night, you could have a brunch or lunch with your close family and friends on the day before, and then the casual dinner/happy hour that evening for anyone else who’s in town.
My close friends who got married this summer included a schedule in their welcome packets, and on the night before they said "We’ll be at XXX Bar and Restaurant from 7pm till 10:30pm – feel free to stop by whenever you can and see us before the big day!" It worked out perfectly because families with young kids stopped by before the place turned into a bar and grabbed some dinner, and then the 20somethings started trickling in around 8:30 or 9 to keep the party going.
Post # 11
We have the same problem, over 90 people are from out of town! We couldn’t meet up at a bar because of the number of kids, so instead of a rehearsal dinner we are having a "rehearsal brunch" for only the wedding party and parents, then having a cocktail party for the out-of-town guests at the hotel most people will stay at. We’re having the cocktail party from 5 -7 to allow people plenty of time to get dinner afterward.
Post # 12
We are having the exact same problem! 90% of our guests are from out of town for our 160 person affair. Fiance parents want to invite ALL aunts and uncles and their children (since the wedding is a no children event) and have a HUGE rehershal dinner. That is basically another wedding minus our Out of Town friends (which there aren’t many since we have big families).
Fiance and I want a small rehershal dinner, because we are both emotional people and can get overwhelmed. We want to spend some special time with wedding VIPs only (wedding party/parents and grandparents) and not have a zoo of dinner. We suggested a small dinner and then a dessert party or a cocktail party afterward, and they are thinking about it. Future Mother-In-Law also asked to use the same vases that we are using at the reception for the rehershal dinner….they are very unique and cannot be restyled so you wouldn’t recognize them from one event to another. My Fiance was smooth and said that we had to drop the vases off the day before.
Glad to know that we aren’t the only ones in this boat!
Post # 13
Oh I forgot to mention that our wedding is January 2 — which means the Thursday before is Dec 31 – New Years Eve!!! So for our friends and most of our family (we’re a fun family!) there will be a a lot of partying going on two nights before the wedding — which is fine by me and fun for all!
We talked about maybe having his parents host a party for NYE but the hard part is that we are getting married in downtown Boston so the hotel rates — though pretty good for one night, can get staggeringly high after three nights (Thursday (NYE), Friday (rehearsal), & Saturday(wedding)) … so we wouldnt want to push people to spend that much money.
Oh PrettyKitty — The vases !!! Yikes! Just say no to that one! Good moves by your fiance! That’s another fear of mine — I fear his mom is going to start going crazy with ordering centerpieces and favors and all these things that are meant for weddings!
Cherry – thankfully we are doing no kids at the wedding so I am pretty sure the no kids at a bar thing wont be too much of an issue.
It is nice to know I’m not alone!
Post # 14
We only invited Out of Town family to the wedding — and it worked out very well. Most people aren’t researching all the ettiquitte and are not offended when not invited. It is surprising how few people understand wedding ettiquitte. I think if you want it intimate then it should be intimate, end of story.
Post # 15
I am totally having the same issue, I think I posted about it here a few months ago!!! My Future Mother-In-Law wants to have 80-90 people at the rehearsal dinner and we are only having 100-120 at the wedding… I like your bar idea–I would totally run that past Future Mother-In-Law if she hadn’t already booked everything!!! Just wanted to let you know other people are in your boat and understand 🙂
Post # 16
Oh Meg – that stinks!! Sounds like you couldn’t find a way out of that one! I can’t imagine having 80% of the guests at the rehearsal! Talk about overwhelming! We know this is something we have to put foot down on — and by we I mean my fiance! 🙂 He’s been good about it though and we have a LOT of time, so hopefully we can push her off a little bit longer!