(Closed) Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

posted 10 years ago in Parties
Post # 3
18 posts

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
398 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2009

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!

 Good Luck!

Post # 5
32 posts
  • Wedding: November 2008

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 # 7
228 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

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
236 posts
Helper bee

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 # 10
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

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
67 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

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
190 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

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 # 14
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

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
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

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 🙂

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