(Closed) Rehearsal Dinner – how big is yours/who is invited?

posted 10 years ago in Parties
  • poll:

    25 or less

    25-50 people

    50-75 people

    75+ people

    bridal party only

    bridal party and immediate family

    bridal party and family (including extended family)

    all out of town guests

    all guests

  • Post # 3
    913 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    Our rehearsal dinner is about 30 people – we are doing an appetizer buffet and cash bar at a local brewery in the same town as the wedding.  We are invitnig the following people:

    * parents and grandparents (total of 8)

    *siblings and their significant others (total of 6)

    * BMs and GMs including their significant others ( some don’t have significant others though) – roughly 14 people

    * My aunt and her Girlfriend

    Technically etiquette says you should invite all out of town guests BUT I went to a wedding in Chicago where 50% of the wedding guests were out of town so obviously only the bridal party was invited. 

    I also went to a rehearsal dinner (FI was a GM) were everyone was invited – and this is because a lot of people stayed overnight at the little inn attached to the reception site.  They kept it low key w/ mexican food and margaritas — only a few hundred was spent.

    Where are you having yours?  atmosphere?  budget?  Etiqutte also says that the Future In-Laws pay fpr the rehearsal dinner so I think by your dad paying it is very generous of huim and she needs to respect that.

    (sorry for the super long post)

    Post # 4
    273 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: January 2011

    we’re keeping our to just the people involved with the ceremony, parents, and grandparents.  we’re have a catholic wedding so we have a lot of people involved with the ceremony portion.  my entire family is from out of town and Fiance family is super super close so it would be awkward to invite just the few out of town family members and not his entire side.  and that’s just too many people for a rehearsal dinner in my opinion because it starts to resemble the reception.  

    since your dad is the one paying for it i would stick to your plan with the welcome reception.  maybe have your Fiance try and explain to her (again) why you want the smaller rehearsal dinner.  let her know that as much as you would like to have all Out of Town guests present, it seems a bit redundant to have too receptions since that is what it would turn into.  

    or maybe tell her if she’s that hard over about, she can pay for it.  but i’m guessing that’s not really an option.

    Post # 5
    1426 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 1969

    Tell her you can’t afford to throw two weddings.  Seriously, unless she is paying, she doesn’t get a say in who is invited.  I would have your Fiance deal with this, not you.  Have him tell her that the two of you want a small, relaxing event so you can de-stress the night before the wedding.  Having all out of town guests is a purely regional thing, most areas of the country don’t do this.  And lastly, what she is suggesting is essentially a second reception, and it really isn’t feasible to throw two events of that size two nights in a row.  And last of all, if she still insists, just keep repeating “I’m sorry but that won’t be possible.” The end.  Once she knows your whole case, there is no need to keep going over and over it with her.  In the future just tell her is isn’t possible and the subject is closed.


    For our rehearsal, We’re having immediate family plus 2-3 more for each side (Grandmothers, an aunt or two who will happen to be in town the night before) and the people involved in the wedding (plus their spouses/partners) only.  The whole thing will be under 25 people.  However, that number is also small because we’re just having a best man and MoH in the wedding party, so we didn’t have a large party and their spouses to invite.

    Post # 6
    1135 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: April 2009

    I’m in a similar situation to you.  We have 86 people coming to the wedding and over 60 coming to the rehearsal dinner.  This is because of my large family and the fact that most of our guests are out of town.  I really would have loved to avoid the whole “all out of town guests” thing, but in the end, everyone seemed to think it was the nice thing to do.  And it was too much stress to have a dinner and then a reception because it was just more planning for me to do.  But we’re going very casual–a mix/mingle kind of thing, not sit down, and we’re having food like fried chicken and pulled pork and macaroni and cheese.  We were going to do a cook-out until I realized it would take forever to grill food for that many people on 1 grill!  

    I think in your case, it’s getting out of hand.  Over a 100 people!  All but 6 guests?  You might as well just have the wedding at the rehearsal dinner.  I think you need to firmly tell your Future Mother-In-Law that it’s too much for you, that you’re not comfortable with it, and neither is your dad.  She’s not paying, so she really doesn’t have a ton of say in this.  Your dad is, so he has the final call.  Good luck!

    Post # 7
    306 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2010

    We’re inviting a bunch of in-town, so luckily this isn’t as big of an issue for us, but we drew the line at close extended family (if that makes any sense).  Bridal party and their families, parents and siblings, close aunts and cousins (one of mine, two of his). That brings us to around 45 (eek!)

    We are inviting more of our out-of-town to the next day brunch, but that’s super low key. Since it sounds like your Rehearsal Dinner is rather pricey, this is a place you stick to your guns. greenleaf is right, it’s getting towards two weddings.

    Post # 8
    761 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2010

    Explain to her that it is not in your budget to do this and if she can think of a way to accomodate all these guests, let her figure it out. She won’t be able to and maybe will figure it out, either paying for it or letting it go. In my opinion that’s way too many people. We are having us, our son, our immediate family + dates, our attendants +dates and the officiant and his family. About 20 people. We have around 120 invites.

    Post # 9
    1046 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2010

    If she isn’t paying, she really doesn’t get a say! And in fact, I’d have your fiance tell her that politely. “We realize that you’d like to have certain people there, but it really isn’t the vision for our rehearsal dinner and it’s just not in the budget.” I think you should keep the rehearsal dinner to the people you’d like to have and do something like a welcome reception for Out of Town guests if it is important to you.

    Post # 10
    7975 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    Out of state guests + bridal party + my parents (no other immediate family). 🙂

    Hopefully it won’t end up being more than 50 people, because that’s what I told my FMIL!

    Post # 11
    289 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2009

    We had a similar situation…Our wedding was out-of-town for all guests. I did not want to have a dinner for everyone so we did what you are thinking about doing….We actually were renting a house for a week so we had a catered meal at the house for bridal party, parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles.  We then had an open-house with dessert and drinks for everyone else.  It turned out great! If she is adamant on the other guests, perhaps tell you and your Fiance have gotten your dad to agree to pay for this other option. If she wants the other guests, she will have to front the bill…maybe that would be enough for her to let it go??

    Post # 12
    1955 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School

    Our Rehearsal Dinner was totally hijacked by the FIL’s, so all out of town guests are invited (which comes out to be about 175 people, although thankfully I think the actual number of guests for the Rehearsal Dinner will be about 100) but in my case, the FIL’s are paying for it so I really couldn’t say anything.

    But I was pretty pissed bc I wanted something much smaller and more intimate to make up for the fact that we will be having at least 200 guests at our wedding…But even tho I tried a few times to gently suggest something small, Future Mother-In-Law was not having it and was absolutely adamant that all Out of Town guests be invited…

    Oh well, it’s gonna be a fun party, I guess! So anyways, long story short, I feel your pain. It is a nice thing to do for your guests but if your family is paying for it, ultimately you get to decide what to do…

    Post # 13
    113 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: November 2011


    Post # 14
    2360 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: June 2010 - New York Botanical Garden

    We have a similar story to Miss Trail Mix – our Future In-Laws are paying for it and they are inviting about 65 of their 75 guests.  My parents together (two sides – they are divorced) are inviting 45 of their 150 combined and my fiance and I are inviting 2 of our 85.  We’ll have about 110 probably, down from 300 at the wedding.  It’s still big, but we’re keeping it to mostly extended family and REALLY out of town.  We are also having a Friday night dinner that is going to be really small, just our immediate extended families (aunts, uncles, etc.) which will be 30 or so people, to compensate and have the small dinner we were hoping for. Good luck!  and how nice of your dad to pay for it

    Post # 15
    1049 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: January 1998

    We will have about 30. Parents, siblings, grandparents, wedding party and their dates.

    Post # 16
    26 posts
    • Wedding: August 2010

    imho, if your parents are paying, your fmil has no business insisting on invites for everyone else.  you’re already making quite a compromise, and if she thinks subs etc. is inadequate she should chip in to beef up the dinner for your family.  i definately understand wanting to keep the rehearsal dinner intimate. i think the idea of the rehearsal luncheon and then a welcome event of some sort that night is a great idea to keep everyone happy, if you can sell your fmil on it!

    ours is bigger than we’d like – we’re having 50 people at the wedding, and 30 at the rehearsal!  almost all of our guests are coming in from out of town, but we managed to convince fmil that the people who live in the same city as us who we see all the time don’t need an invite (unless they are immediate fam / bridal party), and that anyone who took a PLANE to get there could come to the dinner. 

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