(Closed) Who is invited to the Rehearsal Dinner?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
8444 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@futuremrsndl:  I’ve always heard, wedding party, immediate family, and everyone from out of town.  That’s how we’re doing it anyways, but we’re doing Bbq cheap because our friends are cooking the food for us (we’re just paying food cost).

Post # 4
46646 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Traditionally, it has been anyone involved in the wedding party, their SOs, parents, grandparents, siblings (all with SOs).It seems that this would be an ideal compromise between your idea and your FI`s.

The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is to thank the wedding party for their time and support. Many couples use the Rehearsal Dinner as an ideal time to also thank their parents  for their loving support and guidance.

Inviting OOTs is a fairly new idea but is totally optional.  Like many new ideas, it was probably started by someone with an unlimited budget. Now everyone thinks it is the norm.


Post # 5
5 posts
  • Wedding: February 2013

We only invited people directly involved in the wedding.

Post # 6
808 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Oh man…this was a big discussion for my wedding.  My parents wanted to invite all family and anyone from out of town.  THis meant we’d be planning and paying for a second wedding!  I resisted, because I wanted the rehearsal and dinner to be just who was in the wedding party and immediate family.  Since Fiance and I are paying, we ultimately went with the smaller group. 

I think you can make yoru own rules, since it is your wedding….

Post # 7
1491 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Technically it is supposed to be people involved in the actual wedding. Parents, bride, groom, bridal party (and their SOs), flower girls/ring bearers (and their parents) and any grandparents or people doing a reading.  


Out-of-town guests I think are a newer “non traditional” addition to the list, but I do not believe that they should be considered a necessity at all.  If I were an out of town guest I would NEVER expect to be invited to the rehearsal dinner (unless I were part of the wedding party in some way or doing a reading).   There is no reason that you have to invite the world to the rehearsal dinner unless you really really want to.  



Post # 8
9181 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

We’re actually inviting everyone to the rehearsal dinner, because a) it’s pretty cheap (DIY bbq), b) our town is quite a pain to get to and we want to show our appreciation to out of town guests and c) we figured it’d be even more fun with our in-town guests there too (about 25% of the guest list).

Having been the out of town guest that gets invited to the rehearsal dinner, it’s really nice to see people and get fed both nights.  But certainly not necessary.

Post # 9
2968 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

we didn’t have a formal rehearsal dinner. we just invited everyone to my parents’ house for pizza and beer/soda. it was very chill and low-key. we only invited those who were part of the ceremony (and their guests if they chose to invite them). we didn’t invite our out of town guests. it’s really not necessary to do that and that would have easily been 100 people just with my family. and we didn’t invite my husband’s siblings who weren’t in the wedding because then they would have brought their kids and we still had a lot of setting up to do and i didn’t want a million kids running around while we were trying to get things done.

Post # 10
5494 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2011

we invited everyone in the wedding, (and their SOs), our parens, siblings, grandparents and all out of town guest. This was about 80 people.  My feeling was that if people were going to fly from all over the world to see us the least we could do is invited them to an extra dinner and spend extra time with them.

Post # 11
7647 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

We had everyone that DH’s parents wanted since they hosted. We had wedding party, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, anyone that wanted to join in.

Post # 12
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

I don’t think you need OoT guests but I’d invite the bridal party dates.

Post # 13
2286 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: Central Park

We are doing immediate family, grandparents, and wedding party plus their spouses. My mother wanted to invite 4 out of town guests but I don’t want to put too much on my FH’s mother since this restaurant is $40-50 pp and honestly I think they’d rather have some alone time together anyways before the big event.

Post # 14
384 posts
Helper bee

instead of inviting out of town guests, you can say that you will be at such and such bar/restaurant at such and such time (after rehersal will be done) for drinks if they choose to join. You can either pay for their drinks or not. Ive been to several weddings that it was like that.

Post # 15
396 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

You should definitely invite the wedding party’s significant others, regardless of the status of their relationship.  I can guarantee someone will be offended if you don’t.

We are inviting bridal party, sig others, parents, rest of my immediate fam, grandparents and my (male) best friend who isn’t in the bridal party.

I am on your FI’s side as far as out of town guests because it just opens it up to too many people, at least for my wedding.  35 isn’t too bad for yours, but if your Fiance is concerned about costs, I think it would be a good way to meet in the middle to say no out of towners, but grandparents & wedding party dates, yes.

Post # 16
9952 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

This topic comes up often… I just answered for another Bee a day or two ago on the PARTIES BOARD = http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/who-is-normally-invited-to-the-rehearsal-dinner#axzz2NeQLVP4g

At that time I wrote…

If you are having a Family Wedding… Rehearsal Parties can be a lot of fun.


Groom’s Parents are the Hosts.

Bride & Groom (Guests of Honour)

Bride’s Parents

All the Bridal Party (and their SOs)

Including the children roles… Jr. Bridesmaids, Flower Girls, Ring Bearer (and their Parents)

The Wedding Officiant (and if they have a spouse)

Any one who has a “special” role in the Wedding… Reader, Soloist, Musicians (and their SOs)

Siblings of the Bride & Groom (and their SOs)


Add on…

Grand Parents, God Parents, and Any Special Guests who are coming to the Wedding (like Aunt Martha & Uncle Phil who flew in from Australia)

And in some cases… where money isn’t a concern… the Rehearsal Dinner can also be open to all the Out of Town Guests who are in for the evening before the Wedding

— — —

The Rehearsal Dinner is the official occasion when the Groom’s Parents / Family shines. (Bride’s Parents get all the limelight day of)

It is also a great opportunity for everyone to meet one another… in that there are usually some folks who haven’t done so beforehand

It can be a fun time for memories and speaches… and Best Wishes for the next day

Sometimes it is an occasion for gift exchanges…

Bride & Groom often giving their Bridal Party their Thank You Presents then

Or ones to their Parents

Or to each other

(all of these gifts given in public is optional)

If it is an “intimate group” sometimes Wedding Presents from the members within the group are opened… but again this is optional… and sometimes dependent on local customs or how the B&G feel about doing so in public

Food is typically served, but there is no strict guidelines on what it must be… could be sandwiches in the Church Hall… Munchies at a Pub / Bar… or a sit-down Meal

And lastly… there is often a FUN cake served… known as the Groom’s Cake. And it features a theme that corresponds to the interests of the groom (ie sports, cars, etc are popular ones)

Hope this helps,

PS… If the Wedding is being held in the Bride’s Hometown, and the Groom’s Family is coming in from Out of Town, then often the two families will work out the plan together on WHERE to hold the Rehearsal Party… as one assumes the MOB / FOB will know possible venues better etc. It is OK for the Groom’s Family to ask for advice in this regard.

When I was married the first time… My Parents actually co-hosted with my Fiance’s Parents… as they were coming in from Out of Town to our small town, and there weren’t a lot of places we could go (ideal for the situation). My Parents had a large home, so they offered it up as the location. My mother and her church group did a lot of the eats (finger sandwiches, squares etc). Not a huge issue, because it was the same church ladies who were going to be doing our Midnight Dessert Buffet at our Wedding… lol, they just made more. (Of course the Groom’s Parents paid for the food… and took the role of Hosts… so they provided all the liquor etc for the house party. It was a FANTASTIC Party, and a great night, I have very fond memories)

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