(Closed) Who to invite to rehearsal dinner?

posted 11 years ago in Parties
Post # 3
2714 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Our guest list is 200 (with hopefully 170 attending) so my numbers are the same as yours.

I’m inviting the wedding party and their dates and our immediate families (parents, siblings, etc)… we are not inviting out of town guests. About 75% of our guests are out of town so we’d have the whole frickin’ wedding there!!

… I know it’s etiquette, but I never understood inviting Out of Town guests to the rehearsal dinner and as an Out of Town guest I’ve never been invited to someone else’s rehearsal.

Post # 4
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

This is hard. i’m kind of in the same boat (not exactly because we are doing a destination wedding which adds on a whole other element of what we “need” to do for our guests).  Our wedding party is exactly the same as yours (kinda odd given its 7 BMs and 8 GMs :).  i’m totally against not including SOs as I have hated when my Fiance was a groomsmen and I wasn’t included in things, so that’s not an option.  We have basically decided to just have it much more casual than we had originally planned.  We are doing a rehearsal lunch instead of a dinner, and doing it a pretty inexpensive restuarant.  Then we are having a very casual welcome cocktail for ALL of our guests at a bar.  Our guest list for just the rehearsal lunch is still close to 50 though… ahhh!

Are you worried about cost or just size? If cost is the primary concern, then I think just do something cheap… mexican, fun pizza place, cheap pitchers of beer, etc. It’s about spending time together, not the food!  If it’s more the size you are worried about, would it be possible to cut your guest list to just wedding party and immediate family, and then do a welcome cocktail immediately after where you include all the out of town guests? That way the actual rehearsal is still more intimate?  I don’t know.

It’s hard, and expensive, and I’m still not sure what the proper etiquette for this is.  Good luck!


Post # 5
1161 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

Our numbers are smaller than yours.  We’ll have about 50 at the wedding, and about 35 at the rehearsal dinner.

We’ll invite family (pretty much all the family members coming to the wedding are immediate family members), even local family who isn’t in the wedding (again, becasue we are a pretty small group).  Future Mother-In-Law is inviting her Out of Town guests, but that’s only 4 people.

Fiance have about 10 friends traveling from ABQ for the wedding, but we won’t be inviting them because I would feel weird asking her to feel my friends.  Plus, I think they kind of want to go out exploring that night without having to attending a wedding function.


My bridal party consists of my two sisters, and his Bridesmaid or Best Man is his brother.  One of his friends is a Groomsmen, and the Groomsmen and date will be invited.

Post # 6
26 posts

I have 200 attending and 60 at the rehersal dinner. I was amazed by this number! We are also having a large wedding party, 9 bridesmaids, 9 groomsmen, 2 flowergirls, 2ring bearers. Our wedding is outdoor. We decided to make the rehersal dinner more fun and casual. By doing this, you can cut the food cost almost in half. And honestly, i would consider the food we are going to have as “good home cooking,” which i think is better then something, “fancy.” Haha! Good Luck!

Post # 7
661 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I know it sounds bad, but we’re not inviting the significant others to the rehearsal dinner (mainly becuase of money purposes).  My Future Mother-In-Law is paying for it and she is more about appearance than anything.  We’ve opted to do something cheap and have the “more the merrier” philosophy – but, she wanted to have it at the most expensive restaurant known to man.  We managed to “compromise” and do it a decent restaurant (but still have the option to go cheaper, she just wont budge)

So, because we have such a large bridal party … I justified not bringing the SO’s (maybe because I had to?)  I didn’t want SO’s who aren’t part of the wedding to see the rehearsal and have an idea of what is going to happen.  Also, what are they going to do … sit and watch us rehearse for an hour?  (I know I wouldn’t want to do that lol) just so they can come to the dinner afterwards?  Is it really such a faux paux NOT to invite the Siginificant others?? 

Oh boy … I think I’m in the same boat you are!!!

Post # 8
4136 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

this is why i’m not inviting Out of Town guests. could you just do a pizza party or bbq at someone’s house? that would keep costs low.

Post # 9
3373 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I would say drop the out of town guests. I’m normally an out of town guest at most weddings I go to and have yet to attend a rehearsal dinner.

Post # 10
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Personally, I think it is more important to include the bridal party’s significant others than it is to invite the out of town guests.  Think about it this way: your bridesmaids and groomsmen are spending time and money to make your wedding a success.  They should be able to include their dates in the rehearsal so they aren’t left feeling guilty about ditching them for the evening.  Plus, you want your closest friends who you’ve asked to stand up for you to be able to enjoy the rehearsal as much as possible.  

On the other hand, most out of town guests will not expect to be invited.  I have been to many weddings where I had to travel to another town, city or even country, and I was not upset when I was not invited to the rehearsal.  Everyone should understand that the rehearsal is only for the closest people to the bride and groom.  In fact, most guests from out of town will appreciate having the evening to themselves.  If you invite them to the rehearsal, they may see it as another obligation.  

My fiance and I are having about 100 people at our wedding (about 75% are from out of town) and we are going to have only about 22 at the rehearsal.  This is just immediate family, bridal party and their significant others. We are looking forward to having a more intimate time with our closest family and friends before the big day.

It’s okay to prioritize– don’t feel guilty!  Your guests who love and care about you won’t mind one bit.  One final suggestion that may help you feel better: suggest places your out of town guests can go out to dinner, or arrange to meet them at a bar for some drinks post-rehearsal.  Remember that most of them will already be traveling with at least one other person and they will have plenty to do.  Hang in there!

Post # 11
73 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

We’re in a similar boat (inviting about 200, hoping for about 150, 7 BMs and 7 GMs, and the vast majority of guests are OOT).  I vote for not inviting Out of Town guests.  I’ve traveled for a lot of weddings and have never been invited to a rehearsal dinner unless I was in the wedding in some way or another.  I don’t think most Out of Town guests expect to be invited. 

Plus, in thinking about our Rehearsal Dinner, I felt awkward having 85% of the guests at dinner the night before and leaving out the in-town guests.  And most of the time when I travel for weddings, I don’t get in until after dinner the night before anyway.

But, having said that, if you feel like you have to invite the Out of Town guests, I would try to make it really, really casual, like pizza at your place or a really low-key restaurant.

Post # 12
569 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I just started stressing about this issue myself. Our numbers are similar and I also have a lot of Out of Town guests. Fiance and I decided that we would include the wedding party and SOs, immediate family, and only Out of Town guests who would be traveling from another state. We live in a big state, so basically anyone traveling from out of state will be flying in, and I wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t include those people in our rehearsal dinner. Maybe you could run the numbers that way and see if you get a more acceptable count. I’d end up with a rehearsal dinner of about 50, which was right around what Future Mother-In-Law was expecting.

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