Author Topic: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?  (Read 1663 times)

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sevenbridges

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My rehearsal dinner is on a Saturday night. Wedding on a Sunday afternoon / evening. This is Labor Day weekend, so the next day is a holiday. I know that immediate family, bridal party, and out of town guests are generally invited to the rehearsal dinner. However...this wedding is going to be out of town for literally every single person on the invite list. I have about 40 guests who would be coming from about 1 hr away, 15 guests coming from about 2.5 hours away, and 25 guests coming from more than 2.5 hours away (if they come at all). I know the people from really far away should get invited, along with immediate family / bridal party, but what about the other groups?
My FMIL is paying for the food for the rehearsal dinner, and the hotel is giving us a room for free to hold it...but the room only seats 50 so there's my conundrum. Please let me know what yall think because I might still be able to get a place that holds everyone.

Another question: Does the rehearsal dinner get separate invitations issued by my FMIL, or is a RD invite included in the regular invite as an insert? Or is it a word of mouth thing? I live in rural southern USA. Thank you for your help.
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Kaymar

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2014, 07:29:50 PM »
Whomever is hosting should send the invites, but if your FMIL would rather not deal with it, I think it is fine for you to send them. Invite the bridal party plus their dates, plus immediate family. And that's all that is required. If you have folks you know are flying in, and you have room, you can certainly invite them but you aren't obligated.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2014, 07:48:57 PM »
My rehearsal dinner is on a Saturday night. Wedding on a Sunday afternoon / evening. This is Labor Day weekend, so the next day is a holiday. I know that immediate family, bridal party, and out of town guests are generally invited to the rehearsal dinner. However...this wedding is going to be out of town for literally every single person on the invite list. I have about 40 guests who would be coming from about 1 hr away, 15 guests coming from about 2.5 hours away, and 25 guests coming from more than 2.5 hours away (if they come at all). I know the people from really far away should get invited, along with immediate family / bridal party, but what about the other groups?
My FMIL is paying for the food for the rehearsal dinner, and the hotel is giving us a room for free to hold it...but the room only seats 50 so there's my conundrum. Please let me know what yall think because I might still be able to get a place that holds everyone.

Another question: Does the rehearsal dinner get separate invitations issued by my FMIL, or is a RD invite included in the regular invite as an insert? Or is it a word of mouth thing? I live in rural southern USA. Thank you for your help.

Don't do it by word of mouth--that's all too likely to leave someone in the bridal party not knowing whether they can bring their spouse, and three random out-of-town visitors turning up because someone asked them "are you going to the rehearsal dinner?....oh, it's at Chez Special at 7:00, of course they want you there."

What I'm used to is that you invite the wedding party, any parents of the happy couple who aren't part of the wedding party (you might not think of "mother of the groom" as a member of the wedding party if she's not going to be walking down the aisle), and spouses or long-term partners of the above. If there are a few guests who are coming from particularly far away, or making a greater effort in some other sense (such as because travel is physically difficult for them) it's nice to invite them as well, but not expected.

It sounds like you've iinvited people who don't know the city you're having the wedding in, so it would be a kindness for someone (and this is a good task for a relative who wants to help) to find information about some area restaurants. Also, that way if a friend or relative calls three days before the wedding and wants to know what they're going to do for dinner the night before, you can say "you should talk to my aunt, she's got a list of restaurants. Do you have her number?" rather than adding to the list of what you need to do at the last minute. You aren't obliged to feed everyone all weekend, but offering them a list of ideas is both kinder and more polite than "I don't know, I'm too busy even to think right now" and reduces the risk of being pressed into inviting specifically the least-organized and/or pushiest of your guests to the rehearsal dinner.
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peaches

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2014, 07:53:46 PM »
Here's Martha Stewart's take on the rehearsal dinner, all of which I agree with:

http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/228723/etiquette-wedding-rehearsal-dinners/@center/272440/wedding-etiquette-adviser#107593

We gave the rehearsal dinner for our son's wedding. The bride and I chose the restaurant together, and worked out the guest list. It was a really fun, memorable evening. She sent the invitations (and made them herself).

We had 6 out-of-town guests; because the number was manageable and they were all people we're very close to, we invited them to the dinner.

I believe that inviting out-of-town guests to a rehearsal dinner is optional. I would make that decision based on your circumstances.

TootsNYC

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2014, 07:55:23 PM »
I know that immediate family, bridal party, and out of town guests are generally invited to the rehearsal dinner.

Actually, this is social-circle specific, and if you read it in an etiquette book, it's probably from a time when few people traveled very far for weddings.

Now that travel is cheaper, families spread out more, and women especially leave their parents homes and live elsewhere far more than they used to, this is not actually a "generally" that you can count on.

You know whether your social circle expects it, but even if they do, you aren't required to do it.

The people who -are- invited to the rehearsal dinner are the people who are at the rehearsal and their social partners (spouses, boyfriends, parents in the case of a flower girl; sometimes kids if you want).

I personally think it's just too much to try have another huge gathering, right before the big event. I wish the whole "entertain the out-of-town guests!" thing would go away.
  I get that it's gracious, and that people (MOB, MOG, B&G) may feel they've invited people from far away and then abandoned them. But really, grownups can entertain themselves. And it's just becoming a huge burden.

If you are going to invite "out of town guests," that means "people who are staying in a hotel the night before the wedding." 2.5 hours, they're probably driving over the day-of; don't burden them with an invitation for yet another night too. They'll feel they're obligated, or deeply wanted, and they're already going to have to travel the next day. Let them stay home and feed the dog.
  Because, you haven't uprooted them from their home for the event, leaving them in a strange town with nothing to do, and all the people they might want to spend time with being occupied at the rehearsal dinner. THAT is the reason you invite people from out of town.

Invitations should be specific and detailed; they should be issued by whoever is determined to "host," no matter who is actually writing the check.

sevenbridges

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2014, 10:04:26 PM »
I totally agree with this. I'm trying to think of it like if I was invited to my wedding, what would I want to do? Well, if I only lived like 1-3 hours away, I wouldn't want to come up the day before, get a hotel for two nights, and then drive back. To me that's just too much time and money, unless I was really close with the B or G. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't totally off base feeling like that.



  Because, you haven't uprooted them from their home for the event, leaving them in a strange town with nothing to do, and all the people they might want to spend time with being occupied at the rehearsal dinner. THAT is the reason you invite people from out of town.


Makes perfect sense.

Thank all of you for your replies. You've helped me put this into perspective.
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EllenS

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 10:15:28 PM »
Also Southern US, here. It is a whole separate invitation.  If your FMIL is the hostess, she has final say on how big the rehearsal dinner should be. It wouldn't be fair for her to offer to host a rehearsal dinner and find out instead she's supposed to pay for a pre-reception for a large section of the guest list.  She should definitely be the one to do the inviting, unless she specifically tells you she does not want to send them.

kareng57

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 11:04:27 PM »
Keep in mind that there's really no established etiquette revolving around the rehearsal dinner.  The concept didn't become popular until the 1950s or so, when it became customary for it to be the groom's parents' opportunity to entertain the WP.  The "dinner" idea is generally because the rehearsal usually takes place in the late afternoon/early evening.  However, if it's a bit later (say around 8 pm) it could be dessert, light refreshments etc.  And of course, these days anyone can host the dinner.

The only people who must be included are the WP members and their spouses/SOs, along with the parents of any child attendants.  Anyone else is discretionary.  In some circles it's indeed customary that OOT guests are also included - but again, this is simply a custom, not a rule (although many people familiar with this idea will insist that it's indeed a rule).  Of course, if you have a wedding guest from OOT who will be arriving the night before and knows absolutely no other guests, it might be a nice idea to include him/her.

IMO invitations don't have to be formal-written, but they should certainly come personally from the host.  Otherwise, as a PP mentioned, you could have people assuming that they were invited when they weren't - certainly a potentially embarrassing situation.

Deetee

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2014, 12:54:55 AM »
When we had our wedding, I planned to invite the out of town guests, but then I realised (like you) that it was almost 3/4 of the guest list and the last 1/4 was involved in the planning in a serious way.

So I invited the bridal party and partners and immediate family and anyone who was staying at a house of anyone invited and a couple people who had travelled solo. (It came out as fifty people even with that, but I have largish, close-knit family and fairly large wedding party).

Basically, I didn't want anyone sitting around feeling lonely the night before. Most everyone else did get together (not all of them but in various groups) the night before and did their own thing with mini family reunions and vacationy things.

There is no hard and fast rule. It should include the people in the rehearsal of course, but the rest is pretty flexible.

lakey

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2014, 06:07:35 PM »
Where I live it is not assumed that out of town guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner. It is immediate family and wedding party, plus spouses and dates,  because it is the dinner for after the wedding rehearsal, and those are the people who would be at the rehearsal. Sometimes guests who are flying in are included.

katycoo

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2014, 06:57:17 PM »
I'm so glad rehearsal dinners aren't a thing in Australia.  One less thing to plan and pay for - weddings are too expensive already.

lowspark

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 04:01:30 PM »
One other thing that hasn't been mentioned. In my circle, we also invite anyone who has given the bride or bride & groom a party. So anyone who hosted a shower or engagement party or similar. Partly as a thank you for hosting such an event, and partly, especially in my group of friends, the people who host those affairs are usually so close as to be considered family anyway.

kudeebee

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 08:40:01 PM »
Where I live it is not assumed that out of town guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner. It is immediate family and wedding party, plus spouses and dates,  because it is the dinner for after the wedding rehearsal, and those are the people who would be at the rehearsal. Sometimes guests who are flying in are included.

Same here.  Grandparents are often included as well.

learningtofly

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2014, 02:42:39 PM »
My favorite rehearsal dinner was the B&G's immediate family and the wedding party.  It was a quiet night and everyone loved it.

DH and I were not consulted on the rehearsal dinner, but we liked the restaurant it was going to be at.  To say it was crowded would be an understatement.  My ILs invited all of the OOT guests which were their half of the wedding and a few of my family members plus the bridal party.  We had at least half of the wedding there.  The room could not hold that many people and we were sardined in.  Not to mention we only had two waitresses.  Everything was delayed and we had guests who had to leave without dinner as it was getting to their kids bedtimes. 

Live and learn.  The next time my ILs hosted a rehearsal dinner (and yes huge amounts of people and no one getting food on time), I made sure my DD was fed first and left when it was good for us.

lofty

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Re: Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2014, 02:53:05 PM »
The ones I've attended have been because I was a) part of the wedding party or b) DH was in the wedding party so I got to go, too. They've been at restaurants with the immediate family (parents, grandparents), the wedding party and SO's. No written invitations were ever passed out, the information was verbally given to us by the bride & groom.

My favorite rehearsal dinner to date was my own; IL's hosted and verbally invited the bridal party & SO's, immediate family, and the few OOT guests we had. My DH's brothers were also included because, hey, they're family! We had a huge BBQ at a local park, took over an entire pavilion, ate, drank, and played Frisbee until it was dark. Totally laid-back, relaxing, and FUN. The attendees still say it's the best one they've ever been to.
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