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Who gets invited to rehersal dinner? And who sends invitations?

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sevenbridges:
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.

HannahGrace:
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:

--- Quote from: sevenbridges on March 07, 2014, 06:43:01 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.

--- End quote ---

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.

peaches:
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:

--- Quote from: sevenbridges on March 07, 2014, 06:43:01 PM ---I know that immediate family, bridal party, and out of town guests are generally invited to the rehearsal dinner.

--- End quote ---

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.

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