Practice Makes Perfect! We know that all that practice for the ceremony can make the wedding party hungry. The answer to that of course is the rehearsal dinner. This often smaller, exclusive celebration is traditionally hosted by the groom’s parents and is typically a more intimate event perfect for kicking off the festivities with your closest friends and family, but who do you actually invite?
Depending on how small you wish to keep the rehearsal dinner you should always start off with those who will be at the rehearsal:
Typically the guest list would total roughly 10-25 people which is the perfect size for an intimate dinner with your most important people. It would certainly be acceptable to leave your guest list here:
Listing immediate family may seem obvious but parents, siblings and grandparents of the bride and groom should always been invited to the rehearsal dinner because your wedding symbolizesboth the joining of you and your soon-to-be spouse in marriage and the joining of your families as well. The rehearsal dinner is the perfect opportunity for the family to come together in a more laid back setting before the wedding because no matter what you think, you’ll never have enough time to spend with them on the actual wedding day.
Traditionally all wedding party members should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. Just like immediate family, this is a must! It is a little more “grey” when it comes to the significant others and even some wedding etiquette experts differ on their opinion. Some experts suggest that if a wedding party member is invited to the wedding with a plus one then they should also be able to print the plus one to the rehearsal dinner as well. On the flip side, other experts suggest that the plus one option is meant for the wedding day only. If you have a flower girl or ring bearer, they should technically be invited to the rehearsal dinner as well but can be decided based on the age and relationship of those people.
If your officiant is someone you have a close relationship with like a religious leader that you have grown up with or is a friend or family member, it is wise to invite them to the rehearsal dinner. In most cases the rehearsal dinner is immediately following the rehearsal and this gesture is not only customary but also appreciated.
While you should not feel obligated to invite all of your aunts, uncles and cousins and their families, if your families are small and you’d really like them to be there, you can invite them as well. Some couples who have godparents will invite them or the closest members of the extended family will be asked to attend as well. Extended family is not required and is entirely up to the couple getting married who they want to attend.
Some couples that have family or friends traveling from out-of-town to attend the wedding also invite these guests to attend the rehearsal. Since these people are taking on the time and expense to be there with you, including them in as much of the wedding related festivities is customary and welcomed. It is important to note however that every situation is unique. For example, if your wedding is a destination wedding where everyone is traveling, you clearly don’t need to invite everyone to the rehearsal. Who to invite, in this case, is entirely up to the couple and obviously the budget for the dinner. If budget is a concern, some couples will invite all out-of-town guests for drinks and snacks following the rehearsal dinner or host a welcome party where people can come and go whenever they want.
The rehearsal dinner guest list can include just the two of you, your immediate families, the wedding party, and the officiant and his spouse. Or, it can be a larger event, including all the out-of-town guests (or at least all those who will have already arrived in town for the wedding). It’s up to you, but the reason many couples do include out-of-towners (especially when the rehearsal dinner is the night before) is so they’re not left stranded in their hotel rooms. It’s all about being a good host. However, it’s your prerogative to want an intimate party (for budgetary reasons or just as a matter of opinion).
Do you have questions about who to invite to your rehearsal dinner? Leave a comment below and let us know. You can also email us directly for more personal conversation with one of our creative team members.
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