The wedding rehearsal typically happens the day (or evening) before the wedding and even though we all know practice makes perfect, you are probably most excited about celebrating and spending time with family and friends at the rehearsal dinner. Even if you are just beginning to plan for your rehearsal dinner, chances are you have given at least some thought to the guest list. Some on the list are easy (parents and immediate family as well as the bridal party), but what about plus-ones, out-of-town guests or the officiant?
Deciding on the final guest list for this event can be tricky so that’s why we’ve put together a few helpful tips that will help you determine who you should invite to your rehearsal dinner.
The easiest way to start is by listing everyone that will be at the wedding rehearsal. This would include your immediate families, the bridal party (should also include the parents of the flower girl and ring bearer), any ceremony readers, singers, etc. and your officiant (including his/her spouse).
It is also recommended that you give the option to each member of your wedding party the option to bring along his/her spouse as well.
If you are planning on keeping your rehearsal dinner on the small and intimate side, you can stop here with your list. If you are open to a larger event then below are some additional people to consider.
If your venue has the space and your budget allows and you don’t mind having guests at your rehearsal dinner that you don’t know, then some additional people to consider inviting may start with plus-ones for bridal party members that are not married. This would at least ensure that everyone at the rehearsal dinner knows at least one person and for anyone in your wedding party that travels, doesn’t exclude a plus-one that traveled along.
In addition to plus-ones for your wedding party, you may also want to open up the guest list to extended family such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and any close cousins. Because the rehearsal dinner is smaller than the wedding and often more laid back, this is a great way for members of each family to get to know one another.
Out-of-town guests are where your guest list may start getting trickier. While on the one hand, these guests have traveled to spend this special time with you making both a time and financial sacrifice, extending an invitation to them would be a nice gesture. On the other hand, if your idea of a perfect rehearsal dinner is more low-key and intimate or your budget simply doesn’t allow it, it may not make sense or be feasible to invite everyone.
Unlike your immediate family and the bridal party, you can make the final decision on this one. There is no right or wrong. Every situation is different.
If you opt to not include out-of-town guests, you may want to consider hosting a welcome party / meet-and-greet for everyone to meet up after the rehearsal dinner. Plan something simple like cocktails and desserts or other snacks. It’s a great way for people to gather and have a great time without costing a lot. This is also more casual so guests and come and go as they please rather than needing to come at the start and stay till the end.
Oftentimes couples select an officiant that they have a close relationship with. This may include the Pastor or Reverend of their family church or even a family member that is ordained. If this is the case for your then we strongly suggest inviting them to your rehearsal dinner. Because it’s often immediately following the rehearsal it’s a customary gesture and will be appreciated even if they decide not to attend. Like your out-of-town guests, the final decision is entirely yours.
Regardless of the kind of rehearsal dinner you are planning; a small, intimate affair for just the VIPs or a larger, more casual party for a larger gang, deciding on a rehearsal dinner guest list doesn’t have to be tricky if you follow a few simple guidelines. Hopefully this helps you answer all your questions about who to invite to your rehearsal dinner.
If you have any other questions about your rehearsal dinner guest list or if you have questions relation to planning your rehearsal dinner in general, leave a comment below or send us an email, we’ll get you an answer as quickly as possible. You may even inspire a future blog post.