Rehearsal Dinner Invitations ???

katclaws_moJanuary 11, 2006

Hello again,

Well, I have another question--this time about the wedding rehearsal invitations! As MOG, I knew we would be hosting the rehearsal dinner, but today I just heard that we need to send out invitations for this. Is that the norm these days? I just thought it was done by word of mouth from the bride & groom.

I know that the bride's & grooms immediate family, bridesmaid & grooms spouses/SO and parents of flower girls/ringbears and any out-of-town guest are to be invited.

Are any type of invitation OK, or are there special rehearsal dinner invitations? If invitations are not required, how is this information passed on to the guests?

Does anyone have any websites or planning guide suggestions to help me figure out the ettiquette of all of this. I even tried Martha Stewart and saw nothing there about rehearsal invites.

When I got married "way back in the day" my MIL was a widow and we just had a pizza party because we didn't want her to have a financial burden. Boy, weddings have sure changed--LOL

Thanks again for any help ~~ katclaws

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I would send some kind of written invitation -- unless you are just talking about a handful of people, which it sounds like you're not. It sends a hospitable tone, and people may forget the details otherwise. Plus, I think you may end up saving yourself a lot of time that way, anyway -- if you call people, you have to have a lot of conversations that take a lot longer than stuffing an envelope! And remember, it's not as many invitations and stamps as guests, just as many as addresses.

But you definitely don't need a fancy invitation -- especially if it is not a fancy party. Something you print on your computer, perhaps on colored or bordered paper like you can get at Kinko's and other places, a fill-in invitation you get at somewhere like Target, or a note handwritten on your stationery, notecards, or postcards is just fine. If you do it on your computer, I bet it won't take you 30 minutes to compose and lay out the text, choose a font and perhaps a border, and print.

In my opinion, It's even preferable not to go fancy, so you don't look like you are trying to compete with the wedding -- but SOME kind of invitation makes it seem more like you are hosting a nice, though casual, event. After all, this is usually the first event of the weekend, where old friends and family are reuniting and the non-immediate relatives of the two families are likely meeting for the first time. So even when it's very simple and casual, I think that this is a really important and FUN party.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 1:22PM
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Thanks so much for your reply & your help, gellchom!
My head is just spinning with details these days and I think it spun all my brains out--LOL

All the best~~ katclaws

    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 1:46PM
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I agree with gellchom. Spouses of members of the wedding party particularly like knowing what is happening and they feel more included if they receive an invitation. If you keep the dinner simple and casual, the attendees will appreciate it. They will be spending their time and energy on getting dressed up the next day, so it is nice to have a casual dinner the night before.

From an etiquette perspective, you do not have to include all of the out of town guests who arrive early unless you can afford to do so. You get to decide just how large of a group will be manageable (and affordable).

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 2:28PM
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Thanks, katclaws. Don't worry! You are doing GREAT, and everything will be really fun.

sweet_pea's advice that you don't have to invite all the out of towners may not work in every community -- it would be considered really weird in ours. I'm sure she knows what the etiquette books and experts say, but that won't do you any good if you are hosting this party in a community (geographic, ethnic, or social) that always includes all the out of town (= far enough away that they are staying in hotels) guests. For that matter, because that group often includes relatives, local relatives are invited around here, too, because otherwise they are excluded from what amounts to a family event (even a mini-reunion, as this is usually the first event at which people see each other). Don't panic! This may not be the case for you. Just check if this is not your own community and see what people usually do, and then make an informed choice.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 1:12PM
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yes, we did invitations--they were printed, but not terribly formal.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 5:40PM
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Planning a wedding is so much more complicated then it seems... My fiancee and I are having the wedding in my "home town" and i put that in quotes because my family just moved here 2 months ago. Mostly everyone who is coming to the wedding is from out of town...who should come to the rehearsal dinner??? Also, should grandparents be at the rehearsal?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 5:42PM
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You don't *have* to invite all the out-of-towners to the rehearsal dinner; in fact, if the groom's family is truly hosting, I think it's sort of rude to expand the guest list on them. If they *offer*, OK, but I wouldn't even ask them, for fear of them feeling pressured. Normally, the rehearsal dinner is strictly related to the rehearsal. Therefore, it's the bridal party and their dates, the officiant, and the immediate family (mom, dad, siblings) of the bride and groom. Grandparents aren't traditionally on that list. However, if they're there, it might be a nice gesture, so their feelings aren't hurt.

One thing I think that happens when the out-of-towners are invited to the rehearsal dinner is, esp. if it's in a restaurant, it sort of feels like the reception itself, bcs everybody's there. So I'm sort of a foot-dragger on this; I don't like to invite the out-of-towners. Plus, I personally prefer the most personal touch possible for rehearsal dinners, and a big crowd makes it hard to do at home. (not that an out-of-town MOG can have it at home)

That said, AS an out-of-town guest, I like to have something to do, and a chance to see some of my relatives.

If you don't want to or can't expand the rehearsal dinner, you might recruit someone among the out-of-town guests to organize a get-together somewhere in case people would like it. Maybe an aunt and uncle can tell everyone that they'll all have dinner at whichever local restaurant, if they want to come along, and everybody can gather that way, and feel like they're not abandoned, without having to crash the other event.

My uncle let us all know that they'd be hanging around at the restaurant AFTER the rehearsal dinner, and we could join them for drinks if we wanted, so we did that. We got to feel a part of things, a little, but they didn't have to feed u.

We married in my true hometown, which meant that EVERYBODY except my mom and dad traveled for the wedding. So *I* hosted the rehearsal dinner, and asked my mom to help plan, and brothers to help cook and serve. We had a barbecue at a local park; and everybody was invited. I couldn't have afforded a restaurant meal for all those people, and this keps it from feeling too much like the real wedding reception (which was a buffet at mom's house, so it's not like it was THAT much different).

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 5:58PM
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Hi! Does anyone know when rehearsal dinner invitations should be sent? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 1:04PM
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The invitations don't need to be sent until a week or two before the dinner, or they can be hand delivered. The members of the wedding party will assume that there is a dinner after the rehearsal, so they won't be surprised to receive an invitation. The time should already be blocked on their calendars.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 3:00PM
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I think it depends to whom you are sending them. If you are inviting more than the wedding party, I'd get them out earlier than that, especially for out of towners making travel plans.

I also wouldn't be so sure that wedding party members would assume there is a dinner, especially if the rehearsal isn't right before the dinner. Even if, as sweet pea says, they "should" know, some might not.

Also, the invitation will give them a clue (from location of the dinner and tone of the invitation) what to wear, and they may need some lead time to shop/alter/send things to the cleaners.

I think it's like everything else: if you want people to be there, give them plenty of notice. Anyway, what's the advantage to waiting? I'd send them after the wedding invitations but as soon after that as you have all the information.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 5:54PM
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We are having a very casual rehersal dinner and inviting everyone who is invited to the wedding. Can we put the invitation in with the wedding invitation and have one response card?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 12:30AM
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That's exactly what I would do. A contemporaneous separate invitation to exactly the same list from the same person is really superfluous. I like your plan.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 1:15AM
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