My groom's family has our rehearsal dinner all booked and ready-to-go. We're having a destination wedding, so inviting all out-of-town guests was just not in the budget (we did look into it). It was a hard decision, but everyone will be out of town guests, and we couldn't afford to have a mini wedding the day before the actual wedding, if that makes sense. So we're keeping it strictly immediate family and the wedding party.
Because we couldn't invite all out-of-town guests to the dinner, we're having our small rehearsal dinner early in the afternoon, then hosting a casual meet and greet at a reasonable hour where everyone can come for drinks/a dessert/that kind of thing.
The Emily Post website seems to say this is totally fine, but I've gotten word that all my aunts are talking about how rude this is (even knowing about the meet and greet we're hosting). And it's making me feel horrible. I'd love any creative ways to smooth over this situation and make everyone feel extra included, even if not everyone is invited to the rehearsal dinner. Maybe even some inexpensive ways to make the meet and greet more personal so our guests know how much we appreciate and love them? Or any advice for handling this situation, really.
I'm definitely not a born wedding planner and need all the help I can get ha!