Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Rehearsal Dinner

My fiance and I are paying for our own wedding, and the rehearsal dinner. We'd perfer to have someone cook a big meal, but no one has a house/yard big enough to host a party. So, we're going to a local beach-side bar & grill near the ceremony location for the dinner. The prices are VERY reasonable, and the menu has a wide variety of food.

We currently wish to invite only the people in the wedding party, the coordinator, and my parents. My sisters are in the wedding, and my fiance's friends and nephew are the groomsmen. We are going for a more casual approach, so it just seems like a night out. We don't mind if the groomsmen bring a guest, but we don't have it in our budget to pay for meals for any extra guests. What is a polite way to say that 'only guests in the wedding party are invited, and their spouses, but we will not be paying for their meals. And the first drink is on us"? We don't want to seem rude, or make it seem like we are being selective, but we just can't afford to do anything big--we'll leave that for the reception.

Any Suggestions?

Re: Rehearsal Dinner

  • Anyone that is attending the rehearsal as part of the ceremony must be invited to the dinner (including readers, etc).  This includes their signifcant others.

    Additionally, if you invited them with a date to the wedding I think it is polite to include their dates as well, especially if it is an OOT wedding for them.  I don't know if it is required but I think, at the very least, it would be nice.  I'm really not sure how you well tell them "yes, you can bring your date to the wedding but leave them behind for the rehearsal" without sounding like you are being selective and rude.

  • There's no way to do something so rude.  The rehearsal dinner must include everyone involved in the ceremony rehearsal (except those that are paid) and their dates.  Excluding dates is rude, and you simply can't refuse to pay for them.  That's about as rude as you can possibly get. 

    You need to make a cut in the budget somewhere to accomodate them.  If you can't, you'll have to skip the rehearsal and therefore the rehearsal dinner.  There's just no way you can do this without looking terrible.
  • I agree that you won't be able to exclude spouses and significant others...
    It would be a good idea to find another venue for the rehearsal dinner so you can accomodate everyone... good luck, and i hope everything works out well!
  • Not to sound callous, but etiquette doesn't really accept "can't afford it" as an excuse to be rude. People included in the RD are normally your families, plus the officiant, readers, and WP, including dates/spouses, etc. It's something you should have considered when you picked a WP.

    You can have the restaurant include a set menu for a cheaper price so not everyone is picking something different off the menu, or do something family-style. You can have a rehearsal lunch, which will probably be cheaper. You can find a public venue (like a park) with tables and order some Subway sandwiches or deli trays. Alcohol doesn't need to be included, but if it is, you need to pay for it. You wouldn't ask a guest at your wedding to pay for anything. Same goes for the RD.
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  • You said you're going to a beach-side bar and about a beach side park?  Or a park anywhere?  Do a cookout for'll be cheaper and you will be able to include everyone. 
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