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Customs and Traditions

Do we HAVE to have a rehearsal dinner?

Our wedding is going to be super non-traditional.  We're not doing a lot of the things many people might expect to see at a wedding.  It's going to be very relaxed - and for some it might even be considered too relaxed.  But fancy and detailed - and stressful! - is not our style, so why should we plan a wedding that is all of those things?

I'm reading a wedding book right now (Your Wedding Your Way) and it has some fantastic pointers for planning a non-traditional wedding (and how to deal with friends/family who are shocked that you're going in the direction you've chosen) - but when it comes to the rehearsal dinner, the book seems to have two choices: have a big one or don't - NOT having one at all isn't even mentioned.

So here's my question: would it be a MAJOR faux pas to skip that tradition altogether?  Big groups of people stress me out - our wedding is of course going to be a big group of people, but it's ONE event... and I know some people have "events" all weekend for their wedding, which is something I would never be able to handle.  The book goes on and on about how sometimes parents throw the rehearsal dinner and sometimes you can... but I don't want to do either!

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Re: Do we HAVE to have a rehearsal dinner?

  • If you don't want one then don't have one!! Your day your way!! Are going to have a rehearsal of any type? (ie going throught the outline of the order of the ceremony) If so people might expect something but if u don't want have one u can put on the invite the times so they know they have their evening free & what not.
  • Are you having a rehearsal?  If you are having a rehearsal then you must have a rehearsal dinner.  This dinner is basically a thank you to your guests for taking time out of their lives to attend the rehearsal.  It's also just polite to give them dinner.  Every rehearsal I've been to is around 5 or 6pm.  I would not want to then go home and have to get dinner or find a place to eat in a strange town.  However, it does not have to be big.  Ours was at an Irish pub.  We were just put in a reserved section and a modified menu was provided to our guests to order off of.  I've also been to one that was a back yard affair at the groom's parents' house.  

    If you aren't having a rehearsal then you don't need to have the dinner.  
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • No need for a rehearsal dinner if you're not having a rehearsal.

    If you are having a rehearsal, you do need to have a dinner for the people attending the rehearsal (and their SOs).  It definitely doesn't need to be big or fancy.  You could even just invite people back to your place for pizza and beer.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    PrettyGirlLost
  • We aren't having an actual rehearsal with our commissioner, but we'll likely run through things with our party (and my 5 year old) - JUST us, no family members or "guests".
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Even if it's not an actual rehearsal, if you are asking your wedding party members to get together with you for the purpose of discussing the wedding, I would host something for them afterwards.  It doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive-it can be as simple as pizza or sandwiches.  But it will be mandatory.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • We aren't having an actual rehearsal with our commissioner, but we'll likely run through things with our party (and my 5 year old) - JUST us, no family members or "guests".
    I would host something informal for anyone who is attending the "run through."
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    southernbelle0915PrettyGirlLosts-aries8990
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    No family members or guests is totally normal for the rehearsal. It's usually just the WP. Yes, you need to feed them something.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Mostly what I mean by "rehearsal dinner" is what you see on the internet and such - huge family gathering with a lot of the wedding guests, tons of food, etc, etc, etc.  Of course if we see our WP on the day before we would eat with them - but I don't want to have to shell out big bucks to feed almost as many people as we will have at our wedding!
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  • Mostly what I mean by "rehearsal dinner" is what you see on the internet and such - huge family gathering with a lot of the wedding guests, tons of food, etc, etc, etc.  Of course if we see our WP on the day before we would eat with them - but I don't want to have to shell out big bucks to feed almost as many people as we will have at our wedding!
    Definitely no need to do the bolded.  Extravagant RDs are one of the many recent trends that are completely unnecessary.  As long as you host the people you are rehearsing with, you're totally fine.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
    PrettyGirlLostlizandmark2014
  • Order in pizzas or some other kind of take-out and have drinks for everyone on hand - perfectly acceptable rehearsal dinner. You just need to host (feed) the people attending the rehearsal, but it doesn't have to be anything fancy. Ours will just be a casual BBQ at my FIL's house. 
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Our rehearsal dinner was us, the wedding party, their significant others (or parents in the case of the kids) and our moms.  That's it.  I think it worked out to about 23 people.
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  • Mostly what I mean by "rehearsal dinner" is what you see on the internet and such - huge family gathering with a lot of the wedding guests, tons of food, etc, etc, etc.  Of course if we see our WP on the day before we would eat with them - but I don't want to have to shell out big bucks to feed almost as many people as we will have at our wedding!

    The only time I've ever seen someone host the entire invite list and not just the WP at the rehearsal dinner was at my cousin's wedding. A lot of guests thought it was weird that everyone was invited and side-eyed it.
     Visit The Knot!                                           image
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  • Agreed- a rehearsal dinner is for those who are required to be at the rehearsal. The dinner can be as simple as inviting them back to your house for pizza. 
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Mostly what I mean by "rehearsal dinner" is what you see on the internet and such - huge family gathering with a lot of the wedding guests, tons of food, etc, etc, etc.  Of course if we see our WP on the day before we would eat with them - but I don't want to have to shell out big bucks to feed almost as many people as we will have at our wedding!

    The only time I've ever seen someone host the entire invite list and not just the WP at the rehearsal dinner was at my cousin's wedding. A lot of guests thought it was weird that everyone was invited and side-eyed it.
    Why would someone side eye getting a free meal?




    OliveOilsMomSKPM[Deleted User]
  • bakerie said:
    Mostly what I mean by "rehearsal dinner" is what you see on the internet and such - huge family gathering with a lot of the wedding guests, tons of food, etc, etc, etc.  Of course if we see our WP on the day before we would eat with them - but I don't want to have to shell out big bucks to feed almost as many people as we will have at our wedding!
    The only time I've ever seen someone host the entire invite list and not just the WP at the rehearsal dinner was at my cousin's wedding. A lot of guests thought it was weird that everyone was invited and side-eyed it.
    Why would someone side eye getting a free meal?
    I agree with @bakerie.  If you feel weird going to an event, just decline.  Why side-eye someone's generosity?  

    It's actually quite common for couples to invite out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner.  We didn't have a rehearsal dinner (no rehearsal), but we had a BBQ the day before our wedding and invited everyone since they had all traveled.  It was nice to be able to spend more time with our guests, and it felt more relaxed than the wedding.  

    SKPM
  • bakerie said:

    Mostly what I mean by "rehearsal dinner" is what you see on the internet and such - huge family gathering with a lot of the wedding guests, tons of food, etc, etc, etc.  Of course if we see our WP on the day before we would eat with them - but I don't want to have to shell out big bucks to feed almost as many people as we will have at our wedding!

    The only time I've ever seen someone host the entire invite list and not just the WP at the rehearsal dinner was at my cousin's wedding. A lot of guests thought it was weird that everyone was invited and side-eyed it.
    Why would someone side eye getting a free meal?
    My guess is because at some point it turns into basically a second wedding. It's a little AWish.
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
  • kitty8403kitty8403 member
    1000 Comments 250 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited November 2013
    So here's a weird one. It was suggested to me that after the rehearsal, we should haul everybody to a community barbecue that is always going on that same weekend. Semi-hosted but we would need to bring a few things. Like our own seating and probably a side dish. Ok? Or crass because we wouldn't be hosting, just bussing them off to free food. I'm leaning toward crass, but maybe I'm acting too stuck up?
  • If you have a RD, please be sure to invite your WP's SOs. I was in a WP and SOs were left out completely. That was so insulting.

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    PrettyGirlLost
  • @TeddiD34 Of course - just an intimate gather of our wedding party and their boyfriends/girlfriends/whatever (though I think only one party member has someone, and the rest are single). :)
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    TeddiD34
  • kitty8403 said:
    So here's a weird one. It was suggested to me that after the rehearsal, we should haul everybody to a community barbecue that is always going on that same weekend. Semi-hosted but we would need to bring a few things. Like our own seating and probably a side dish. Ok? Or crass because we wouldn't be hosting, just bussing them off to free food. I'm leaning toward crass, but maybe I'm acting too stuck up?
    I'm with you on that one.  It seems like more work to me than just having a rehearsal dinner.  You would have to provide the seating for all of your guests and all of the side dishes that would be your guests' contribution the event.  It would be incredibly rude to expect them to provide their own chairs and food.  
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited November 2013
    If you are having a rehearsal, I think you should have a rehearsal meal afterwards.  If it is done in the morning, you could go out for brunch or lunch afterwards.  If later in the day, dinner would be good, too.  But you can just order pizza or something, it doesn't have to be fancy.
    The guests for the rehearsal dinner can be just the wedding party, parents, or whoever needs to go to the actual rehearsal as well as their SOs.
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • bakerie said:
    Mostly what I mean by "rehearsal dinner" is what you see on the internet and such - huge family gathering with a lot of the wedding guests, tons of food, etc, etc, etc.  Of course if we see our WP on the day before we would eat with them - but I don't want to have to shell out big bucks to feed almost as many people as we will have at our wedding!
    The only time I've ever seen someone host the entire invite list and not just the WP at the rehearsal dinner was at my cousin's wedding. A lot of guests thought it was weird that everyone was invited and side-eyed it.
    Why would someone side eye getting a free meal?
    It wasn't so much the free meal, but the fact that it seemed like they were flaunting how much money they were spending on everything. I should probably mention that they had a welcome BBQ for all guests the day before this as well. Then a 4 course rehearsal dinner for all guests where every one of my cousin's friends gave 10 minute speeches. It took hours. Like one PP said, it was almost like a reception before the wedding and it really did come of AW-ish to everyone.
     Visit The Knot!                                           image
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Like Scribe said, it's pretty simple. If you are having any kind of rehearsal, then you need to host something for those attending that rehearsal. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • There was no rehearsal dinner when my sister got married.  I was the MOH and her ex-BIL was the best man.  The second time there was no one standing up.
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