Pre-wedding Parties

Rehearsal Dinner with a close family.

My fiance and I are getting married in October and are starting to put together a rehearsal dinner list. With our "must haves" (wedding party and their dates, and the parents and grandparents) we're already at 30 people. My entire side of the family is so close to both my fiance and I that we really want to invite my aunts, uncles, and cousins. That brings it up to 45-50 people. 

If you add in my fiance's out of state family it brings it up to 70-80 people. I know some people will not attend, but still, is 60-70 people too many for a rehearsal dinner? (Our wedding is 160 guests)

Another option we are considering is just the original 30 people at the rehearsal dinner and inviting all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and out of towners to grab a drink or two afterwards. Has anyone done this?

Re: Rehearsal Dinner with a close family.

  • You are going to get a very wide range of answers. Just my opinion, I think that if the size of the party is in your budget, why not?  It gives you an extra evening to spend with your guests and allows everybody there an extra chance to wish you well.  I don't love the dinner with 30 idea and drinks after for others, again, unless it is a budget issue.  You should serve a meal to those who come to rehearse, everything else is pretty much up to you.
  • The only people required for a RD are the people involved in the rehearsal (WP, readers, ushers, etc.), immediate family, and everyone's SO. It's polite to extend and invite to your officiant, too. Outside that, no one is required. And technically, if you don't have a rehearsal, RDs aren't required at all. That may be a good option for you to save money and just avoid it all together.

    As far as inviting extra people out afterwards, you can do this but if its formal invite, you should host them. If its just "we'll be at XYZ bar at 8:30 if you want to stop by, then I don't think you need to host them.
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    levioosaAuroraRose41
  • We are inviting everyone to our rehearsal dinner (100 people). We know that not everyone will be able to attend, but we didn't know who to invite either. Our wedding is about a three hour drive for everyone, and some people have already told us that they are coming up Friday night to make a weekend out of it. I also thought it would be a great chance to hang out with everyone some more.

    It's up to you if you want to host only 30 people or 70-80. Just make sure to be consistent on what you do for your side of the family is the same for your FIs family.
    rcher912
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    joey2831 said:
    We are inviting everyone to our rehearsal dinner (100 people). We know that not everyone will be able to attend, but we didn't know who to invite either. Our wedding is about a three hour drive for everyone, and some people have already told us that they are coming up Friday night to make a weekend out of it. I also thought it would be a great chance to hang out with everyone some more.

    It's up to you if you want to host only 30 people or 70-80. Just make sure to be consistent on what you do for your side of the family is the same for your FIs family.

    OMG YES to the bolded.

    I really wanted our RD to be just the 30 people who actually had cause to be there - it didn't make sense to me to make it into a second reception, with only half the guests left off.

    MIL (who was hosting) wanted to show off to all her and FIL's siblings, so she wanted aunts and uncles to be added. However, she agreed to do what FI and I wanted and keep it small.

    Except she added the aunts and uncles anyway. But only on FI's side. When I found out, I had to scramble get her to send out a second round of invites to my aunts and uncles so my parents, grandmother, and the aunt who was a reader wouldn't wonder why the hell FI's whole family was there and none of ours got invited.

    Our RD was fine, at 60 people. It'll be nice whichever way you do it. If you're hosting, invite the people you want there. If you're not, just keep in mind that I would rather my MIL not have agreed to something we want if she was just going to do what she wanted (which was her right), but without telling us.

  • Dreamergirl8812Dreamergirl8812 your closet member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    We had about 20 people and it was one of the best parts of our wedding. The RD was at the B&B where most of us were staying for 2 nights. Our families had never met before, and we all stayed up late drinking and getting to know each other. At one point I ended up at the card table upstairs with a small but steady stream of people wanting a few minutes of alone time with me before the wedding. It was truly enjoyable and much more intimate than the wedding itself.

    The wedding goes by SO FAST so I was glad to be able to add this night to the whole experience.



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    hicoco
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We had about 20 people and it was one of the best parts of our wedding. The RD was at the B&B where most of us were staying for 2 nights. Our families had never met before, and we all stayed up late drinking and getting to know each other. At one point I ended up at the card table upstairs with a small but steady stream of people wanting a few minutes of alone time with me before the wedding. It was truly enjoyable and much more intimate than the wedding itself.

    The wedding goes by SO FAST so I was glad to be able to add this night to the whole experience.
    The bolded is why I wanted to keep it small. If the rehearsal dinner is the same size as the reception, you get to "spend more time" with everyone, but only the minute or two that you get to spend at the reception. I wanted to spend some quality time with these few people.
  • I would keep it smaller. This is a time to give your gifts and thank your nearest and dearest for their love and support. Half the reception coming to the rehearsal seems very excessive.


  • We invited our wedding party, their dates and our immediate family.  We also extended an invite to out of state family who had been in town already (2 aunts/uncles and my grandmother).  My parents invited other OOT family who were getting in town near/during the rehearsal to drinks in the hotel bar that evening (three cousins and 1 more aunt).  H and I stopped by for a bit before going to our hotel.  It was very informal and was a nice way to greet people who were in town for the wedding.
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    Anniversary
  • I think the guest list for our RD is about 50 people. Since most of our family members are from out of town my FI's father told me to invite both sides of family.

    Whatever you do make sure it is what you want to do and enjoy it  

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  • I would actually keep the RD guest list to the "must haves". It keeps the event more intimate. You can greet other guests later in the evening at an informal gathering.

  • The rehearsal dinner is generally just for people in the bridal party.  This means that anyone who has a part in the ceremony should be invited.  It is generally also a courtesy to invite guests who are coming in early from out of town.  I would definitely make sure that if you invite one side of the family(aunts uncles etc) then you definitely need to extend the invitation to both sides.  
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  • If you can afford it, why not!?  I will say though, I also come from a large close knit family, but my husband and I paid for our own RD, so we kept it at the wedding party and significant others, parents, and grandparents.  We ended up with about 25 people.  In retrospect, I'm glad that it was small because it was less stressful and the day before the wedding all I wanted was a stress free day!
  • hicocohicoco Chicago member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper

    My fiance and I are getting married in October and are starting to put together a rehearsal dinner list. With our "must haves" (wedding party and their dates, and the parents and grandparents) we're already at 30 people. My entire side of the family is so close to both my fiance and I that we really want to invite my aunts, uncles, and cousins. That brings it up to 45-50 people. 


    If you add in my fiance's out of state family it brings it up to 70-80 people. I know some people will not attend, but still, is 60-70 people too many for a rehearsal dinner? (Our wedding is 160 guests)

    Another option we are considering is just the original 30 people at the rehearsal dinner and inviting all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and out of towners to grab a drink or two afterwards. Has anyone done this?
    I am in the same spot. It's generally tradition in my family to invite all out of town guests and I am trying so hard to make cuts because I feel bad for my future in laws! We offered to pay for our guests, but they said they want to do it all which is very generous.
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    147 people RSVPd "yes" to our OOT wedding.

    We had about 100+ at the open house RD.   Everyone was invited, that was just who showed up.

    I would not have change it for the world.  I loved getting the extra night to hang with our guests.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
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