Etiquette

Etiquette around pre-wedding drinks

londinium215londinium215
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edited January 2016 in Etiquette
Hi all, 

I'm having a semi-destination wedding (I guess? We're getting married where we live, and where his friends and family are, but my friends and family are from another country) in the UK this spring. We aren't having a rehearsal, so no rehearsal dinner. Regardless, I've always heard the right thing to do is to host dinner the night before the wedding for any out of town guests, but that puts us at at least 2/3 of the guests, which we can't afford (we had a very nice cushion in our budget but then life happened and now money is very tight - we can still pay for what we'd planned, but can't budget in any extras). 

We were thinking of going out to dinner the night before with just our immediate families, and letting people know that we'll be hanging out in our hotel bar afterwards if anyone wants to come by to say hello. 

Is this a good idea?
What's the best way to let people know? Can we just put a note on the website?
Are we obligated to pay?

We want it to be very informal - literally just a "hey, if you want to say hi here's where we'll be!" sort of thing, especially giving us a chance to catch up with out of towners, since many of them will be leaving early on Sunday. 

Re: Etiquette around pre-wedding drinks

  • I think dinner with your immediate families is fine. I have huge amounts of family from out of state, and our rehearsal dinner is just our wedding party and friends of my parents' from out of town. We were going to be upwards of hosting 50-60 people for a rehearsal dinner if we invited all out of town guests, which we could not afford. Our thought was because we have so much family from out of town, they will probably want to see and hang out with each other anyway before the wedding, and we will just let them know if/when/where we go out after the rehearsal dinner if they want to join. The hosted rehearsal dinner (in our case) is meant more for our out of town guests would be stuck in a hotel room with nothing to do without the dinner.
  • short+sassyshort+sassy
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    edited January 2016

    I think your plans sound just fine.  RDs are never required.  While wedding couples often invite OOT guests to RDs or out to dinner the night before, it is not at all expected or required, etiquette-wise.  And there are a lot of wedding couples who don't.

    I wouldn't put the part about hanging out at the hotel bar on the wedding website and definitely not in invitations, because that could give the impression you are hosting that portion.  But letting people know via word of mouth, just like you described, is perfect.

    As an aside, I wouldn't classify your wedding as a destination wedding at all.  It's just unfortunate that a large portion of the guest list lives far away.  To me, a destination wedding is when a couple is getting married somewhere that is both not where they live or where their entire guest list lives.  To borrow your phrase, I'd call a "semi-destination" wedding one where everyone has to travel somewhere else...but it is within a 3-4 hour drive.  Like getting married on a beach in the Bahamas versus driving a few hours to a mountain resort.

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  • This is exactly like us, OP. We both live away from our families so for 2/3 of our guests it is a DW I guess. Though it will be the same country. We will probably have dinner with our parents the night before but other than that we don't plan to see anyone else the night before at all. I don't think anyone really expects that either, so no need to worry.
                 
  • Our wedding was OOT for the majority of guests. We couldn't afford to host them all and didn't really want to since it'd be basically everyone who was coming to the wedding. Unfortunately I was really sick my rehearsal day so I went to bed after the rehearsal dinner but DH (FI then) hung out with people afterward and he basically just told people he'd be at the hotel restaurant/bar watching the football game. I agree that the best thing to do is just to spread it by word of mouth. Tell a couple of key people and if anyone inquires to you feel free to let them know your plans.
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    cowgirl8238
  • Thank you, all! It sounds like this is something we'll be able to do without feeling like we're being unfair or rude to our guests, which is all we wanted :)
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
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    I think the tradition of hosting OOT guests at the RD started when there were few OOT guests. In my family, we host extended family at the RD (they are usually OOT too). Of course, for some people this could be most of the wedding list also. You are fine doing what you have planned.
  • Just make sure that you're not having dinner at the same place where you're word-of-mouth inviting people out for drinks. It would get very awkward if people showed up early and you were sitting there eating still. 
    PrettyGirlLost
  • MandyMost said:
    Just make sure that you're not having dinner at the same place where you're word-of-mouth inviting people out for drinks. It would get very awkward if people showed up early and you were sitting there eating still. 
    My dad suggested we have dinner at the hotel restaurant, which is right next to the hotel bar (where we plan to have drinks) - I very quickly vetoed that and said we'll have dinner in a place in the neighbourhood, but not in the same room!

    PrettyGirlLost
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
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    As an aside, I wouldn't classify your wedding as a destination wedding at all.  It's just unfortunate that a large portion of the guest list lives far away.  To me, a destination wedding is when a couple is getting married somewhere that is both not where they live or where their entire guest list lives.  To borrow your phrase, I'd call a "semi-destination" wedding one where everyone has to travel somewhere else...but it is within a 3-4 hour drive.  Like getting married on a beach in the Bahamas versus driving a few hours to a mountain resort.

    As a guest, if I have to travel to a completely different country, I consider that a destination wedding, regardless of whether or not the couple is traveling.  Because the end result for me as the guest- I have to travel to a different country-  is the same, whether the couple travels or not.  Their traveling is completely irrelevant to me as a guest.

    If the couple lives in NYC and decides to get married in Tahiti, and I live in Dallas and I decide to travel to Tahiti to attend wedding- destination wedding.

    If the couple lives in London and decides to get married in London, and I live in Dallas and decide to travel to London to attend the wedding- destination wedding.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona
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    Like others said, hosting a night before dinner is not required for OOT guests and not required at all if you don't do rehearsal.  But, if you want to do something, it also doesn't have to be anything formal.  Our wedding was destination for 100% of our guests.  Our family is spread all across the USA, so at least 3/4 of the people would travel no matter where held the wedding, so we just had it in the middle of the country.  We did not do a rehearsal.  But, the night before the wedding we wanted to do a "welcome dinner".  We asked our hotel if we could use the lounge/dining area where they do their breakfast to host pizza for 20-25 people.   They let us use it for free, as long as we kept noise down and cleaned up after ourselves and no alcohol. So, we ordered 8 pizzas, some chips, and iced tea/soda.  It cost us about $200. 

    image 

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