Pre-wedding Parties

Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

tigerlily6tigerlily6
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edited April 2016 in Pre-wedding Parties
Hi all,

For mine and for lurkers' sake, what are the quick "dos" and "don'ts" for rehearsal dinner etiquette? My FILs are hosting at a nice restaurant, and FMIL has been asking me about the guest list. I know that all the WP members and their dates should be invited (all siblings are WP members), along with readers, and obviously parents and grandparents. I have read in some places that one ought to invite OOT guests, also, but as nearly all our guests will be OOT (about 120 of them, if they all attend the wedding), I wasn't sure how that would work.

As far as extended family members, FI has a number of other relatives (twenty-five people counting aunts, uncles, and cousins) who have all verbally said they plan on attending the wedding and reserved rooms from our hotel blocks already. At least one aunt and uncle will be invited, since they are the caretakers for one of FI's grandmothers who is in a wheelchair and needs the assistance. So I think FMIL is trying to figure out how to equitably invite relatives due to this. I only have 5 other relatives (aunt, uncle, and 3 cousins) attending the wedding apart from my parents and 2 brothers (and all my grandparents are deceased).
I don't think the family sides need to match in numbers, any more than BMs and GMs need to match. But I think FMIL feels weird hosting a party that will involve mostly the groom's family and so few of mine. Thoughts? And any other pieces of information I should keep in mind/ relay to FMIL as I work with her in trying to help arrange the details on the rehearsal dinner?

ETA grammar
                    


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Re: Rehearsal Dinner Etiquette

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    How many people does FMIL say they can host? That is an important number to know. I think if FMIL can swing it, it is nice to invite OOT relatives. We did this at DD's and SIL's RD. Our family outnumbered his family by quite a bit - he is an only child. FMIL really shouldn't be counting family members since sides don't have to be equal.
    tigerlily6
  • How many people does FMIL say they can host? That is an important number to know. I think if FMIL can swing it, it is nice to invite OOT relatives. We did this at DD's and SIL's RD. Our family outnumbered his family by quite a bit - he is an only child. FMIL really shouldn't be counting family members since sides don't have to be equal.
    I'm not sure she's settled on a number yet, which is the issue -- according to the website, the venue space itself (a private outdoor patio belonging to the restaurant) has a capacity of up to 80 people, which would definitely cover all the relatives plus any honored guests traveling very long distances. But I know FI's parents were hit fairly hard during the recession a few years ago, and have only just recently started to build back up from it. They've been very generous about wanting to host the rehearsal dinner, but I sense there is some concern about expenses. 

    I like the idea of hosting relatives, since I am very honored that many of them are making the trip to attend and I also know I'll have less time to socialize with them on the actual wedding day. I would be fine keeping the rehearsal dinner a smaller, intimate affair if this still fits within etiquette, but I wasn't sure if it was or not. 

    If it affects things at all, my FI and I plan on hosting a short brunch ourselves the day after the wedding itself. It's not an obligatory event or a formal one by any means, nor us trying to squeeze in an extra day of celebration, but we wanted to extend the courtesy of breakfast to any friends and relatives who may still be in town before they depart. Would something like this help to mitigate not inviting all our relatives to the rehearsal dinner, or is that still the expectation?
                        


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  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
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    Just, clarity on what's happening. A small, intimate affair is definitely within etiquette - we wanted parents, grandparents, godparents (who were the lectors), WP (included sibs) and SOs. No one expects an invite to the rehearsal dinner unless they have something to do with the rehearsal, although most people aren't surprised to get an invite to one if they're coming from OOT.

    MIL wanted to invite all the aunts and uncles, which made it a MUCH larger thing. That would have been her prerogative as host, but she agreed to the smaller thing we wanted. Then invited the aunts and uncles anyway... but just from her side. We had to scramble to send out invites to aunts and uncles on my side when we found out, which luckily was okay since she would have been fine hosting them to begin with.

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  • adk19adk19
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
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    Hi all,

    For mine and for lurkers' sake, what are the quick "dos" and "don'ts" for rehearsal dinner etiquette? My FILs are hosting at a nice restaurant, and FMIL has been asking me about the guest list. I know that all the WP members and their dates should be invited (all siblings are WP members), along with readers, and obviously parents and grandparents. I have read in some places that one ought to invite OOT guests, also, but as nearly all our guests will be OOT (about 120 of them, if they all attend the wedding), I wasn't sure how that would work.

    As far as extended family members, FI has a number of other relatives (twenty-five people counting aunts, uncles, and cousins) who have all verbally said they plan on attending the wedding and reserved rooms from our hotel blocks already. At least one aunt and uncle will be invited, since they are the caretakers for one of FI's grandmothers who is in a wheelchair and needs the assistance. So I think FMIL is trying to figure out how to equitably invite relatives due to this. I only have 5 other relatives (aunt, uncle, and 3 cousins) attending the wedding apart from my parents and 2 brothers (and all my grandparents are deceased).
    I don't think the family sides need to match in numbers, any more than BMs and GMs need to match. But I think FMIL feels weird hosting a party that will involve mostly the groom's family and so few of mine. Thoughts? And any other pieces of information I should keep in mind/ relay to FMIL as I work with her in trying to help arrange the details on the rehearsal dinner?

    ETA grammar
    I'd give FMIL a couple lists.  First the Must Invite list which is the wedding party and everyone involved with the ceremony.  Second would be your side of the more distant family.  Make sure she knows that you understand you have a smaller family, and that's fine with you.  You're joining their family soon, so you consider it all just "family" and not My family and His family.  That way she has the list of your aunts and uncles in case she wants to invite hers.  Then leave it up to her.  If you think she'd prefer a smaller event, subtly declare your preference for that as well.  "While it'd be great to get together with your sisters and nieces, I think a smaller event with just our very closest would be really special, don't you think?"
    tigerlily6OurWildKingdomSP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    I like @adk19's suggestion.  You don't need to include all the OOT guests if they are not immediate family or wedding party members. 

    If your FMIL still seems uncomfortable hosting a party that's mostly the groom's family after that, then you might talk to your FMIL about perhaps hosting, instead of a rehearsal dinner, just a party for her side, and host the actual rehearsal dinner yourself.
    tigerlily6
  • adk19 said:

    I'd give FMIL a couple lists.  First the Must Invite list which is the wedding party and everyone involved with the ceremony.  Second would be your side of the more distant family.  Make sure she knows that you understand you have a smaller family, and that's fine with you.  You're joining their family soon, so you consider it all just "family" and not My family and His family.  That way she has the list of your aunts and uncles in case she wants to invite hers.  Then leave it up to her.  If you think she'd prefer a smaller event, subtly declare your preference for that as well.  "While it'd be great to get together with your sisters and nieces, I think a smaller event with just our very closest would be really special, don't you think?"
    Love this idea of giving two different lists and also the conversation wording! Definitely going to follow this advice, this is exactly what I was needing. Thanks, @adk19 !
                        


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