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Pre-wedding Parties

Rehearsal Dinner Dilemma

My fiance and I are getting married in my hometown. All of his family live about 8 hours away and are unfamiliar with the area, so his parents, who generously offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner, left picking a RD location up to us. We frequently travel there and are familiar with the area. 

We found a great place that was within the budget and reserved it for our date.

After the reservation was made, we didn't hear anything from his parents on further planning of the event, so I had him ask if they'd need the invite list, addresses, etc. They pretty much said that they just want to pay for it and want me to plan it since I would have to send the guest list to them anyways (not super hard). They haven't offered any help as far as menu planning/decor either.

I'm more than a little stressed over having to plan another event (I'm planning the whole wedding on my own), but I've accepted it. I don't know who to have the RSVP's come to though. Me, since I'm planning? Or them, because they're hosting? I have a feeling that if RSVP's go to them, I'll never get a final head count for the venue, but that it will look funny to have the RSVP's come to the bride. 

Thoughts?

Re: Rehearsal Dinner Dilemma

  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Agreed your fiance should be helping you out with this.

    Yes, invitations should be returned to the host. However, (s)he who pays is not necessarily the person who is hosting. At this time, it sounds like you (and your FI!) are hosting. The RD is to thank those who attended the rehearsal- it is in honour of them, thus it is appropriate for the B&G to host this event. A rehearsal + RD are also not required, so if you are finding this particularly stressful, you can cancel the event. However, if you are doing a rehearsal then you must host the RD post as a thank you to those who are participating.

    Many B&G's would say you are lucky to have free reign to plan something someone else is paying for. It is not the groom's parents responsibility or requirement to host the RD (though that is what has traditionally been done), so it's generous they are offering to pay for it. The RD does not need to be complex. You have a restaurant venue- great! As for the meal, pick a few menu items that guests can choose from (a limited menu)- allows you a bit of control over the price and keeps things simple for restaurant staff and guests. A simple invitation to those involved with the rehearsal (officiant, WP + SOs) and usually immediate family. No decor needed. Enjoy your meal!
    OurWildKingdompoodledoodleooo
  • Yah, I'd ask you FI to take the lead on this one, since his parents are paying. If they said they want to be out of the planning process completely and just pay for the dinner, and you agreed to this arrangement, then I would think the RSVPs, the communication with the venue/caterer, and the other decisions are all on you.

    If planning this is too much, and you can't get your FI to help, then you can either 1) forgo having a rehearsal and a rehearsal dinner, or 2) ask them to plan it. Now that the venue is booked there isn't anything they would need to be in town for. The venue can email/snail mail menus, you probably don't really need decor, and they can manage the RSVPs.

    If they offered to host a rehearsal dinner for you, then they should actually do the business of hosting it.
    OurWildKingdomSP29OliveOilsMom
  • My fiancé travels frequently for work this time of year - he is only home 8 days this month - so that is why he's not around to help.

    Our officiant basically said we have to have a rehearsal, so it sounds like foregoing the RD is not an option. The officiant is my cousin, so no, I can't get out of that on w/o some major family drama (see my other post if you want to know more abt that issue).
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    My fiancé travels frequently for work this time of year - he is only home 8 days this month - so that is why he's not around to help.

    Our officiant basically said we have to have a rehearsal, so it sounds like foregoing the RD is not an option. The officiant is my cousin, so no, I can't get out of that on w/o some major family drama (see my other post if you want to know more abt that issue).
    It kind of sounds like your cousin isn't working out for you guys and is causing a significant amount of stress.  It's okay to say "no, we don't need a rehearsal, and we have a list of who is paired up to walk down the aisle." Seriously, a wedding procession is not rocket science.  Ditto Pps on handling invitations and hosting.  If you choose to have a rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, don't worry about decorations.  I could not tell you a single decoration at wedding rehearsals I've attended and that aspect of the dinner is more trouble and money than it's worth.  


    image
    OurWildKingdom
  • This was exactly what happened with our wedding. They just wanted to pay, not plan since they're across the country. We gave them a couple places they said pick whatever you want so we picked location, time, and told everyone about it. There is no stress required, no special planning to do, just find a place to accommodate the group (that is within the budget ILs are willing to pay), tell people about it and call it a day. We didn't end up doing paper invites because we were lazy and they didn't get mailed so we just called/texted/emailed people with the info.
    OurWildKingdomOliveOilsMomHeffalump
  • Even if your FI is on the road he can still have rsvps directed to him. He has a phone and email right? Or he can set up an evite and manage that.


    OurWildKingdomernursejInLoveInQueensKnottie1452098987
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    What's to plan? Reserve the space for X people, invite those people. Done.
    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
    InLoveInQueensSP29
  • TyvmTyvm member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer Name Dropper
    I know how this can seem overwhelming! Maybe cut the planning into tiny steps, that are doable?


    k thnx bye

  • I definitely understand your stress. I have the help of a wedding planner and my fiance is very involved, but I still felt pretty overwhelmed sometimes. 
    Don't feel trapped by "tradition". Feel free to have the rehearsal dinner be as formal or informal as you like. I did google invites for the rehearsal dinner and it has worked well.  I do agree with some of the other ladies that you can do something more casual. Maybe do a pizza and game night, maybe just the restaurant is fine. 
    PS If you do not have a day of planner, get one! It will alleviate a lot the stress you may be experiencing. THe day of your wedding you want to be sitting on a lily pad somewhere not setting up decorations.
  • Funeral wakes or receptions are a bigger deal than wedding rehearsal dinners.  We had my late mother's funeral reception at a chicken/pizza restaurant that had a small private room.  All I had to do was to write the check.  I just counted the people, and paid per person.   No big planning involved, and people loved it.  Much better than stale sandwiches and watered punch at the church.
    At daughter's rehearsal dinner, her FILS choose a Chinese buffet restaurant.  This was very authentic in Rockville, MD, and appropriate since the family is Chinese/American.   They had fried chicken feet!  OMG!  It was great.  Again, they paid per person, so it was easy for them.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • OP - the hardest part is done, you have a RD site with food - now - assuming you're going to be talking to your WP, go ahead and ask how many there'll be to the rehearsal dinner so you can plan.  Done...  Nothing more needs to be added.  The verbal invitation is fine for the RD unless you're inviting insane numbers of people.  Other than WP gifts, don't make the RD into a production!!!
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • I would have the rsvp's for the dinner come to you because you are probably already the go to person for the bridal party & can call the location to put in the head count. Plus if anyone has any questions about the location like what type of food, how fancy, etc, you are the best person to ask about that.
  • edited May 2016
    Thanks for the advice :) I explained my stress to FI and he and his parents offered to take over the planning. Great, right?

    Except his parents have started dropping some serious hints that it's now too much of a financial burden. Perhaps they didn't realize how many people (30-ish) would be included? I don't know... I thought FI had figured out an appropriate price range before we picked the venue, but maybe not.

    We are about to say f--- it and order hoagies for everyone. Honestly, that sounds like more fun to me at this point anyways. Oy vey...I give up.
  • Thanks for the advice :) I explained my stress to FI and he and his parents offered to take over the planning. Great, right?

    Except his parents have started dropping some serious hints that it's now too much of a financial burden. Perhaps they didn't realize how many people (30-ish) would be included? I don't know... I thought FI had figured out an appropriate price range before we picked the venue, but maybe not.

    We are about to say f--- it and order hoagies for everyone. Honestly, that sounds like more fun to me at this point anyways. Oy vey...I give up.
  • Sorry for the duplicate comment on that
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    As a matter of fact, it's totally fine to have an informal rehearsal dinner with sandwiches, pizza, etc. as opposed to a more formal and/or expensive dinner, provided that there is enough food and beverages for everyone and the guests are not expected to pay for themselves.
    OurWildKingdomSP29OliveOilsMom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    edited May 2016
    Jen4948 said:
    As a matter of fact, it's totally fine to have an informal rehearsal dinner with sandwiches, pizza, etc. as opposed to a more formal and/or expensive dinner, provided that there is enough food and beverages for everyone and the guests are not expected to pay for themselves.
    Something low-key at your house would be an excellent choice. Just don't make it potluck.
    SP29
  • edited June 2016
    Just wanted to say thanks for this discussion. I was going to post same problem, but sounds like since I'm the bride organizing then I'm the one who has to get RSVP. Not what I want, but we're not having a pizza and beer causual rehearsal so that was our choice to have a nicer gathering, and also that is also the custom in my family. I'll just keep repeating "Suck it up Buttercup" and make it through.
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