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Rehearsal Dinner: Do I need one?

Hi all! 

My SO and I are going to do a small church wedding with immediate family (just parents and siblings) a few weeks prior to our "real wedding." 

For the "real wedding," we're doing a short, simple ceremony at our reception venue. We each have 3 people in our bridal party (so 6 total) and my uncle will be officiating. It will be really simple and short, so I don't think there is any need for a rehearsal dinner. 

Here's what I was thinking instead...

SO and I take my uncle & his wife out for dinner a week or two before the wedding as a thank you and to walk through the day.

On the night before the wedding, I will take my bridesmaids and mom out for dinner as a girls night (we'll all be staying in hotel together), and my SO will take his groomsmen and parents out for dinner. We can both talk about the logistics of the next day with them; plus, we'll have a day-of wedding coordinator.

I want everyone involved in the wedding to feel special, so don't want to skip out on a meal entirely but don't think a big rehearsal and rehearsal dinner is necessary. Plus, we are definitely on a budget so would prefer for my SO's parents to put the money towards other aspects of the wedding.

My question -- is this okay? All three of my bridesmaids are coming from out of state (two driving distance, one flight distance), so is it okay if they don't get to bring their significant others to the dinner? Our wedding doesn't start until 5pm the next day so their significant others could always come the next day. 

Would appreciate any/all advice! Thanks!
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Re: Rehearsal Dinner: Do I need one?

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 3
    Hi all! 

    My SO and I are going to do a small church wedding with immediate family (just parents and siblings) a few weeks prior to our "real wedding." 

    For the "real wedding," we're doing a short, simple ceremony at our reception venue. We each have 3 people in our bridal party (so 6 total) and my uncle will be officiating. It will be really simple and short, so I don't think there is any need for a rehearsal dinner. 

    Here's what I was thinking instead...

    SO and I take my uncle & his wife out for dinner a week or two before the wedding as a thank you and to walk through the day.

    On the night before the wedding, I will take my bridesmaids and mom out for dinner as a girls night (we'll all be staying in hotel together), and my SO will take his groomsmen and parents out for dinner. We can both talk about the logistics of the next day with them; plus, we'll have a day-of wedding coordinator.

    I want everyone involved in the wedding to feel special, so don't want to skip out on a meal entirely but don't think a big rehearsal and rehearsal dinner is necessary. Plus, we are definitely on a budget so would prefer for my SO's parents to put the money towards other aspects of the wedding.

    My question -- is this okay? All three of my bridesmaids are coming from out of state (two driving distance, one flight distance), so is it okay if they don't get to bring their significant others to the dinner? Our wedding doesn't start until 5pm the next day so their significant others could always come the next day. 

    Would appreciate any/all advice! Thanks!
    I am sorry, but your plans are NOT OK.  You get one wedding, not two.  Is the small church ceremony going to be your legal wedding?  If so, your wedding reception must be on the same day.

    What you can do is to have a party on a different day to celebrate your marriage (NOT a second wedding reception).  This can be as fancy as you please, with dinner and dancing, but it is not your wedding reception, and any recreation of your ceremony is inappropriate.

    As for attendants, any bridesmaids will be at your wedding in the church.  If not, then they are not your bridesmaids at all.  Tell them that you have made a mistake and that you have changed your plans.

    I am so sorry to give you the bad news, but if you follow your current plans, you will be offending many people.  Your "real wedding" is when you legally become a married couple.  Anything else is just a pretend wedding with pretend bridesmaids.  To invite guests to your wedding (which is NOT your wedding) is just wrong.

    As an alternative, you could cancel the church wedding, and then your wedding would be at your reception venue, assuming that your uncle is legally able to marry you.  This might be the best choice for you.  This way, you can still have your bridesmaids.

    A rehearsal dinner is only needed if there is a wedding rehearsal.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    STARMOON44ahoyweddingeileenrob
  • MRDCleMRDCle member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    Hi all! 

    My SO and I are going to do a small church wedding with immediate family (just parents and siblings) a few weeks prior to our "real wedding." 

    For the "real wedding," we're doing a short, simple ceremony at our reception venue. We each have 3 people in our bridal party (so 6 total) and my uncle will be officiating. It will be really simple and short, so I don't think there is any need for a rehearsal dinner. 

    Here's what I was thinking instead...

    SO and I take my uncle & his wife out for dinner a week or two before the wedding as a thank you and to walk through the day.

    On the night before the wedding, I will take my bridesmaids and mom out for dinner as a girls night (we'll all be staying in hotel together), and my SO will take his groomsmen and parents out for dinner. We can both talk about the logistics of the next day with them; plus, we'll have a day-of wedding coordinator.

    I want everyone involved in the wedding to feel special, so don't want to skip out on a meal entirely but don't think a big rehearsal and rehearsal dinner is necessary. Plus, we are definitely on a budget so would prefer for my SO's parents to put the money towards other aspects of the wedding.

    My question -- is this okay? All three of my bridesmaids are coming from out of state (two driving distance, one flight distance), so is it okay if they don't get to bring their significant others to the dinner? Our wedding doesn't start until 5pm the next day so their significant others could always come the next day. 

    Would appreciate any/all advice! Thanks!
    Your real wedding is the one where you get legally married. So that would be the wedding with your immediate families I suspect? So the second event you're throwing, you won't need a bridal party or officiant as you will already be married. Therefore, no need for a rehearsal or rehearsal dinner. But you should be taking your families to a meal or something as a thank you after your actual wedding. 
    CMGragainSTARMOON44ahoyweddingInLoveInQueens
  • We're only doing the Church ceremony for our families because both of our parents are very religious and it's important to them. The ceremony that means the most to us is the ceremony at the day of our "real wedding," it will be personalized by my uncle (who knows me and my SO very well) and that's why we want our bridal party to be apart of that. It will be intimate and personal.
    katj10
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 3
    We're only doing the Church ceremony for our families because both of our parents are very religious and it's important to them. The ceremony that means the most to us is the ceremony at the day of our "real wedding," it will be personalized by my uncle (who knows me and my SO very well) and that's why we want our bridal party to be apart of that. It will be intimate and personal.
    It does not matter.  Your wedding is the day that you legally are married.  I doubt if any church official would consent to perform a wedding ceremony that wasn't legal.  Any subsequent wedding ceremony is not valid.  Please reconsider your plans.  The word that you are already married will get out, and people will not be pleased that you invited them to a fake wedding instead of your actual wedding where you become a legally married couple.  I am sorry, but that is exactly what your second ceremony will be!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    STARMOON44ahoyweddingInLoveInQueens
  • I understand what you're saying, and definitely don't want to insult any guests.

    Maybe we'll do the church ceremony at some point later on (post the civil ceremony where my uncle marries us). I have been googling around and it looks like in the Catholic Church you can do a convalidation ceremony after a civil ceremony. 
  • I understand what you're saying, and definitely don't want to insult any guests.

    Maybe we'll do the church ceremony at some point later on (post the civil ceremony where my uncle marries us). I have been googling around and it looks like in the Catholic Church you can do a convalidation ceremony after a civil ceremony. 
    Why are you doing a civil ceremony separate from the religious one?
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We're only doing the Church ceremony for our families because both of our parents are very religious and it's important to them. The ceremony that means the most to us is the ceremony at the day of our "real wedding," it will be personalized by my uncle (who knows me and my SO very well) and that's why we want our bridal party to be apart of that. It will be intimate and personal.
     As others have said, you get married ONCE.  There is no such thing as a "real wedding".  When you "quote' something in this sense, it implies/indicates that something is not accurate or appropriate.  This "real wedding" is exactly that; it is neither accurate or appropriate.

    As an adult you need to decide if you are marrying for yourselves or your parents.  If a civil ceremony is what means the most to you and your partner, then choose that wedding.

    A convalidation is NOT a simple process.  Please do not assume you can walk into a parish office and pick a date for a convalidation.  For that matter, even if you move forward with a private church ceremony, you will need to fulfill certain requirements. 

    It is impolite to ask anyone for money towards YOUR wedding.  If your SO's family offers to contribute, then you can accept it.  However, please realize that for many people, offers of money have strings attached.
    charlotte989875CMGragain
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited January 4
    Convalidation ceremonies are not weddings.  They are intended for couples who convert to Catholicism after they are married.  They are not for people who decide they don't want to follow church rules. 
    The Catholic church takes the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony very seriously.  Does the priest know you are having a wedding ceremony which you consider to be your "real wedding" at another place after receiving the sacrament?  This would be an insult to the sacrament , and many priests would also object to your plans.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    ahoywedding
  • My parents and H's parents would have all preferred we got married in a church. I haven't willingly gone to church since I lived with my parents, and neither had H. Guess what? We got married at our reception venue, outside in a garden. It was lovely. We told our parents it was important to start our lives together the way WE wanted, and they were okay with it. 

    Are you Catholic or do you intend to convert to Catholicism? They don't play when it comes to weddings and the sacrament, and definitely will not entertain your convalidation ceremony if you don't intend to convert. 

    I would suggest having the wedding that you and your FI want. If that includes a wedding party and you have a rehearsal (not necessary, but most couples have them), then you need to host a rehearsal dinner afterwards. It can be as simple as pizza and beer/soda at your place or the hotel or whatever, or it can be a meal at a restaurant. You definitely need to invite SO's of the wedding party to the rehearsal dinner, and of course all SO's of all guests to the wedding (whoever they consider a SO). Especially since they're traveling, "they can just come the next day" seems a bit harsh. That means two people driving two separate cars from the same location to the same location which is foolish and wasteful. 
    charlotte989875MairePoppyeileenrobShesSoCold
  • All of this just sounds like a bad idea.

    Do you two want to be practicing Catholics?   Have you even booked the church?  Do your guests know what you're planning??  

    As someone who was married in a Catholic ceremony why would you receive a Sacrament if it wasn't your intention to do it for yourself?   That's not something you should do to make your parents happy.   

    Secondly, how is any wedding ceremony not intimate and personal?  Sure a church is big but it's only the two of you getting married.   It's intimate and personal BECAUSE you're getting married!  
    CMGragain
  • As for the bridal party portion of things, I do think it's rude to have people travel from out of state and not invite their husbands to dinner the night before.  
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    As for the bridal party portion of things, I do think it's rude to have people travel from out of state and not invite their husbands to dinner the night before.  
    This is your take away?

    What is rude is to invite guests from out of town for a FAKE, PRETEND, NOT REAL "wedding" because the couple is already HUSBAND and WIFE. 

    What is rude is to lie to a church and receive a sacrament that is completely meaningless.
    InLoveInQueensahoywedding
  • CMGragain said:
    We're only doing the Church ceremony for our families because both of our parents are very religious and it's important to them. The ceremony that means the most to us is the ceremony at the day of our "real wedding," it will be personalized by my uncle (who knows me and my SO very well) and that's why we want our bridal party to be apart of that. It will be intimate and personal.
    It does not matter.  Your wedding is the day that you legally are married.  I doubt if any church official would consent to perform a wedding ceremony that wasn't legal.  Any subsequent wedding ceremony is not valid.  Please reconsider your plans.  The word that you are already married will get out, and people will not be pleased that you invited them to a fake wedding instead of your actual wedding where you become a legally married couple.  I am sorry, but that is exactly what your second ceremony will be!
    Please feel free to inform gay people who held weddings, that were real and important to them, prior to gay marriage becoming legal, that these were unimportant and did not count.
    One of the largest church denominations in my country was performing gay weddings long before gay marriage was legal.
    rachelprogress
  • Pretty sure as a gay woman, I'm allowed to decide for myself whether comments saying that only legally sanctioned marriages are valuable are offensive or not. That's incredibly offensive. Many of us held marriage ceremonies, that, while not legally sanctioned by our oppressive and homophobic governments, were deeply and personally important to us.
     I also don't believe that all the straight people getting upset about the destruction of sanctity of marriage are actually upset on our behalf.

    If you're so incensed about the rights of gay people, please spend your time doing something useful and practical, like advocating for safe shelters for our youth, who are disproportionately overrepresented in homeless populations.
  • Pretty sure as a gay woman, I'm allowed to decide for myself whether comments saying that only legally sanctioned marriages are valuable are offensive or not. That's incredibly offensive. Many of us held marriage ceremonies, that, while not legally sanctioned by our oppressive and homophobic governments, were deeply and personally important to us.
     I also don't believe that all the straight people getting upset about the destruction of sanctity of marriage are actually upset on our behalf.

    If you're so incensed about the rights of gay people, please spend your time doing something useful and practical, like advocating for safe shelters for our youth, who are disproportionately overrepresented in homeless populations.
    No.   You're not.

    We're talking PRESENT DAY.   And here in the US (assuming that's where you live) in PRESENT DAY where gay marriage is legal, we can certainly say that calling something a wedding when it isn't is actually offensive.   You could have had a horse in this race if we were talking years ago.   And if you're referring to marriages that took place when the legal wedding wasn't legal then of COURSE that non-legally binding ceremony was important - it was the only thing that would have been available to a couple living in a world where their own government did not allow them to have the same benefits of heterosexual couples.   

    If any couple in question is living in a country where same sex marriage is still not allowed then sure - a non legally binding ceremony is the only thing that they can pursue.


    Please read carefully here.   The OP isn't gay.   She's Catholic.   She's calling the Catholic wedding the "not real" wedding and the wedding that is neither religious nor legal the "real wedding".   Real how?   Real because that's when they put on a performance?   Real because there's a white dress involved?   Sorry - no.  

    We get it.   You storm into multiple threads guns a blazing and issue your not so thinly veiled insults like you're the spokes person for a community and the regulars are uneducated.  It's not working. 

    eileenrobahoyweddingInLoveInQueensshort+sassy
  • banana468 said:
    Pretty sure as a gay woman, I'm allowed to decide for myself whether comments saying that only legally sanctioned marriages are valuable are offensive or not. That's incredibly offensive. Many of us held marriage ceremonies, that, while not legally sanctioned by our oppressive and homophobic governments, were deeply and personally important to us.
     I also don't believe that all the straight people getting upset about the destruction of sanctity of marriage are actually upset on our behalf.

    If you're so incensed about the rights of gay people, please spend your time doing something useful and practical, like advocating for safe shelters for our youth, who are disproportionately overrepresented in homeless populations.
    No.   You're not.

    We're talking PRESENT DAY.   And here in the US (assuming that's where you live) in PRESENT DAY where gay marriage is legal, we can certainly say that calling something a wedding when it isn't is actually offensive.   You could have had a horse in this race if we were talking years ago.   And if you're referring to marriages that took place when the legal wedding wasn't legal then of COURSE that non-legally binding ceremony was important - it was the only thing that would have been available to a couple living in a world where their own government did not allow them to have the same benefits of heterosexual couples.   

    If any couple in question is living in a country where same sex marriage is still not allowed then sure - a non legally binding ceremony is the only thing that they can pursue.


    Please read carefully here.   The OP isn't gay.   She's Catholic.   She's calling the Catholic wedding the "not real" wedding and the wedding that is neither religious nor legal the "real wedding".   Real how?   Real because that's when they put on a performance?   Real because there's a white dress involved?   Sorry - no.  

    We get it.   You storm into multiple threads guns a blazing and issue your not so thinly veiled insults like you're the spokes person for a community and the regulars are uneducated.  It's not working. 

    1) I do not live in the US, but thanks for playing.
    2) I did read the OP's situation. My objection, was to CMGraigan's post that painted all non-legal wedding ceremonies with one brush.
    3) You know...that gay people can be legally fired for getting married even though the marriage is legal, right?
    rachelprogress
  • MobKaz said:
    Pretty sure as a gay woman, I'm allowed to decide for myself whether comments saying that only legally sanctioned marriages are valuable are offensive or not. That's incredibly offensive. Many of us held marriage ceremonies, that, while not legally sanctioned by our oppressive and homophobic governments, were deeply and personally important to us.
     I also don't believe that all the straight people getting upset about the destruction of sanctity of marriage are actually upset on our behalf.

    If you're so incensed about the rights of gay people, please spend your time doing something useful and practical, like advocating for safe shelters for our youth, who are disproportionately overrepresented in homeless populations.
    Have you researched prior threads regarding how posters on The Knot feel about PPD's as suggested? 

    Saying that only legally sanctioned marriages are valuable is NOT the pervasive attitude by the majority of this community, nor is it the opinion, if I am bold enough to speak for her, of the poster you quoted.

    What IS offensive is brides who attempt to hold a covert, private, legal wedding because it does not live up to their wedding vision, and then follow it up with a pretend wedding in the guise of a real one.  No one here advocates lying to guests.  It is WRONG of this bride to marry and then attempt to trick her guests into thinking they are being invited to the actual wedding. 

    If this bride wants to have a pretty princess pretend day, no one will fault her for pissing away her own money.  The issue is when guests are DELIBERATELY misled into thinking they are spending their time and money traveling to attend a WEDDING.  The issue is that this bride, or any other, be completely upfront as to what guests are in fact being invited. 

    Community members here find it offensive to regard the legal component of the marriage so casually when others fought so hard to gain it.  It is more than a piece of paper.
    I have actually been on the knot for a few months and have done a lot of lurking. I've read the threads. I think it's a weird hill to die on, but whatever floats your boat.
    If that CMGraigain does not think that only legally-sanctioned marriages are valuable, perhaps she ought to have chosen her words better in her post. Words have meanings.
    You don't need to lecture me about the meaning of the legal component of marriage. It's my community members who are kicked out of their homes en masse after their partners die.
  • 1) My comments and many of those posted here refer to those living in the United States.  While these are international boards the large majority of members are referring to US laws.    That's also going to pertain to your comment with #2.  

    3) I'm familiar with the laws that employers are still able to discriminate against   members of the gay community.   That has absolutely nothing to do with this discussion.  
  • banana468 said:
    Pretty sure as a gay woman, I'm allowed to decide for myself whether comments saying that only legally sanctioned marriages are valuable are offensive or not. That's incredibly offensive. Many of us held marriage ceremonies, that, while not legally sanctioned by our oppressive and homophobic governments, were deeply and personally important to us.
     I also don't believe that all the straight people getting upset about the destruction of sanctity of marriage are actually upset on our behalf.

    If you're so incensed about the rights of gay people, please spend your time doing something useful and practical, like advocating for safe shelters for our youth, who are disproportionately overrepresented in homeless populations.
    No.   You're not.

    We're talking PRESENT DAY.   And here in the US (assuming that's where you live) in PRESENT DAY where gay marriage is legal, we can certainly say that calling something a wedding when it isn't is actually offensive.   You could have had a horse in this race if we were talking years ago.   And if you're referring to marriages that took place when the legal wedding wasn't legal then of COURSE that non-legally binding ceremony was important - it was the only thing that would have been available to a couple living in a world where their own government did not allow them to have the same benefits of heterosexual couples.   

    If any couple in question is living in a country where same sex marriage is still not allowed then sure - a non legally binding ceremony is the only thing that they can pursue.


    Please read carefully here.   The OP isn't gay.   She's Catholic.   She's calling the Catholic wedding the "not real" wedding and the wedding that is neither religious nor legal the "real wedding".   Real how?   Real because that's when they put on a performance?   Real because there's a white dress involved?   Sorry - no.  

    We get it.   You storm into multiple threads guns a blazing and issue your not so thinly veiled insults like you're the spokes person for a community and the regulars are uneducated.  It's not working. 

    1) I do not live in the US, but thanks for playing.
    2) I did read the OP's situation. My objection, was to CMGraigan's post that painted all non-legal wedding ceremonies with one brush.
    3) You know...that gay people can be legally fired for getting married even though the marriage is legal, right?
    To the bolded- why are you being so rude?  One-sided snark is never a good look.

    What we’re all saying is that a pretend “wedding” after you’ve already been married, in which you’ll be deceiving guests, is tacky and wrong.  None of us are against a gay couple in a place that bans gay marriage having a walk-down-the-aisle commitment ceremony/vow exchange/what-have-you... the two biggest no-no’s of a PPD (it’s a phony dress up day, and guests are being deceived) aren’t present.


    I’m sorry that your country’s laws exclude you, it still disgusts me that it took the US so many years to get their act together. 
    ahoyweddingcharlotte989875short+sassy
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