If you’re in the midst of planning your rehearsal dinner, chances are you’ve already given some thought to the guest list. While some invitations are straightforward, like immediate family members and the bridal party, others can be a bit more complicated. What about your bridesmaids’ plus-ones or your brother’s new girlfriend? Etiquette dictates that all out-of-town guests should be included in this pre-wedding gathering, but what if a significant portion of your wedding guests are traveling for the ceremony and reception? Crafting the guest list for this event can be almost as challenging as deciding who to invite to the wedding itself. To help you navigate this, we’re here to offer some valuable guidance on determining who should be part of your rehearsal dinner guest list.
Here’s who should absolutely receive an invitation
Your immediate families, the bridal party (including the parents of the flower girl and ring bearer, even if they’re not participating in the wedding), any ceremony readers, and your officiant (along with their spouse if they are married) should always be included in the rehearsal dinner. In simpler terms, anyone involved in the wedding rehearsal should also join in the celebration afterward. Additionally, married members of your bridal party should have the option to bring their spouses.
Here’s who you may want to consider inviting
If space and budget permit, it’s a thoughtful gesture to offer your entire bridal party the choice to bring a plus-one, even if they aren’t married or in a committed relationship. This ensures that everyone at the rehearsal dinner knows someone, and it provides any plus-ones who are traveling for the wedding with something to do the night before the big day. You might also want to extend invitations to both of your extended families, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close cousins since the rehearsal dinner provides an excellent opportunity for your families to get acquainted with each other.
If you’re tying the knot in your hometown and only have a handful of out-of-town guests coming for the wedding, it’s a thoughtful gesture to include them in this pre-wedding event. However, if you’re hosting a destination wedding or the majority of your guest list consists of out-of-town attendees, you don’t have to invite everyone to the rehearsal dinner. Otherwise, you may end up with a gathering as large as your wedding itself! Instead, you can consider organizing a welcome celebration, provided your budget allows. Whether it’s a formal sit-down dinner or a casual gathering like cocktails at a nearby bar, it’s a perfect way to make your out-of-town guests feel welcomed.