Madeline
Just Said Yes February 2022

Rehearsal Dinner Help

Madeline, on July 24, 2021 at 1:14 PM Posted in Parties and Events 1 22
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So about 70-80% of our guests are from out of town. My fiance's parents are generously paying for the dinner, which we are so grateful for, but they want to know how many people to expect and what we would like to do for the dinner. I would like to invite everyone from out of town for the dinner, but since it is almost the entire guest list, I would feel guilty if they had to pay for that many people. Would you just invite the wedding party, or just reserve a place and have everyone pay their own bill? Or something in between? I'm so lost. HELP 😭

22 Comments

Latest activity by Lila, on July 27, 2021 at 1:32 AM
  • Cool
    Super July 2020
    Cool ·
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    Ultimately it’s up to your fiancé’s parents, but if they are flexible as long as you stay within budget I think it’s nice to invite everyone to a “welcome dinner”. You could always do the rehearsal and dinner with only bridal party and have others come for a drink after? I’d have FH discuss with his parents and gauge their thoughts. A fancy dinner for 20 people could be the same price as a casual dinner for 80 if that’s what the concern is. I guess on that note it also would depend the size of the guest list.
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  • Madeline
    Just Said Yes February 2022
    Madeline ·
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    Thank you for the advice and suggestion! I will definitely talk to my FH and see what he thinks. We would rather do something more on the casual side and not so formal. The guest list is about 100 people so it's would be about 70 to 80 out of town.
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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    It is never necessary to host the traveling guests and is often not feasible at all financially. The only ones you are required to host is the wedding party (and anyone else involved in the ceremony) and their significant others. No plus ones for singles.



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  • Madeline
    Just Said Yes February 2022
    Madeline ·
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    Thank you!
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  • Cool
    Super July 2020
    Cool ·
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    Yeah definitely depends on the specific family but hopefully it works out. Good luck!
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  • Pat
    Dedicated May 2023
    Pat ·
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    We also have a large majority of our guests coming from out of state. I know I don't HAVE to do a thing for them, but they are spending close to $1000 to travel here and celebrate with us, I feel the least I can do is offer some free meals. To that end, we are reserving the patio of our favorite Italian restaurant the evening before our wedding. It's a casual meal with tossed salad, meat and cheese board, and several varieties of pizza. Any alcohol will be purchased by the guests. I am also working on hotel blocks and am leaning towards those that offer a free hot breakfast.

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  • T
    Expert May 2010
    Theresa ·
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    If you are comfortable enough with you FILs, you could always discuss the situation with them and see what their budget is for the event. A possibility is that they pay the cost of the wedding party, and you and your fiance cover anyone over that total. Or, who knows, maybe they won't mind inviting out of town guests. Just let them know that you don't have any expectations of them over the wedding party, then see where it goes.

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  • Lisa
    Super October 2021
    Lisa ·
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    I think your fiancé needs to get more information from his parents since they offered to host. Who do they want to invite & how much are they willing to spend. My fiancé’s parents are hosting our rehearsal dinner and insisted that all out of town guests are invited. That’s 55 people. We gave them a few options on locations we like and let them make the decision. They are paying a fortune on the dinner but it was entirely their decision. At no point should you ask your guests to pay for their meal regardless of how many people are invited/attending.
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  • Tiffany
    Savvy May 2022
    Tiffany ·
    • Flag
    I had this same issue! We landed on having only the wedding party (plus spouses) and family at the RD and planning to meet all other out of town guests at a bar which happens to be within the hotel we are staying at. This way we get to see everyone and spend time with out of town guests, and we have planned something for them, but don’t need to foot the bill for it.
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  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari ·
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    A welcome dinner is a dinner for out of town guests and VIPs.

    A rehearsal dinner is a dinner for those in the wedding - so the couple, their parents, usually their siblings, the wedding party, anyone doing a reading, and SOs of those involved. If there is a flower girl and ring bearer than usually their parents are included. This dinner is to thank those people for taking on a larger role in your wedding and participating in your rehearsal.

    If your fiance's parents have offered to pay for a rehearsal dinner (which is traditional) that is not the same as offering to pay for a welcome dinner. I think it would be incredibly rude to expect them to accomodate all of your out of town guests, and it would also be rude to invite your out of town guests and expect them to pay their own bill.

    You should clarify with your fiance's parents what their offer is. If they want to host those involved in the wedding ceremony, then limit your guest list to those individuals including SOs. If they are willing to host whoever you want, then you can decide if you want to have a pre-wedding welcome dinner that includes three quarters of your guest list and leaves a quarter out. I would personally think its kind of rude to omit such a small portion of your guest list from an event most people are invited to. It would be really weird to be at a wedding and find out 80% of the guest were invited to and participated in an event the night before that I was not welcome at.

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  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna ·
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    We also had a ton of out of town guests, so we opted to host a more casual rehearsal dinner so that we could include them. We rented a rooftop party room, had a caterer do heavy app stations, got the desserts from a local bakery, and hired student bartenders to serve the alcohol (we only offered wine, beer, and champagne). We had around 70 guests and we spent $3000 in all. Had we hosted at a restaurant in our city for that many people, we would have easily spent well over $10k. Since FH's parents are paying, I'd have your FH talk to them to see what kind of dinner they had in mind. But whatever you do, guests should never have to open up their wallets at any pre-wedding events, so you'll want to make sure that they're properly hosted.

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  • Madeline
    Just Said Yes February 2022
    Madeline ·
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    I love that! I've also been looking into hotel blocks that offer free breakfast. I think that's a great idea.! 🥰
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  • Madeline
    Just Said Yes February 2022
    Madeline ·
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    That's such a great idea! Thank you!
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  • S
    Dedicated October 2021
    Sydney ·
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    For rehearsal dinner we are doing a fancy dinner and we invited immediate family and bridal party/grooms party and their partners. Was about 45 invites and ~35 can come. Wedding is 150-165 people.
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  • Madeline
    Just Said Yes February 2022
    Madeline ·
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    Thank you for giving me some insight, it's appreciated! The last thing I want to do is to make guests feel excluded!
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  • W
    Super September 2020
    Willow ·
    • Flag
    Having 70 out of 100 guests will feel very exclusionary to the 30 who weren't invited. That is a huge rehearsal dinner. It's the size of many weddings.


    I feel it's also rude to even ask someone else to host that many people.
    If you want to have your out of town guests there, I'd do a welcome dinner for everyone, and pick up the tab for anyone not in the bridal party. Let your in laws pay for the bridal party since they offered to pay for the rehearsal.
    I think a 70 to 100 person dinner will feel like planning an additional wedding, however. You won't be able to find a restaurant that will take a reservation that big unless you get a private room.
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  • Gabrielle
    Savvy December 2021
    Gabrielle ·
    • Flag
    We have many out of town guests also, but we decided to just stick with the wedding party and our parents/siblings!
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  • Allie
    Super November 2021
    Allie ·
    • Flag

    My FH's sister was living out of state when she got married and we all had to fly in for the wedding. She did a casual fish fry style dinner at a local restaurant and invited everyone in the family to come. It was nice to not have to worry about finding somewhere to eat that evening after we arrived, so we enjoyed it. Maybe you can discuss with your fiance's parents and say you'd like to host more for a welcome dinner and offer to pay the difference?

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  • Ellen
    Devoted October 2021
    Ellen ·
    • Flag
    We have our rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. FH is paying for that, we don’t have too many out of town guests so probably invite them. In total about 15 people so very small.
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  • B
    Devoted August 2022
    Bride2Be ·
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    My dad is paying for our rehearsal dinner and we are keeping it STRICTLY just immediate family (including aunts since that basically is my FH Fam) and bridal party and significant others. It’ll be around 30 people. More of his family will be coming in from out of state but it just adds too many people and it basically turned into another reception so we had to keep it strictly immediate only. Honestly people understand and they don’t expect an invite other than to the wedding itself so being invited to the rehearsal dinner is just a bonus in my opinion.
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