Photo: Jessica Burke Photography
Just when you've finally tackled your wedding guest list and agreed on the final invitees, up pops yet another potentially sticky situation — the rehearsal dinner guest list. Fear not, brides and grooms — we've broken down the etiquette for each potential rehearsal dinner invitee to help guide you as you plan for your night before the big day!
This might seem fairly obvious, but the immediate family of the bride and groom should always be invited to the rehearsal dinner this means parents, siblings, and grandparents. Your wedding symbolizes not only the joining of you and your soon-to-be spouse in marriage, but also your families joining as well. This dinner is the perfect opportunity for some quality family time before your wedding, where no matter how hard you try, you won't have nearly as much time to spend with them.
Close Extended Family
Here's where it gets a little ambiguous. By no means should you feel obligated to invite your aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. However, if your families are small and you only have perhaps two or three on each side you'd really love to join you, go for it! Often, couples will invite their godparents, or closest extended family members to join them at this celebration before the celebration.
Traditionally, all bridal party members should be invited to the rehearsal dinner. Essentially, it's a must. Plus ones, however, is where it gets tricky. Some etiquette experts suggest that if the bridal party member is invited to your wedding with a date, they should also be able to bring the date to the dinner party on your wedding eve. Others argue that the "plus one" option need only apply on your actual wedding date. If you have a flower girl or ring bearer, technically they should be invited too — but this largely depends on their age and relationships. If they are a child of a bridal party member, it would go a long way to invite them. If not, a non-invitation makes more sense.
For guests that are traveling for your big day, it's a nice token to extend a rehearsal dinner invitation. They're taking on the expense of time and money to celebrate you, so including them in your pre-wedding celebrations is often customary. However, each situation is unique. If you're having a destination wedding, for example — everyone is traveling, so if you're having an intimate rehearsal dinner, you clearly can't invite everyone. Unlike your bridal party and immediate family, this one's entirely up to you.
Many couples choose officiants they have close relationships with. If this is the case, whether it's a religious leader you've grown close with through they ears, or your best friend — invite them to the rehearsal dinner with you. Typically, it will be immediately following your actual rehearsal, and it's a customary gesture that will surely be appreciated, and welcomed.
Ultimately, whom you invite to your rehearsal dinner is up to you. Just be certain that while determining your guest list, you factor in your budget and venue accommodations.