*The perfect pre-wedding rehearsal dinner is an excellent opportunity for loved ones to meet, mingle, and celebrate the happy couple in anticipation of the main event. While there is no pre-ordained guest list for every pre-nuptial feast, the rehearsal dinner is often comprised of the wedding party, close friends, and family members. Guests who have traveled from afar to attend the big day, though, may expect to be entertained on their arrival. But is it really necessary to include all out of towners in the rehearsal dinner? Our etiquette experts weigh in on the issue. *
Abiding by the rules of common courtesy would suggest that out of town guests should be invited to your rehearsal dinner, but there are usually more factors in play than a polite gesture. While handing out invitations to your weary travelers is thoughtful and considerate, you do need to consider other aspects of your rehearsal dinner. First, think of your rehearsal dinner venue's spatial limitations. If you are already at maximum capacity with your current guest list, inviting out of towners is simply out of the question. Also consider the finances of adding more people to the meal. If your wedding catering is a significant expense, keeping your rehearsal dinner intimate might be your best option.
Finally, think about your relationship with the guests who are journeying from out of town to attend your wedding. You may not possess a close relationship with all of them, which could create an awkward situation at your rehearsal dinner. If you feel guilty for excluding out of towners from your dinner but cannot include them, you might consider providing a handy map of nearby attractions and eateries your guests can visit while your wedding party kicks off the celebration at the rehearsal dinner.