Who should I invite to my rehearsal dinner or bridal shower?
Rehearsal Dinner: Answering the What and the Who
A rehearsal dinner is a muscle stretching red carpet walk that leads the bride and groom to the main event ― the wedding. It’s hosted by the groom’s parents and is a great way to kick off things in the right direction.
What is a Rehearsal Dinner?
A rehearsal dinner usually takes place on a Friday ― a day before the wedding day― around dinnertime. If your wedding is on a Sunday, you have more freedom.
A rehearsal dinner is no longer looked at as a formality and has evolved into a celebration in its own right. Some couples set the date for the rehearsal dinner two days prior to the wedding day. This gives them enough time to take a breather, clear their heads, and ready themselves for the grand event.
Sometimes, you just have to accept the fact that a rehearsal dinner isn’t going to fit in, and needs to be removed altogether. And if you do, there’s no wrong in that.
Who Should I Invite to my Rehearsal Dinner?
Choosing the guest list of a rehearsal dinner can be tricky.
Let’s shed light on the factors that will drive this choice, and help you understand the proper rehearsal dinner etiquette.
If you’re planning to keep the rehearsal dinner fairly limited ― nothing too extravagant ― start with guests who are going to be invited at the ceremony rehearsal. This will include your siblings, parents, your officiant, and of course, ushers.
For a private family event, anywhere from 15 to 25 people, is a manageable audience ― exceeding this number will only serve to burden your preparations for the main event.
Here’s a complete breakdown of each and every guest.
1. Immediate family
Okay, this is a no-brainer, but it’s important that you don’t leave out close family of the bride and groom, at any cost. To make things clearer, this includes siblings, parents, and grandparents.
Your wedding is not just a union of two people, but of two families as well.
You might lose a great opportunity to a bond between the two families by precluding them from these pre-wedding festivities. Your brother might make a friend or two from your spouse’s family, or your mother might bond with your soon-to-be mother in law.
So, take this opportunity seriously.
2. Close Extended Family
Here, things might get a little complicated.
You are not obligated to invite your cousins, uncles, and aunts. However, if your families aren’t like those colossal Indian families, and your uncle and aunts aren’t nagging grumps and trouble makers, there’s no harm in inviting them.
It might actually do you some good. Take this chance to rekindle an aunt-niece relationship. You might not have the same time to spare after your wedding.
All bridal party members must be present at the rehearsal dinner as a rule of thumb. Their dates or “plus ones’’, on the other hand, is a matter that needs mulling over.
Most wedding experts suggest that a bridal party member who’s allowed to bring a plus one on the wedding day should also be given the same freedom, on your rehearsal dinner. Some experts are of the opinion that you should allow a plus one only on your wedding day.
In the case of a ring bearer or a flower girl, it depends on their age and relationships. If they are siblings of a bridal party member, etiquette says that you invite them. If not, a non-invitation isn’t an unforgivable offense.
3. Travelling Guests
Guests who are arriving from distant towns just for the sake of attending your magical day deserve an invitation. They’re spending their valuable time and money to be a part of your special day, so inviting them is as ethical as it is sensible.
However, in some situations, you don’t really have a choice. In the case of a destination wedding, in which everyone is traveling, you certainly don’t have the choice of inviting everyone to a small, intimate rehearsal dinner.
If you end up not inviting all journeying guests, you can compensate for it by arranging a wedding party for them in the evening. And this welcome party doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. Cocktails and desserts and moderate decorations will more than suffice.
Many partners go for officiants they personally know. Monica and Chandler chose one of their best friend’s ― Joey. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to send him an invitation. Not sending it will obviously land you in a world of trouble. You will have a lot of explaining to do if someone like Joey finds out he missed out on a free, eat-it-all rehearsal dinner.
However, if your officiant is someone you didn’t grow up with, or is a total stranger, a non-invitation is fine. It’s not a big deal at all.
Rarely is a rehearsal dinner an adult only affair. So it’s only fair you make proper accommodations for the cheer and life of the wedding ceremony ― the children. They require your special attention. You can arrange appropriate entertainment for them to keep them interested and giving them little reason to create a mess of things. Food, like candies and other sugary treats, is another great idea to keep them preoccupied.
As for guests who can’t intend for parenting purposes, arrange a rehearsal practice for them through face time or Skype.
Associated Rehearsal Dinner Activities
A rehearsal dinner is fueled by a host of activities, including speeches and present-offerings. It’s truly a wonderful occasion to carry on family traditions and create lasting memories.
1. Gift- Giving
You can show your bridal gang how much you value them by giving them great present offering tips on your wedding blog. No one should be left out when it comes to gifts. The ring bearer, the officiant, the godparents, siblings, everyone should get a gift. And not just another bland gift: something they actually like.
You can also give a special gift to your parents for all their support and help over the years. A small, intimate rehearsal dinner is the perfect place to do this.
2. Speeches and Toasts
Rehearsal dinners, as I’ve already mentioned, are perfect occasions for making speeches. Make sure you add a pinch of humor in your speeches to stand out. You can share memories you’ve shared with the bride and groom, or just share whatever comes from the core of your heart. Anyone can come forward on the rehearsal dinner and share a special story. It’s unlike the wedding day when only the maid of honor and best man have this right.
A post-rehearsal dinner party is also a great opportunity to give the stage to people who won’t be giving toasts at your reception. It’s hay-time for your childhood best friend or your beloved grandma to speak her heart out or do some improve-comedy.
Here’s an idea: You can also reserve all of your toasts at the welcome party. This will save you tons of time, and enable you to get straight to dancing after your wedding dinner.
The couple can finally conclude the rehearsal dinner with a big valedictory cheer and a heartfelt thank you for everyone’s attendance, affection, and support.
Also, make sure everything’s wrapped up before midnight. Otherwise, some divas are gonna be pretty mad at not getting enough beauty sleep, and act all cranky on the wedding day. It’s also important that you also get enough rest to put your mind at ease on the big day.
The Theme and Look of the Rehearsal Dinner
The appearances, the decorations, the chandeliers, the cocktails, are at your discretion. You can choose to keep your rehearsal dinner as casual an under-the-radar as you want it to be. In the end, it boils down to your budget.
To ensure privacy, you can also host a sit-down dinner in a reserved room of a local restaurant. Or, if you want some hustle and bustle and some frivolous merrymaking, just set up a barbecue and a keg of beer.
Choose a setting that sits well with your intended audience and doesn’t cost you a fortune.
This is how a rehearsal dinner goes down.
- The ceremony is exercised before the dinner and the interactions.
- Guests are sat down and fed at a sit-down dinner.
- Family customs, such as speeches, toasts, and games follow.
In Modern day rehearsals, everything can go. Ostentatious and indulgent gatherings aren’t out-of-the-question if you have the budget. It’s solely up to you to do whatever works to make the evening enjoyable and memorable for you and your guests.
What is a Bridal Shower?
The end-goal of a bridal shower is to fill a bride’s lap with tons of gifts and good vibes. All so that her married life launches with a boost of optimism and support.
Bridal showers aren’t highly social events; they’re intimate and small and meant for the bride to bond with close friends and family. List of guests that should be invited to a bridal shower isn’t different from the ones in a rehearsal dinner.
Who should and shouldn’t be invited?
1. Distant Friends
Sometimes, people who live far away aren’t invited. They still are confused as to whether to send a gift to a bride or not. The simple answer is NO; you are not obligated to send gifts if you’re not included in the guest list for the bridal shower. You can just rest easy and wait for the main wedding.
On the contrary, a close friend of the bride, who couldn’t attend, due to some reason, can choose to send a gift to reconcile for his/her absence. But this, again, is not absolutely a Must.
2. The Bride’s Closest Female Friends and Relatives
In a private, intimate bridal shower, not every single female wedding guest needs to be invited. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a private family affair, would it? Just send invitations to close friends and family members of the bride.
If you want to give the bride ―the belle-of-the-ball― a big surprise, reserve an invite for her wedding album, instead of spoiling the surprise and mailing her one right away.
3. Close Female Relatives of the Groom
Considering the groom and his friends for the pre-wedding festivities isn’t a bad idea. It’s actually a wise choice if the host is your mother-in-law. It goes without saying that anyone, from the groom’s side, who shares a close connection with the bride, should be part of the bridals shower.
4. The Groom (if it sits well with you)
The groom at a bridal shower isn’t a radical inclusion; it’s quite common, actually ― even if the event is strictly an all-female affair. That being said, many women do prefer the notion of a ladies only bridal shower, but if you’re a bride who wants to include the love of your life, go for it; don’t hesitate. It’s your day and you should have the reins on who’s invited and who’s not. Talk to your bridal shower host and tell him to earmark him for an invite.
5. No One Who’s Not Invited to the Wedding
To save yourself from a world of embarrassment and guilt, invite all bridal shower guests to the wedding. Otherwise, you run the risk of hurting a lot of feelings, and sowing seeds of avoidable enmity.
6. What about co-workers?
Inviting co-workers to a bridal shower is a bit of stretch. However, if you’ve made really close friends with your fellow employees, then it’s customary to include them in the festivities. However, if they’re like normal friends, and you just casually hang out with them outside of work, like once a year, it’s probably not a good idea to invite them. It might make them awkward and uncomfortable surrounded by people they barely know.
Multiple Bridal Showers isn’t out of the Question
Sometimes, you’re lucky enough to have two people who love you so dearly that they both want to throw you a bridal shower. And the best part: you don’t have to turn either of them down.
However, I would advise you to create a different guest list for the two events, depending upon the preferences of the hosts. If one of your bridesmaids is arranging the bridal shower, only invite close friends. In the case, your aunt is the hostess; include extended family and your mother’s very best friends. If your in-laws are kind enough to host, reciprocate their love by including their friends and family and limiting your guest list to immediate family, only.
The Bridal Shower Host/Hostess Ultimately Decides the Guest List
Again, the host or hostess of the bridal shower has considerable authority on who’s invited and who’s left out. After all, it’s she who has to pay for the expenses. Being the bride, you can recommend a friend or someone close to you for an invitation, but don’t push it.
After setting the date, convene with the hostess and discuss the number of guests that she will feel comfortable wining and dining. On the off-chance, you want to invite more guests than the hostess can handle, set a date for another bridal shower ― it’s completely normal, as I’ve already mentioned. Don’t pressurize the hostess to revise the guest list; it’ll only serve to burden her.
The Final word
Planning a bridal and a rehearsal shower doesn’t necessarily have to be exhausting. They are actually fun pre-wedding activities, especially for the bride, to get her all warmed up for the big day. On these days, she gets to decide what she wants to wear and who to invite. Although her maid of honor, mom or some other close friend, might be given the job of the master-planner she does have a say in the guest list.
If the list for guests is final and you are looking to design and print your Invitations, don’t hesitate to reach out to Print Peppermint. You just tell us about the kind of design you want and our designers will do their magic to bring your ideas to life. We can also print your Invitations and deliver it to your doorstep within some days and you don’t even have to get up from your couch!