Your Guide To The Rehearsal Dinner Invite List

2oVoJUxboA0YvCboM1G4Dc1n24LMVStOjIigPLfB938Photo: Amelia Alpaugh.
Dear Alimay,
I’ve always heard that the rehearsal dinner is for out-of-towners. Do I need to include my entire out-of-town list, or can I keep it limited to close friends and family?
—A Bit Confused
Dear A Bit Confused,
One of the most important rules of planning an event or wedding is to avoid blurred lines. No, we don’t mean the song (although we are growing quite tired of that, too). Clear, defined boundaries are a must — especially when putting together a guest list. It is important to decide early on in the planning process whether you want to be super inclusive or exclusive.
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Some couples opt to reserve the rehearsal dinner for immediate family members and the bridal party. Do remember, even by doing this, you can easily hit the 40 people mark. If you invite someone with a plus-one, they should technically be given a plus-one for the rehearsal dinner, too.
Once you start to let in some college friends or coworkers, but not others, feelings are bound to be hurt. If a rude wedding guest asks why he or she isn’t invited to the rehearsal dinner, an easy explanation is that you wished to keep it small and within certain boundaries. Any reasonable friend will understand.
Limited to a small gathering, but still wanting to hang with whole party? One solution we like is to invite the whole guest list to a post-rehearsal dinner bonfire or kegger.
If you and yours fall into the “the more, the merrier” category, there are plenty of ways to do a blowout rehearsal dinner on the cheap in spite of a lengthy guest list. BBQ picnics are always crowd-pleasers and can often be done on the cheap.

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