Ask the Expert: Do I Have to Invite Out-of-Towners to the Rehearsal Dinner?

Question: I have quite a few out-of-town guests coming in for my wedding, but I’d really like the rehearsal dinner to be just our immediate families and the wedding party. Is it rude not to invite them?

Answer: Because wedding costs can be especially overwhelming these days, this is an issue that Gina Sole, owner of The Wedding Planner in Philadelphia, has encountered a lot — and she knows how to tackle it with grace. “Go ahead and keep your rehearsal dinner small and intimate, with just immediate family and your bridal party. Then afterwards, arrange to meet up with all of your guests who have already arrived — whether it’s at a nearby bar, restaurant, or even the hotel lobby — just to greet them and grab some cocktails. That way, you get to keep your rehearsal dinner manageable, while still welcoming all of your guests.” Worried about how to tell your out-of-townies this? Sole has a perfectly polite method: “If you are providing your guests with welcome baskets, include a weekend itinerary that has the meeting time and place listed.” Crisis averted!