Q. Our daughter is getting married May of next year and we have could use some guidance going forward. Most guest will travel great distances to attend this wedding. Who is invited to the rehearsal dinner? Is it the immediate family of both bride and groom and who is considered immediate family? What other things for the wedding is the grooms parents traditionally responsible for? Who pays for the officiate, who also requires lodging?
A. Guests at the rehearsal dinner include parents and grandparents of the bride and groom, siblings of the bride and groom, members of the wedding party, the officiate, and the spouses/fiances/fiancees/significant others of each of those guests. There is no reason to invite out of town guests unless space and finances permit and you desire to invite them; the rehearsal dinner is really the time for immediate family members and members of the bridal party to share special moments before the flurry of the wedding. Making the guest list too big detracts from this closeness. There is no need to invite a date for any single persons, but it is expected that significant others be invited. It also can be difficult to include aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. because there can be a huge number of them. It is up to you whether godparents or a very close aunt and uncle are invited.
Your out of town guests may enjoy having a little free time to explore the area, rest from their trip, and/or enjoy one another’s company. You do not have an obligation to entertain them nor would they expect to be invited to the rehearsal dinner.
Traditionally, the groom’s parents and/or the groom pay for:
bride’s engagement and wedding rings
groom’s present to his bride, if he wishes to give her one
gifts for the groom’s attendants
boutonniere for the groom’s attendants
the bride’s bouquet in areas where local custom requires it
the bride’s going-away corsage
corsages for immediate members of both families unless the bride has included them in her florist’s order
the minister’s or rabbi’s fee or donation
transportation and lodging expenses for the minister or rabbi if from another town and if invited to officiate by the groom’s family
the marriage license
transportation for the groom and best man to the ceremony
expenses of the honeymoon
all costs of the rehearsal dinner, if one is held
bachelor dinner, if he wishes to give one
accommodations for the groom’s attendants, if required
transportation and lodging expenses for groom’s parents
It should be noted that these are traditional expenses – not written in stone. Any number of arrangements can be made, and often the bride and groom cover a great deal of their own wedding expenses these days.
If you are inviting the minister/officiate, then you pay his transportation and lodging costs.