Who is invited to the rehearsal dinner?
Here's the situation: My cousin's 26 year old son is newly engaged and probably getting married in October. The bride and groom are living in South Carolina and are getting married in Charleston, where they live. The groom's mother is in Boston; the bride's family is from SC, but far enough away that they will have to stay in a hotel for the weekend of the wedding.
The groom's mother (my cousin) is ready to host the rehearsal dinner. She's divorced, her ex lives overseas becuase of his job and can't be counted on to attend the wedding, let alone help pay for the rehearsal dinner. My cousin has been informed by the bride's mother that is it "tradition" that all out of town guests be invitited to the rehearsal dinner.
When did this "tradition" start? Or is it a regional tradition? I've been to out of town weddings as recently as four years ago, and never even thought of being invitited to the rehearsal dinner. I thought the tradition was that the wedding party, immediate family of bride and groom and spouses were the guests.
Since everyone except the bride and groom and two members of the weddding party will be from out of town, my cousinis looking at a dinner for 200 people. There is no way of doing this cheaply by having the dinner in someone's backyard--the couple lives in a small apartment with no access to a yard. No way to do this potluck--everyone's from out of town. Basically, it would mean hiring a hall and having another reception. And this will be difficult to do from hundreds of miles away. The bottom line is that she can't afford a dinner for 200 people. She can afford the traditional wedding party, immediate family and spouses.
She's thinking of breaking this "tradition" and having just the wedding party, immediate family and spouses, but isn't sure how this will go over with the bride's family.
For the record, 60 years ago, the tradition was that the bride's family hosted the rehearsal dinner. The move to the groom's family was intended to relieve the bride's family of some of the financial burden of the wedding. When did it become some sort of second reception?