According to the rules of etiquette, only those who participate in the actual rehearsal for the wedding get an invite to its namesake dinner. But now itâ€™s increasingly common to include out-of-town guests and close family members in the night-before festivities. If youâ€™re concerned that adding extra heads might undercut the significance of the main event (and seriously blow out your budget), then host an intimate meal for those who attend the run-through and meet others later for drinks.
First, work with your hostess to ensure that thereâ€™s a good mix of people from both families at every table. Then, ask a few stealth assistant hostesses to make a special effort to draw everyone into the conversation. Or, for a less centralized approach, try shower games designed to get people to talk about themselves.
A bride can have more than one shower, as long as the guest lists are different. If both women are planning to invite the same people to their showers, suggest that they collaborate on a joint celebration instead. The exception to that rule: Your mom, future mother-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, and some times attendants are usually invited to every shower thrown in your honor. Just remind them that they neednâ€™t attend all of them, and that if they attend more than one, they don't need to give you more than one present.
The after-party is separate from the wedding, so treat it as such. Donâ€™t include information about it on your invitation. Instead, as the reception draws to a close, verbally recruit livelier guests to continue the fun, saying, â€śWeâ€™re going to a club after the wedding.â€ť The informality of this invite gets the message to those who want to join and allows guests to decline politely. Most of the guests who join you will expect to buy their own drinks, but if the question comes up, be direct.
Plan to party no later than three months after the engagement. Traditionally, the brideâ€™s parents host, but any family member or friend may (except the couple themselves). Itâ€™s usually up to the host to choose the formality, and the party itself isnâ€™t usually very structured; the couple should greet guests as they arrive and at some point, the host should â€śannounceâ€ť the engagement and toast the couple.
A few sources suggest you can include people who wonâ€™t be on the final guest list for the wedding itself. However, doing so can present some problems for you down the road, especially if those guests assume they are shoo-ins for your reception and would be hurt otherwise. This is an argument for keeping this guest list tight, since you most likely haven't finalized your wedding guest list.
Get inspired by DIY details these real couples created for their big day.See the Latest