You’re going to have a wedding rehearsal and you should feed the people who attend it with a rehearsal dinner. However, you have the option to invite other people, some non-attendees, to the dinner too.
You can turn your rehearsal dinner into a welcoming party for your out of town guests. This is optional. You don’t have to do it but it’s a nice thing to do if you have the budget flexibility.
Here are the main pro and the con associated with doing this:
Pro: More time with your out of town guests. You’re going to be so busy at your wedding that you’ll only get to spend a brief moment saying hi to each of your guests. They’ve traveled in from New York to celebrate with you so it would be nice to see them for more than 30 seconds.
Con: It costs more. Budgets are finite, caterers charge by the head, and you might need a slightly larger venue. You’ll run out of wedding money at some point. Inviting extra people to your rehearsal dinner is an easy cut to make to save money for something more important to you.
You’ll already have a group of 20-40 depending on how large your parties are. You need to invite bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, grandparents, singers, readers, and anybody else with a role to perform on wedding day. Don’t forget their +1s on top of that list. The people really start to add up.
It can be especially tough if you’re doing a destination wedding or if virtually everybody is traveling to you. Does it make a ton of sense to invite nearly every wedding guest to your rehearsal dinner?
You don’t have to invite your out-of-towners. It isn’t a wedding mandate. Still, it’s something to consider. It’s a lot of fun and spending a little extra time with the guests who you see the least on a daily (or yearly) basis is a good thing to do.