Pre-Wedding Party Q&As

It's your turn to be the guest — but the etiquette guidelines still apply. Here, answers about rehearsal dinners, engagement parties and other festivities.

Q: My fiancé and I are planning a large wedding, and many of our guests will be from out-of-state. Is there anything we can do in advance to make the whole thing easier for them? And do we have to invite them to the rehearsal dinner?

A: You're wise to think ahead. Begin by sending guests save-the-date postcards a few months before the wedding—you'll want them to have plenty of time to plan their trips. Look into hotel or inn rates and reserve a block of rooms. (There may be a discount for a large number of guests.) Check flight times and airfare. Notify guests of hotel availability, room rates and airfare costs so that they can book as quickly as possible. And consider holding your wedding on a holiday weekend so guests can turn the event into a mini-vacation.

Other nice ideas: Greet guests with a welcome basket in their rooms (fresh fruit, candy, bottled water, and so on); include useful info like a map of your town and an itinerary of the activities planned. Be sure to list top restaurants in the area, nearby parks, movie theaters, recommendations for spa, hair and nail treatments, and any walking tours, golf games, cocktail parties, brunches or lunches you may have planned. If you can, host a hospitality suite at the hotel so they can relax and meet and greet other guests upon their arrival. And don't forget about providing transportation: If it's a large wedding, you may need a luxury van or bus to take guests to the ceremony and to other activities that may be held some distance from the hotel.

Keep in mind that you should also invite out-of-town guests to the rehearsal. They'll feel more involved, and you'll be able to spend extra time with them. But if you prefer limiting the rehearsal dinner to your immediate family and wedding attendants, arrange a cocktail party at the hotel that same evening for out-of-town guests instead. Another hospitable gesture is to host a farewell brunch the morning after the wedding. It's the perfect finale to all the festivities and an appropriate thank-you to guests who may have traveled a great distance to share in your special day.

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My son is getting married and his Uncle isn't attending, but his Aunt is, she is requesting to bring her 30 year old daughter who is my sons cousin but they are not close, she also has a 4 year old, there will be other children. Is it proper for his Aunt to ask this of him?. They are traveling by car 1200 miles and making a vacation out of the trip. thanks, Barbara [email protected]

Considering that the original invitation was extended to both your son’s aunt and uncle and that she is traveling 1,200 miles by car to be there, I don’t think she can be faulted for asking if it is OK to have her daughter take the place of her husband or to bring a child (especially since there will be other children there). She’ll feel more comfortable and safer traveling that distance by car if she has a companion (as would I!). Many people who travel far to a wedding do make a vacation out of the trip, and who can blame them? They are spending time and money and no doubt want to enjoy a location they may have never visited before. Your son should let her know that her daughter and child are welcome and that he appreciates the effort she is making to be there. -Diane Forden, Editor in Chief of Bridal Guide

We are the grooms parents and have helped the couple with some of the wedding expenses but the brides parents have offered no financial help at all. Only criticism. We are prepared to pay for the rehearsal dinner as well, and have been informed that a large group of the brides family is from out of town and planning to attend this wedding..are we required to invite all of the out of towners to the rehearsal dinner? I would prefer to not spend a lot of money on the rehearsal if the brides parents are not willing to share in the expense....Kind of feels like we would be paying for their family reunion.

Great question! These days, it's not expected that all out-of-towners will be invited to the rehearsal dinner, It's perfectly acceptable to limit the party to just immediate family and bridal party members. Perhaps you can suggest that the bride's family hosts a cocktail party at the hotel that same evening for out-of-town guests. Another hospitable gesture is to host a farewell brunch the morning after the wedding.

We are having a destination wedding where we are only inviting our immediate family, but we want to have a very casual reception/party at home for all of our other friends and family. Would it be acceptable to have our reception before we leave to our vacation?

wedding or pre wedding photography is always good it is a great way to express and capture feelings you can visit at

I have asked my 6 best friends and my fiancé's 2 sisters to be bridesmaids at our wedding. I couldn't choose any 1 person as my MOH so I don't have one. 1 of my girlfriends took the lead on planning the bachelorette party but no one has stepped up to plan/host my bridal shower. I don't want to make any of them feel obligated to be in charge of that so what would be the move here?