Therefore, a welcome dinner inviting out of town guests to kick of the wedding festivities has often taken the place of a typical rehearsal dinner. I have to admit I love love big fun dinners. I myself had a large welcome dinner (most of our guests were from out of town). I loved having everyone there and mingle before the wedding. Etiquette has always stated that you should invite all out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner, but let's be serious for one second doing so may make your dinner almost the same size as the wedding. This is simply not in everyone's budget nor does this suit everyone's tastes. Now, I'm pretty traditional and by no means am I saying totally disregard the standard etiquette, but instead I'm suggesting maybe stretching the etiquette rule just a weeee bit. Here are a few options:
1. Having a small dinner with close friends, family, bridal party (and their significant others), and close out of towners. After which have small event at the hotel bar or patio area were you have reserved blocks. Take sometime to thank everyone for coming. This works because there is no pressure for guests to come to a long dinner, but they can still feel important and loved. The pitfall of this is that it might make your night a bit longer than you would like in which case planning an early dinner may help. Remember you should try at least to get some beauty rest the night before the wedding.
2. Another option is including dinner information on your wedding website. This works if having a welcome hour at the hotel isn't practical or your style. Include restaurant's that are close to the hotel as well as directions, phone numbers, and dress codes. Make sure to also include information in a welcome package or in a letter that will be in their hotel room. Keep in mind guests are traveling to come to your wedding. You don't want them to get stuck eating in a hotel room eating takeout alone.
I want to hear your ideas on this, did you think outside the box for your rehearsal dinner?