Ask Colin: Planning

A torch-lit beach is a fun and casual setting for a rehearsal dinner with the bride and groom’s family and friends.

Julie Skarratt

I am the mother of the groom and would like to know about the rehearsal dinner, which we will be paying for. When my husband and I were married 40 years ago, only the bridal party and the bride and groom's parents attended the rehearsal dinner. Now someone is telling me we have to include all the out of town guests also. That would be like paying for another whole wedding as everyone is from out of town. HELP!

The general rule of thumb today is that the groom's family hosts the rehearsal dinner, not only for the wedding party but for all the out of town guests. These people have travelled from far and wide, are paying for hotel accommodation, etc., so it would be a gracious gesture on your behalf to welcome them. A few options – instead of a seated dinner, make it a casual buffet or cocktail reception. Or, host the dinner for the wedding party and invite the rest of the guests to join after for dessert and cocktails.