kids at the rehearsal dinner

When my fiance and I got engaged my soon to be in-laws immediately started planning the rehearsal dinner. They wanted to know who was going to be invited- they made it clear that they did not want kids at the rehearsal. I had not decided whether or not I wanted kids in the wedding. My fiance and I went back and forth and I finally asked my cousins (ages 5 and 7) to be the ring bearer and flower girl. I felt pressured not to ask them because my in-laws didn’t want them at the rehearsal and I felt it would be rude not to invite them to the rehearsal.

Now we are actually making the list for the rehearsal. I understand that quite often the ring bearer and flower girl do not need to be present at the rehearsal. I think they need to practice- just to see what is going to happen the next day. But do I decide if they need to practice, or should my in-laws? Their family is from 2.5 hours away.

I have an Aunt who is going to sing 4 songs. I know she will need to be at the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. She also has 2 daughters (1 will be reading) and a son, and a husband. Their family is from 8 hours away and will be coming the night before.

So my gut is that the flower girl, the ring bearer (brother and sister) and their parents should all be invited to the rehearsal and thus the rehearsal dinner. Also, that my Aunt’s entire family should be invited (kids and husband). In addition to all the regulars (maids, dates, men, dates, mom’s, dad’s, grandpas, grandmas, priest).

Are the groom’s parents to be putting on the rehearsal AND the dinner? Or just the dinner?

Should I send his mom a list of people who are going to be at the rehearsal and tell her it’s her party and she’s in charge of the guest list? I think it’s rude to tell my cousins (whom I am very close to) that they have to find dinner on their own while I take their mom. But, it’s not my event…it’s his parent’s.

My gut is telling me she shouldn’t have been influencing my wedding party decision as she was.

eek…I do not want the rehearsal to even be on my list of stress-ers!!!

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Femmesss,

Even though all who are rehearsing should be invited to the rehearsal dinner, the children often are not. I believe that this is usually due to the children’s fatigue though. We tend to feel that children won’t enjoy the dinner–that seems to be the reasoning anyway.

It appears to me that all those you mentioned should be invited, even though it just might be a large party. It wouldn’t be fair to invite your aunt (singer) and her daughter (reader) and to exclude her son and husband.

Your future inlaws have offered to host the rehearsal dinner, so they should host all who rehearse, plus immediate family. But, if they do not wish to host all, you don’t have to accept their offer. You two could host your own dinner or not have one at all.

They don’t have anything to do with your rehearsal except to be invited to participate.

Best wishes,


Thank you so much for your reply!

Should the kids rehearse or can they just show up and do the ceremony cold? I know their role isn’t very large. If I don’t ask them to rehearsal, that is, if I just let them know that they aren’t needed at the rehearsal, the family probably won’t come in to town until the day of the ceremony.

It just seems rude to have the kids and parents at the rehearsal and not extend the invitation, even if we think the kids might be tired.


Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Actually, I completely agree with you about inviting all who rehearse to the dinner. But, including the children at the rehearsal is your call. I think they should rehearse because of all the reasons you mentioned before. Children do tend to become frightened when in that position and they haven’t properly prepared–sometimes they scream and dive for skirts even when they have practiced. [;)]