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.

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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 downadirtrd@yahoo.com

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?

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