Formal rehearsal dinner invitations are not necessary, but when used you must adhere to general basic etiquette. This applies to how the invitations are designed and delivered. It also applies to who is actually invited to the rehearsal dinner.
About Rehearsal Dinners
The rehearsal dinner is an important part of the wedding. This is an opportunity for the bride and the groom to spend quality time with those closest to them, and those most involved in planning the wedding. This is important because the wedding itself is very busy and hectic, as is the reception. This is likely the last time you will have this opportunity until after the honeymoon. As such, it is important to send out formal rehearsal dinner invitations to immediate family, close family such as grandparents, and close friends.
In addition to being an opportunity to enjoy the company of loved ones and relax a bit before the big day, it is also an opportunity to thank those who have played a large or small role in planning and pulling off the wedding. Again, there will not likely be another chance to do this until after the honeymoon. In order to show your appreciation fully, all of the people who contributed in any way should receive formal rehearsal dinner invitations.
This does not just mean the wedding party and family that helped plan or pay. You need to invite everyone who contributed. This builds lasting relationships with people that have assisted you, and allows you to maintain a pool of contacts for future events. Send formal rehearsal dinner invitations to your wedding or event coordinator, caterer, your florist, your travel agent, your photographer, and your cake designer. All of these services might be utilized in the future, and by showing your appreciation for their hard work, you might be able to receive discounts in the future. In terms of general basic etiquette, it is simply considered polite to invite everyone you who was involved in any way to the dinner.
Be certain that you don’t leave anyone out when you send formal rehearsal dinner invitations. Include the pastor and any of the church staff that are helping to make your special day possible. This may include janitors or women’s council coordinators who assist in decorating and preparing the church for your big day. You should also invite the families of your best man and maid of honor, as these individuals have also been involved in the wedding, even if it was in a small and behind the scenes fashion.