Post # 1
OK bees, etiquette question here. I’m matron-of-honor for my best friend’s wedding in May, so I’m starting to think about her bridal shower. I didn’t have a shower for my own wedding, and have only been to one as an adult, so I really don’t know much about what is done. I’ve been looking up etiquette info, but I find a lot of that info is what’s “traditionally” done, not necessarily what is acceptable for modern circumstances.
BFF’s wedding is near her hometown, but will be a smaller affair. Many of the invited guests (family, friends from college) will be travelling in from out-of-town. As it’s a smaller wedding, there are also a lot of community friends (people from her family’s church, family friends) who are not invited.
Based on these circumstances, who gets an invite to the shower? Is it inappropriate to invite people to the shower who are not invited to the wedding? I feel as if it’s nice to include these people in some part of the celebration, but don’t want to offend anyone by having it look gift-grabby.
Post # 3
The bride should give you a list of who she would like invited. But yes, only people that are invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower.
Small showers are ok. I only had 12 people at mine because so many friends/family live out of town.
Post # 4
Only wedding guests should be invited to shower the bride with presents/ love before the wedding.
The only modern caveat to this; is the “work shower”, in which a coworker or group of coworkers, decides to throw a small affair in the bride’s honor, even if they are not invited to the wedding.
Post # 5
@SadieBee: Having participated in many showers, only those invited to the wedding are invited to the shower. We send the invites far and wide to ensure guests from out of state and older relatives have a chance to participate or send a gift since that’s what many people like to do.
Post # 6
@Bostongrl25: Yes, I should note I have talked to the bride about this, but she also has no clue about wedding etiquette stuff. She wanted me to look into what’s appropriate, as her mother wants to invite church friends, but none of these people are invited to the wedding itself.
Post # 7
A shower is the only kind of party where gifts are obligatory. Therefore, etiquette handles them with kid gloves. You will be told that only people invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower. This is a broad-brush statement that covers most situations, but is neither narrow enough nor inclusive enough. The full rule is:
Only those people, whom you know well enough to be fully confident that they WANT to participate in showering the bride with gifts, and from whom you know the bride would willingly accept gifts, should be invited to a shower.
Normally, those people would indeed be invited to the wedding. But wedding guests may include other people as well, who have grudging hearts toward the bride and do not want this extra obligation. And, there may be other people, like the bride’s grade two Sunday School teacher, or her mother’s oldest friend who watched her grow up but is now in a nursing home and doesn’t go to dinner-dances, who are not invited to the wedding but do want to take part in the shower. It shouldn’t be hard to understand that etiquette encourages you to include the latter sort among your shower invitees, and not include the former sort.
Post # 8
@aspasia475: That is the best answer to this question that I have ever read. Well stated!
Post # 9
Yeah, only people invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower. I don’t think it would be appropriate to invite ppl to the shower who aren’t invited to the wedding…just because it’s obligatory to give gifts. I think her mother should have a party after the wedding to celebrate with friends who aren’t invited.
For mine, I gave my MOH a list. It included all of the local female and gay male guests invited to the wedding (exept for wives of FI’s friends who I don’t know) plus immediate family and bridal party members who were from out of town.
Post # 10
@aspasia475: is correct as usual. There are no hard and fast rules. You will read here that only those invited to the wedding should be invited, but that is not correct in all cases.
Nor is a work shower the only exception as @HisQueen2Be: has stated. There are many other possibilties of groups that may want to shower the bride, knowing full well that they are not invited to the wedding- book clubs, wine clubs, community service groups, church groups , old neighbours etc etc etc
Where will you be holding the shower? It would not likely be appropriate to invite people not invited to the wedding, if they would have to travel to the shower.
You might need to contact the bride’s mother for suggestions as to who might want to be included if the shower is being held in her hometown. She may also have knowledge that some of those people will be planning their own shower.
Post # 11
My MIL was insistent on throwing me a shower with her work and church friends, none of whom I had ever met or were invited to the wedding. I was terribly uncomfortable with the whole thing but I had to let her do that. My DH was the 1st of her children (and likely only of her children) to marry and she kept saying “do you know how many shower’s of these people’s children I have attended and supported!”
I think sometimes rules are bent but generally speaking only those invited to the weddding attend.
Post # 12
@julies1949: Great point! I was tryign to give advice specific to the OP’s posting. as the MOH, she would not want to invite those people to the general bridal shower that she is throwing. Those kinds of showers from people who know they are not invited to the wedding should be initiated by THEM, imho.
Err on the side of caution, with these things, I say. Don’t want to seem gift- grabby. (I hate that word, but beyond a coworker, I would personally feel odd if invited to a shower when I wasn’t invited to the wedding.)
Post # 13
Thanks, ladies! Pretty clear concensus here. I think I’ll sit down with the bride and her mom to look over the list of wedding guests, then talk about if there are any specific people who aren’t invited but who her mom knows would want to be included (like @aspasia475 said, people who have known her forever and would want the chance to shower her).
I guess one additional question – I know that bridal party members should be invited (whether they will likely be able to make it or not), but are there any other people you would invite even though they live far away (other than BMs, mother of the groom)?
Post # 14
I voted that only those invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower.
Post # 15
@SadieBee: Even if they live far away, send them an invite anyway. You never know who might come, and it is the fact of the matter that the bride thought about them enough to invite them. I knew some of DH’s aunts a few states over couldn’t come, but they appreciated the invite anyway.
Post # 16
I voted only people invited to the wedding. Wih the exception of a few of the ideas stated above (ie gear grandma who can’t sit through a whole wedding/dance but may want to come)
I just think about how I would feel if I got invited to a bride’s shower and I wasn’t invited to the wedding! Personally, I would be like huh what?!? Seems weird to me, but I can see wanting to in a small wedding situation. I would still stick to wedding guests and if the bride and groom want, have a friends style party/reception in the week following or something like that.