(Closed) Bridal Shower question: who is invited??

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
9913 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Technically, yes, every female guest used to be invited to the shower.  However, now that people are spread so far, it’s not feasible to invite every single guest.  I’m kind of in the same boat as you, two local BMs near me, two 500+ miles away, and my shower 500 miles away (at home), nowhere near FI’s family.  We decided that we would have the shower in my hometown with my family and invite Future Mother-In-Law and FI’s aunt, who plays a huge role in his life, but no other family.  We may do something small over Thanksgiving when we’re down near FI’s family with his side, but that’s up in the air. 

I would suggest making a tiered list; must be invited, should be invited, don’t need to invite – and give it to your girls and let them figure it out from there. 

But yes, if people are invited to the shower from far away, they likely will send gifts in lieu of actually going to the shower. 

Post # 4
1099 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

  We didn’t invite every female on the guest list. Females who were local and knew me at least somewhat well were invited. For example, my dad’s childhood friend’s wife, who has only met me two or three times, was not invited.

  We also have quite a few people who aren’t local. If they were a direct relative or in the wedding party, I still sent them an invite. Some came, some weren’t able to, but sent a gift.

  I hope that helps!

Post # 5
1094 posts
Bumble bee

@esoretihw:  Heck, no!

This notion of the Bridal Mega-Shower is about as traditional as reality TV, ten-thousand-dollar wedding dresses, and internet blogs.

Technically and every other way, NO: showers used to be intimate events for only the bride’s closest friends — because after all, asking people to give someone gifts is the kind of risque for which a wise hostess would impose on ONLY close friends. Showers were (and, for that matter, still are — in the kind of families that practice tradition and manners on an everyday basis) held in the afternoon in the hostess’s home, and were planned FOR the bride but completely without her involvement — because the only proper involvement a modest self-respecting lady would have in a charity-fundraiser held on her behalf is to protest that “really, it isn’t necessary.

The only people that should be invited to a traditional shower, are the individuals that the hostess believes honestly WANT to shower the bride with gifts. And, since gifts are a pre-requisite for attending a shower but the more important thing is just for people to show up, gifts are supposed to be small everyday items that the bride will need for setting up her new house: the kind of things that housewives just have on hand like tea-towels and potato-peelers, but that tend not to be given as wedding gifts because they aren’t substantial enough. Because the gifts are this nominal kind of thing, invitees who cannot attend do NOT “send” a gift. Sending a shower gift suggests you think the bride values the thing more than your presence.

Given that it’s your bridesmaid who trotted out the modern materialistic trends as being “proper etiquette”, you are probably stuck with all the innovations she wrongly imagines as being traditional. Smile and be polite. But there is no reason for you to participate in anything you think is in bad taste or that you find mercenary or immodest. Simply protest to her that you don’t need anything and that you don’t want to appear greedy, and let her figure out how to hold her over-the-top shower without your active collusion.


Post # 6
1835 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

The inviting all women thing is more tradition than etiquitte. But it seemed crazy to me too and very gift grabby. We only invited people in town as the event ended up having to be only a month before the wedding, and only close people at that. There will be 13 women at my shower, and I’m happy with it.

My friend said if she isn’t invited to the shower, she just gives more at the wedding.

Post # 7
232 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Definitely don’t need to invite all female wedding invitees to the shower!! No way, no how. As a matter of fact, I was a little offended to receive a shower invite recently to a shower across the country for a bride I hardly know (I’d be sitting on the groom’s side for sure). To me it seemed more like an invoice than an invite, since you’re expected to send a gift for every invite you receive. You can send invites to Out of Town guests, but only the ones who would actually appreciate the gesture.

Post # 8
6610 posts
Bee Keeper

I definitely didn’t invite every female. Just the ones we were closest with!

Post # 9
2639 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

Less than a third of the women invited to the wedding were invited to my shower. Out of town spouses of FI’s friends? No. Out of Town aunts of FI? Yes. I didn’t invite my Out of Town friends whom I knew wouldn’t be able to attend- it’s going to be expensive enough for them to make the wedding.

Emily Post: “Showers are intimate gatherings for people you know very well—not excuses to haul in more gifts.”

Post # 10
242 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@rebwana:  I agree with this.

I’ll also add that it’s not just people you know very well — there are a lot of people coming to my shower whom I have never met, but it’s important to my in-laws that they be included. Many of the women coming are very dear friends of theirs, and these guests apparently care very much for my fiance, having known him since he was a child. And in this circle women are used to attending showers for their friends’ children, or children’s intended, and would be insulted if they were not allowed to participate. I’m not involved in any aspect of the shower planning, I was just asked to give a list of the friends/family from my side to be included. The list I gave was fairly small, and stuck to the guidelines rebwana indicated, I didn’t even invite the majority of my out-of-town friends. But the list coming from my fiance’s side of the family included non-family members that genuinely surprised me. (I should also add that cost/person has not been a concern for my bridesmaids.) But, I didn’t want to jump in and request a smaller shower because, really, it’s not my place to dictate the shower, and I think my in-laws know their side best. 

So, the point of all this is that I am having a much bigger shower than I anticipated, but I am trusting the judgment of my hosts and inlaws in their guest-list decisions.

Post # 11
2969 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

We invited about 350 people to my wedding so we invited to the shower only those that were close to me personally or my mom. I did send invites to Out of Town women who I’m close with because yeah they couldn’t make it, but I wanted them to feel included and I was thinking of them and wishing they could be there. I have heard that every female invited to the wedding should be invited but I did not go that route for obvious size reasons. The only shower etiquette that is really not cool to break is inviting a female who isn’t invited to the wedding!

Post # 12
1367 posts
Bumble bee

For me, I invited all female relatives who are invited to the shower (grandparents, aunts and cousins), my bridesmaids, my mother, my fiance’s mother, and my very close friends regardless of where they live.  I even invited my friend who lives in Singapore!  I knew she wouldn’t be able to come, but for me I think it’s the thought that counts and letting someone know you consider them to be in your “inner circle”!  I did not invite every single female wedding guest.

Post # 13
1047 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I’ve never heard of that rule either.  I had wedding guests from all over the country and some overseas.  I was told that only the local people were invited plus Out of Town close family….think less than 2 hour drive.  I’m thinking some of my parents’ guests overseas would have laughed if they got a shower invite…but that’s just my opinion.  

I’ve also never heard of sending a shower gift if you are too far away to attend the shower.  But then again, I’ve never once been invited to either a baby shower or bridal shower when I was more than 3 hours away.  I’ve given gifts to new parents once I get an announcement (even if I know I’ll never see the kid) or to a bride/groom once I get a wedding invite…even if it’s Out of Town for me and I’m not going.

Post # 14
1367 posts
Bumble bee

@esoretihw:  Another note – it’s not ridiculous at all to send a shower gift if you cannot attend the shower.  It’s quite common from my experience.  I’ve sents gifts to brides for showers I could not attend, and I’ve also received a few gifts already for my upcoming shower from guests who cannot attend.

Post # 15
199 posts
Blushing bee

Another reason for finding out who might also be hosting a shower is that it’s considered “bad form” to invite the same guests to more than 1 shower, with the notable exceptions of family and bridal party members but also with the understanding that if there are 3 showers being thrown for the bride that repeat guests really are only  expected (as much as you really can for a shower) to gift once.

Usually the overlap isn’t too bad–my first wedding ages ago I had 3 showers: One at his Momma’s church, one at a relatives home that was mostly family, and my lingerie shower that was my maid of honor and our common friends.

As long as you’re not inviting folks who won’t be invited to the wedding, inviting every female guest is, if anything, erring on the side of courtesy, and that’s never a bad thing.

Post # 16
831 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

That is not true at all.  You definitely don’t need to invite every female guest who is on the wedding guest list to the shower.  Every person invited to the shower must be invited to the wedding, though.  Maybe she misinterpreted?

If multiple showers are thrown, usually the only overlap on the guest list is the bridal party and your and your FI’s mom, out of courtesy.  They of course don’t have to attend every shower.

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