(Closed) DW and AHR: Who should I invite to the bridal shower and bachelorette party?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1696 posts
Bumble bee

You are hearing conflicting information because there is a lot of made-up etiquette about showers and bachelorette parties, and because people use those words to mean different things.

A “shower” is technically a small informal party thrown by the bride’s closest friends for the express purpose of giving her the everyday housewares she needs to set up housekeeping. For this kind of shower, you don’t invite anyone: you are a guest. Your friends get together and make all the decisions, and they are supposed to make sure that the only people who get invited are people who love you enough to want to give you presents regardless of whether they are invited to the wedding and/or the reception.

But for many brides, “shower” has become synonymous with a non-raunchy party just for their female friends, to bond and unwind before the wedding. You are welcome to invite people over to a tea, or an afternoon party or cocktail party, where you play hostess and make everyone else comfortable, and where there’s no hint that you expect presents from people. Throwing a party where you collect presents for yourself seems greedy and self-serving, so it is a good idea to avoid calling this kind of party a “shower”. Because you are giving freely of your hospitality without any return in the form of gifts, there is no obligation following on the event. Your tea guests do not have to be invited to the wedding or the reception.

The third kind of shower is actually bad form, because it is dishonest. This is where you make all the arrangements for a gift-receiving party, including establishing the guest list, but you issue the invitations in your maid-of-honour’s name in order to preserve the fiction that you aren’t out soliciting presents for yourself. “Internet etiquette” says, that if you have this kind of party, every guest must be invited to both the ceremony and the reception, as a way of paying them back for the gifts that they were required to bring. Proper etiquette just shakes its head and says that this kind of shower should not take place.

A bachelorette party is similar to a shower, in that it is properly thrown for the bride by her best friends, but instead of receiving potato peelers and tea towels she receives a night out on the town with drinks. Again, you should be hosted on such an excursion ONLY by people who care more about you than about whether they got an invitation or not. Again, if you play hostess and pay for everything yourself, you can invite whomever you wish and incur no obligations. And again, “internet etiquette” incorrectly says you can organize your own bachelorette with the fiction that someone else is hosting it, but only if all the participants in the bachelorette party have first-class wedding invitations, to both the ceremony and the reception.

Post # 4
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

im having a tiny intimate wedding of 10 guests and i reallllllly didnt want a bachelorette party … altho my Fiance has encouraged me to do it and ive invited all my girlfriends who id love to have had at the wedding but obviously im not …….. its a party …. invite them and have a great time!!!!

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