(Closed) Need guidance! Destination wedding w/o guests, reception/shower issues??

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
2874 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@doubloons:  with a shower you have to tread very carefully. Even though its thrown FOR you rather than BY you, some people could interpret it as gift grabby…as in, “im not invited to your wedding but i can get you a present”. I dont think theyre appropriate for elopements unless you have very understanding friends/family. So yes, your missing out on the experience…but thats part and parcel of eloping

dressing up and having a mock ceremony would be a bit much. i would suggest a casual bbq or something, but if you would have to do it twice…you might just have to emphasise you wont be doing anything

Post # 4
4352 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@doubloons:  I think if you elope you aren’t entitled to any prewedding parties (not that you’re really entitled to them anyways). I would tell your friends and family that are pressuring you to have a reception and/or vow renewal that if they want to host and pay for that event then they are more than welcome to (unless you really don’t want them to do that). If one side hosts a reception and the other gets jealousan I would tell the other side that they are more than welcome to host and pay for another reception/vow renewal. However I would emphasize the fact that you would not do any of the planning for the event and that you do not have the funds to pay for it either.

Post # 5
2295 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Have the wedding you want. Don’t give into pressure that will create drama between the families.

But – don’t have a shower. I agree with your sister. No guests for the wedding = no shower. Only people who are invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower.

Post # 6
804 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Well, I can sort of understand your sister because a general rule of thumb is to not invite people to a shower unless they’re going to the wedding (unless it’s being thrown by people who won’t be going to the wedding, like work friends…but I guess this sort of qualifies?  It’s confusing!)  It would suck to miss out on a shower over this, though.  I have a question though, if you don’t care if your family members don’t come to anything, why is the shower an issue?  I’m not trying to be harsh, but by having a private ceremony and no reception, you are choosing to not have the bridal experience, and people are probably going to feel no obligation to give you a formal acknowledgement because they feel like you’re cutting them out of the experience.  I know I wouldn’t feel particularly obligated to go to a shower for someone who didn’t invite me to the ceremony and/or reception, and I don’t know if I’d want to be responsible for throwing a shower in that circumstance.

Is it possible that people on both sides can decide to throw the receptions for you?  To just explain, “That’s not in our budget.  If someone would like to throw a party in our honor, we would be delighted to come and pitch in what we can, but it’s just not in the budget.”  If they want it, they should pay for it.  Unless you don’t even want that!  You could also suggest to both families that you put together a “family reunion” and have everyone pitch in, and you can wear a white dress and your Fiance can wear a suit.  People who want to get together and congratulate you can.

Have the wedding you want.  If you don’t mind the loss of the shower, or an understanding friend can host a shower for you, you have nothing to lose from standing your ground.  It’ll blow over; they can’t stay mad at you forever for not wanting to spend a lot of money.

Post # 7
7711 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Nobody can force you to have a wedding/acknowledgment/reception. The best way to get them to stop trying to is to stop talking about your wedding plans until after it’s done. Make it a true elopment, as in a secret rendezvous that only you and your beloved know about. Be very vague in the meantime: “yes, we’re still considering it….”  Then once you’re Mr and Mrs, you send out announcements and if anyone wants to throw you a party, you can decide whether or not you’ll be able to attend.

Your sister is right though, it does mean no shower.

Post # 9
6359 posts
Bee Keeper

Skip the shower and reception. Invite whoever you want to an informal gathering at your home or something after you get married, if you feel like it.

Post # 10
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Stick to your guns and have the shower you want. Perhaps a happy medium would be hosting something small for immediate family only after the wedding.

As for the bridal shower I agree with your sister, part of having the wedding you want means giving other things that go with more traditional weddings. While I  am happy and have sent couples who eloped or had a destiantion wedding a card and sometimes a gift, I would be a little miffed if I was invited to a shower for a wedding I wasn’t invited too. It seems like you want a shower, but you can’t have it both ways.


Post # 11
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@doubloons:  I think by having a destination wedding with no invited guests, that is what is causing you to lose any chance for a shower or acknowledgement.  Your sister is correct: it’s in incredibly poor taste to invite someone to a shower (an event focused on gifts) and not invite them to some sort of wedding reception.  

If you do not want to have a reception, then that’s all fine and good. Stick to your guns. But realize that you will forgo a lot of the other activities, such as the shower and the bachelorette.  You can’t invite people to these things and not invite them to some kind of wedding reception; you’d basically be saying “I like you just fine when you’re buying, but I don’t want you around if it costs me money.”

Post # 12
3053 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

@fishbone:  I’m new to this whole thing but I didn’t know that a destination wedding would mean no bachelorette party. I definitely understand the bridal shower thing, as that is definitely about gifts, but I’m planning a destination wedding with minimal guests, maybe 10-15 at most & wholeheartedly still want a bachelorette party. It’s not something I see as others paying for but I also have only been to one and it was very mellow. Is it wrong to have a bachelorette party with a destination wedding??

Post # 13
163 posts
Blushing bee

@soontobemrsm11:  I don’t think so, it’s not about the actual wedding it’s abou the ‘last night of freedom’ or single life per se.

Post # 14
2098 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@doubloons:  We were orginially wanting to go away, just us and get married. I mentioned to my now Bridesmaid or Best Man, “Well I guess I don’t have to register!” and she said, “Yes. Because I want to throw you a shower”. We looked it up online and found that you CAN have a shower thrown for you, for ANY reason (they want to, you got married, you’re getting married, the sky is blue) when you go away/have Destination Wedding if you clearly state on the invite that you are going away or already did.


Something like, “Mary and Jim got married/will marry in Puerto Rico on Jun 10th! Let’s shower them with love and goodies now that they are home/before they go”…this way your guests know in advance they aren’t or weren’t guests. Then it’s totally their informed choice to come or not. Please ignore the people on here that insist anything else is “gift grabby”…I hate that expression by the way…. It’s annoying. If someone throws you a shower…it’s their choice. You didn’t request it. Do it the right way and it won’t be rude. But only if you want!! It’s YOUR wedding. 🙂




– Have the wedding YOU want


– Ignore their requests for a reception you don’t want to have or can’t afford. Honestly, if they want you to have this reception, I’m sure they can come up with the money. Until then, you are not obligated.


– Kindly tell sis, well I appreciate the offer for the shower and see your point. Here are some ettiquette sites that show you can have a shower in these situations but if you opt not to do so…thanks anyway!




Post # 15
1849 posts
Buzzing bee

@Coral99:  I have to STRONGLY disagree with this and I back it up with Miss Manners:

Dear Miss Manners,
My fiancé and I are getting married in June and have decided to do it in Aruba. We let everyone on both sides of our families know that everyone was invited to join us but that we wouldn’t be sending out invitations to everyone.

We did this because we didn’t want to put any pressure on them to either come to Aruba or give a gift if they couldn’t come. We realize that we have made it impossible due to cost/travel/time off/etc. for most of our families to make it.

My mother has brought up that fact of a wedding shower. Most people who would come to the shower, especially from my side, won’t be coming. It feels awkward to throw a shower when they aren’t coming to the wedding, though they are invited. I would like to celebrate with my side as I grew up very close to them. My mom and I can’t see any way to do a wedding shower. Can you?

Gentle Reader,
In a word: No.

First of all, you and your family should have nothing to do with planning a shower in your honor; showers are up to friends to give or not, as they wish.

Secondly, you have not invited any of these people to your wedding. Spreading the word does not count if no invitation is received. Since you chose the locale over the people who might otherwise attend, Miss Manners asks you to accept the consequences.


You can find anything you want on the internet to validate poor etiquette – doesn’t make it right.

Post # 16
2604 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@doubloons:  It is exceedingly rude to invite people to a wedding shower when they are not invited to the wedding.  If you want a wedding with no guests, then you forego the showers and other parties that go along with a traditional wedding.

If your family wants to have a small, quiet party to celebrate your marriage after you return from your honeymoon, that’s fine.  They can either invite his side of the family or not.  Don’t call it a reception and definitely don’t re-create the wedding ceremony.

His family can also choose to throw a small (or large) party for you if they wish. 

I think your choice is really to either just a traditional wedding if you want traditional wedding things like showers and receptions or elope and forgo them.  If you try to pick and choose you’re likely to end up just displeasing everyone including yourselves. 

Good luck!

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