(Closed) No Gifts Shower: Ok to invite people to the bridal shower but not the wedding?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
9139 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

It’s considered rude where I live regardless of whether gifts are expected. Shower invite equals wedding invite.

Post # 4
95 posts
Worker bee

@Canadiangardenpartybride:  I wouldn’t have any problem with that, especially since you specify “no gifts” so it’s obviously not a gift-grabbing event. But be prepared: some people might consider it rude and take it personally.

Post # 5
633 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

If you aren’t getting gifts, then it’s not a shower, right? I thought the point of a shower was to shower you with gifts? In fact, up until I joined the Bee, I thought a shower was where you were supposed to bring your one and only wedding gift…

I would think this would just be a party, so no gifts would be expected…

Post # 6
668 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

No. Anyone invited to wedding events should be invited to the wedding.

Post # 7
1710 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013 - Walt Disney World

Nope, anyone invited to a shower should be invited to the wedding…

Post # 8
11418 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

The solution to this is for your Future Mother-In-Law host a tea in your honor, not a shower. 

Post # 9
222 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

My mother had a surprise shower for me when I went home for Thanksgiving (we live on different coasts) even though I had expressed I had no interest in bridal showers and would prefer not to have one. I didn’t think there would be time (my wedding is august 4th, so besides this past thanksgiving, the only time I would be home is a week before the wedding this summer, and I thought it was rude to have a shower a week before the wedding then the wedding where people would also prb bring gifts). Also, we don’t need gifts – we live in a small condo and I am 30 years old with a career, I have bought most of what we need already and we are not encouraging people to bring gifts to the wedding either – when they ask we tell them just bring your “presence!” Besides all that, it would be hard to lug a bunch of presents from the east coast back to the west coast.

 It was awkward because she invited about 30 women (mostly her friends and some old family friends) that I unfortunately will not be inviting to the wedding (some were her work collegues who I had never even met before this night). I still have no intentions (or room! or money!) to invite most of them, and I feel badly:(

I sucked it up and had fun cause I know my mom was excited and only did it out of love for me. I sent thank you cards to everyone right away. I hope no one judges me too hard that I am not inviting them even though they gave me gifts at my surprise shower, and there is no hard feelings:(

Post # 10
412 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014


Post # 11
847 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

@Canadiangardenpartybride:  I think it would be nice of you could have some kind of party where you host the people who didn’t get invited to your wedding to show your appreciation of them, but you shouldn’t use your shower for this. It’s rude to ask people to an event celebrating another event that they weren’t invited to, regardless of whether you’re asking them to bring a present. 

The friends who weren’t invited probably understand why you couldn’t invite them, but asking them to your shower is just going to make them hurt and confused. 

Post # 12
1131 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Brielle:  such a good solution! If it’s not called a shower, that’s way better! I +1 this!

Post # 13
1696 posts
Bumble bee

Every so often, I like to go off on a rant* about the “wedding etiquette” advice that you find on wedding boards, being handed out to brides by other brides who got the advice off other wedding boards — and who often have no knowledge of actual day-to-day etiquette. In fact, there is no such thing as “wedding etiquette”. The etiquette you use for your wedding should just be the very highest standard of everyday good manners and cultured behaviour that you use in your day-to-day life. The oft-cited rule that “anyone invited to wedding events should be invited to the wedding” is an example of internet-sourced “wedding etiquette”.

Standard etiquette throws weddings in with other ceremonial rites of passage like christenings, citizenship ceremonies, graduations and so were there is a ceremonial portion that is under the control of some administering authority (the law, the church, a university or so on) followed by a social gathering to celebrate — a single two-part event. Multi-month-long pageantry of multiple events is reserved for things like royal enthronements ant the Olympics. Standard etiquette does not permit people to orchestrate royal pageantry in celebration of themselves. Yes, there are such things as “showers” and “bachelorettes” that are clearly wedding-related — but they are properly small and informal, nearly impromptu fun-times arranged by close friends, not large formal parties.

On the other hand, what formal etiquette not only permits, but even insists upon, is that socially mature adults offer one another hospitality from time to time, in a network of gracious parties and dinners and return invitations, sometimes introducing guests of honour, sometimes just enjoying each others’ company. A hostess may at any time invite people to a party — which is generous of her! As hostess, she will go out of her way to make sure the guests have a good time, and as guests they will contribute to the pleasant occasion and be grateful to their hostess for providing it. This is NOT an imposition on the poor guests! But if they think it is an imposition, they are welcome to decline the invitation — and no, they do not have to bring a gift, ever, and usually SHOULD not.

So, your future mother-0in-law may, at any time, invite any people she wishes to invite over for tea (or brunch, or lunch , or dinner, or …) and she may if she wishes invite you to come as her guest of honour at that time so that she can introduce you to her friends. If she is very generous, she may invite some of your friends at your request in order to giver herself the pleasure of meeting them, and to introduce them to her friends. This is perfectly acceptable, and she may do so at any time.

What it is not, however, is a “pre-wedding event”. As you learned in kindergarten, you would never talk about a party in front of people who won’t be invited to it, so your wedding should not be a topic of conversation. If people ask about your wedding, you need simply turn the conversation gracefully onto something else. Talk about your hopes and expectations for married life, ask for housekeeping advice, talk about the transitions that are coming or about the customs of your husbands family that you are still learning — anything but centrepieces and chair covers and first dances. If you can do that, then you may socialize with whomever you want whenever you want and, whatever “wedding etiquette” may say about it, etiquette will have your back.


Post # 14
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Canadiangardenpartybride:  Call it a bridal brunch instead and say its an opportunity to share in the excitement!

Post # 15
8471 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

This is not right. Would you really attend a shower if you weren’t invited to the wedding?!?! 

Post # 16
1430 posts
Bumble bee

I guess it depends. At my work it is very common to have showers for other coworkers that we all attend knowing we aren’t all invited to the wedding. We work with a lot of people so it just isn’t possible to invite everyone. Also churches work that way as well sometimes. But in every day life if a friend invited me to a shower but not the wedding I would think that is strange and not go. Unless she eloped or had a family only wedding. But if other friend were invited and not myself I wouldn’t want to be included in pre-wedding events.  you can change the name of it to whatever you like but people are going to look at it like a shower. Only you really know if your friend would be more offended being invited or not invited so go with your gut.

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