Post # 1
I am an active member of my church & literally everyone in our church district has known me since birth.
My Fiance and I had our engagement blessing last time he was visiting Canada, followed by an engagement party. We had a ton of people from other congregations show up (they weren’t invited personally by us, they heard through the grapevine) and all of them gave gifts.
I am not inviting any of the church members, besides close ministers & their wives, to our wedding. It was an all or nothing approach because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings! I don’t talk about wedding plans or anything at church, but people still bring it up & assume they are invited. I’ve also had countless people ask "I am invited right?" I follow up with "Oh, well we’re having a small family only ceremony & reception." They look like I kicked them in the stomach.
Still, while the wedding is a year away, the women are all talking about hosting a bridal shower regardless of whether they are invited or not. It won’t be small either. The last church shower I went to was hosted for a church member’s Fiance, no one had met her before (but knew him) and she had atleast 75 people show up. In that case, mine is going to be well over 150 women.
Here’s my dilemma: Etiquette states that guests who are not invited to the wedding should not be invited to the bridal shower. Well… I have no control over this one. I worry that these shower guests will assume its an open wedding ceremony and, like with the engagement blessing, will come to the wedding anyway invited or not.
Should I politely decline their lovely offer for a shower to avoid any confusion or could I maybe ask them to just keep the party invite to just our congregation? Ugh! These people already don’t feel as included as they’d like to be & I really don’t want to cut them out even more!
Post # 3
Yikes. I hate this general awkwardness for you! The two options above seem pretty viable. I also think in a case like this it would be acceptable to just let it happen. This could even be a way to include those you’re not inviting. I don’t think anyone could expect you to be inviting the 150 in attendance! Of course, I’m not down with most of the etiquette in situations like this, this is just my gut feeling 🙂
Post # 4
That is an interesting situation….I was in something similar with my hometown congregation. Granted our ceremony is in another state they still wanted to throw a huge shower and I was afraid quite a few of them would show up at the ceremony (it’s a 3 hour drive). Then there were also quite a few that felt slighted that we weren’t using the church for our ceremony (we live 4 hours away). After much back & forth with my parents we ultimately decided to hold a "blessing & reception" at the church 3 weeks after our ceremony. The reception will just be light finger foods (I’m from the South…that’s what they call them here), cake and punch but it seems to have really made everyone involved happy to some degree. I’m not sure if that is a possibility in your case..but I know it’s been hard trying to weigh the options. I thought about declining a shower as well, but that seemed as if it would hurt more feelings than a private wedding.
Long story short, I don’t have a perfect solution for you but I did want you to know you aren’t alone in this delimma.
Post # 5
The idea of a blessing and reception ceremony I think is wonderful. If that is possible.
Otherwise I would suggest that next time you talk with them (those offering to host the shower), thoroughly explain that although you would greatly appreciate and enjoy them hosting a shower, you don’t feel it would be appropriate because the actual ceremony is for family only because of various constraints. Honesty is always the best way to go and hopefully they understand.
Post # 6
I think it’s okay if they want to throw you a shower. People get showers at their workplaces when the coworkers are not invited. As long as you’ve been clear that you’re having a small wedding ceremony/reception with your family only, I think you’d be okay. They love you and want to celebrate with you. I think they might be more hurt if you said no 🙂