This sounds like a tough call. Yes, you're right, according to
traditional etiquette, only wedding guests are invited to a bridal shower.
However, it is not uncommon now for co-workers and others who will not attend
a wedding to give showers, so this is not always followed.
Generally, I tend to lean toward doing what cannot be construed
as *wrong*, if you know what I mean. But I keep thinking that the people who
are likely to come to a "hometown reception" may well be people who would
really want to be invited to the shower, too. .
Can you tell me, how many people are actually attending the
out-of-town ceremony and reception? Is it a very small number-- just
immediate family and a couple friends? Also, were others invited and unable
to attend, or did the couple just want this small number of guests?
The reason I ask is that many times when a wedding is
out-of-town, many of the "normal" guests can't make it-- like aunties and
uncles, cousins, close friends, god parents, etc.-- people who really are very
close to the couple. That's a draw-back of any sort of "destination" wedding
or other wedding away from home (or of marrying in the place you live when
your family and other loved ones live somewhere else.)
Although it generally is considered inappropriate according to
etiquette to have non-guests at showers for "weddings away", it's hard to deny
that many times aunts, cousins, friends, godmothers, etc., often WANT to
attend a shower, even though they cannot attend the ceremony.
IF they were invited/welcome to come to the ceremony, and just
couldn't, it's a little different situation than if the couple didn't WANT
guests at the ceremony, in some ways.
So, it will be a judgment call, I think, in this case. At
least the "normal" shower guests are probably going to the hometown
reception-- they aren't missing *all* the wedding festivities. There are
probably some logical people who would feel hurt if they *weren't* invited to
the shower, and I would try to figure out with the bride and her family who
those people might be.
I would tend to keep the shower small, though. That's part of
the decision to have a small ceremony-- you have a smaller shower (or
sometimes no shower at all).
I wish that there was a very specific answer to this, but it
really depends on a lot of factors-- including the specifics of the couple's
wedding plans, the social circle they are in (some families are very strict
about etiquette, others aren't at all), etc. So those factors need to be
considered in making a gracious decision about this situation