Bridal Showers: Q & A: Who's invited to the bridal shower?

Q. I am planning my best friend's bridal shower, and I am stuck!  She is having an intimate, out-of-town wedding, and there will be a small reception immediately following the wedding for the wedding guests.  The following weekend, she is having a much larger reception in our hometown, which will include guests that were not invited to the wedding.  Traditionally, guests that are invited to the wedding are invited to the shower, but I'm not sure what to do in this case.  Do we only invite people who are invited to the wedding?  Or can we also invite the people who are only invited to the reception in our hometown?

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A. 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


Bridal Showers Q & A: What you need to know

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