Who Gets Invited to the Bridal Shower?

Bridal Shower / Wedding Shower Picture

Etiquette on Who Gets Invited to a Wedding Shower

 My daughter is getting married in May. We are thinking of a shower in March – just women. Who is invited to the wedding shower? Just family and close friends or everyone you plan to invite to the wedding and reception? Some family and friends who will be invited to the wedding live out of state, so certainly I don’t anticipate them coming to the shower, even if invited. However, if I do send an invitation, I don’t want them to feel obligated to send a gift when obviously they’re not going to be able to come. What’s the proper etiquette?
~ Joyce


The shower guest list can be handled one of two possible ways. You may choose to invite all women who you will be inviting to the wedding. This will likely make for a very large shower and may need to be held in a hall. Alternatively, if you prefer, and if this is something the bride herself would be more comfortable with, you may choose to have a smaller, more intimate shower where only close family and friends are invited.

Either option is perfectly acceptable and both conform to the rules of etiquette. Apart from that, the option you choose becomes a matter of personal preference.

The one thing you should absolutely never do, under any circumstances, is to invite people to the shower who will not be invited to the wedding. All shower guests must be on the wedding guest list as well.

As for the out of town guests who you know can not possibly attend the shower, it is thoughtful of you to want to make them feel included by sending them an invitation. An invitation, however, usually does inevitably make one feel obliged to send a gift. If it is your intention to avoid having them feel this way, it may be best to simply not send these individuals an invitation, since you know it is not feasible for them to attend.

The other possible option is to send such people a shower invitation along with a note that reads something along the lines of: “We realize it’s not possible for you to attend the shower, but just thought you might like to have a copy of the invitation as a keepsake. Wish you could be there, but we hope to see you at the wedding”. This should help to make the intention behind sending the invitation a little more clear, and will help to remove some of the pressure that may be felt to send a gift. Nonetheless, the likelihood remains  that many of these recipients will still choose to go ahead and send a gift even under these circumstances.

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One thought on “Who Gets Invited to the Bridal Shower?

  1. Melissa Carry says:

    Inam hosting a wedding shower and was invit
    ed to another shower as was my co- host.
    The bride’s guest list did not include the host
    s of the previous shower, although she said t
    o please invite anyone we would like in additi
    on to her guest list.
    Am I obligated to invite the first wedding sho
    wer hosts?
    They are friends of mine but not the co-host
    and there is a discrepancy of opinion.

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