Google+ bridal shower etiquette Archives - Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

Tag: bridal shower etiquette

Southern Etiquette posts remain some of our most popular to date, so after a brief hiatus, I’m happy to say they’re back! You can expect one a month from here on out. By far the most common query I get is about bridal showers and the etiquette surrounding them. It seems like the basic etiquette is understood, but there are an endless number of slightly different “situations” hosts and honorees find themselves in (and like to email me about). Let’s take a look at one recent note from a mother of the bride, Dea:

My daughter is newly engaged to a boy who grew up in the small town to which we moved about four years ago. His parents grew up here as well. The moment their engagement was made public, several women at our mutual church volunteered to be shower hostesses, which is a part of the local generous Southern tradition.

Between the couple, they have over 80 family members who will be invited to the wedding. This includes siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. They want to limit the wedding to that group and a dozen or so close friends, most of whom will be members of the wedding party.

Should my daughter decline the offers of these women to host a shower, since they will not be invited to the wedding? The groom’s mother feels that the appropriate solution is to have a 300 – 400 person guest list, including people neither the bride nor groom really know, but this is not only outside the limits of our financial ability, it is also not what the bride and groom want for their special day.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this matter!


Photo by Amy Moss

I think the situation Dea is describing is extremely common in the South. (Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments!) I am with Dea that the appropriate solution is not to invite 300-400 people to the wedding if that’s not what the couple wants or what is in the cards financially. There is never an excuse to go into debt for a wedding, and while family opinions should be given considerate weight by the bride and groom, they should never be pressured into an event with which they’re not comfortable.

I think the first step is to offer the gracious potential hostesses an effusive thank you. Then, make it clear to them that the couple is planning a small wedding and that a traditional shower might not be the most appropriate choice. If they still insist on hosting, I actually think that’s just fine and a lovely gesture, but I would consider calling the event something like a “luncheon in honor of the bride” or a “meet the bride breakfast” instead of a shower, and I would insist on no gifts.

In lieu of gifts, you could ask each guest to bring a favorite recipe for the bride. Or, since it sounds like most guests have known the groom for most of his life, they could each write out a favorite or funny memory from his childhood, a volume I’m sure any bride would cherish!

Belles, what do you think? What would you advise in this situation? Any other ideas for a non-gift shower?

P.S. Have your own etiquette conundrum? Feel free to email me!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Alicia reply

    I have to disagree. My husband and I both grew up in Tennessee. Our home churches BOTH gave us bridal teas/showers before our wedding. Very few of the people who came to the tea/shower were invited to the wedding. They were both the kind of event where it was announced in the Sunday bulletin as an open invitation for whoever wanted to come and it was a come and go type of thing. It’s just an accepted practice here that the churches give a shower/tea and that all are invited (whether by formal invitation or a group one in a bulletin). I will say though that there were more invited to the wedding from my church than my husbands….just because the wedding was at my church and my husbands home church was almost 2 hours away.

  2. avatar Hayley reply

    I ran into this exact same problem! My fiance is from a very small Tennessee town and the town basically raised him! While I would love to invite all of his townsfolk to the wedding- it would be close to 300 people and we want to keep our wedding relatively small. We have decided to do an evening themed “party” which will be more of a cookout to meet everyone and celebrate our upcoming nutials! I am so glad to hear it isn’t just me with this problem! :)

  3. avatar Maggie Goodell reply

    A polite “thank you” with a decline seems the most appropriate. I too believe that weddings should reflect what the bride and groom prefer. Inviting extra people the couple doesn’t know, or don’t know well, can be awkward and distracting.

  4. avatar Dee Shore reply

    I agree 200% with you Emily. Inviting everyone and their mother is not financially smart. I’m from NYC so I know first hand that the average per plate here is about $150-$200. I’m sure in the South, though cheaper, I don’t think it differs by much. Also, keep in mind that not everyone gives a monetary gift, and it’s rare to get back every cent you’re spending. Now as per the shower, since they all seem to be eager to help, let them and do a ladies pot luck brunch at the church. This way all feelings are spared and everyone takes part of the union some way.

  5. avatar Liz reply

    I just got married a little over a month ago and had this same scenario pop up during our engagement. Both my husband and I are from small towns with sweet churches that we grew up in. For us, we knew it was poor etiquette since not everyone was invited to the wedding and went ahead with home church showers anyways. I think a “simple thank you” would’ve offended the women trying to host the shower, as well as more of the church members. Sometimes, even though things are “proper” etiquette, you just have to go with Southern rules and send nice thank you cards!

  6. avatar Maddison reply

    Maybe have the shower after the wedding.

  7. avatar Lauren reply

    I guess I’m definitely a southern girl. I loved the fact that my small church wanted to throw me a shower. In my mind, this is their way of celebrating with us since most won’t be invited to the wedding. Same goes for my office. Although I’ve recently accepted a new position elsewhere, they insisted on hosting a wedding shower before my last day.

  8. avatar lisa reply

    I am recently married and we ran into the same problem. We have large extended families and many friends, however we wanted a small wedding, mostly due to finances and not wanting to go into debt. However, we had two engagement parties that our parents hosted and invited all of our friends and family. Therefore, we invited them to our showers. Several of my MIL’s friends wanted to host and attend b/c they care for her and her family.
    Southern Weddings have changed. They used to be simple and receptions held in church fellowship halls or sometimes at someone’s home, therefore they were not expensive and everyone could attend.
    If you have had a wedding in the last 10 years, I believe people are more understanding b/c they know the cost.

  9. avatar Fletcher reply

    I think that this happens more often than not. I love the idea of having a luncheon or afternoon tea- the hostesses are pleased that they are giving the party but there is no pressure for gifts!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:

Yesterday’s lovely bridal shower inspiration inspired me to dust off one of my favorite Southern Weddings features: our Southern Etiquette column!

I had just the query, one that came in from a lovely mother of the bride (oh, how we love that mothers read our blog, too!). Here it is:

Hello, Emily,

I read your post about not inviting people to showers who are not invited to weddings, which agrees with my personal opinion and everything else I find on the same topic, but I want to ask the same question again with my own twist, as I am not completely sure if this principle applies in every situation.

My daughter is newly engaged to a boy who grew up in the small town to which we moved about four years ago. His parents grew up here, as well. The moment their engagement was made public, several women at our mutual church volunteered to be shower hostesses, which is a part of the local generous Southern tradition.

Between the couple, they have over 80 family members who will be invited to the wedding. This includes siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. They want to limit the wedding to that group and a dozen or so close friends, most of whom will be members of the wedding party.

Should my daughter decline the offers of these women to host a shower, since they will not be invited to the wedding? The groom’s mother feels that the appropriate solution is to have a 300 – 400 person guest list, including people neither the bride nor groom really know, but this is not only outside the limits of our financial ability, it is also not what the bride and groom want for their special day.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this matter!


A perfectly Southern table setting, courtesy of Katie Rivers

I think the dilemma of the “church shower” is both very common and uniquely Southern (i.e. I had never heard of this predicament before I moved South, but have since heard of it several times!). A strong church family is such a wonderful thing to have in your life, but it can make things like shower and wedding guest list planning complicated. Hence, why most Southerners don’t bat an eyelash upon hearing about a 400, 500, or 600 person guest list!

However, a monster guest list is not the solution for every bride, and does not sound like the solution in this case. So, if inviting the church ladies to the wedding and allowing them to host a shower is not the answer, what is?

I think the first step is to make it clear to the would-be hostesses that the couple is planning a small wedding and that a traditional shower might not be the most appropriate choice (while you’re at it, get the MOG on board, too, so she can help spread the word discreetly!).

If they still insist on hosting an event, I actually think that’s just fine, and a lovely gesture. I’m sure it’s one borne out of genuine love for the bride and groom! However, I would guide them towards calling it something besides a “bridal shower” — perhaps a “luncheon in honor of the bride” or a “meet the bride breakfast.” I would also insist on no gifts, and make sure that that’s clearly printed in the invitation. That way, the focus will be on surrounding the bride with love and support, and the risk for hurt feelings should be greatly minimized!

Ladies, I would LOVE to hear what y’all think – is this a situation you’ve run up against? What would you do if you were faced with this situation? Would you allow a traditional shower to be held, take a middle road like I’ve suggested, or insist on none at all? I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!

P.S. Have a etiquette query of your own? Feel free to shoot me an email!

P.P.S. Past etiquette conundrums:
Tipping wedding vendors
Wedding rings for men
Formal invitations – necessary?
Clapping at the recessional

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Michele reply

    I belong to a very large church family and want to share one way that this situation has been tastefully handled by several families. Everyone in the church is invited to the wedding- sometimes an invitation is in the church bulletin- and a private, invitation-only reception is held at another location a few hours later. Some of the families, typically those who are on staff at the church, will have a simple cookie and punch reception for everyone immediately after the ceremony.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Michele! My sister did something similar for her wedding, and it worked out great! She was getting married on a small island with a tight-knit community, and we wanted to invite everyone to the ceremony but couldn’t have everyone at the reception. We had lemonade and cookies directly following the ceremony at the ceremony site, and then the reception started about an hour later at a different location.

  2. avatar Britt reply

    We had a church shower at my husband’s parent’s church close to the wedding- it is a small, tight-knit church family. We had already sent invitations out and everything, so it was already known that most of the people in the church were not invited to the wedding ceremony or reception. That group of families loves supporting each other, though, so they really wanted to have a shower and give gifts even knowing they weren’t invited to the ceremony or reception. We had a good ol’ fashioned church potluck with lots of visiting and well-wishing followed by lots of fun opening gifts with lots of “oohs” and “aahs” it was so much fun, laid back, and there was never any expectation or pressure of any sort from anyone to be invited. Everyone just wanted to celebrate with us! So I guess it depends on your group!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Agreed, Britt! I think this is probably how most church groups feel!

  3. avatar Dianna reply

    My fiance and are counting down the days 18 to go, and we’ve just finished up ALLLLLL the showers. Both of the churches we grew up in insisted on have a shower for us. We were even very open to let them know that our wedding was strictly immediate family only. It was still a must though. It’s just their way of showing their love and excitement for someone they’ve watched grow up. It was just announced the Sunday before and we did a drop-in for each church with cake and punch. It was a nice way for people to be able to talk to you outside of the Sunday handshaking after church. We enjoyed them and looking back I’m glad we allowed them to shower us, not only with gifts, but love.

  4. avatar Janna reply

    There were people who had watched my husband grow up in our small church and has insisted on throwing us a church shower- we also worked with the youth in our church and all of them were excited to see us married but adding an additional 30 teenagers to our guest list wasn’t very feasible, and financially and personally we both really wanted a smaller wedding and reception. We ended up agreeing on doing a cake and punch reception at the life center of our church. Our dinner reception started about an hour later at a different location. It worked wonderfully for us and allowed us to be able to include many people who wanted to be there to celebrate with us and still allowed us to have the smaller more intimate reception like we wanted as well.

  5. avatar Kristen reply

    My MOH had this same dilemma. Her father is the pastor of their baptist church in NC, and the congregation knew Emily since she was four months old. However, her reception venue capped at 150 (which is really a blessing in disguise!). So, they opted to have a pre-wedding cake and punch reception the week before the wedding at the church for everyone who wanted to wish the couple well. Then, they sent out the traditional ceremony invitations to everyone, and the “reception immediately after” cards were included with only the guests invited to the reception the evening of the wedding. So the church was packed with guests, the reception had a controlled amount of people, and the folks were able to greet the couple properly. A triple win!

    Needless to say, she did have a church ladies shower as well, and those women were pleased as punch to host it for her.

    Don’t let anyone strong-arm you into a mega-reception if you don’t want one!

  6. avatar Maggie reply

    I am 65 and going to a 5:30 wedding in February. Any attire suggestions? I would really rather wear dressy crepe pants with something, but what, and is that appropriate.


  7. avatar Claudia Cables reply

    I’m the MOB and I just found out the MOG already purchase the gown she is going to wear for my daughter’s wedding, without consulting me about style, color etc. How should I handled this situation?

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to:

It’s not only the season for weddings, but for bridal showers, too, which makes today’s Southern Etiquette question particularly relevant.

Grace wrote:

“To frame my main question, I should first provide some backstory. A friend of mine recently got engaged very unexpectedly, after only knowing her now-fiance for a few months. They sent out their save the dates in early April for a Labor Day weekend wedding. Mid-May comes, and I receive a mass text message informing me that they will instead be doing a family-only beach ceremony in July, due to cost and her father’s unexpected unemployment a year prior. Supposedly there were plans in the works to mail out some sort of an update on the family-only decision, but nothing has been mailed yet.

No big deal, but then the buzz starts to circulate that “family only” also includes a few friends from college and sorority.

This past weekend, I opened the mailbox to find an invitation to a bridal shower for her, about two weeks before the “family-only” beach wedding in July. My question to you is whether it’s appropriate (or best Southern etiquette practice) to invite people to a shower for a wedding they are not invited to attend. Essentially, opting for a smaller, cost-effective wedding says, “I can’t afford/choose not to pay for you to be a guest at our wedding,” and my understanding of wedding etiquette is that if someone is not a wedding guest, they should not be a shower invitee also. I, along with a few others, feel that it’s sending a message of “I’m not inviting you to my wedding, but please shower me anyway.”

I have gone back and forth with whether or not I should/want to attend her upcoming shower, and I really am stuck. As a friend and former wedding/potential shower guest, I find it hurtful to have learned that non-family guests have been invited to their “family-only” wedding, and I do not feel that inviting non-guests to a shower is a best bride practice.

Am I being petty? Would you go? Deep down, I do want happiness and love for her marriage, but I feel that making the decision to have a cost-effective, exclusive wedding comes with the understanding that most likely there will not be the traditional string of showers given.”

A happy couple, shot by Phindy Studios :)

GREAT question, Grace! Often in etiquette I feel like there’s some gray area, but in this case, I came down firmly on one side — and I’m guessing most of our readers will, too. To confirm my suspicions, I checked with Emily Post:

“Who is invited to a shower? Normally, anyone invited to a shower should be invited to the wedding. The one exception is a workplace shower to which a large number of coworkers contribute. Showers are intimate gatherings for people you know very well– not excuses to haul in more gifts.”

If you are not invited to the wedding, you should not be invited to the shower. If the bride is having an intimate wedding, she should have an intimate shower — or none at all. That might sound harsh, but in my opinion, it’s the only way to do things in good taste. If kind friends or relatives would like to give a gift when they hear the good news, regardless of their invitation status, that is their prerogative and certainly fine.

Now in Grace’s case, since the bride has already issued the invitation for the shower, it is now up to Grace and the other non-wedding guests whether they choose to a) attend or b) bring or send a gift.

Grace specifically asked what I would do, so here you go: If the shower were local, I would attend and bring a lovely, handwritten card expressing my best wishes for the couple. I would not bring a gift. If the shower were not local, I would not attend, but would still send a handwritten card.

Readers, I would love to hear your thoughts! Would YOU attend? Would you bring a gift? Am I being too black-and-white, or is this an issue where there is clearly an etiquette precedent for a reason? Let me know what you think!

As always, if you would like to submit your own etiquette query, just shoot me an email!

If you liked this post, you might want to check out past etiquette columns:
Bridesmaid Responsibilities
Tuxedos with Navy Dresses?
Who Gets a Save the Date?

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Sarah reply

    I totally agree with the Emily’s opinion. I actually find it quite tacky to invite someone to the shower, but not the wedding. If they want to include other guests, but can’t afford to have a larger wedding, maybe a small gathering at the bride and groom’s home after the wedding to celebrate with friends.
    I recently got married and had a smaller wedding, though it was hard to not invite everyone, I feel most people understand, especially knowing the high costs of weddings.

  2. avatar Bride-to-be reply

    This is wonderful advice! I can’t agree with you more. I believe there is a lot of confusion from gift-hungry brides regarding showers, parties, expectations, and especially thank you notes. Why aren’t they sent anymore? Do you have any helpful tips about how long is too long or too soon to wait to send a thoughtful thank you note?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Bride-to-be! I know! It’s actually rather astonishing to me when I DON’T receive a handwritten thank you note. Standard etiquette says your thank you notes should be written and sent within three months of receiving each gift. I don’t think there is such a thing as too soon — sending a note out on the day you receive the gift might be the easiest system you can devise to make sure your notes go out in an orderly, timely manner! As a goal, I’d work on sending 3-4 notes a day, and you should be done in no time!

    • avatar Kelsey reply

      I wish my fiance’s cousin would read this! I was brought up that a handwritten thank you note is a must, but I guess not every Southern girl is. We’ve now given her and her husband a very nice wedding gift and a baby shower present and never received at thank you note for either! It makes the fun of giving a present seem unappreciated!

    • avatar Lauren Frances reply

      Emily: I 100% agree with handwritten thank you notes. The last two weddings that I’ve attended (and purchased gifts for, crystal candlesticks for one couple that I’ve seen used in family dinner pictures and every single glass and piece of stemware registered for for the other couple) I didn’t get a thank you card at all much less a lovely handwritten one. Sadly, there seems to be an increasing lack of tact and etiquette at weddings these days. A card brought to Grace’s friend’s shower is completely appropriate and is a thoughtful gesture in response to an unthoughtful invitation.

  3. avatar Pam Archer reply

    I concur that it’s both or none. If the “friend” felt that she were close to you, she would have invited you to the wedding. Send a card.

  4. avatar Julie reply

    If I wasn’t invited to a wedding but was to a reception (think destination wedding, elopement or intimate ceremony followed by a party) then I would have no problem with attending a shower for the bride. To be completely excluded from sharing in wedding day festivities to me means the bride should be excluded from asking for gifts from those guests. I can’t believe no one hosting the shower realized the breach in etiquette here. I have to wonder if they know or just don’t care.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Julie! I definitely agree — if there are no wedding day festivities to be invited to/excluded from, or if you WERE invited to the only part that there was to be invited to, then that’s an entirely different question. Good point!

    • avatar Amber reply

      Emily: We did the no gift party recently. I’ve lived in several states and have many friends through this adventure. My mom’s best friend, from my high school state of Arizona, wanted to throw a shower so badly. Unfortunately, I can’t invite them all to the wedding. The hostess agreed to add ‘no gifts’ to the invite and I felt much better. She turned it into a ‘Meet and Greet’ party which was lovely!! Now, my out of state friends don’t have to purchase flights, and we have about 50 less in our wedding headcount. I think everyone is happy. Granted, we didn’t come home with sacks of presents… but that wasn’t our goal. Just wanted to enjoy our friends.

  5. avatar Sara reply

    Great question and answer! I do think some grace could be shown here–perhaps the bride didn’t make the shower guest-list, a friend did it? I was in a wedding where the bride was very non-communicative about who she wanted/didn’t want at certain events and so I erred on the side of inclusion…and probably ended up inviting people to her shower who weren’t invited to the wedding. So, that’s just something to consider, but in your situation, I would absolutely have hurt feelings, too! The best thing you can do is just rise above it and be the most gracious person you can be–thereby showing her what TRUE grace and manners are!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Sara! I COMPLETELY agree. No matter how awful you might think the other person is acting, the correct response is never to act awful in return. You’re also right about the guest list mix-up, which is a lesson for brides everywhere — if at all possible, make sure your kind hosts have an accurate list to work off of!

  6. avatar Megan reply

    I agree with Emily. Since you weren’t invited to the wedding (scratch that, uninvited!? via text?!), I wouldn’t bring a gift. When I was engaged, we had the opposite problem, actually. My now husband’s hometown church offered to host a shower well after we had booked our venues (and they do this for any couple from the church, and his mother insisted that we accept the shower, but was this something I should have considered in the very first place?? I didn’t.) It really put me in an awkward situation, though. We actually ended up feeling the need to extend an open invitation to the entire church (80 families) for the ceremony only, but we didn’t have room in our reception for everyone, so we had to communicate it to them. It ended up causing a bit of stress (because how do you get an RSVP from a bulletin announcement!?…and how many folks are really going to travel an hour for just the wedding ceremony?!…and is there even room in the chapel?!…and how tacky does this make us look!?), but it worked out in the end. We ended up having to do a receiving line to make sure we greeted everyone after the ceremony, but it was good. I was overwhelmed with their support and we didn’t have any backlash (that I know of) from the ceremony only invitation. I think that most of them now kind of understand that weddings are a bit different now than an open punch bowl reception in the fellowship hall (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it just wasn’t our preference).

  7. avatar Adrienne reply

    I am actually have the same problem but from the opposite angle. I grew up here in VA and people who knew my parents and siblings have offered to throw me showers with the assumption that they are invited to the wedding. I find it so hard to graciously turn them down knowing that they love us and just want to help. They keep calling my mother and asking her to send them a shower guest list! Showers can be tricky. I say send a card, the bride won’t mind she is probably embarrassed by the save the date debacle.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Adrienne! You’re right, that is definitely a very real problem! If they are very persistent and really just want to celebrate with you, maybe let them throw you a small party that specifically is geared towards (and specifies) no presents. For example, maybe they could throw you a recipe get-together, and everyone brings their favorite recipe. Ladies, what do you think? Is that still awkward, if the guests won’t be invited to the wedding?

    • avatar Courtney reply

      I’m with all of you.. terribly tacky on her part. The whole thing is very unpleasant. However! I would either send a card or bring a gift if you feel you must attend. I think it would be equally uncomfortable for the bride to open each gift and thank the giver and then come to your card. I think if you attend, you need to bring a gift. If you don’t want to purchase a gift, don’t attend.

  8. avatar Carmen reply

    I agree with what everyone is saying, but I also see how easy it could be to become passive-aggressive. Sure, there was a slip-up when it comes to etiquette, but perhaps talking with the person over the phone or in person before just showing up without a present or missing out on fun time to celebrate by sending a card might help solve the issue. Instead of speculating why you were sent an invite to the shower, maybe you can hear the whole story about how her mom took over and invited everyone or that she was just expecting company, not gifts anyways.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Carmen! Definitely a good idea! Open channels of communication are never a bad thing.

  9. avatar Gail reply

    With today’s more casual approach to life and with financial reversals becoming the norm rather than the exception I think it boils down to, “do you want to celebrate with this girl? Do you like/love her? Are you happy for her?” If you do and are, go to the shower, participate, have fun, make it fun for others, take a gift and wish her every happiness. If she was some one I cared about I would go to the church service too to add my prayer to others for a blessed marriage for them. I think it is about the marriage not etiquette or hurt feelings. That’s just my view.

  10. avatar Lisa reply

    I am a Bride that is stuck in this predicament. Our families are so large that we are keeping our wedding to close friends and family (aunts/uncles, 1st cousins). This totals to be 150 people and We are not going in debt just because we feel we have to invite people. (easily a 300 to 400 person wedding)

    I struggled with the Bridal Showers and who to invite. After talking it over with my Mom and future Mother in law, they said that people will want to celebrate Eric and I (I agree with Gail above). However, we did have two big Engagement Parties with the friends who are not invited, so this made me feel better about inviting them to the showers.

    Everyone has been great and understanding. I am in my 30’s so it is easier for people to understand. They all have planned weddings before. I also plan on sending everyone a link to my wedding day pictures, so they can see our special day.

    • avatar Guest or not… reply

      Lisa, Here is my situation as a “not invited to the wedding” guest. My son got married in May and his cousin (who he grew up very close to – both in their early 30’s now) is getting married next month. My nephew grew up in our neighborhood, etc. invited us and our adult daughter to a shower recently. The guest list for a cookout and shower was over 75 invitations (not people) and it listed where they were registered for gifts. We went to the shower, took very nice gifts which they did not open at the party. The party guests who actually attended were mostly family members (10), a few neighbors and parents of the host/hostesses (8 people), and other guests (4) = 25 guests max.
      We (aunt & uncle as well as adult cousin) have not received wedding invitations (though we received prompt handwritten thank you notes). My son, who is in the wedding, has received his invite to the wedding so they have been mailed out. There are 9 bridesmaids, 9 groomsmen, & 2 flower girls in a backyard wedding. This is the groom’s first marriage and the bride’s second marriage.
      So, I guess they wanted gifts but didn’t plan to invite us to the wedding. My daughter is bugging me to call the groom or his parents on it but I am reluctant for either of us to do that. BTW, the nephew was in my son’s wedding, invited him, his fiance, his parents and his sister to a very nice rehearsal dinner and wedding… So, did 2 invitations get lost, or do we just chalk it up to they wanted a gift but no invite to the wedding?
      Additionally, money doesn’t appear to be an issue with the couple as the stamps on the thank you notes had pictures of the bride & groom. Also, they have 2 websites with info about the wedding, wedding party, photos, private getaway vacations, etc.
      Thoughts on this situation would be appreciated!

  11. avatar Bridal Shower Ideas for Weddings in DC, Maryland and Virginia | Washington DC Weddings, Maryand Weddings, Virginia Weddings :: United With Love™ :: Fresh Inspiration, Ideas and Vendors reply

    […] links for ya…What to wear to a bridal shower from The Sweetest OccasionDIY cake pops + recipe Who is invited to a bridal shower from Southern WeddingsA free bridal shower invitation printableBridal shower etiquette from Martha […]

  12. avatar Sally reply

    Is it proper to invite friends and family members to a bridal shower if they live too far to attend. They will be coming to the wedding at a later time.

  13. avatar Deb Wolf reply

    I am having a small bridal shower for a niece who is paying for her own wedding and lives 8 hours away. There are close friends and family members of which my mom has attended all bridal showers and weddings happily giving gifts at both events. In many of these sister, brother, friend events she has done it for all 3 children in her brother & sister’s families. Are we able to ask her close friends, sister and sister in laws if they would like to attend the shower of her first grandchild even tho not invited to the wedding which is 10 hours away and they are all in there late 70’s and 80’s.

  14. avatar lisa reply

    I was not invited to my niece”s baby shower. Do I still have to give her a gift?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Lisa! I would say you’re under no obligation to, but it would of course still be a lovely gesture :)

  15. avatar Lauren reply

    A couple is having a civil ceremony wedding in October 2013 inviting immediate family only for the ceremony and dinner following. They are having a large reception in spring 2014 inviting all family and friends and will repeat their vows. Since the small civil ceremony is immediate family (very small) should the bridal shower be before the civil ceremony or before the large reception in the spring time? .

    • avatar Emily reply

      Lauren: I would say before the large reception, as that will represent the “wedding” for most people!

  16. avatar Patricia reply

    My Daughter and fiancee live in California. The wedding will be held in her home town, Buffalo, NY due to my husband’s numerous illnesses. The parents of the bride and groom, aunts and uncles of the bride and groom, groom’s two brothers, one sister-in-law, and one sister, my Daughter’s Matron of Honor and the husband of the Matron of Honor will be invited to the small wedding ceremony and reception. This is my problem – my best girl friend of 44 years wants to throw my Daughter a Bridal Shower in Buffalo, NY. Do the cousins and cousins children get invited to the Bridal Shower in Buffalo? The cousins and cousins grown children will not be invited to the ceremony and reception. The groom’s Mother and Aunt are having a small Bridal Shower in California. If I tell my friend to go ahead and plan the Bridal Shower, who should be invited? Should it only be me and the two aunts that live in Buffalo? My friend who is also thinking about inviting her sister and sister-in-law who will not be invited to the wedding. Please help me. I am in my mid-sixties and only have one child, my Daughter. I do not know what to do.

  17. avatar Rebecca reply

    I recently (a few weeks ago) attended a bridal shower for a friend of mine. It was an intimate gathering… a total of 13 of us there, including the bride to be and her mom. I brought a lovely gift and had a nice time. As the shower was ending, two of my friends approached me and and started a discussion as to whether they were bringing their spouses to the wedding or not. They asked me if I was bringing mine, saying that they had both RSVP’d that they were bringing theirs, but had heard that most of the friends were not (and didn’t want their husband to feel awkward if he were the only one there). I was unsure how to respond since I hadn’t received an invitation to the wedding and was under the impression that we were doing a very early shower and that the invites hadn’t been sent out. I simply said that yes, I would be bringing my husband, thinking in the back of my head that perhaps I just hadn’t seen the invitation yet and maybe they had just recently received theirs and sent in their responses. Well… the wedding is next week and I did not receive an invitation. I cannot tell you how uncomfortable this makes me. I felt certain that this was a breach of etiquette and came looking to see if something changed and if I was out of the loop. I was glad to find this post. Brides-to-be, please do not do this to your friends. I would have been much happier if I had not been invited to either the wedding or the shower. My feelings are definitely hurt. Not that I will ever say anything about it. I’m glad I have a little outlet here. :-)

  18. avatar Rebecca reply

    I should mention, both the shower and wedding are local :-) And the wedding is not a tiny one.

    • avatar Louise reply

      Rebecca, you have my sympathy.
      Something similar happened to me — I was invited to and attended a bridal shower and assumed that meant I would also be invited to the wedding. I didn’t reallize I wasn’t invited to the wedding until it was simply too late for wedding invitations to be sent. This really hurt my feelings. Hostesses, be kind to shower guests and don’t do this to them!

  19. avatar Sensitive in the South reply

    I have read everyone’s comments on here, and appreciate all the advice. I am still wondering about a few things though. About a year ago my fiancé and I moved to a new town. I started working at a great restaurant in the area and the people have been fantastic and great to me. We are getting married in a city we lived in a few years back, which is about five hours from where we live now. Although the wedding is about 150 people, I am only inviting a few people I am close with in the town we live in now. With that being said, a girl I am inviting wants to throw me a shower and invite everyone from my work and friends I have met here over the past year. Most of these people will not be invited to the wedding. I graciously told her a shower was not necessary, but she keeps insisting. I do not want to hurt people’s feelings by them coming to a shower and not the wedding. Is there a way to convey this to guests before the shower? I am very confused. I do not want to hurt the hosts feelings and I do not want to hurt guests coming to the shower and not the wedding. All advice is good advice. I am super-sensitive about this subject. I want to celebrate with everyone.

  20. avatar Laurie Struble reply

    No, I do NOT think you are being too black-&-white. I was sent a nice invitation to my nieces bridal shower in July. I was happy to attend, & give her VERY nice gifts! I NEVER received a wedding invitation! The wedding was in Sept., & the day before, she sent me a message on FB, explaining that I wasn’t invited because she could only invite 50 guests. I was hurt & a bit angry! I wondered how many ‘friends’ she chose to invite over me!!…PS…I was in the delivery room the day she was born!

  21. avatar Donna Eastman reply

    I was in a similar situation many years ago, I was invited to a bridal shower for a co-worker’s daughter, whom I knew well and was good friends with her mother. However, I wasn’t invited to the wedding. When I responded “no” to the shower, her mother got very upset and said I expect you to be there. She said she really wanted me at the shower but quite frankly couldn’t afford to have me attend the wedding. Of course I was not happy with her comment but understood her situation, but she did have a big wedding so her excuse of not being able to afford to have me there did not sit well with me. Since I liked her daughter and the shower was local, I attended and I bought her a beautiful gift.

    After her wedding, I sent her a congratulations card, but no additional gift. Her mother then said to me, my daughter received your card but it was empty. I replied, the card was missing? and she said no, there was no check. I replied, I didn’t send a check, I only wanted to congratulate her on her wedding. She wasn’t happy, but that was the truth. I don’t believe that an additional gift was necessary.

    I admit I felt slighted by this but our friendship remained in tact, even now 20 years later.

  22. avatar Vickie Hutchens reply

    I am sorry, but I disagree, it’s the Bride’s time and if I know her (a friend’s daughter, cousin, etc) I am going to the shower. I understand if they have a small wedding for family only, wedding can get out of hand quickly. But it’s my way of being happy for her and showing her that I love her and want to be a small part of her future. I don’t need a piece of cake to reassure myself that I am close to this person or I am included in her life. Etiquette does not apply to everything and certainly not to my friends’ feelings of my disregard for their children and family. Being childish over an invite to a shower and not a wedding because they could not afford it or just wanted to keep it a small affair it the height of rudeness. It’s a heart thing, not a party thing.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to: