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:
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