Whether it’s the wedding, bridal shower, or another wedding-related event, the problem of extra guests often pops up. Today’s reader wants to know how to handle extra guests that were invited to a bridal shower, not by the host or bride, but by the Mother of the Groom (MOG).
I hope that you can help me untangle what has become a mess of my daughter’s bridal shower. Close family friends are hosting a shower for my daughter in our hometown. After learning of the shower, my daughter’s soon to be mother-in-law (who lives in a different city) said that she would attend, along with five other relatives (who live several hours from our hometown.)
She was going to be invited, of course, but not the other relatives, who are not close to my daughter or her fiancé. The shower is being held at someone’s home, which is lovely but not able to accommodate a party of 20. With these uninvited additions, the shower has now grown to about 20 people.
Any advice about how to handle this would be very much appreciated. I am friendly with the new in-laws, but we have only recently met. I want to be accommodating but I don’t want to put an undue burden on the friends who are hosting the shower. I also want my daughter, who is a low-key kind of person, to enjoy the shower and be able to visit with lifelong friends.
Mother of the Bride
Dear Mother of the Bride,
Thank you for writing. The mother of the bride is almost always faced with social and etiquette challenges during the wedding planning process. There’s no doubt that the mother of the groom was rude in including the other relatives. It’s never appropriate to assume others will be invited to a shower or any other party.
I’m sure you already know this, but there are basically two ways to handle this:
- You can explain to the MOG that these extra guests are not invited.
If you choose this option, it’s best to act as quickly as possible. I recommend a phone call. Be kind but be direct. Explain that your friend hosting the shower wanted to keep the guest list small. Tell her you don’t feel comfortable asking your friend to include extra guests because the location won’t hold the people comfortably. You could also suggest that possibly another shower will be given in her home town and that these relatives could be included in that shower.
I’m sure she doesn’t realize she is being rude and obviously assumed that these relatives would be invited without thinking about it. If your daughter’s future mother-in-law is a reasonable person, she may not mind at all.
Another consideration — are these extra relatives also on the wedding guest list? If not, then that’s another reason they should not be invited to the shower. But I’m assuming they are being invited to the wedding.
- You can ask your friend to accommodate these extra guests.
There is always someone that doesn’t show up. I know it won’t be the intimate event you had hoped for, but on the upside, it’s a chance for you and your daughter to become better acquainted with these new relatives. It could work out just fine.
Etiquette is a code of behavior based upon treating others with honesty, respect and consideration. Sometimes that means ignoring the missteps of others and making them feel comfortable; but sometimes it means being honest. You will have to use your best judgment and decide the best course of action to take in this situation. Remember, in all steps of planning try to relax, enjoy, and put people first.
If you have questions or comments about this post, or about gift giving, bridal shower, baby shower, or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [email protected].
Questions in this column are received from readers. They may be edited for spelling, length and grammar, or to remove sensitive information. However, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.
Cheryl Seidel is the founder and President of RegistryFinder.com, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more.