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AskCheryl: If Someone Attended My Bridal Shower, Must She Be Invited to the Wedding?

Confused woman with thumbs up and down

Dear Readers,
Every week I receive variations of this same bridal shower question. Usually it’s in the form of, “Can I invite someone to the bridal shower that will not be invited to the wedding?” Here are two interesting variations on that question.

Dear Cheryl,
My wedding is in a few months and I’m getting ready to send out my invitations. I have recently decided to stop talking to a few ladies that came to my bridal shower. Do I still need to invite them to the wedding? They all pitched in for the shower gift they bought.
Thank you,
Sandy

Dear Sandy,
From an etiquette point of view, everyone invited to the shower should also be invited to the wedding. The amount these ladies spent on your gift should not be part of the consideration.

It’s difficult for me to answer your question without knowing why you decided to stop talking to them. If the offense was so egregious that you feel you will never be friends again, then it would probably be best not to invite them to your wedding. I’m guessing that is not the case, or you probably wouldn’t feel the need to ask me. Since they were close enough friends to be invited to the shower, you may reconcile in the future, so I suggest you invite them to the wedding. Of course, they may not choose to attend, but at least you’ve done your part to reconcile. Best of luck, and I wish you a happy and joyful wedding day!

Dear Cheryl,
I was a widow at 39 with three small children and no family support. For that reason, I never had the resources (time, energy or money) to entertain, even though I have some long-term friends who included me in dinner parties.

Now, my younger daughter is having a destination wedding that she and her fiancé are paying for. Because the groom’s family is so large, I am not allowed to invite the long-term friends that I referred to above.

With respect to the bridal shower, I am paying for it (a brunch) and it will be held within two miles of where my long-time friends and I live. It appears that both of my daughters are inviting people who are not invited to the wedding. I have no issue with that in terms of money, but I thought that was an etiquette faux pas. Still, if they want to do it, it is up to them.

This all leaves me wondering about my friends. I am concerned that I will offend them if I do not invite them to the shower. Likewise, I’m concerned that I will offend them if I do. Also, this is a good opportunity for me to reciprocate for their generosity over the years. I’ve considered inviting them and telling them not to bring a gift. Or, if that was too awkward for them, I’d suggest bringing one group gift.

Do you have any suggestions for my dilemma? Thanks for your help –
Confused

Dear Confused,
Life is complicated! Destination weddings, becoming so popular in recent years, are changing the way people do things, and often not for the better.

Traditionally, it is considered an etiquette misstep to invite someone to the shower that is not invited to the wedding, and I recommend against it. A bridal shower is by its nature is a gift giving event, therefore usually reserved for those who are closest to the bride and always reserved for those that are invited to the wedding.

Here are some possible solutions and my recommendations:

  1. Talk to your daughters — advise them that it is considered quite rude to invite someone to a shower that is not invited to the wedding. Their friends may not say anything, but I can almost guarantee they are thinking it (or talking about it behind their backs). I’ve heard from enough people to know this is true.
  2. Talk to your friends by phone or in person and explain the situation. Tell them how much their support has meant to you over the years and that although you wish you could invite them to the wedding, it’s out of your control. Ask them if they would like to be invited to the shower and explain that you would in no way expect them to bring a gift, but that you didn’t want to leave them out. Emphasize that you will not be offended if they don’t want to attend. Of-course, you are correct in that they will probably feel awkward if they don’t bring a gift.
  3. While this is an extra expense, many people give a party or “reception” after the couple comes back. The get-together doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but those that didn’t make the limited guest list are invited and have the option to bring a gift. I say option because they are under no obligation to do so, as they were not invited to the actual wedding. This way, no one feels left out. My recommendation is that you consider this option.

If you have questions or comments about gift giving or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email me at AskCheryl@RegistryFinder.com.

RegistryFinder.com is an online search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more.

The above emails were received from blog readers. Emails may be edited for spelling 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.

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