– Ask Cheryl – Invited to the Shower, but not the Wedding

It is a truth universally acknowledged (or at least it should be) that all those invited to the bridal shower must also be invited to the wedding. Unfortunately, confused couples sometimes extend shower invitations to those they can’t invite to the wedding.

So what’s a shower guest to do when she finds she’s not included on the wedding guest list? Cheryl offers a few options for dealing with this guest list goof!

Hi Cheryl,

I accepted the bridal shower invite I received from my sister-in-law and promptly purchased a gift for my niece. I now find that I ‘m not invited to the wedding. How do I un-accept the invite? I was thinking I’d write a short email stating I would not attend as I  want to avoid any further embarrassment. I’m also planning on having the gift delivered to the shower. Your thoughts?


Invited to the Shower, but not the Wedding
Photo Credit: Etsy: KT Party Invitations

Hi Leslie,

You have every right to be upset. It is considered in bad form to invite some to the bridal shower and not the wedding.

I’m curious as to why would you not be invited to the wedding as you are the bride’s aunt and therefore immediate family. Are they getting married at the courthouse with only parents present or something similar?

You have a couple of options here. 1) You can ignore the faux pas and go to the shower to show support for your niece, or 2) You can call or email and change your RSVP — letting them know that you won’t be attending. Is an explanation necessary? This depends on your relationship and family dynamics. You could be honest, but I recommend that you just say that you now can’t make it. You don’t really need to offer an explanation.

Also, it’s not necessary to send a gift to the shower. Gifts for any type of shower are taken to the shower if you attend. If you don’t attend, no gift is expected. If you want to give a wedding gift to your niece, I recommend sending her a wedding gift before or after the wedding. Again, you have no obligation to send a wedding gift as you were not invited to the wedding. However, as always, gifting is at the discretion of the giver, so you can gift or not gift as you choose.

It seems that there is a trend toward smaller venues and weddings where not all family and friends can be invited. While this is fine, the problem arises when the confused couples, parents or attendants feel they need to invite those that are not invited to the wedding to something – anything – and so they invite them to a bridal shower. Their (possibly guilt-ridden) motivation seems to be that they want those not invited to feel like they are part of the festivities. This is a misguided reaction. If they want you to be part of the wedding, they should invite you to the wedding. Bridal showers are not mini-weddings. Another alternative would be for couples or their parents to host celebrations after the wedding.

However, my overarching recommendation is usually to forgive these missteps for the sake of family peace and harmony. Consider attending the shower and forgiving the fact that you were not invited to the wedding.

Most sincerely,


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].

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