– Ask Cheryl – When You’re Left Out of the Bridal Shower

Whether you’re a child on the playground or an adult scrolling social media, realizing you’ve been excluded is hurtful. When it comes to showers and weddings, what are the rules for a guest who feels left out? Cheryl offers her advice to a friend of the bride who’s feeling left out.

Dear Cheryl,

My friend of 30 years is getting married this fall. She had a bridal shower yesterday. I found out because 20 of our mutual friends posted photos on social media. I didn’t know anything about this bridal shower.

I received the save the date card in December. I’ve been in pretty routine communication with my friend since the save the date; and when I saw that I wasn’t invited it kind of stung. Her rationale was “Unfortunately, I had a cap on how many I could invite. I would have invited every man, woman, and child on my wedding guest list if I could have.” We have been friends since kindergarten, she was at my shower and wedding, and she’s the God-parent to my only child-we’re not just friends from work who hang out occasionally.

To add insult to injury; today I received the invitation to the wedding in the mail. I know if you invite a person to the shower it’s assumed that they are invited to the wedding. What if you exclude somebody from the shower? Is it kosher for me to not go?

I’m curious about this. I’m hurt but I don’t want to hurt her either.


Left Out Friend

Left Out of the Bridal Shower

Dear Friend,

I’m so sorry; that sounds very disappointing and it’s reasonable that your feelings are hurt. It’s so hard to understand when we are not included and it’s happened to everyone at one time or another. You can be assured that the bride is being honest when it comes to the number of people invited to the shower. That is usually decided by the shower host and not by the bride. The host of the shower determines the budget and number of guests that can be included.

While you’re correct that you should not invite someone to a bridal shower that will not be invited to the wedding, the reverse is not true. The wedding is the main event. Every friend cannot be invited to a shower and I usually advise that showers be kept on the smaller side, only inviting the bride’s attendants, family members and closest friends. Maybe your friend has a lot of cousins?? Also, that is one reason that there are sometimes multiple showers. One for her side, one for his side, one for work friends, etc.

Do you still live in the same area as the bride? If not, that might be the reason you weren’t invited. Most often only those local to the shower are included, with the exception of mothers and sisters.

Attending the wedding (or not) is totally up to you. From an etiquette point of view, you are in charge. You feel hurt now, but in time you may forgive. Will you be sorry if you miss her big day? Only you can answer that. Give yourself some time to think about it. Is this long-term friendship worth overlooking one exclusion? Usually the answer is Yes.

If you have questions or comments about gift giving, bridal shower, baby shower, or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [email protected].

Emails in this column are received from readers. Emails 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.


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