While it may seem like “anything goes,” these days when it comes to wedding etiquette, there are a few firm rules about guest lists and gift obligations.
My daughter has already had one shower which included me, her sisters, her bridesmaids and their mothers. Now she is having another shower given by an aunt and she wants to invite all of the above people and some others- even some that are not invited to the wedding. How do you explain that this isn’t appropriate? I understand that I, as mother of the bride, would invited to all of the showers, but I’ve never heard of inviting people to multiple showers.
Concerned Mother of the Bride
Dear Mother of the Bride,
Thank you for writing. The first, and most concerning issue: you should never invite someone to a pre-wedding event that is not invited to the wedding. This is especially true of bridal showers. Since bridal showers are by their nature gift-giving events, it is considered rude to invite a guest to the shower and not the wedding. If you do so, you are basically saying to these guests, “You’re not important enough to be invited to the wedding, but please buy me a shower gift.” If you phrase it to your daughter in that way, maybe she will understand that it’s a bit insulting.
As far as being invited to multiple showers, it’s not uncommon to invite the bride’s sisters and even other bridesmaids to more than one wedding shower. However, bridesmaids should not be asked or expected to travel to attend any shower.
If some bridesmaids do attend both showers, your daughter should be aware that they are only obligated to bring a gift to one of the events. I understand that she’s excited by all her pre-wedding festivities and I’m sure her friends are excited for her. She should still be considerate of their time. If she puts too much of a burden on her bridesmaids, tensions can quickly arise. Your daughter could say to her friends, “I’d love to have you there, but since you already came to my other shower, please don’t feel you need to attend.” That way they will have more time and energy for when she needs their help in other areas. Additionally, the bridesmaids’ mothers should not be invited to a second shower.
I hope this was helpful and you enjoy this special time with your daughter.
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 AskCheryl@RegistryFinder.com.
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 an etiquette writer and the founder of RegistryFinder.com, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more.