Who Gets Invited to Your Bridal Shower?

Etiquette, Showers & Parties
When to have a bridal shower

Photo: Steven Stuts

You probably finalized your wedding guest list long ago, but not everyone is going to make the cut for the pre-nuptial events — and that includes the bridal shower. According to the Emily Post Institute, "A shower should be an intimate party — not a gathering that rivals the wedding — so the guest list is usually made up of the couple's close friends, family, and attendants." That being said, narrowing down your guest list to the select few can be tricky. While it's up to the host to decide on the number of guests, consider these factors before turning your list over to her.

1. Have an open discussion with your party hostess.
"It's up to the host to decide the number of guests," says the Emily Post Institute. After all, she's footing the bill! Once a shower date is set, talk with your host(s) about the number of guests they feel comfortable having, and give her a list of must-have attendees. If your list puts you past that number, consider having more than one shower — perhaps one for friends and one for family. But do not ask to go over the guest count. Your host wants to make you happy, but you don't want to stretch her wallet too thin.

2. Multiple showers are okay.
Sometimes, more than one person wants to throw you a shower — and generally speaking, that's totally okay! But be sure to make each guest list unique based on the host. "Generally, only close family and members of the wedding party may be invited to more than one shower," notes the Emily Post Institute. Your mom, grandmothers, sisters, and future in-laws should be invited to all showers. But if you're having a shower hosted by bridesmaids, consider keeping that list to friends-only, while the shower hosted by your aunts can include extended family and your mom's close friends. If your in-laws are hosting a shower, tip the balance towards their side, and keep your list to immediate family.

3. All shower guests should be wedding guests.
This may seem obvious, but inviting people who aren't invited to the wedding can happen — especially when a bride and groom are having a smaller wedding and want to make friends feel included in some way. This may only go to offend them even more, and make it look like you're pandering for gifts. The only exception should be for an office bridal shower, where coworkers want to impart well wishes on the bride.

4. Keep it intimate.
When it comes to inviting friends, it may be hard to narrow down your list, but the shower really is for your nearest and dearest. Invite your bridal party, and 3-5 close friends. Do not feel obligated to invite the groomsmen's significant others or friends of your sister's unless you truly have a close relationship with them. A shower should be a healthy mix of family and the friends who know you best. After all, how else will they be able to win all those fun shower games?

See More: Bridal Shower Etiquette 101: Everything You Need to Know About Your Pre-Wedding Party

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