Q: My fiancé and I are having a very small wedding - only our immediate families and a few close friends are invited. However, my mother would like to host a bridal shower and ask some of her friends who were not invited to the wedding to attend. Is this proper etiquette?
A: Not really. Only those people who are invited to the wedding reception should be asked to attend a bridal shower. Otherwise, it may appear as though you are simply asking for more gifts than you might already be receiving. The only exception is a shower hosted by office co-workers, not all of whom may be attending your wedding but who wish to give you a celebratory send-off. A better idea would be for your mother to host a party in your and your new husband’s honor after the wedding and honeymoon. This gathering would be a celebration of your marriage and your mother can invite as many of her friends as she wishes (most of whom will probably choose to bring a gift). Since quite a few couples are choosing to marry in distant locales, such after-the-wedding parties are becoming more popular.
Q: My mother wants to throw me a wedding shower. The problem is that my fiancé and I live in Texas, my mom lives in Arizona, and my friends (and relatives and attendants) live all over the country. My mom said that her friends, all of whom I’ve known since childhood, will be able to come. As nice as that would be, I don’t know how comfortable I’d feel at a shower with just her friends, and I know for a fact that, although they will do it for the wedding, my friends and attendants are not financially able to fly out for one weekend just to attend a shower. Should my mom invite them anyway?
A: I suggest that you graciously accept her offer and enjoy yourself as best you can. Even though the crowd will be mostly your mom’s friends, you did say that you’ve known them all since childhood so let them make a fuss over you and revel in your role as star of the day. (Perhaps you can have a casual outdoor barbecue to make it more informal and fun.) Also, considering that most of your own friends are scattered throughout the country, it’s really not necessary for your mom to invite them to this shower. Since they can’t afford to fly to Arizona, you wouldn’t want them to feel obligated.