The best reason ever not to have a surprise bridal shower: You can ask the bride which women she does and doesn’t want at her shower! As if drawing up the wedding guest list isn’t tough enough, creating the bridal shower guest list brings its own set of potential conflicts and complications. That’s why, whether you’re the bride or the generous shower hostess, it helps to have some guest list guidelines to follow when you start jotting down names. TFL has helpful bridal shower hints for easy inviting.
Although everyone who is invited to the shower should also be invited to the wedding, the reverse is not the case. As fellow TFL’er Eve points out, you’re not required to invite all of the women who are invited to the wedding to the shower. Some keep their bridal shower cozy by helping their maid of honor put together a guest list that included only those females closest to them — plus the relatives their mothers made them invite!
There’s nothing wrong with keeping a shower small and intimate. Otherwise, it may begin to feel like the wedding itself. However, the bride and the hostess may want to consider adding some of the wives or girlfriends of the groom’s good friends. The bride will no doubt be spending a good deal of time with these women in the future, and if she’s not close with them already, her shower is a good opportunity to begin building friendships.
The all or none rule applies to the bridal shower guest list just as it does to the wedding guest list: To avoid offending anyone, it’s best to invite everyone who is part of a specific group instead of singling out just a few of them. For example, if you invite a group of women from the bride’s office or a group of her mother’s friends, you have to invite all of them or some will feel left out. One exception: The boss. You can invite the bride’s boss without inviting her co-workers, but never vice versa – inviting co-workers and omitting the boss!
Also known as a Jack and Jill shower, co-ed showers (a shower for both the bride and the groom) are growing in popularity. The guest list is co-ed, and gifts are chosen with both the bride and groom in mind. If the bride is a true traditionalist, a co-ed shower is probably not the way to go. Most co-ed showers feel more like regular parties because they tend to lose that just-the-girls-sitting-around-gossiping feeling. On the positive side, many brides and their friends as well as the men involved get a real kick out of co-ed showers. TFL Spokesperson Kelli Sturm says the co-ed shower she attended was the best one she had ever been too. “It wasn’t stuffy, it was very relaxed and the games and interaction with the other couples was fun!”
Some brides have friends and family in different, faraway states, and trying to plan one shower to accommodate everyone can be a logistical nightmare. Fortunately, having two or more showers is perfectly fine. If there is more than one person ready and willing to throw the bride a shower, great! In fact, as Kelli points out, having more than one shower is definitely a good way for everyone to be covered. “If the bride’s mom is having one and the bride’s workplace is organizing another, everyone can be included.” Plus, as Eve adds, if there will be a shower in a location far from where the wedding will take place (for example, a shower in the bride’s hometown when the wedding is being held elsewhere), guests who may not be able to make the wedding because they live too far away will be able to join in the shower festivities.
Having more than one shower is also a great way to avoid any personality conflicts. For example, if the bride has a mother and a stepmother and the two don’t get along, inviting them to different showers will make for more enjoyable parties.
By the way, some guests should be included on more than one shower guest list. The female members of the bride’s and groom’s immediate families plus the bride’s attendants should be invited to any and all showers. Don’t worry, they’re only expected to give a gift once.