Miss Conduct

Advice: Is it OK to invite someone to a bridal shower but not the wedding?

Our daughter is paying for her event, and keeping it smallish. Lots of family members aren’t invited, but I’d like to include them in the shower I’m hosting.

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My only child, who lives in California, is being married in South Carolina at a boutique hotel that accommodates 100. I was disappointed that she didn’t want the wedding to be here in her hometown, but she is paying for it. Many of our family and friends are not on the guest list. She has asked me to host the bridal shower here. Is it tacky to invite those people to the shower with a note explaining that they are not invited to the wedding, but we hope they will want to share in this celebration?

N.G. / Salem

It is indeed tacky, alas! Inviting people to a shower but not the wedding smacks of a gift grab. Showers are not even supposed to be hosted by the recipients or by their immediate family, but traditional etiquette has lost that fight with the masses and I hardly bring it up anymore. The guest-list thing, though, is sacred.

Your motives aren’t so crass and venal, obviously, and I understand your disappointment over your daughter’s plans. You’re trying admirably to be stoic about it — her choice, her money, all that. But you can’t solve your disappointment by turning her shower into a substitute version of the wedding you’d rather she have.


What you can do, however, is throw a family party in Salem some year. And you may ask other members of the family, if there’s a general desire for such a thing, to help you plan and fund it. Your daughter lit the spark of your desire — now give yourself the party you truly want!

Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology.