June 11, 2009

Shower etiquette: do you invite out-of-towners?


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When someone is throwing you a shower – bridal, baby or otherwise – it’s amazing how quickly one small decision can turn your happy little shower into a nasty storm.

One of the questions that tends to stump brides, moms-to-be, family, friends and etiquette experts alike is whether to invite out-of-town guests.

Here’s why it’s such a pickle: As a guest of honor with a big day approaching, you want your nearest and dearest to celebrate with you – even if your nearest don’t actually live anywhere near you. However, inviting people who you know can’t attend could be interpreted as saying, “Hi, I know you can’t come, but I’d like you to send me a gift anyway.”

So, you may think it would be better to stick to only inviting people who live locally? Okay, as long as you don’t mind offending certain people who will feel totally hurt and left out. They may not even want to attend but just want to receive the invitation and feel included.

So what’s a showeree to do? Well, don’t assume there’s one universally accepted answer. Advice is decidedly mixed, with strong opinions on both sides.

But we do have a great way to keep everybody happy. Add all of your favorite people to your Evite invitation, and once it’s sent, send each non-local a personal message letting them know that you want them to feel included but realize they probably won’t be able to attend. And let them know you don’t expect them to send a gift.

And yes, guests, it’s perfectly okay not to send a gift if you’re not attending. You can if you like, but it is not required. A card of congratulations, however, is always appreciated.

Posted by Eva on June 11, 2009 in Etiquette

Permalink | Comments (6)

6 responses to "Shower etiquette: do you invite out-of-towners?"

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This has happened to me a few times, and I can't tell you how much I wish the bride-to-be, mom-to-be or whoever was throwing the shower would have included such a note. I always send gifts because I've felt like it's rude not to, but there's a small part of me that's annoyed about it. If the person knows I can't come across the country, it just seems like they want a gift from me.

How about sending the non-locals who couldn't come the favors after the shower? If you really want to make them feel included, I think that'd be a nice gesture.

See....it's one of those things that really shows our country, and values are going down hill.

I was invited to my girlfriend's shower, that was on the opposite coast. I never went to her wedding, nor did I go to the shower. I simply couldn't because I went back to school - thus becoming a "poor college" student again. But I sent her a CARD, that was hand written, telling her how much I missed her loved her and how proud I was of her! I included a photo of us at senior prom so many years ago, and a gift card to where I knew she was registered. It cost me a total of $20.

She called me in tears saying how much she appreciated the thought, she never expected anything from me - so to receive something so heartfelt meant more to her than any stupid toaster or towel.

I simply felt honored she wanted to include me. That was one more invite, one more lined envelope, one more stamp that she could have saved...KNOWING I couldn't be there.

Stop thinking bride's are selfish. If you DO, then just send them a "congrats" card from the dollar store and shut up!

I agree with Amanda. =) I moved out of the state that I grew up in, where the majority of my family and friends still reside. I've made new friends where I'm live now, and of course I still stay in very close touch to my immediate family, but when an important event in one of my family or friends lives' takes place, I feel happy and honored that I'm remembered at these special times. I don't look at it as being obligated to send a present or to receive a token of the event as one evite member mentioned. I think, do as you feel appropriate...if you feel "obligated" then there must be some guilty factor behind that feeling... Just do as your genuine heart would tell you to do.

Yes, it only courtesy to invite friends and family. It would be there decision whether they come or not.

It used to be the rule that if people were not expected to come to wedding or a shower because they are out-of-towners, etc., one sent an announcement instead. And, if you receive an invitation and it is obvious that you most likely will not attend, you are not obligated to send a gift. Invitation or announcement you are, of course, free to send a gift if you like. Seems times have changed.

Hi! I am so glad to hear this "personal" message that "gifts are not expected"...when I got married, my then fiancee, (now husband) wrote on the card to our guests.."Do NOT bring any gifts..just bring yourselves"...thank God we didnt need anything..we just needed to know our true friends were there for our "special day"!
Things are "tight" nowadays..and gifts should NOT be "expected"...