Ask Cheryl: How Many Should Be Invited to the Bridal Shower? (2024)

May 23, 2023May 24, 2023

Is it just me, or have you noticed that bridal showers are becoming larger and larger? Today, I advised a concerned hostess on how to handle a ballooning guest list. Read on for my tips and the etiquette behind why showers shouldn’t feel like mini-weddings.

Dear Cheryl,

I’m co-hosting a bridal shower for my niece with my sister, mother and aunts on her mom’s side. We plan to invite the bride’s future mother-in-law, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and sisters-in-law – all of the groom’s immediate family.

To our surprise, the future mother-in-law (FMIL) has indicated that she would like to invite an additional 35-50 members of her family and friends! Are we missing something? As the hosts of the event, we feel that we should decide who is invited and don’t think we should be expected to give the FMIL 35 – 50 “spots” on the guest list.

I believe that if she wants to invite that many people from her side then she should consider hosting another shower for her future daughter-in-law. What do you think?

Looking forward to your reply,
Hostess who doesn’t want the “mostest” guests

Ask Cheryl: How Many Should Be Invited to the Bridal Shower? (1)

Dear Hostess,

You are not missing anything, and you are correct. The host(s) of a bridal shower decides the number of guests since they are footing the bill and providing the space. You should ask the bride about the guest list, but you are under no obligation to invite anyone suggested by the groom’s mother.

I recommend having a conversation with the FMIL — give her a call. As an aunt, not the bride’s mother, there’s little risk of causing future family issues. You can let her know that you planned to invite “X” people and can’t accommodate extra guests (due to budget, accommodations, or simply because it’s not the event you had in mind). She may not realize that she is being rude. Maybe she has attended a “mini-wedding” disguised as a bridal shower.

Here’s some additional ammunition you can use in your conversation:

Bridal showers are intended to be intimate gatherings, allowing the bride to enjoy quality time with her nearest and dearest friends and family. The custom and purpose of a wedding shower is to “shower” the bride-to-be with gifts to help the couple start their new lives together. Therefore, its sole purpose is a gift-giving event, and those that attend are expected to bring a gift. It should definitely not be an event where every female wedding guest is invited! When the party gets too large, it seems like a “grab-for-gifts.”

Those that should be invited to a bridal shower are:

  1. the bride’s attendants,
  2. other close, personal friends of the bride, and
  3. local family members of the bride & groom (mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and possibly aunts and cousins).

Never invite someone to a bridal shower that will not be invited to the wedding. In most cases, this is beyond rude.

Additionally, out-of-town friends and family members are usually not invited to a bridal shower (unless it’s the mother-of-the-bride, mother-of-the-groom, or the bride’s sisters). It puts undue pressure on them to accept the invitation and travel or send a gift. A bridal shower should be an event for those closest to the bride, both in relationship and location.

I’m often asked how many guests should be invited to a shower, and I usually recommend keeping it to around 25 guests if possible. Everyone wants to see their gift opened and the reaction on the bride’s face. With 50 or more people in attendance, how can the bride open all those gifts? It becomes rushed, long, and tedious for the guests and bride.

Skipping the traditional gift opening at bridal showers might save time, but it could also appear impolite to guests who have thoughtfully selected and presented their gifts. Expressing gratitude and opening gifts is an excellent way for the bride to demonstrate appreciation for the love and support of her friends and family. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to keep the tradition alive.

To keep your bridal shower flowing, see our article, “Day-Of Timeline for a Seamless Bridal Shower.” And for more information about Bridal Shower Etiquette, check out this article!

If you have questions or comments about this post or gift giving, bridal shower, baby shower, or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [emailprotected].

Questions in this column are received from readers. They may be edited for spelling, length, and grammar or to remove sensitive information. However, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.

Cheryl Seidel is an etiquette writer and the founder of, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more.

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Ask Cheryl: How Many Should Be Invited to the Bridal Shower? (2024)


How many guests should be invited to a bridal shower? ›

How Many People Do You Invite to a Bridal Shower? Inviting between 30 and 40 people to the bridal shower is the sweet spot, with the understanding that some people probably won't be able to attend.

How many people is a good number for a bridal shower? ›

I'm often asked how many guests should be invited to a shower, and I usually recommend keeping it to around 25 guests if possible.

What is an acceptable amount to give for a bridal shower? ›

According to Opperman, bridal shower gifts tend to be less expensive than wedding gifts. "Many people spend around $50 to $75, whereas closer friends and family may spend upwards of $100," she says. "However, the amount you want to spend is up to you."

What is the protocol for bridal shower invites? ›

When should bridal shower invitations be mailed? The invitations should be sent out at least six to eight weeks before the actual event, with the RSVP deadline about two weeks before the party.

Does the mother of the bride pay for the bridal shower? ›

Although once upon a time it was expected that the bride's family would foot the bridal shower bill, modern society has changed the rules. Nowadays, the person (or people) hosting the bridal shower are responsible for covering the costs associated with the shower.

Is $50 enough for a bridal shower? ›

The standard amount to spend on a bridal shower gift is around $50-$75. If you're invited to a bridal shower but not particularly close with the bride, expect to spend at least $25.

Who normally comes to a bridal shower? ›

The bridal party, including the maid of honor and bridesmaids generally make the top of the guest list, followed by immediate family members from both sides of the aisle. If the bride welcomes children at her shower, guests may also include nieces, the flower girl and junior bridesmaids.

What is the difference between a wedding shower and a bridal shower? ›

The bridal shower is designed for just you and the girls while the wedding shower is a co-ed party where the bride and groom both get showered with gifts and love. If you're a bride who loves to party and celebrate, then have both a wedding shower and bridal shower!

What is a normal budget for a bridal shower? ›

That works out at $300 to $800 for a 20-person party but can go as high as $150 per person or $3,000 for a 20-person shower. Based on these estimates and an average bridal shower guest list of 35-50 people, a reasonable budget for a bridal shower is between $350 and $7,500.

What is bridal shower gift etiquette? ›

Keeping the 20-20-60 Rule in mind, a bridal shower gift should be about one-third the price of your wedding gift. However, what you spend comes down to your relationship with the bride or groom, and your budget. Typically, shower gifts should be between $25 to $75.

What to wear as a guest to a bridal shower? ›

For guests who don't have a specified dress code to follow, opt for pieces that you would wear to a nice brunch or an elegant social gathering. What's more, since bridal showers are more informal than most wedding events, don't be afraid to embrace your personal style but with a slightly formal twist.

What is customary for a bridal shower? ›

Tradition: It's a feminine daytime event.

And it's likely to include small appetizers and desserts, beverages like mimosas, and typically feminine decor. The Update: Your bridal shower or coed wedding shower doesn't need to fall within any kind of themed parameters—and it doesn't need to be a brunch either.

What is supposed to happen at a bridal shower? ›

During a bridal shower, guests come together to celebrate the bride and have some fun. The event usually includes activities, games, and sometimes even a theme. Essentially, it's an opportunity for the bride's closest friends and family to show their support and celebrate as she embarks on her journey to marriage.

Who decides the guest list for a bridal shower? ›

Ultimately, the wedding party host decides who makes the bridal shower guest list. However, the couple's input is necessary. Be sure to sync up with your shower host ahead of sending out invites to make sure you're on the same page.

Who normally hosts a bridal shower? ›

The Traditional Bridal Shower Host

The maid of honor traditionally takes on the role of chief shower planner. But she isn't a one-woman show: She relies on the bridesmaids to help her with planning logistics. On the day of, the girls run the party, making sure everything goes smoothly and that guests are taken care of.

Should you invite out of town guests to a bridal shower? ›

"The decision to invite your partner's out-of-town guest depends on your relationship with the guest and what it means to you or your partner to have them present," advises Brown. "The logistics of the bridal shower should also play a role in your decision. Will they face challenges traveling for both events?

Do guests pay to attend bridal shower? ›

Only the hosts should pay for the shower. No other guest should pay for it. The bride should not be hosting a shower in her own honor, so she should not be expected to pay either.

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