How do I tell in-laws that they may only invite a few guests to a wedding shower?

Bridal-Shower-FoodDear Gwyn,

I am getting married and my wonderful matron of honor has offered to throw me a bridal shower. After talking about what I want and the guest list, we decided that 30 people is a good number. I don’t want anything too big and really it’s what she can afford. Which of course I do not expect her to go beyond what she can afford. My mom has even offered to help pay for a few things to help out. 

Making my invite list I am at 45 people. I have had to cut out a lot of my friends and my mom’s friends, which I’m ok with. My fiancé’s side wants to invite 15 people, which is half of my guest count I’m supposed to be at. So my question is who on my fiancé’s side should be invited? My cousin said if we go a little over that’s fine, but I feel like 15 people over is a little much. So I guess I need help with who should be invited to the shower. 

Thank you!

I cannot think of any other set of events other than wedding celebrations in which friends and family of the host or guest of honor insist on including guests of their own!  Yes, you are very kind to be so thoughtful regarding sharing your shower list with your future in-laws. However, don’t forget that this is your event, which your friend is kind enough to host.

Showers are not the oldest wedding tradition, but through the years they grew their own expectations.  Showers are a means for friends and family to help a bride set up her home.  It is nice to be inclusive of the groom’s family, however, it is not necessary to be overly accomodating.

Whatever your guest number, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Additional Guests: Much like planning your wedding, there is a general rule that 80% of guests you invite will attend.  Of course you can adjust the formula based on your own knowledge of the guest list.
  • The Host and Guest of Honor Select the Guest List: The hostess (your friend) and Guest of Honor (you) have the say in the guest list. The two of you feel that 30 people is appropriate and therefore that is the number you should strive for. As your future in-laws are in either of the aforementioned positions, it is your decision as to how many people they may invite. It is polite and wise to share a portion. Scale this as you would the wedding guest list. Perhaps you will invite 30 guests, and share 8 with your future in-laws, or 28 and 10.
  • Be Diplomatic with Your Message: When you decide how to share a portion of your guest list, stay committed to your decision and honest with your message.  A simple, “My friend has been kind enough to host a shower.  We are hoping to celebrate with 30 friends. You are welcome to add 8 guests.” is enough. If your future in-laws push back, you are not obligated to explain further, or you may simple remind the pushy people that the uninvited guests will be able to celebrate with you at your wedding.
I sincerely hope that this is the biggest bump of your wedding planning and you are able to enjoy the rest of this joyous time!