How Do We Let Wedding Shower Guests Know this is the Only Event

Dear Gwyn,

My daughter is having a last minute private wedding for immediate family in less than 4 weeks. It’s coming together nicely but I have one issue. The groom’s mom wants to do a shower. The groom is in the Air Force and is only home for 14 days before re-assignment so I want to be sure to communicate that this is the reason for the private ceremony Could you help me with the wording for a small note to include in the shower invitations? Do we mention the re-assignment short deadline? My oldest daughter had a destination wedding so I didn’t have this problem. This wedding is going to be local but there was just no time to do anything bigger.   Thanks!

This is a tricky situation, but you are right to think about including a note with the shower invitation. If you choose to print the note on the invitation, a brief sentence will do. If you are printing a separate note to include with the invitation you may have more room to disclose the nature of the situation.

Keep the note clear and update to express that this is the opportunity to formally acknowledge the wedding and that it is celebration.
Note on the invitation:

  • Wedding will be a closed ceremony, please celebrate with us at the shower.
  • The [bride] looks forward to celebrating with you at the shower. The wedding will be a closed ceremony.

Or, an additional note with the invitation:

  • With the groom’s deployment fast approaching, [bride] and [groom] are having an intimate wedding ceremony.  Please join us in celebrating their wedding at the bridal shower.

No matter how eloquently you choose to approach this situation, the truth is you will still have guests who are confused. Be prepared to iterate at the shower that the ceremony is private and the message may even reach some of the guests who cannot attend the shower.

Perhaps you can even make a few light hearted jokes about fighter planes only fitting a few guests.

For more information, please visit, How do I invite guests requesting “ceremony only” wedding invitations? or How to Invite Guests not Attending the Wedding to a Shower?