Inviting Children to a Bridal Shower

Please somebody give me advice! I know this is a long story but it’s started a family feud….HELP! My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years, living together for 2 1/2. We have one child together and he has 3 girls with his ex-wife, but he and I believe they are all OUR children and we raise them equally (ages 9, 7, 3). We have the daughters every weekend and our family and friends all know this.

I received a bridal shower invitation for a soon to be family member addressed only to me, the girls were not included. The bride got upset that the girls did not attend the shower.

I was later told that the biological mother was sent an invitation for her and the girls because it was “proper etiquette” to invite the children through the mother (and I was JUST the girlfriend). Even though the biological mother would not be having visitation on the day of the shower. (also the biological mother RSVP’d that she would not be attending).

Knowing we would have the girls on the day of the shower, who should the girls have been invited through? Me, “just the girlfriend”? Or the biological mother? And, is it even “proper etiquette” for a 9, 7, and 3 year old to attend a bridal shower? Thank you! And when I become “the wife”, not “just the girlfriend”, I will be eloping and avoiding all this drama!

Etiquette Now

The girls could be invited to a bridal shower. Often children are. And, it would be most logical and polite to invite them through their biological mother since she would be invited. The children were invited, so even though the mother declined, they could have come with you. There really shouldn’t have been an issue or drama.

Wedding Queen

Sometimes children are invited to showers. It’s up to the host to determine if it will be the sort of party which can handle kids being present and up to the parents to decide if they want the children to attend. You just asked if children can be invited, and the answer is sometimes they are. Yes, etiquette is supposed to make sense and is in place to avoid hurting feelings. making sense is then left up to interpretation. But, it is proper for the invitation to be sent to the custodial parent/address where the children live most of the time. If the host didn’t do that, she may have risked offending the mother. We sometimes walk a fine line and must consider personal situations.

In this case I believe the host (as long as she knew all of the circumstances) should have sent the invitation as she had, since it appears as though she wanted to invite the mother too) and then call the father to let him know that the children were invited. Then, as we said before, the parents decide if the children will attend. The host really has no right to be annoyed.

Perhaps your boyfriend’s family could communicate with one another better. And, I would suggest allowing HIM to be the person who communicates, especially before you’re married. I know mothers can get pretty defensive about their children and it may be best to allow your boyfriend, the children’s father, to appear to be in control to keep you from being the bad guy. Just some friendly advice from someone who has “been there”. I hope this episode doesn’t get in the way of everyone celebrating the wedding.

Do You Invite Children to a Bridal Shower?

How often has it happened that you attended a bridal shower, wedding, or other event and wondered if the gaggle of children you watched really should be there? At times you might have inwardly rolled your eyes, while at other times you might have actually questioned the sanity of the hostess. Is the attendance of children at a bridal shower appropriate? The short answer is a resounding “maybe.” I think you can do whatever you want if it is your shower, but it helps to ask a few practical questions first:

  • Would inviting the kids raise the number of guests enough that it becomes a big chore?
  • Should you invite some “special” children who are part of the ceremony? A flower girl for example should probably be invited potentially.
  • Are kids usually invited to these things in your family?
  • Is it a kid-friendly place?
  • How many guests have children and would have trouble finding things for them to do?

If the bride has a flower girl then it is fair to invite the little girl, and her mom, to the bridal shower. Likewise, if the bride has younger bridesmaids they too could be invited to the bridal shower.

If you are planning on having a more adult party, will be serving alcohol, or will make lingerie modeling a part of your bridal shower, please be sure to clearly state on the invitations “adults only, please.” This will take the guesswork out of the planning, and will alert guests with children to the fact that they will need to arrange for child care ahead of time.