Shower/Informal Meet & Greet

We are getting married in my home town, but live 6 hours away. Our families are scattered from being local to 9 hours away. Most of the people in our families haven’t met, so we wanted to have an informal get together the Thursday before the wedding so they could meet and wouldn’t be total strangers at the wedding and reception. My sister also wants to give me a shower at the same time since it would be impossible to do before then because everyone would have to travel twice. The problem is we have about 80 people and can not find a location that will hold all of us, or if we do, their catering is through the roof. Is it acceptable to have a drop-in welcome/shower? There is a room we can use at our hotel but it will only hold 45 people at a time. We were thinking of letting people know they could drop in for a bite to eat (we are providing finger food and appetizers), to greet the bride/groom and meet the families for a specified period of time. Is there a way to have a shower incorporated, and if so, a way to tactfully let the guests know this? We tried to cut the guest list, but it’s impossible without hurting someone’s feelings (we both have large families). Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Bride,

No, and please no. This ‘shower’ is too large. Not every member of the family should be invited to a shower. This is not viewed positively.

The rule is that only those invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower. It isn’t all wedding guests should be invited to the shower.

Typically family should never host unless the bride is from out of town or if the family member is an attendant. In your case, this may seem appropriate. But, a shower is also an optional prewedding event that can be viewed as double gift dipping. So… ultimate care should be taken in the planning of this.

What you are considering is not a shower. This is an open house type ‘get to know the couple’ gathering, which should not be confused with a gift giving situation. This can be done tastefully exactly as you envision without the shower moniker.

If family wants to give you extra gifts, they will definitely send them to you.

It was nice of your sister to want to do this. It just doesn’t seem appropriate in this situation, especially with this many people.

Best wishes,