Etiquette

Cousins Joint Bridal Shower Invitation Conundrum

My first cousin and I are both getting married this year, so my paternal grandmother had the idea to plan a joint bridal shower for the two of us, which I am sure will be very nice. However, there is a complication related to who gets invited to the bridal shower, and by extension, our weddings.

I come from a big family. My father is one of six children, and his father is also one of six children. I have over 20 first cousins on that side of the family alone, and when I start counting first cousins once removed and second cousins, that number jumps to over 100.

It has always been family tradition that all of the descendants of my great-grandfather are invited to weddings. While I have no problem with my extended family, and am in fact very proud to be a part of it, I don't want to have a 400 person wedding. I plan to invite (and sent save-the-dates to) just my grandparents, great aunts and great uncles, aunts, uncles, and first cousins. Unfortunately, it looks like the joint shower may be throwing a wrench into that plan.

Today my grandmother group-texted my cousin, my aunt, my mom, and me to discuss logistics for the shower, which she has booked for the end of this month. She asked who we wanted to invite, and my aunt immediately listed off several first cousins once removed that I hadn't planned to invite to my wedding. Evidently, those people are invited to my cousin's wedding.

I thought about piping in to explain that I don't want my first cousins once removed at the shower, since they aren't invited to my wedding, but I'm worried that this will not go over well with my grandmother and aunt. Do I just need to suck it up and add all of my first cousins once removed to my wedding invitation list? I would really rather not, but I can't imagine that it's appropriate to invite the first cousins once removed to my bridal shower if they're not invited to my wedding. Help!

Re: Cousins Joint Bridal Shower Invitation Conundrum

  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    I had to read this twice because I thought I misunderstood the timeline. Grandma is doing some last minute planning.

    You should decline, telling her you thought it was just going to be a lovely, intimate shower. Might as well tell Grandma that you can't invite all the extended family to your wedding. She will be disappointed, I'm sure, but this is so much better than embarrassing her later.
                
    eileenrobInLoveInQueensahoyweddingcharlotte989875
  • Another vote to decline the shower.  It’s your only option etiquette-wise if all the second- and once-removed cousins won’t be invited to your wedding (which is fine btw). 
    ahoyweddingshort+sassy
  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York
    Knottie Warrior 100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    member
    It's a joint shower; as long as each guest is invited to at least one of the weddings it should be okay, right?


    Powers  &8^]
    MesmrEwe
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    edited June 12
    Yeah, you need to decline a joint shower with a lot of guests whom you're not inviting to your wedding. And you need to do it ASAP. 

    Otherwise, as you and PPs point out, you're setting the stage for lots of feelings to get hurt. I'd tell your grandmother, "Thanks, Grandma, but because our wedding guest lists are not identical, a joint shower isn't a possibility."
    InLoveInQueenseileenrobshort+sassy
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    edited June 12
    Another vote for declining the joint shower. This sounds like a logistical nightmare. 

    What about your FI's family? Are they invited to this shower too? Will they then feel obligated to buy a gift for your cousin, even if they don't know her? That seems really awkward. 
    Not to mention, her FI's family might feel the same way if they don't know you (assuming they're invited).

    And is it solely for your grandmother's family, or are other friends and relatives from the other sides of your families invited? Do either you or your cousin have WP members who won't be part of both weddings?

    If any of these things are the case, that could cause guests to feel pressured to give gifts to both of you and to assume they are invited to both weddings.
  • LtPowers said:
    It's a joint shower; as long as each guest is invited to at least one of the weddings it should be okay, right?


    Powers  &8^]
    I think this could maybe be applicable if two friends had a joint shower, and all mutual friends were invited. Family members wouldn't question which wedding(s) they were invited to, nor would guests who were only friends with one bride. It would still be a bit of a logistical headache and could get quite large and expensive for the host, but the lines would be a bit clearer. Two cousins who aren't inviting the same family members is a recipe for disaster.

    Another vote for declining this shower, especially given the timeline. As kind as it is of your grandmother to offer, it seems it will lead to confusion and hurt feelings. 
  • Yeah this seems like a logistical nightmare. 

    I'm curious when your wedding, and when your cousin's wedding, are being held? Are they relatively soon, and close together? 

    I agree that declining would be your best option; this gets easier if your wedding is still months away and your cousin's is first. You could say "thank you for the offer, but let's just celebrate Cousin on the 3rd". That way you don't need to explain you are not inviting these guests and it's clear the party is not for you. 
    ShesSoColdPrettyGirlLosteileenrobshort+sassy
  • LtPowers said:
    It's a joint shower; as long as each guest is invited to at least one of the weddings it should be okay, right?


    Powers  &8^]
    I think this could maybe be applicable if two friends had a joint shower, and all mutual friends were invited. Family members wouldn't question which wedding(s) they were invited to, nor would guests who were only friends with one bride. It would still be a bit of a logistical headache and could get quite large and expensive for the host, but the lines would be a bit clearer. Two cousins who aren't inviting the same family members is a recipe for disaster.

    Another vote for declining this shower, especially given the timeline. As kind as it is of your grandmother to offer, it seems it will lead to confusion and hurt feelings. 

    To the bolded, yeah, but if you were one of the family members or friends of only one, wouldn't you feel obligated to bring a gift to the shower for the other bride? I would be very uncomfortable attending a joint party (especially gift-giving one!) with two guests of honor and I only acknowledge one.

    OP, the absolute only way this can work is if the shower is very small and only includes aunts, uncles, first cousins, etc. of both of you and not including friends, fiancés' families or extended family. Then maybe someone else will offer a shower where those people can be invited.

    ETA - Removed a sentence that was unnecessary after re-reading OP.

    Yeah, you're right, I probably would. It would get hairy when the gift opening starts, like do the brides take turns or how would that go? We're having a joint bach for two friends this summer who are both getting married in the same month (with friends who are invited to both weddings) so I was thinking of that, but a bach isn't only about gifts. 
    ShesSoColdMairePoppy
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    I'm going to say even though on here the standard recommendation is "decline the shower" you've got family logistics and dynamics going on such that the joint shower is likely the best way to go at this point your pulling out of the shower would likely cause bigger problems.  You do need to be up front that you aren't planning to invite those who are further out in the family spectrum and where the line is.  But also, your guest list isn't finalized yet, you do need to get on that sooner than later because right now it's not set in stone that these individuals won't be invited (or maybe you only invite those who are at the shower physically and call that the line..)
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    edited June 13
    LtPowers said:
    It's a joint shower; as long as each guest is invited to at least one of the weddings it should be okay, right?


    Powers  &8^]
    I think this could maybe be applicable if two friends had a joint shower, and all mutual friends were invited. Family members wouldn't question which wedding(s) they were invited to, nor would guests who were only friends with one bride. It would still be a bit of a logistical headache and could get quite large and expensive for the host, but the lines would be a bit clearer. Two cousins who aren't inviting the same family members is a recipe for disaster.

    Another vote for declining this shower, especially given the timeline. As kind as it is of your grandmother to offer, it seems it will lead to confusion and hurt feelings. 

    To the bolded, yeah, but if you were one of the family members or friends of only one, wouldn't you feel obligated to bring a gift to the shower for the other bride? I would be very uncomfortable attending a joint party (especially gift-giving one!) with two guests of honor and I only acknowledge one.

    OP, the absolute only way this can work is if the shower is very small and only includes aunts, uncles, first cousins, etc. of both of you and not including friends, fiancés' families or extended family. Then maybe someone else will offer a shower where those people can be invited.

    ETA - Removed a sentence that was unnecessary after re-reading OP.


    I think a joint shower could work out in specific situations. Say two siblings are getting married and they have the same guest list for their family. If FILs are invited to the shower, their invitations should only mention the one bride that is marrying their family member. Same with each individual's friends and wedding party. 

    In OPs situation things could get sticky if the cousins start chatting about her wedding at her shower, since they aren't all invited to both weddings.


                
    short+sassyPrettyGirlLost
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