I attend a small church with mostly people my age, but my wedding is not very big (200 with 100 just family and only 215 seats at FIs church for ceremony), so not everyone from church is invited. I tried to make it a very clear division by only inviting church friends who I have either been in small group with or volunteered with, etc. to try and limit hurt feelings. One of my bridesmaids goes to the same church, so she helped me kind of spread the word that we're keeping things relatively small.
A couple weeks ago, one of the ladies at the church approached the bridesmaid to ask who was throwing me a shower in our town and if she should throw a second one for just the women at the church so as not to overwhelm the smaller shower my sister is hosting in town. The BM asked me about it and I told her I hadn't planned on inviting people to the shower who weren't invited to the wedding because it's not good form and I really really don't want people to feel obligated to get me a gift, especially if they're not invited to the wedding. But I also don't want to hurt people's feelings by not letting them come to a shower if they really want to.
In addition to not wanting to be the center of attention or pressure people to give me money/gifts, three people are already throwing me showers (OOT for FIs extended family, OOT for my extended family, and in town for close local friends). It already feels excessive.
I'm considering suggesting that if they really want to do something, maybe it could be more informal with just going to dinner together or having a potluck at someone's house with no gifts. I think people understand that the church is small enough that you know everyone, but too big to invite them all.I have a really similar situation at work which is a small place but I'm only inviting the two people I work most closely with. My FMIL also asked about inviting her cousins to her shower when they're not invited to the wedding (honestly, if we had opened up the circle to our second cousins the wedding size would've doubled). I've never met the cousins and my FI hasn't even seen them in several years. I've erred on letting her handle that situation so I don't ruffle feathers, but I think FI made it clear to her that we don't want to further hurt a non-invited person's feelings by rubbing our impending nuptials in their face with a shower - or make them think they can come to the wedding because FMIL invited them to her shower.
So basically, I'm wondering what I should tell the lady at church. She is a friend and I have spent time with her outside of church, but we didn't invite other people who were much closer friends because of the limits on our guest list. I'm positive this same scenario will come up again for the bachelorette party also. Help with talking to the FMIL about her cousin situation would also be good too!