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Pre-Wedding Parties - Who Is Invited To What?

bachelorette parties bridal showers brides and bridesmaids engagement parties wedding guest list tips wedding planning tips weddings


Figuring out exactly who will be on your wedding guest list is an important task to tackle early in the stages of wedding planning. Knowing the number of people to expect will affect many other decisions about the wedding, especially if you are trying to stick to a strict budget. 

After you have that out of the way, you'll also need to come up with mini guest lists for all of the pre-wedding parties that will happen before the wedding day even arrives. has a few tips for you today to first, get on top of the big list, and then second, decide who on that list needs to be on the other guest lists. (Don't worry, it can be easier than it sounds!) 

Creating a Wedding Guest List

The best way to get started on the guest list for your wedding is for each of you, the bride and the groom, to write down the names of everyone you individually want to invite. Also, ask each set of parents for a similar list. 

Once you have those, start combining them. More than likely many of the names will be duplicated on multiple lists. That's the easy part. Next, start narrowing down the remainder of the names until you are at a number of guests that you are comfortable with.

In a perfect world where money is no object, you could invite them all but in reality, either due to budget reasons or available space at the wedding venue, some people simply won't make the final cut. If you barely know them or don't see them on a regular basis, a wedding invitation isn't always necessary.

Now, once those decisions are made, this is the list that you will pull from to make the other pre-wedding party lists. It's good etiquette to only invite those that will also be attending the wedding too. In some cases, like a destination wedding or elopement, this may be different but generally, that is the rule to go by. 

The Pre-Wedding Guest Lists 

The "pre-wedding parties" that we are talking about are the bridal shower, the bachelor and bachelorette parties, and the rehearsal dinner. In the end, it's totally up to you who gets invited to each one but these guidelines may help you make the final decisions. 

Bridal Showers

Bridal showers are generally thrown by your bridal party and/or family members. It is not unusual to have more than one bridal shower, each one focused on a different group of people that want to "shower" you with best wishes and gifts. In some cases, if you have family in a different city or state than you live, they may want to throw a bridal shower for you in that area. 

The guest lists for these should include the bridal party, immediate family, and close friends that have been invited to the wedding. Please make sure to let people know that if they are invited to more than one shower, they are not expected to bring a gift to more than one of those showers. 

One exception to the "only invited wedding guests" rule is if your workplace decides to throw a shower for you. In that case, some of those co-workers may not be invited to the wedding, but you won't be the one making that guest list. 

Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

bachelorette party is usually thrown by your bridesmaids but it's not unusual for the bride herself to have a had in planning these festivities. It's meant to be a celebration with your closest friends in honor of the exciting moment coming up in your life and enjoy one last "single person" night out before you are married. 

This guest list should include your wedding party and other close friends and siblings that don't happen to be in your wedding party. In other words, the people you love spending time with the most. (Other than your soon-to-be-spouse, of course!) 

Rehearsal Dinner

The wedding rehearsal dinner is meant as a thank you to everyone that has something to do with your special day, usually taking place right after the wedding rehearsal. Your entire wedding party and immediate family should be invited. If space and the budget allows, some couples also invite out of town guests that are already in town the night before the wedding.  

Once you've got the guest lists for all of these celebrations narrowed down, head on over to our online wedding store to find decorations and inspiration to pull off the most wonderful pre-wedding parties possible. While you're there, you might as well browse for all the items you'll need to plan that dream wedding too. After all, is "Where Brides Go, For What Brides Love!


~The Team
Post by Deanna Powell, Certified Bridal Consultant 

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