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Monday question: Differences in shower invitations?

Posted by Robin Abrahams  July 23, 2012 09:54 AM

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This Sunday's column featured an LW who was upset that kids were invited to a 45-person bridal shower. Miss Conduct, for her part, was agog at the notion of a 45-person shower! Then I got this note from a friend:

 
I think I have stumbled on a rather fascinating "difference of religions" practice in regard to who should be invited to a bridal shower. I was brought up with the age old tradition of only inviting the bride's closest friends, the mothers, aunts, grandmothers of the bride and groom, and bridesmaids--an intimate affair. It usually numbered between 10 to 20 max and hosted (and paid for) by the maid of honor. 
 [A friend's daughter] has invited every single female she invited to her wedding, even if they live out of state. When I heard that, I was utterly shocked! How gauche!!! That's going to be 50 to 60 people, some of whom are invited because they are merely acquainted with either the mother or father, like my mother and sister who hardly know her. To me that's just looking for more booty. Why should every woman be expected to give a wedding and shower present?! My mother and sister think it downright tacky. 
Anyway, I've asked a few friends about this, and to my surprise, all theCcatholics (young and old--50s/60s) said that of course all women going to the wedding are asked to the shower, as if it were as natural as breathing. Every Protestant or non-Catholic friend agreed wholeheartedly with me.
Readers, what's your experience? Are there religious/cultural differences in American bridal showers that I (and Emily Post!) aren't taking into account? What does "bridal shower" mean to you?  
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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Curious if you should say "bless you" to a sneezing atheist? How to host a dinner party for carbophobes, vegans, and Atkins disciples—all at the same time? The finer points of regifting? Ask it here, or email missconduct@globe.com.

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