Everything You Need to Know About Sending Wedding Shower Invitations

Consider this your complete guide to wedding shower invitation etiquette.
Naoimh O'Hare the knot
by Naoimh O'Hare
Naoimh O'Hare the knot
Naoimh O'Hare
Assistant E-Commerce Editor
  • Naoimh writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in shoppable roundups from gift guides to wedding fashion
  • Before working on editorial content, Naoimh wrote storefront descriptions for some of The Knot Worldwide's many wedding vendors
  • Naoimh studied creative writing at college and lives in Galway, Ireland
Updated Jun 11, 2021

Organizing invitations takes a little more thought than you might realize, whether it's for a wedding shower, a bach party, the rehearsal dinner or the wedding itself. If you've been charged with the task of sending out bridal shower invitations, you've come to the right place. We're answering all of the biggest FAQs, including what to say, when to send them and how to keep track of RSVPs. Whether you're planning a classic tea party, a backyard barbecue or a fancy brunch, here's everything you need to know before sending out those invites. (And when you're ready to start mailing, be sure to check out the gorgeous stationery options at The Knot Invitations.)

Who Do You Invite to a Wedding Shower?

Before you start picking out pretty stationery, you'll want to make sure you know who to invite. The number one rule when it comes to wedding shower guest list etiquette: You should only invite people who are also invited to the wedding. Of course, that doesn't mean you have to invite everyone on the couple's wedding guest list—showers are typically much more intimate.

With that in mind, who gets invited to a bridal shower? Traditionally, the guest list consists of the bride-to-be's closest female friends and relatives. It's also considered proper etiquette for close relatives of the bride-to-be's spouse to attend the shower. This could include their mom, sisters, grandmother or another family member they're super close with. If the bride's future MIL is hosting, expect even more in-laws to attend the shower, such as aunts and cousins.

All that said, you're free to invite anyone you feel should be there to celebrate the couple. At the end of the day, it's up to the host and the guest(s) of honor to decide on the right guest list for them. Nowadays, it's not unusual for couples to have a joint or coed shower with both of their loved ones present. (Just remember, everyone who comes to the shower should definitely be invited to the wedding.)

Finally, you're also welcome to invite out-of-town guests to the bridal shower (just make sure to give them plenty of notice). If the guest list is starting to feel a little long, consider having more than one shower to accommodate different guests in different locations. One could be hosted by bridesmaids for close friends of the bride only, while another could be hosted by the bride's future MIL that's attended by family.

Who Sends Wedding Shower Invitations?

According to bridal shower etiquette, the host takes the lead. That said, it's definitely a good idea to liaise with the guest(s) of honor to make sure you're heading in the right direction with the theme and the guest list. Unless the soonlyweds specifically state they want to be surprised, it's safe to assume they want to play some part in the planning process. Of course, delegating tasks to other members of the wedding party is also an option, but we recommend taking charge of the invites yourself—they're a pretty important part of the process.

The Best Wedding Shower Invitations

If you're not sure where to find your wedding shower invites, The Knot Invitations is chock full of beautiful stationery designs. There are styles to suit pretty much any theme, from "brunch and bubbly" bridal shower invitations to boho floral bridal shower invitations. To make your job even easier, you can also filter by style (think: whimsical, watercolor, greenery and more). The icing on the cake? You can customize your design by changing the font, editing the text and choosing different colorways. Simply find a design that matches the bridal shower theme, personalize the details and voilà!

What to Include in Wedding Shower Invitations

There are a few staple pieces of information you don't want to miss no matter what. Whether you're sending wedding shower invites, engagement party invitations, bach party invites or whatever, the date, time and location should always be included. It's also important to name the guest (or guests) of honor and the event type—in this case, you could go with "bridal shower," "wedding shower" or "couple's shower." The last thing you'll absolutely want to include is the host's name and contact information for RSVPs. That way, guests can easily let you know if they're coming. Once you've got the basics down, feel free to add other information such as the theme, the dress code, the couple's registry details or their wedding website.

How to Write Wedding Shower Invitations

Good news: unlike thank-you cards, bridal shower invitations don't have to be handwritten. And even if you do decide to write invitations or address envelopes by hand, there's no need to go overboard—you can leave the fancy calligraphy for the wedding invitations. Feel free to create your stationery using a handy online tool instead, or opt for a printable wedding shower invitation template you can DIY at home.

If you go with a service like The Knot Invitations, you'll be able to easily edit the wording so it suits the shower you're planning. Note that wording will be a little different depending on the type of event. For example, a couple's shower in honor of both soonlyweds will require a slightly different approach than traditional bridal shower invites. Finally, when it comes to addressing the envelopes, the formality should be similar to the couple's wedding invitations.

When to Send Out Wedding Shower Invitations

Timing is an important factor when sending invitations for any wedding-related event. Guests need time to clear their schedules, decide what to wear and pick up gifts among other things. Not sure how early to mail your bridal shower invitations? Ideally, you'll want to send them out four to six weeks in advance. But, if the guest list includes out-of-towners, it's considered good bridal shower invitation etiquette to leave a little extra time. Sending the invitations at least two months in advance should give guests enough time to organize travel and accommodations.

How to Send Wedding Shower Invitations

Similar to invitations for the big day, shower invites are typically sent by mail. That said, some couples opt for digital shower invitations instead. Ultimately, it's up to the couple and the host to decide which route to take. Regardless of whether invites are sent by mail or email, RSVPs are usually requested via phone or email.

How to Organize Wedding Shower Invitation RSVPs

RSVP cards aren't really necessary for wedding showers. Instead, the host should provide their contact details on the invite (think: a phone number or email address) instructing guests to RSVP there. If you need guests' responses by a certain date, it's best to put that information on the invitation too. We suggest setting a date at least two weeks before the event so you have time to finalize any last-minute details. You could also request that people respond with "regrets only." That way, you'll only receive messages from those politely declining the invite (and hopefully escape a cluttered inbox while you're at it).

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