Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Q & A: Wedding/Bridal Showers

Reader Question: I am writing to request some words of wisdom on wedding/bridal showers. A woman at work has offered to throw me a Pampered Chef shower. I’m not particularly into direct sales, but I do think Pampered Chef carries some great products, and I’m honored that she wants to have a party for me. She has asked me to create a guest list of folks from work and otherwise who would be interested. Here’s my concern: there are only a handful of folks at work who would be appropriate to invite, which leaves me to decide who outside of work I should invite (a PC party would be a little awkward with only a few people). However, my friends have hinted at throwing me a shower of some kind also, and I don’t want them to feel as though they must attend and purchase gifts for both. Is it weird for folks to be invited to multiple showers for the same person? Should I just invite a crowd with the logic that if folks want to come, they will, and if not, they won’t?

I think wedding/bridal showers are very personal things. I think everyone person has to do some deep introspection and figure out what works best for them. I can't tell you what will work best for your friends/colleagues, but I can tell you what makes sense for me, and you can take it from there.

First of all, I think parties are fun. I am always on the lookout for opportunities to get together with people for some merriment. I think it's awesome that you have a colleague who wants to throw a party for you, as well as personal friends who might also want to throw one.

I don't think it's "weird for folks to be invited to multiple showers for the same person," but I think it's important to explain to your friends that a gift is not required/expected. I think we should all be very careful about the financial strain that our weddings place on others. Weddings (and the celebrations leading up to them) should focus more on community, connection, and fun and less on material goods.

I'm curious to know what others think!

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Sarah said...

It actually happens fairly often--different groups of friends throwing multiple showers for one person.

For those who will be invited to multiple, just say exactly that-- several groups of friends wanted to throw you a party, then follow up with of course you don't want them to buy a truckload of gifts but it would be fun for you if they could be there.

kahlia said...

I agree completely, and think that the most important part is to say "you are not expected to buy me stuff" in a way that makes them understand that you really mean it (which, of course, will be different for each person you talk to). I think a lot of people will hear a BRIDE (or similar) say that, and even if they know the person well and know that she/he really isn't the gift-grabbing type, will assume that you don't really mean it because that's what BRIDES (etc.) do.
*grumble* WIC making people think I'm crazy when I'm not, I swear! *grumble* ;)

Brittany said...

If you MUST invite the same people, please, please...PLEASE...follow previous posters' advice and make sure your repeat guests know to not bring a gift. A girlfriend of mine got married in May and invited about eight of us to THREE different showers...and expected three different gifts. She then had the audacity to call me after the wedding (acting very innocent) to say she couldn't find my wedding gift, she could only find the card, had her bridesmaids misplaced it or did get get lost in shipping?...I was like what gift? I can't spend any more money; I sent you a card! She also expected her bridesmaids to be at every one, which was a bit of a stretch since some bridesmaids live in different cities and out-of-state. She did irreparable harm to so many friendships over things as silly as toasters and cookie sheets. I'm sure no bride reading $2000 wedding would be so inconsiderate and materialistic, but it was a hard lesson for her to learn. I got married 3 weeks later and learned from her mistakes. My "showers" were actually dinner/drinks downtown and a dinner party at a friend's home, all invitations clearly marked "no gifts please." I had nearly 100% turnout, most likely because no one had to make an excuse to not come because they couldn't afford a present. Enjoy time with friends and let them shower you with love!

Kate said...

Yet again, another time appropriate post on this blog. I'm in the middle of negotiating with my mom and sister about hosting a shower. We're coming home from out of state for the wedding and many of our guests will be traveling. I don't even think that many women will be around that early before the wedding so I thought a chill dinner out would be best. I don't want shower games and I don't want gifts. I just want to spend some time with the women in my life before I get married!

I was told the it was hard to arrange something so "out of the box". Um? How hard is it to make a dinner reservation and have good conversation?

Bobbi said...

Very good advice from smart women! As a "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" mentality AND a former host of a Pampered Chef party of my own, I would reiterate that two showers would be fun. But please let guests know, who are invited to the PC party, that you do NOT expect guests to buy anything. Because your PC party leader WILL pressure folks to buy. :)

Anonymous said...

I'd be VERY wary of any wedding function that had an attached "product sales" tag to it. I completely agree with Brittany. A wedding "party" should be a fun thing to help the couple's friends connect with each other before the wedding. While many may choose to bring a gift, a party that also sells products (kitchen gadgets, jewelry, baskets, purses, lingerie, etc)often imposes feelings of guilt for the guests if they don't choose to buy. I know I usually groan when I receive an invitation to one of these parties, even if my "friend" thought I would "love to be invited" becuase of my interest in________ (fill in the blank)that will be "available." Everyone must choose for themselves, but I'd be very careful in deciding what products my "guests" would be interested in. The idea of dinner, brunch, lunch, cocktails...whatever, is MUCH more appealing that sitting around listening to a sales pitch for items that are overpriced that I do NOT wish to buy!

Krista said...

My bridesmaids just recently invited all the women in my life to a shower for me. I asked them to put something in the invitation like: Krista requested that you bring sage advise and wisdom only to the shower, that is all the gift she needs. The shower is in two weeks, hopefully no one brings me presents!

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful that you have so many women in your life who want to celebrate with you! As someone who has been invited to multiple showers, I think it is great for you to emphasize that you are not expecting a gift at both showers.

In terms of the PC shower, I think it can be really fun, but it might feel awkward for people there if they feel pressured to buy something. You know your friends best and you will know who might enjoy this and who might not. Either way, don't worry about inviting people to more than one shower. Just give them a heads up about it!

Anonymous said...

I found some really great tips here for ways to cut corners on your wedding but still keep it nice. It's helped me a lot with the planning and hopefully it will help you, too: http://thestimulist.com/cheapskate-how-to-save-on-your-wedding/

jltaylor215 said...

I have been a bridesmaid or maid of honor 6 times so far, and my seventh gig will be happening next summer. One of the brides had three showers and one was a PC shower. I am a very avid cook and baker, and I like PC products. However, these PC showers are very high pressure. The leader will tell you how many points you can purchase for the bride to redeem, etc. and pressure you into gifts that are in truth, expensive for the quality. If you are set on the PC shower, make sure you tell the PC leader that you do not want your guests to feel pressured into purchasing items.

Just to make one more suggestion, one of my friends had what we called a pantry shower, where instead of expensive gifts, guests were asked simply to bring a favorite recipe and a few non-perishable food items to go with it (perhaps pasta and some sauce and garlic powder). We cooked together at the shower, and the bride went home with food she could use and wouldn't have to purchase later, and no one broke the bank. It was a wonderful alternative to a PC shower.

Anonymous said...

When my best friend got married, 3 different people threw her showers. I was invited to and attended all three of them and gave her a gift at each one of them. Why? Because I love her and I felt like it! I really enjoy giving gifts AND I understand that not everyone can afford to do such a thing. No one asked me to, and of course there was a non-spoken understanding that I didn't have to give any sort of gift. But she is my best friend in all the world - so of course I gave her all that I could. I did the same thing with my sister. For me it was fun - I actually did a kitchen themed gift at one, a home decor theme gift at another, and then for the last one I got her a "bedroom inspired" gift. I would venture to say that the majority of people (read: brides) are VERY understanding about the amount of money it takes to be a bridesmaid/groomsman/guest of both wedding and shower. I agree with Sara that parties are FUN - go have fun! if it costs too much to throw in a gift, then so be it - chances are the bride just wants to have people come spend their time with her. And, if you really feel silly showing up "empty handed", bake her some cookies or make some sandwiches to help with the party!

mandyrosy said...

Anonymous and Rainylakechick made a good point - the PC party host/ess will pressure your guests to buy something. Is that really the kind of shower you want to have?
To me, those kind of parties are uncomfortable and unappealing. But that's just me. It depends on your friends. Maybe they would really enjoy that kind of setting. You know your friends best! Would they like a PC party?

msinterpret said...

Hey ladies - thanks so much for all of your feedback on the question I sent to Sara. Seems to me that knowing my friends best and doing what seems the most appropriate and comfortable is the route I'll take. I've written a note to the friends I've invited, explaining to them that I'd love the pleasure of their company but that they should not feel pressured to attend or purchase gifts for me. I think that those who are fine in a direct sales environment will come, and those that aren't won't - and won't feel pressured to.

I think that those who are close enough to me to come to the party will recognize my intentions and those of the hosts.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Anonymous said...

I'll just be straight about it: I think the woman at your work who wants to throw the shower has dual motives that go against the purpose of a shower (she wants to make $$ off your joy!) and it sounds to me like you don't/can't say, "No thanks."

If you want to have that woman throw a PC party, than that should be a PC party- NOT your Bridal Shower. That's not a party. That's a way to make money. And, without trying to be rude, I think it's absurd to find this to be an opportunity to make some money off your wedding.

I also bet that she asked you to set up a PC registry ;)

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