Conflicted About The Surprise Shower I Didn't Want

posted 3 years ago in Parties
Post # 3
9859 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

@marie_antoinette:  your family should have respected your wishes, but it sounds like they genuinely wanted you to have the ‘full bride experience’ and that includes showers.  Although weddings are ‘about the bride’ sometimes they’re about the family too.  

They should have done some sort of an alternative shower where there were no gifts or some different kind of gifts (like flowers for your garden or something).  

I understand that you feel like you have everything you need – I’ve been on my own for 10 years, I don’t really need anything either.  Think of it as any other occasion where gifts are customary.  People will buy you things because they want to, they love you, and gifts are a way of showing that.  If you feel guilty, keep the new, nice stuff and donate some of your previously loved items to charity.  

It is aggrivating when family doesn’t listen, but they did mean well, and I’m sure they thought they were doing something nice for you.  

Post # 4
7531 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Sorry, I understand how you feel.  I didn’t want a shower either-although it was more due to being very shy/terribly uncomfortable and I was thrown a surprise shower also. I think it is best to be gracious and let it go.  You don’t want to offend/hurt people’s feelings.  


Post # 5
1492 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@marie_antoinette:  How would your guests know that you returned the presents? 

I think your sister and mom tried to do something nice for you in a way that they know how. Even if you told them you didn’t want a shower and didn’t have a registry, maybe they just don’t know how ELSE to celebrate or how to word it, so a shower made sense. In the end it’s more about having a bunch of people together in one place and having fun.


Can you separate your anti-shower feelings apart from your feelings about the good parts of the party? Just remember it as a good party and forget about whether your sister / mother didn’t pay attention to your wishes. Hopefully you can feel better

Post # 6
10219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Etiquette Snob here… lol

Bridal Showers aren’t a MUST DO for sure.  But they do have a nice bit of history and sentiment to them… women usually of all ages (extended family & close friends) coming together to celebrate & mark this milestone in your life.

I honestly think that at times a Shower is more about “the Community” (passing the torch) than it is about the Bride

Lol, unless I am the Bride… in which I am all ok with showers… I just love all the nice sentiment that women tend to put into the gift giving and the occasion.. but then there is no mistaking me… I am an Old Fashioned Gal

I don’t honestly see a good reason WHY you cannot embrace this act of Love that was put on for you.

Lol, chances are it is the one and only Bridal Shower you’ll ever have (you only have to worry about Baby Showers in the future, if you plan to have kids)

I don’t know what the theme of your Shower was… but if it was well organized surely you got some items that are useful to setting up your new home…

Even if you’ve lived on your own, or been together forever, there are lots of great things that a Shower can provide to make life a bit “easier” or “nicer”

The Gifts were given to you with Love…

I know when I go to a Shower I take great pride in choosing a Gift, and wrapping it.  I would be quite hurt if it somehow came out later that the Bride scooted off all the lovely Gifts to the Store to return for cash… or worse donated them away.

That seems the exact opposite to me from the care & love that the Gift Giver went to to attend the Shower and bring a Gift CHOSEN for the Bride.

I would think that if you think about ALL THE LOVE that was in the room that day, and how much people care enough to come together to celebrate with you, you can find it in your heart to accept / honour their gift as part of your NEW life.

Hope this helps,


Post # 7
1441 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@marie_antoinette:  Oh man.  I would feel exactly like you do if someone threw a shower for me.  I wish I had advice to offer, but I don’t, but I did want you to know you are not alone.

Post # 8
301 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

If you don’t want to keep the gifts or return them, could you donate or freecycle them?  Just thank the gift-givers and tell them how much you appreciate their gifts, no need to tell them that you aren’t keeping them.  That’s annoying that your family intentionally went against your clearly stated wishes and are now disappointed that you weren’t happy that they did so.

Post # 9
3202 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@marie_antoinette:  Oh my God, this totally is something my family would do. And I would be so furious. It’s about them not respecting your wishes–basically saying, “I don’t care that Marie Antoinette (lol) wouldn’t want this, I’m doing it anyway!”

In any case, it’s too late to do anything about the stuff–I’d just keep it/exchange it based on need. And I would honestly not make a big deal out of it with my family, even though internally I’d be quite pissed!!

Fortunately my family is too dysfunctional for people to show up to a surprise shower, or else I’m sure I’d be going home to one next weekend, lol!

Post # 10
4163 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

I married at 40, so my household was WELL stocked (used to work part-time at Crate & Barrel, so it’s insane the housewares I have), but my shower was one of my favorite wedding-related moments. I was surrounded for a couple of hours by the women I’m closest to who “showered” me with their love.

If you can try to adjust your thinking about it- the shower being about their well wishes for you, maybe that will help.


Post # 11
688 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

The same thing happened to me. I absolutely did not want a shower, much less a surprise one, but that’s exactly what I got. I knew that people were just trying to do something nice for me and that I was “supposed” to be happy and enjoy it, but I was so offended that they had ignored my wishes. So at least know that you’re not the only person who has felt this way.

With that said, the people who attended and gave the gifts are not at fault. Most of them probably didn’t know how you felt about showers. Write thank you notes and show your appreciation for their nice gestures. If you don’t feel right keeping the gifts, maybe you can donate them. And you should tell your mom and sister how you feel. I think it’s important to let people know when they’ve hurt your feelings, even if it’s hard to do.

Post # 13
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@marie_antoinette:  To each thier own, but I guess I am not sure why you are “morally” against these kinds of parties?  First of all, just because someone recieves an invites does not mean they are required to attend.  So if they have come, with gift in hand- it means they want to be there, and want to give you a gift. 

Not to mention- even the most established households could use an upgrade here and there.

I have been on my own since I was 22, and I am 33.  We had lived together a year before we got married.  We had everything we needed, but I got a few gift cards at my shower, and received some cast-iron cookware!  We got a juicer with the gift cards- we didn’t have one.

I think it’s cool that you didn’t feel the need to have a shower (I didn’t either, my sis and my mom threw it), but I don’t think this is something you should be crying over.  The party is over- just say thank you, but maybe tell them that next time, when you say no shower, you mean to shower/party/etc……

Post # 14
193 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@marie_antoinette:  I definitely understand how you feel.  The way I would view it?…It was coming from a place of love.  Yes, they didn’t respect your wishes (and I’d be stinking mad over that), but it sounds like they had good intentions. 

Keeping them does not mean you’re selling out.  It simply means that you accepted their gift.  If you feel that you can’t keep them at all, go with an alternative that you feel comfortable with, whether that be donating them, returning them etc.

Best of luck!

Post # 15
2428 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I understand about being upset that they did something you explicitly asked them not to, but it just came from a place of love! And it seems like they just wanted to celebrate you/it with you. I think they had the very best intentions and it was very sweet of them. I’m not that comfortable with being the center of attention and having a shower myself, but my fiance’s sister in law has mentioned multiple times that she’d love to throw me one and I’m not about to tell her no. It means a lot to my family and friends, so in turn it means a lot to me. I hope over time you won’t be so upset when you think about it, but remember it fondly because you got to share this special time with the special people in your life.

Post # 16
3344 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2000

@marie_antoinette:  I always think that it’s too bad that people such as your sister cannot think out of the box to create an experience of anything other than The Standard Thing.

There are plenty of parties that your family could have thrown for you (Drinks & Chocolate, Lingerie, Plants for your garden, Restaurant coupons, just off the top of my head) or they could have had just a lovely tea party with NO GIFTS with everyone wearing hats and gloves and dress up fun. Or an Art Museum visit and art party, or–any number of things that yes WOULD require some imagination.

Instead they chose to carry out the norm of “surprise” party with standard gifts and standard food and standard everything. And you are stuck with writing Thank  You notes for crap that you don’t want. Thanks, mom and sis.

No, I don’t think that you are a bad person for being disappointed with your family. They did not honor your authentic self, and that is too bad. I guess I’d look at them a loving but flawed people who are unable to step outside of themselves enough to recognize who you are. It’s a cautionary tale for your future with them.

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