Post # 1
Hey bees, I need your help!
For background my FIs family mostly lives in New England or Upstate NY and his parents live about an hour south of Boston. My family mostly lives in Long Island. I’m not really close to my future in-laws because they live so far away (we are in Philly) and I can count the number of times I’ve met them on one hand.
I know by proper etiquette I don’t get any say in any showers that are given for me, but a friend of mine and I are each others MOHs and have basically told one another what we want. I want 1 shower with a small number of people (15-20) in my sister’s living room. No fuss, just a bunch of women I’m close to and a fun afternoon. It can’t be a surprise because I will need to travel for it.
FMIL has other ideas and is already sort of planning her own shower for her side of the family. She wants to do 2 totally separate showers, so one that my BMs can throw for friends and my side and one she can throw for her side. There’s maybe 4 people I think she can invite, including her that would maybe make it on my original list (I would have just invited her, FIs sister and one aunt that I have met a few times, but there’s another aunt I just met once).
I don’t want this. Firstly, I feel like I barely know them and to travel all the way up there (a 6 hour train ride) by myself for a weekend would make me really uncomfortable. I also don’t really see the point in having 2 showers if 1 is going to have five people and the other 10 people. Finally, I’m a little uncomfortable with having any shower at all because I feel guilty about people needing to give me gifts. I feel like I’m acting “spoiled” or materialistic if I accept 2.
I’ve only gotten this through my FI, who doesn’t really understand but has been kind enough to tell his mom some of the reasons why I might not feel comfortable with 2 showers. Her responses have been that, “a lady accepts what people offer them.” and “Showers are supposed to be small affairs and a surprise, so you shouldn’t be telling sweet5k anything about this.”
We’re going to be seeing them for Christmas and FI has agreed to help smooth things out but we’re both a little unsure about how to go about it. Is FMIL right? Should I just swallow my uncomfortableness and appreciate what they are trying to do for me? Or should I somehow try to put a stop to a 2nd shower? If so, how do I go about it? FI will definitely be the one communicating everything to FMIL, but he doesn’t know what to say to convince his mom and, frankly, has a hard time standing up to her.
Post # 3
@sweet5k: I suggest you gracefully allow your FMIL to plan a shower for you. For the sake of future relations with her and FI’s family, it would be kind of you to go along with her plans. If it’s small, it won’t be as intimidating.
Showers are by definition a gift giving occasion so the people who attend have already indicated that they are fine with that aspect.
Why would you have to travel there on your own? Is there a reason that FI or maybe your Mom couldn’t go with you. It would be a great time for your Mom to get to know FMIL too.
Post # 4
@julies1949: I’m not sure that my mom will be invited (if just because FMIL doesn’t want to inconvenience her). FI theoretically could go with me but FMIL doesn’t want him anywhere near this because he’s a guy and it’s a shower.
Might it be ok to suggest them hosting a party for both of us that isn’t a gift-giving occasion rather than a shower which I’m not so comfortable with? Or do I just have to accept whatever it is she wants and not make any suggestions?
Post # 5
@sweet5k: If you generally feel ok about your relationship with your MIL or you want to get to know her better, you should accept the invite. Adopt the frame of mind that people like celebrating happy events like weddings and people like to give gifts, it makes them feel good. If you feel awkward: the shower doesn’t have to be about you necessarily, it’s about giving them the opportunity to do something that makes them feel good.
I totally love the idea of having your mom come (provided you two get along). This would be something your FI could advocate for.
Post # 6
@julies1949: Ok, so assuming this all happens, do I still have MOH invite FMIL and FSIL to the shower the bridesmaids throw? Or no? I kind of think a big majority of the reason the in-laws want a shower there is to avoid traveling, but I also feel like they should be invited to the main one.
Post # 7
It sounds like your FMIL has some pretty traditional ideas about how this “should” go down.I don’t think you or your FI can say much without risking offending her. It’s one afternoon of your life, and it’s lovely she cares enough to do this for you. I think you need to just suck it up.
Post # 8
@sweet5k: I’m sure your FMILwould not be offended if you asked her if you could invite your Mom. Or, FI can busy himself elsewhere during the shower.
I would suggest that your MOH still invite the FMIL and FSIL. If I were the MOH, I would add a handwritten note to the invitation to the effect that I would understand if she was unable to attend as I had heard that she was planning to host a shower herself, but didn’t want her to feel left out.
Post # 9
@sweet5k: Its fine to for your MOH to invite them to the shower she’s hosting. It’s in invite, it’s the polite thing to do, it’s not a summons, they’re not obligated to come, and it’s not unusual for people to have multiple showers.
Post # 10
I think it would be nice if she would change it to a jack-and-jill shower, then the guests will get a change to see your FI and to celebrate with both of you. Also, I think you should just take the gifts and enjoy them. This is your chance to collect nice things for the house that you probably wouldn’t buy for yourself. If your FMIL changes the party to a jack-and-jill shower, you won’t have to sit there and open them with everyone watching you.
Post # 11
If you can stand it, I think you should do it for the sake of family harmony. I have a future in-law who wants to plan a second shower for me with the in-laws. I will barely know any of the attendees, and it will involve flying and staying 1 or 2 nights. It’s a lot, especially since I’m shy, but I’m trying to go with the flow to keep the in-laws happy.
Post # 12
@sweet5k: I definitely would allow your FMIL to host the other shower she is planning to have in your honor. You do not need to feel awkward in any way, because you are not involved at all in hosting this event; she is. As @julies1949: noted, people who choose to attend showers do so knowing that the events are gift-giving occasions.
ETA: +1 to Julies1949’s comments in post #7, also.
Post # 13
I agree with PPs about just letting the shower happen, but I would suggest that any requests/suggestions go through FI as though they were his idea, since FMIL doesn’t want you to know the details re: “It should be a surprise.”
FI can suggest that your mom be invited as a courtesy and to make you more comfortable or that FMIL consider a Jack and Jill shower (all suggested out of concern for you, which as your FI, he can legitimately express). It might go more smoothly as opposed to you disrupting FMIL’s view of a “lady” by making requests for your own shower.
Post # 14
Thank you all for your advice. I’ve decided to follow it and just smile and go along with the shower. I’ve expressed a few concerns I have to FI which he agreed that he will bring up to his mom as though they are coming from him – and he smartly added a few suggestions of his own. He’s going to suggest that she coordinate the dates with my MOH so that I don’t have 2 showers in the same month as I’ll need to take a weekend off of work for each of them and my job would very much not like that. He’s going to suggest that she invite my mom and my sister and suggest that she consider going to my main shower so that at least the immediate families can intermingle and I’m not alone with a bunch of people I barely know. He’s also going to suggest that she either keep any gifts I get there until we have a better way of transporting them, or he will pay to ship them down to Philly as it’s going to be difficult to navigate my way home on public transit with my belongings and any gifts I might receive.
I still feel uncomfortable with the idea of people buying us gifts, but I’ll just swallow that for now, at least my bigger concern of being uncomfortable around people I don’t know will be taken care of.