(Closed) Bridal Shower Help?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1696 posts
Bumble bee

You have my sympathy, my dear. I am not a big fan of the showy self-aggrandizing wedding, let alone of the mass cast-of-thousands shower. And while I may frequently spend $200 on a dress-length of fabric or a good suit, I despise the thought of girls dropping something that significant on a dress that is not of their choosing, generally in poor taste, and not really able to be worn again. My ideal of the sweet sincere wedding involves a bevy of maids in their existing Sunday best, or at least in a coordinating set of cocktail dresses in their own favourite and flattering colours and styles. And I find the notion of everyone hopping into a plane for Las Vegas and a multi-night “bachelorette” at the maids’ expense, all the way over the top. A traditional bridal shower, the kind that is actually tolerated by formal traditional etiquette, is exactly what you are proposiing: a handful to a dozen close intimate friends gathered for tea in the parlour.

Traditional formal etiquette tolerates the shower, but it does not demand it. So you do not have to give a shower if you do not want to. But since you do want to, but just not to have it hijacked and turned overboard, I recommend you do give one. Just do it as a mature and confident adult:

  • Do NOT ask the bride for her guest-list. As hostess, you are in control of the guestlist, not her. Invite only people who, to your knowledge, are so close to the bride that a) she must certainly be planning to invite them to the wedding and b) who would actively WANT to shower her with gifts even if she were not inviting them to her wedding.
  • Tell the bride you are planning a shower, and ask her if she is available on that date. Tell her the details such as the actual venue will be a surprise. That way she can’t invite anyone else.
  • Get together with the other people who will be at the shower to coordinate on decorations and refreshments. Tea and cakes in your parlour should be quite economical — and usually the other guests offer to bring something too. A proper shower is an upside-down entertainment with ten-to-fifteen hostesses and only one true guest, the bride. So it is quite acceptable for the other people who are coming to help out with the arrangements.
  • Compromise with the other co-hostesses. Since a traditional shower is a small informal event where the bride’s closest peers pitch in to make it come together, and share costs, you also have to share responsibility and authority. 

As for the dress, you need to be sure that the shop will still have it available when you are able to put your money down. If you are the only maid, or if your dress as Maid of Honour is substantially different from the other maids’, you should talk to the bride and see if she would consider a less costly dress for you. If not, you need to talk to the shopkeeper and find out when is the last date at which the order can be placed, and start making incremental payments toward it. Or, if the dress is a sticking point for her and the $200 is a sticking point for you, let the lady know now that you cannot come up to scratch so she can pick a richer maid of honour. I would be apalled to think I had chosen a two-hundred-dollar dress over my best friend, but then I would be ashamed to burden anyone, best friend or not, with a bill like that. Different value-systems for different people…

Post # 5
6123 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@brittandkelly:  I would say that she did wrong by telling 60 women they can go to her bridal shower.  You are right by telling her how many you could host.  I would say back to her, “I’m sorry, but 20 is really all I am able to host for you.”  Plus people don’t just go to a shwoer unless they get a real invitation.

I would ask for the names/addresses of those 20 people she wants to invite though.  I threw a baby shower for my sister and I would have no clude who she’d want there, but I did tell her my max #.

I agree with above, don’t share the details about the shower, just ask if she’s around that date/time.  The more you talk about it the emore she’ll interject.


As of now, are you off the hook for hosting?  You know showers aren’t really required, so if you are not up for doing a shower withint your limits (which is very kind of you), you really don’t have to do it!

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