(Closed) Confused, English girl… why aren’t showers considered rude?

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1937 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

The key part of bridal showers is that it is very inappropriate for the bride-to-be to host a shower.  It can be hosted by another family member/ friend.  As a result they are throwing a shower in your honor.  Not sure if that helps at all.

Post # 4
1692 posts
Bumble bee

Actually, the concept of bridal showers the way that I often see them being described on these boards, is pretty rude.

The original notion was that when a girl sets up house for the first time, she needs a whole bunch of little mundane things that, while none of them is really the kind of future heirloom people give for wedding presents, are nonetheless a bit of a problem to acquire overnight: tea towels, dusters, paring knives, muffin tins, dishrags, measuring spoons, egg timer …. But setting up house is pretty exciting: it is the kind of thing all your unmarried girl-friends can’t wait to do; and they naturally want to be involved in setting up yours since they don’t have one of their own yet. So, they get together and decide to hold a “shower” for you. A traditional shower has one guest, and umpteen co-hosts; and was often held as a surprise for the bride — who had nothing whatsoever to do with planning it. The girls co-hosting typically had it at the home of one of  their members, and baked little refreshments and played games. It’s a very sweet idea.

What made it acceptable was, that the hostesses never asked anyone who wasn’t part of their intimate crowd, to chip in; and they kept the gifts to small everyday items that didn’t have to fit in with the bride’s “style” and wouldn’t embarrass the bride by being ostentiously charitable. Sometimes a shower might be given by the groom’s family, to welcome the bride, but in that case it would be kept within the family. Since the bride was about to become a family member, they wouldn’t put themselves in the position of “begging” on her behalf from more distant connections or from friends.

Nowadays we often see brides “telling” their Maid of Honour that it’s her “duty” to throw a shower for them, and filling out a list of friends to be invited. And yes, with all that involvement from the bride going on in the background, it is indeed unpleasantly self-serving. But then, it is also nowadays largely de trop, simply because most brides have already set up housekeeping and acquired tea-towels and egg-timers; and so for that matter have most of their unmarried friends. So it has become a ritual instead of a practical friendly celebration; and those brides busy managing things in the background are just trying to make sure they get all their fair share of the rituals that they associate with their status as “The Bride”.



Post # 5
627 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

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@aspasia475: Well said!

Most bridal showers I have been to (granted, I can count them on one hand) the bride has been asked to furnish a list of her female friends and that is the extent of her involvement. While it is expected that it happens, the BRIDE does not do the throwing, she does the attending and being made a spectacle of in a hat of bows and ribbons…

Post # 6
2828 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

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this is why I am actually happy that no one is throwing me a shower — they just put me off.

Post # 7
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I’m no expert, but I guess I always thought of the bridal shower as a G-rated alternative to the bachelorette party in which moms, aunts, younger family members, etc. can participate in celebrating the bride-to-be and get to know each other in a sweet, intimate way before the wedding minus the party hearty activities. Female close friends and family can have an opportunity to play a few games and have some snacks and chat and get excited about wedding planning. However, I have to agree that the idea has stressed me out a bit in that I feel like I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to give gifts.

Post # 8
8028 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I do think in general they are kind of rude.  Which I why I refused to let anyone thorw me a bridal shower.  I was fairly upset to learn people are INSISTING on throwing me a baby shower now.  I don’t like the idea at all.

Post # 9
5787 posts
Bee Keeper

In my lifetime, showers have always been a tradition rather than a ‘ritual’, and we still keep them as surprises for the bride-to-be. We don’t ask for and get guest lists either, as somebody always has the wedding list beforehand, so we know who needs to be invited as well as their addresses. The guests are limited to close family and friends, and we open gifts, eat some great food and just socialize. I have yet to ever hear from anyone that having a shower is in any way considered ‘rude’.

Through the years, some of the BTB have registered, but we make it clear to the guests to feel free to use the registry as a guide and not a gift request list. I have never seen or heard of any of the girls get annoyed if someone didn’t follow it, and we are a very outspoken family..so I know I’d hear about it somehow, if anyone had complained.

Since I know little about how other people in other parts of the world prepare for their weddings, it never occurred to me that anyone would find the practice of having a bridal shower anything other than what it is to us….

Post # 10
411 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

My mother and mother in law threw mine – and it was mostly family, not friends. It was able to include a lot of older members who otherwise wouldn’t have been so involved. Yes, I got a lot of presents, but that wasn’t what mattered in the end.

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

           IMO bridal showers are a way for the woman to celebrate the up coming marriage. I didnt “expect” to have any but my FIs aunts threw me one.. and it was more about them welcoming me into their family than giving me gifts (though I did get lovely gifts!). My Aunt threw me one as well, and it was my family getting together celebrating the fact that I was getting married.

      Usually smaller things are bought off the registrey, or people will bring things because they don’t want to bring a gift to the actual wedding.

     I don’t think they are about getting gifts as much as celebrating the up comming union and a bonding experience.  You play games, get advise on marriage, and celebrate with family and friends.

    If the point of the shower is just to get presents then yes, its rude. If its to celebrate with your family and friends then no, its not. You get presents at a wedding as well and thats not rude.

Post # 12
3182 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

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@aspasia475: I think this reasoning is part of why I don’t like showers either.  The original purpose doesn’t apply in my case.  We already live together, both lived on our own before that, and have all of the household stuff we need. Why ask other people to buy us regular household items when we have careers and are doing fine financially?  

I can appreciate that other people see value in a shower as a time to bond with close female friends, I just feel like I can do that by having a girls day out kind of thing where we do something fun, without all the presents. 

Post # 13
30 posts
  • Wedding: August 2011

I usually try to not let boards or posts get to me but this one kind of does.  To me its kind of “rude” those of you who are judging others who are having showers.  My Maid/Matron of Honor is throwing me one, im not involved in the planning, just gave her a list of people i would like there and the date i would be available.  Where i live it would actually seem strange if a bride didnt have a bridal shower.  I dont care what so ever about the gifts, although i will be very greatful in what people bring.  For me it is a little party to bring the two sides together and have fun- playing games, telling stories and getting to know each other better. Its also a way for our elders to pass on some advice and share there stories of marriage.  At most of the showers ive been to people bring recipes or cook books and not actually big expensive gifts.  Again to me its not about the gifts.  Ive never been upset about buying gifts for people, it was always an honor to be invited to a shower for me and i was always more than happy to bring a special gift to the bride. Now on the otherhand i do agree it is rude if you are a bride who ONLY cares about the gifts and not the other aspects of the party.

Post # 14
109 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I have hosted and been a guest at what seems like a million bridal showers. I never felt that there was anything awkward or rude about them at all. When it was my turn to be the one being “showered” I definitely felt weird about inviting people to a party where the probably felt obligated to bring me something. However – in my circle it is usually just a great excuse to get everyone together, drink lots of mimosas and catch up. I know my friends were just as happy to be there for me as I have always been to do it for them. It felt much less awkward than I thought it would.

Post # 15
3518 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

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@houstonlawbride: I agree with you–in my circle, showers are a way to have a nice party to celebrate someone.  When my friends found out I was engaged, I had to turn down 3 showers from well-meaning friends, since I knew my Maid/Matron of Honor wanted to have one for me.  I can’t stop the girls at work from throwing one–they’ll throw a shower for every major event!

Post # 16
7294 posts
Busy Beekeeper

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@smitty22: i am definitely with all of you. i wanted and had a shower for the purpose of getting together to hang out, play games, eat food and get excited about my upcoming wedding.  i am away on internship and so had my shower when i went home for the holidays. however, i almost told my sister (MOH) not to do one because i could not bring gifts back with me on a plane, nor did i have space for anything more!  and i knew that people would assume to bring a gift to a shower, but i really could not have them doing that.  finally we came up with the idea to ask people if they want to contribute to one gift that i could pack, which everyone was happy to do and it worked out great!

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