Post # 1
Hello ladies! I came here a month or so ago for help and everyone was so helpful, I thought I’d do it again. I’m a bit behind on wedding etiquette and I have a question about my daughters bridal shower. Her bridesmaids are throwing it and I’m minimally involved, but still helping out. We have the location booked, menu picked. Just, out of nowhere my daughter changed her mind about a registry. Some time between her bridesmaids asking her 2 months ago if she wants a shower and then booking everything last weekend, she changed her mind. “We have everything we need. We’d feel bad asking for more”. I was always under the impression that the point of a shower is to “shower” the bride with gifts. I suggested maybe we keep the location but change it to a bridal luncheon or tea, and she said no, she still wants the “shower”.
Yesterday she came to me and said she figured out how she can still have a shower. She said she wants the money people would have spent on gifts to go towards charity. She already got everything set up with 3 charities. I was going to let it go and not inquire any furtheruntil I talked to my daughter in law. I showed her the charities that my daughter had picked and my DIL very honestly said, “I’m just going to get her a gift. 2 of these charities are Christian based and well, I don’t believe in God and the other one is flooded in controversy. I’d feel better if my money went toward something I trust”.
I wasn’t offended at all by what she said, I appreciated the honesty more than anything but it got me thinking, what if everyone felt that way. I guess my question is, what is the etiquette around asking for charaitable donations in place of gifts? Is it tacky? If my daughter’s mind is set, I can’t change it, not am I trying to, but I at least want her to be aware of how it might come off to guests if it is tacky. Also, for brides who did do this, did people still get gifts anyway if they opted out of the donation?
Post # 2
I will start by saying I am in the UK and don’t get Bridal Showers anyway (like do you have to give a gift at that AND the wedding?)
But personally I don’t mind charity donations instead of wedding gifts. We asked for donations to 2 charities that we had connections to, we are going to a wedding at the weekend, where they have asked for donations to a small cancer charity.
I don’t even mind if it is a charity that I wouldn’t normally support as it is something the couple wants. Quite often on gift lists the couple will have items that I think are plain Fugly but it is what they want so I buy it. This is the same (IMO) it might not be what I would spend my money on, but as I had already earmarked that money for a gift for them it can be spent on what they want.
Post # 3
I don’t think it’s appropriate. Charitable donations are a personal thing.
Why don’t you suggest instead a themed shower? Fun ideas could be:
- “Stock the bar” — guests bring a bottle of wine or cocktail glasses etc
- “Stock the pantry” — guests bring fancy spices, nice olive oil, vino cotto…
- “Oh the places we’ll go” — bring a travel book for a destination for future adventures
- Invite guests to being recipe cards of their favourite recipes
The options are endless!
Post # 4
Personally, I think bridal showers are tacky, but that’s probably because they’re almost unheard of in Germany.
The donations however, that is not tacky at all even though I’d probably feel uncomfortable donating to an organization I don’t approve of.
Actually we’ll be doing this for our upcoming wedding: we’ve picked three charities (local animal shelter, local charity that helps homeless people, local children’s hospital) and will ask our friends to make donations. We’ll be putting large jars at the reception and people can either put money in those or make a bank transfer. We’re making an exception for our parents – my mother has offered to pay for our honeymoon and his parents will pay for our wedding rings. For us one main reason is that we’re financially fairly well off whereas a lot of our friends aren’t. This means we really do have everything we want and can easily pay for our wedding, which will be very laid-back and cheap anyway. Also, we’d prefer if our friends didn’t feel they had to put money into envelopes for us or buy specific things whose price we know. This way, they can donate as much or as little as they can or want to without us knowing any details.
I have had some feedback on this: a former pupil got in touch to congratulate me on the engagement and she asked for my addess because she wanted to send a present – when she heard about our plans, she immediately donated to the animal shelter because she really loved the idea.
I am relatively sure our friends will like the idea, too. We’re a group that is quite involved in charity work and politics anyway and none of the organisations have strong religious or political leanings. I can imagine that some friends might still want to give us something small or handmade but it matters to us that nobody will feel pressured to spend a lot of money.
Post # 5
I’d probably not be thrilled about donating to a charity I didn’t believe in or one that I researched and saw was shady with how they allocate money (keeping a huge chunk for overhead and giving a tiny amount to the actual cause, etc). I think the thought is nice, but like a PP said charities are a personal thing. I’m torn with this one.
Post # 6
I feel the same way as your DIL. Just as I am delighted to gift someone I appreciate on a special occasion, I resent an imposition regarding what charities should receive my donation. That is a very personal choice. If your daughter is feeling particularly generous, I would suggest she donate all the money she receives as wedding gifts to the charities she chose. Now, that would be truly generous.
Post # 7
I don’t know you or your family, but for the sake of the situation I’m gonna phrase it like this:
Say your family are staunch liberals and you went to a shower where the bride was requesting donations to two places: The Trump Foundation and the NRA. Would you feel comfortable donating to those for the sake of the bride?
Or even say the bride wanted donations to be made out to Planned Parenthood and you’re extremely pro life. Would you feel comfortable donating to that for the sake of the bride?
Situations like these could put people in uncomfortable positions. While it’s great to be charitable, forcing people to donate, especially to causes they don’t support, isn’t how charity really works.
Post # 8
I think its nice that your daughter prefers that donations go to a charity. i have attended many a shower for couples that had FAR more than I ever did, and I know that the donation would have made a much larger difference to someone in NEED rather than my friends who already accumulated a bunch of ‘stuff’.
what about this? I understand that not everyone would want to donate to the specific charities that your daughter has selected….. but what about identifying those charities specifically and adding ‘or to a charity of your choice’ at the end of the invitation? so somehting like:
‘…. in lieu of gifts, the couple request that donations be made to local charities A, B, and C, or a charity of your choice.’
Post # 9
I do agree it’s a good idea to choose charities that don’t show a lot of political or religious bias. I mean, who seriously has a problem with dogs and cats being fed at a shelter or homeless people having a safe place to sleep or sick children getting treatment. That’s why we picked the charities mentioned earlier.
So I’d say either do that or offer the option suggested by SmartCookie1.
Post # 10
I wouldn’t donate for a bridal shower. Thats so weird to me. Have a fund raiser if you want but don’t do this charade where you pretend you’re well off enough to not need gifts but are having the shower just the same. She should take the money for the shower and donate it instead of expecting everyone else to do so.
I personally only donate to my local animal shelter since I know from volunteering there that they use every dime for the care of homeless pets. Too many “charities” with sketchy records nowadays.
I would probably pass on the shower all together if the gifts weren’t meant for the bride tbh. I go to plenty of networking events for work with a similar donation vibe. Don’t need another.
Post # 11
I also would not donate because someone asked me to in lieu of buying a gift. I would find a shower without a physical gift to be very strange and would probably still buy a gift or just decline to go. Your DIL also pointed out that she didn’t pick neutral charities (or as neutral as you can get) and some of the guests may find her choices off-putting.
I donate on my own to charities I believe to good work, and don’t need a bridal “shower” to tell me otherwise.
Stand your ground on the bridal luncheon (no gifts at all, no soliticitations for charitable giving), or step back on the shower on the grounds that most of your guests will probably find it very, very strange.
Post # 12
I’m US based where it’s customary to have a shower and I think that a charitable donation sounds like her heqart was in the right place I just don’t find it appropriate to ask people to donate to something they don’t feel strongly about. To give a gift to a couple you love and want to celebrate is completely different than giving your money to a charity. I rarely donate to anything that isn’t something I care wholeheartedly about (i.e. animals, cancer funding, people I know in need) so I don’t think she would see much of a turnout to those charities especially if they are connected to religion and controversy.
I would explain to your daughter that, though she means well, she should rethink this. A honeymoon fund is something I would donate to, or on Zola you can register for experiences with your husband. Just some thoughts.
Post # 13
when I mentioned the leanings of the charities she suggested, her response seemed to be “it shouldn’t matter if they’re Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, a good cause is a good cause.” Her causes are homelessness and cancer, but Christian based. I think she is saying it shouldn’t matter what way they lean, homelessness is homelessness and cancer is cancer.
Post # 14
Your DIL is 100% right. A shower is for gifts. If your daughter doesn’t want gifts, she shouldn’t have a shower. You don’t properly dictate to people how they spend their money or direct them to your own causes, controversial at that.
Post # 15
I would donate and wouldn’t find it tacky. However, I also wouldn’t donate if the choice was The Trump Foundation or the NRA! I like SmartCookie1’s idea to add a line saying ‘or to the charity of your choice’.