(Closed) Private Paris Ceremony-can I still have bridal shower and "reception"

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
2550 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

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Em013:  I’m a little confused as you put the word “wedding” in quotes, would that not be your actual wedding in Paris?  You mentioned the wedding in Paris will be symbolic, so I guess you won’t be legally married there, will you be having a legal ceremony somewhere else and then a reception later on?

I went to an at-home reception for a friend who was legally married in India, we were all invited to the Indian wedding but most people couldn’t afford or didn’t have the time to travel.  The couple had registered once for both events and I bought a gift off the registry for the reception.  I wouldn’t disseminate details about the registry though, if someone asks you give it, of course that’s the etiquette for registries anyway but I’m seeing a lot of them included in invitations lately…

I have no idea about the shower, I’d feel a little funny because showers are kind of obligatory gift-giving events, a bachelorette party would be fine in my opinion but I don’t know what the etiquette on a shower would be so I’ll defer to the other ladies here 🙂

Post # 4
743 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Why not have a simple reception/get together to which everybody would be invited on the day you are having your legal ceremony? It can be very simple, like a brunch in a local restaurant or grilling in a park. Be very clear about what it is about. I wouldn’t have any parties, especially a gift-giving one like a shower, for an event where people wouldn’t be actually invited to participate in one form or another. 

Post # 5
1692 posts
Bumble bee

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Em013:  I am going to give you the old-fashioned proper answer. You are going to hear a lot of different “wedding-etiquette” answers which have been made up in recent years to give other brides permission to break the rules they want to break, while still making them feel smugly that there are rules they are not breaking. What you need to know is that there is no such thing as “wedding-ettiquette”: just everyday good manners. What legitimately seem to be strange exotic “wedding etiquette” are just the formal end of everyday good manners with a few odd traditions thrown in — and it is perfectly proper to choose to lay tradition aside.<br /><br />So on to your specific questions:

Is it alright for your friend to host a shower for you? This one is a bit complex. It is never formally proper to hold a public event to raise money or goods for a friend. It would be treating the bride like a charity case. So showers have always been a little risque. But “risque” can be fun for releasing a bit of the tension and sharing a bit of the excitement of an impending wedding. The way around the impropriety, is that the shower is as follows:

a) Showers are never instigated by the bride herself nor by anyone related to the bride, nor do they participate in the planning. So this is really up to your friend to do the proper thing and not really something for you to worry about. Some wedding-etiquette websites will tell you that to be “proper” you ought to turn down the offer of a shower if you cannot follow the website’s rules. Turning down an invitation as guest-of-honour is a sharp snub to the hostess and can end friendships, especially if your reason for the snub is that some strangers on the internet wrongly disapprove of your friend’s manners.

b) The hostess should invite only your closest mutual friends: people who, to the hostess’s near certain knowledge, love you enought to actually want to give you gifts to start off your new life. This is the real rule about restricting the guest list, not “only people who are invited to the wedding”. In general, people who love you that much will be invited to the wedding. But if childless old Mrs Schneider your grade-two  Sunday School teacher who has watched you grow up in church, didn’t make the cut for the wedding but still wants to give you half a dozen her mother’s crocheted doilies, how on earth could it be considered more proper to cut her out of the shower as well? There are exceptions to the only-if-invited rule. There are no exceptions to the only-those-who-love-you rule.

c) Since gifts at a shower are mandatory, expensive gifts would really make you look like a charity case and would embarrass you. The proper gifts to be given at a shower are the small expendable items of nominal value that are necessary for setting up a household — potato peelers, tea towels, spices, tack hammer or plumber’s helper — that sort of thing. For that, it helps if you actually have a household to set up. If you are one of the 65% of brides who are already living together with your groom, you need to think about how your life will change in your new role: will you be moving to a new place? Settling into a different routine of meals and cooking or hospitality? Talk about these future plans with your best friends so they can choose appropriate gifts to fill in the blanks. Obviously things like money showers or honeymoon showers do not fit into that category — but a lingerie shower might if …that… is the only thing changing in your life.

Second, do you register for “gifts” for either your shower or your reception? <restrained shudder.> Registering for “gifts”, or any other discussion of “gifts” is materialistic and entitled. Registries — household registries, china-and-silver registries, and so on — are perfectly proper. I have one myself despite never having been married. A lady who aspires to run a gracious hospitable household needs to equip that household with certain heirloom-quality goods. No-one can acquire those things all at once. During the twentieth century it was normal for girls in the middle class to “register their patterns” in their early teens or late pre-teens; choosing china, silver and crystal under the guidance of some older female relative, and then slowly fill their dower chest with place-settings and 800-thread linen sheets over the birthdays and Christmasses  between that ritual-of-passing and the setting up of their own household.<br /><br />So by all means register. Register for yourself: as a way of planning and organizing how to equip the kind of household you wish to run for the next fifty or sixty years. Register for the high-quality items that do not need to be replaced: that will outlast your marriage and be passed down to the next generation. And then over the next fifty or sixty years keep that registry active by buying a mug or a salt-and-pepper set off it every six months or so until you have acquired your full household equipage.

If you find yourself asking “but how will my guests know about my registry” go shake your head and  examine your value system for materialism. It’s your guests’ business to figure out what gift to give you, if they choose to give you a gift at all. There is no connection between invitations to a party — even a party that is being called a “reception” — and gift-giving. People will give you wedding gifts because they are happy for you, whether they are invited to your wedding or not; and people who don’t want to give you gifts are perfectly entitled not to. But your mother will know where your registry is, and there is a long tradition of wedding guests asking the bride’s mother for information of that sort. And nowadays Google and the internet perform backup to the bride’s mother on that subject. Guests who want to find your registry will find it on their own.

Post # 6
7564 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Since you’re not willing to allow your friends to watch either of your wedding ceremonies, I think it would be in exceptionally poor taste to allow them to throw you a shower. You’re basically saying “none of you are close enough to me that you’re invited to see me get married, but you’re close enough to me that you can throw me a gift-centric party.” And that’s just not cool. As for a reception, you can certainly host a celebration honoring your marriage, so long as you make it clear that you are already married at that point. there are tons of example wording on this site. Do not include registry information in your invites (again, you’re not giving your guests a choice in witnessing the actual wedding so it’s rude to hit them up for a gift). If someone inquires, though, it’s fine to tell them where you’ve registered.

Post # 7
11376 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

I thnk it’s sweet and excellent manners that you don’t want to exlcude your FIs parents due to their money constraints, so you’d rather not invite people so as not to leave them out. obviously you have the foundation of good manners down, and that is to care about other peoples feelings. 

Personally I would not be offended by the shower and reception; having separate invites to different sections of a wedding aren’t a no no in many cultures. But I did like the PPs suggestion of having the legal marriage and reception on same day, though I can see there are logistical problems with that. It just seems like it might soothe some hurt family feelings.

Whatever you choose, Paris will be a gorgeous place for your ceremony ( and honeymoon?!).

Post # 8
3665 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2000

yay, an Aspasia answer! Always interesting, thank you.

Post # 9
2853 posts
Sugar bee

The shower thing sounds rreeealllllyyyyy gift grabby.  Please re think it.

Post # 10
1430 posts
Bumble bee

I think that since you are having a reception to celebrate your elopement, and someone offered to throw you the shower that it would be fine. I would register because people generally like to have an idea of what the bride wants, otherwise you may end up with a lot of nice gesture gifts (which is great!) but might be things that you don’t need. 

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 2 months ago by  .
Post # 11
5362 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2016

UGH, I LOATHE THESE THREADS. The comments never fail to piss me off. <br />

First, remember that it’s your wedding and it really doesn’t matter what a bunch of crazy women from the interweb say. They are not the ones that will be attending your shindig. 

Second, I think your friend can throw you a shower and you can register. The people who will want to give you gifts regardless, will more than likely want to get you something that you will want. 

I’m going to the court house to make it legal and more than likely nobody will be there to watch us. Then a couple of months later we are going to Bora Bora for our “weddingmoon.” We are going to get married on a day that is sentimental to us and that is what we are going to consider our wedding. Again, no one will be there with us. Then a couple of weeks later we are going to have our reception. You can bet your sweet ass that I am going to have a shower (even a registry, GASP) and a bachelorette party. My bestfriend is busting at the seams already trying to plan stuff. 

We have our reasons for doing things the way we are and EVERYONE around us understands and says it’s the best thing for us. I think no matter what, the people that love and care for you will be there regardless. Like I said, do what makes YOU happy and forget about these people on here and their opinions. 


Post # 12
30 posts
  • Wedding: December 2014

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ksn1219:  +1000

I agree with you. People shoud do what they want. The “rules” are annoying. 

Post # 13
1987 posts
Buzzing bee

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Em013:  Since you asked this on the Etiquette board, I presume you are interested in an etiquette-based answer.  In that case, I recommend that you listen carefully to Aspasia and not some other contributors on this thread.

Your loved ones will lie to you and tell you that they are OK with things that they actually think are very rude, whether to preserve family peace or for other reasons, but that does not mean that they will not judge you for gift-grabby things silently, or, even worse, behind your back.

I have cousins that I do not associate closely with to this day because of their rude and greedy behavior.  They have no idea that I judged their events to be greedy because to have told them so would have possibly damaged my mother’s relationship with her sister, which was something that I was unwilling to do.  Better that my cousins just think I’m a very busy person…

Post # 14
2563 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Genuine question, if you can’t legally get married in Paris, what is the point?  What is wrong with a ceremony and reception at home (in which case showers and registries would not be in poor taste) and a Paris honeymoon?

Post # 15
3277 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I thought china and other housewares were considered gifts…

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