How Do I Keep People From Throwing Me Bridal Showers?

Leave YOUR advice for the bride in the comments. [Via Flickr user Ceng Design]

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

I am getting married soon, and this is completely a ridiculous problem, but I am being inundated with offers to throw pre-wedding parties and events. People want to give me bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and pre-wedding family get togethers. I’m very grateful of course, but I am not really interested in being the center of attention and I don’t really have time to attend all these different events. How can I turn them down politely and without hurting anyone’s feelings?

Sincerely,

Low key bride

Official Etiquette:

Strangely, Miss Manners has tons of advice for guests who want to get out of attending (and bringing gifts!) to a never ending string of pre-wedding parties, but she hasn’t covered advice for brides who don’t want to go to their own parties. Therefore, the default answer is to just be gracious and go, you monster! We kid of course, but this is sort of the problem with the trend of greedy brides- people just can’t fathom the idea that someone wouldn’t want to have a bridal shower or bachelorette party.

Our Take:

Jaya: Oof, this is really a problem! I was dealing with this a little myself, and I’m someone who gets burnt out on social interactions pretty easily, and gets anxious about being “on” and such. I know I’m lucky that so many people want to celebrate, but it can be overwhelming when you just want to throw one party and everyone insists on half a dozen parties to ring in that party!

Victoria: So how are you handling it?

Jaya: Trying to graciously turn things down, in a “oh you really don’t have to do that” way, with mixed results. Like, if I say to my friends “you know what, i’m just not feeling a shower” that’s fine. But there’s more of a scolding tone of “they’re just trying to be nice” when an adult does it. Haha, “adult.” I’m 27. But you know what I mean. What should I be doing?

Victoria: Yeah, that’s such a touchy situation, I don’t really know how you would handle that tactfully and without offending anyone.

Jaya:  Victoria you’re the one who gives me answers!!!! What am I supposed to do, try to politely communicate by myself?

Victoria: I mean, I think it’s less of an etiquette thing and more a family relations thing. I think etiquette strongly encourages going along with it unless theres a particularly good reason not to.

Jaya: Ahhh, and “I’m overwhelmed and want people to stop fussing over me” isn’t particularly good?

Victoria: Haha there’s the rub. You have to decide which hills you want to die on, and in a wedding, there are a whoooole lot of hills.

Jaya: And, like with many other words thrown around at weddings, a bride is often “selfish” when she doesn’t live up to what others expect she should be. I think it’s also hard because often times, at least for me, these requests are coming from people who don’t communicate with each other. People from my side want to throw things, people from his side want to throw things, and it all adds up.

Victoria:  Yeah, exactly. Although, multiple showers are fairly traditional for exactly that reason. But ugh also, showers, traditionally, should really only be for your closest friends and relatives.

Jaya: And I guess, if your goal is toning down pre-wedding events, multiple showers, however compromised, is not really a great end game.

Victoria: But then you also don’t want to end up with a shower with 50 guests. After thinking about this some more, the advice I would give is to just gushingly thank people for offering and then be like, “but really I am just so overwhelmed with the wedding and my regular life, I couldn’t possibly.” And then if you need to pull out the big ammo and say “there are so many people wanting to host parties, I couldn’t possibly attend them all, so I would prefer to not show preference to any of them.”

Jaya: That’s perfect. I mean, it’s the truth too, but somehow I always think that would sound ungrateful like “wahhh too many people want to throw parties for me and it’s giving me anxiety.”

Victoria: Hahah yeah. I mean, if you have some attendants or at least a maid of honor—someone is at least nominally in charge of coordinating all that stuff and can be the bad guy. So that’s an option for people who have attendants.

Jaya: And showers can be so intense and huge events these days, it’s bananas.

Victoria: Why don’t people understand anymore that showers are supposed to be small with tiny little gifts like wooden spoons? They would be so much less objectionable that way, for both brides and guests.

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7 thoughts on “How Do I Keep People From Throwing Me Bridal Showers?

  1. I didn’t have a shower and I was a no-fuss bride. I felt like people flying down to NOLA for my wedding was gift enough, and we were moving, so what did we need more “stuff” for? I think attendees would be grateful to have fewer showers to have to go to. We’re all on budgets, and it can get very greedy-seeming and reflect poorly on the bride if everyone gets roped into multiple showers.

    • See I have this problem too, I don’t want to have a bridal shower at all because I already have to throw out half my stuff when I move into my fiance’s house. We are both adults with fully stocked kitchens and he like his stuff more than I like mine. So the last thing I want is to have to throw out more stuff. But when I turned down a shower by saying that I really don’t need or want anymore stuff people acted offended that I thought a shower was just about stuff. What do I do to not seem materialistic and not get any stuff that I’ll just have to give to good will?

  2. I had two sets of people who REALLY wanted to throw me a shower (grandma on mom’s side and aunts on dad’s side). Because my family all lives in MN and I live in OK, I wasn’t super keen on having two because a) the guest list was going to be very similar for both, b) I didn’t want people to think I expected them to get me two presents, c) most of my guests were already traveling to NOLA for my wedding so I didn’t want them to spend MORE money, and d) it was tough for me to find two weekends to travel to MN.
    I tried to combine them into one but, unfortunately, that wasn’t an option because we couldn’t find a common date between the 3 hosts. So, for those who would be invited to both, I asked my MOH to include an insert with the first invite. It basically said that two sets of people would be throwing me a shower and since I get to MN so infrequently, what I wanted most was to see my friends and family. It then requested that if anyone was planning to attend both showers, they only bring a gift to one. Obviously, a bit more tactful than that, but the message was that I was grateful for all the love, but requested a toning down of the presents. I ended up with a couple of family members who got me a present for each, but I know my friends appreciated my acknowledgement of potential budget constraints. It ended up working really nicely to get to see most people twice, without feeling like a greedy bride!

  3. Pingback: Showers, Bachelor/ette Parties, and Rehearsal Dinners, oh my! | Uncommon Courtesy

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