Appropriate for bridal shower at the mother of the bride's house?

bryce5February 13, 2007

Please tell me if it is proper etiquette to have the bridal shower at the mother of the bride's house? I was asked if the bridal shower could be held at our house because our home is large enough to accomodate the number of invitees. Also, I was told that in addition to the bridesmaids, that some of the fiance's aunts would help in making and bringing food. I had never heard of asking guests to also bring food. Have times changed so that these procedures are okay? I appreciate your feelings about this. Thank you.

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No...not proper etiquette at all. But I suppose you could ease your sensibilities by not really having anything to do with it, having the invitations issued by someone else as a hostess...but I still have a little trouble with that.
As you never host a shower for a sister, or a child. That makes it seem like you are asking for gifts for your own family.
As for guests bringing food?...Well I suppose if cousin Ellen who is Maid of Honor hosts a shower at her mother's house...who is Aunt Barbara and Barbara asks for help from her sisters and sister in law that could be seen as "asking guests to bring food"...but I see it more as a sister helping a sister with a party.
But no, you being hostess for your daughter's shower is a social faux pas.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 10:04AM
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Lindac, I was asked by the maid of honor who will be doing all the work if she could host the bridal shower for my daughter at my home. I was taken aback because I, too, knew that you do not host a shower for your own child and wondered if times have changed. And even though I won't be doing the work, it would still be at my house - so it seems as though it is asking for a gift. This is a dilemma as, according to my daughter, no one has a home that could adequately accomodate the guest list, which I do not know what that number may be. The shower wouldn't be until August, so maybe another idea might surface.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 11:12PM
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I don't think there is anything wrong with them holding the shower at your home. The invitation will be sent from the bridal party, not you. How would the guests know who prepared the food, a caterer, or someone else, what does it matter? If you feel comfortable with it, it is fine.
I know diff areas of the country have diff customs, but where I am from it is fine. I have been to many showers held in beautiful homes of the bride's mother, the Bridal party, were the hostesses!
Hope it all goes well, such an exciting time for you!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 12:46PM
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Sometimes you just have to close your eyes to what you know is correct....and allow what has to be done...but I would also be looking for other venues between now and then. I also would let the MOH know that you feel uncomfortable about it.
No, times have not changed, but somepeople do not know what is good manners.
Sometimes the people hosting a party should just face what the possibilities are and not look for a "beautiful home" for the party.
A friend of mine was expection her 1 st grand child. She asked neighbors to host a shower, then she asked another very casual friend, who had never even met the girl expectiog the baby, had not been invited to the wedding, to have it at her house. She agreed, being the nice person she is. Decorated, bought flowers, color co-ordinated this and that, made tiny little decorated cakes etc....and the mother of the baby to be never even sent a thank you.
The thing is, the other hostesses had perfectly nice homes, but not the 4,000 squarefoot show place the other woman has.
Sometimes you should just use what you have and not "borrow" something to host a party.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 2:10PM
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I agree that it really doesn't look nice to host a shower for an immediate relative. I suppose I could sort of see it if the shower were being given by all the brides' and/or grooms' attendants, and their siblings are among them.

I do agree that it is a bit different in your situation; you're not the "official" hostess. But I see Lindac's point that if there is another large enough venue, that might be preferable. Really, so much depends upon who is invited, how many, etc. I like smaller showers, myself, so by the time a guest list outgrows a home, maybe it's time to consider cutting it down a bit; how many people are so close that they really want to buy more than one gift for the same wedding?

I don't see any problem with the aunts contributing food. It may be that they offered, because it is their pleasure to bake or something, or perhaps it is the custom in their family. Maybe you'd like to do the same. In any case, even if it does seem strange to you, I would be very careful to refrain from commenting about it, lest you be seen as criticizing or judging your daughter's new in-laws.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 3:10PM
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I think that a pot-luck bridal shower would be strange, but it is certainly likely that the aunts offered their assistance, or were even planning to host the shower when they found out one was already in the works. I'd let that part slide, I suppose.

As to the party at your house, that would make me uncomfortable. Because it does sort of look like you are hosting (read: soliciting gifts). And at that point, you probably would end up with the work of hosting (cleaning before and after, possibly handling food or decor or whatnot) without actually being the host (I may be petty, but personally, if I scrub the toilets and polish the silver, I want credit for being the host darn it).

Can you beg off somehow? Out of town guests? Husband's poker game? Home renovations?

Surely there is another possible venue. Do they attend a church with a social hall that can be rented? Is there a restaurant they could go to? Are any of them members of a women's club or other organization with a nice facility? Do any of their communities have a club house they could reserve?

I wouldn't want to put your daughter in a bad position, but I'd try to dodge this if you could.

All of that being said, if you don't see a way out, or you do choose to have it in your home, I don't think that is as big a deal for others any more. My grandmother drilled the no showers for immediate family rule into my head, so I wouldn't be comfortable doing it. But I was just invited to a shower being held at the bride's house (the hosts live out of town) - ultimately, I understood the logistics behind it and was relieved that I knew where her house was and didn't have to try and navigate an unknown subdivision.

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    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 4:51PM
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I am wondering how you feel about going to a bridal shower for a girl who has been living with the boy for a year? I know you said etiq hasn't changed, buy I have rec'd many such invitations. In fact, it seems more the norm these days! It seems strange that even though they have furnished their abode a shower is held. Personally, I feel that is more a breach of etiq., and these are so called educated and prof people, than MOB's house being used for a shower. Just wondering how you handle those invitations???
As for it being a small shower, if you have a large family, that can be difficult. Just incl immed family ,first cousins, and aunts add up to near 40 in my family!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 5:08PM
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Very poor taste for someone to have a shower for someone who already has a "feathered nest"...I would politely decline. A celebratory party can be given for a bride and groom without it being a gift solicitation.
Seems people do amazing things sometimes...a few years back I went to a combined high school graduation and baby shower. She wasn't married, didn't get married and the baby's father left the state for greener pastures.
And a few years before that I was invited to a shower and sent a menu from the restraunt, asked to send in my choice of meal and the cost for my meal, plus a stated amount of money for the bride's meal and for a group gift. I sent my check for the group gift and my portion of the bride's meal and regretted the rest. And this invitation was sent by a "hostess". I went to another wedding where the bride's 62 year old aunt was a bride's maid ( she was a maid..never married) and the aunt sashayed down the aisle in a pouffy bridsmaid dress and cross trainers!
Just because people do it doesn't make it "nice"...notice I am remembering all the awful times and not the many lovely parties and beautiful weddings..

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 12:17AM
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Oh, linda, I LOVE the idea of having a beloved older aunt as a bridesmaid. I remember Miss Manners once responding to a "gentle reader" whose granddaughter asked her to be an attendant; she said that not only would it be a lovely wedding, but probably also a terrific marriage, too, judging from the values evidenced by a bride who values relationship over youth and beauty. I always prefer wedding parties chosen without regard to age, sex, and number over those that look like they held auditions or something.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 10:35PM
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The idea was lovely...but she should have found something more age appropriate for Aunt Gert to wear...and guided her in the choice of shoes. There was lots of head turning as she entered, lots of"Who IS that?"...instead of appearing to be a beloved dignified older women she looked foolish in her ballet length teenager dress and cross trainer shoes.
I feel the same way about a wedding where the bride has chosen a dress without regard to how it will look on her attendants. I have seen very large girls in the most awful dresses for them.
My DIL's sister did something I think was lovely. She told her attendants.."Wear a dress that looks good on you. It must be black, appropriate for a wedding and no sparkles..that's for me to wear." And it was girl was 8 1/2 months pregnant, another very short...they all looked good and felt good about what theywere wearing.
And every one (but for the pregnant one, maybe) wore their dress again.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 11:58AM
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I think that this is fine. Of course I had a bridal shower at my mom's house and my best friend had one at her mom's house.
They were both surprises. All our friends had to travel in from different area's so all our relatives and friends were able to come for the party and stay at the house. This was great, figuring my grandmother was older and could not move around easily. Also my relatives already KNEW where the house was so they did not have to worry about getting lost.

My bestfriend (in the bridal party) and I met at my mother's to have a fun weekend out. We live in different states and my mom is the half way point of both our trips. While we went shopping my family and friends arrived at my mother's house while my sister helped decorate. When we arrived back at the house my entire family was there and it was a wonderful surprise. I was especially happy to see my grandmother as I never expected her to be able to come!

Where I live, this is common practice. Now, usually shower's are also surprises too, so I find it wierd that people help plan their OWN showers. That is wierd. Anyways, I would not worry and do what is best for you. If you don't feel comfortable then state that.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 12:07PM
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I hosted a bridal shower in my home for my SIL. SIL to be purchased a home with my brother prior to the marriage (yes she was living there with my brother). To make it even stickier, they were going to Las Vegas to be married. DD, DM and created an invitation that was very clever, and worded so that every recipient would know that there was no invitation to follow for the wedding, making it clear to all invited that they were going to be eloping. I had them printed and they were perfectly clear. All recipients had the option of not attending, but all invited attended.

I have been to so many showers for family and friends, acquaintances, collegues, given gifts despite the circumstances. There was no harm in inviting family and and friends to celebrate my SIL's pending nuptual. Not perfect etiquette, but isn't the point of the shower to celebrate the upcoming marriage, and gifts to the bride to be for the marital home. I think etiquette is important, but I feel more strongly that making the bride/mom to be feel special is more important to me.

I also hosted my SIL's baby shower at her mother, my MIL's home. I did all the food, the invitations, decorating. MIL only provided the venue. It was the most convenient for all, and large enough to accommodate the number of guests invited.

I hate showers given at a restaurant. I feel they are very impersonal. I like to do the food myself (or at least control the catering), and a home shower allows a much more relaxed atmosphere for all.

In today's society, I think it is more the norm than not that the bride and groom are living together before a marriage. Obviously they would have some things in their apartment/home. The shower gift is usually something a bit more special. Something that the bride to be may need. I think you would be hard pressed to find perfect circumstances as a benchmark for giving a shower.

I would rather see my friends and family for a happy occasion as opposed to only at a funerals.

Lastly, if anyone felt the way the above posters feel regarding the particulars of where the shower is held, and/or whether the bride and groom to be already have a "nest", and declined the invitation, I really wouldn't want you there. No negative thoughts or energy needed! I would only want positive thoughts and good wishes.

I want to celebrate more than I want to be judgmental of other's situations. I want to celebrate my family and friend's big events despite the circumstances. At times life isn't perfect.

Just my $.02

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 5:30PM
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I don't think the issue was so much the couple's circumstances as the location of the shower (see the subject header).

I think it's fine to have a shower for a couple who are eloping -- I'd rather be invited to that than to a shower for someone having a huge wedding to which I am not invited. For the same reason, I might feel a little funny about a shower for a couple having a destination wedding, too, unless there were some sort of circumstances other than their preferring to a glamorous location over the presence of guests. It would sort of feel like I'm not close enough to be included in the wedding, but I am close enough to be asked to buy a shower gift. It kind of depends, though -- I probably wouldn't feel that way about, say, a lunchtime shower given for a co-worker to whose wedding I'm not invited, because I wouldn't have expected to be invited to that wedding anyway.

I certainly don't see anything wrong with a shower for couples have been living together, although I do agree with Lindac that a different kind of party might be preferable for a couple with an "already feathered nest," the same as with a second marriage. If I were invited to a shower for such a couple, I might choose gifts differently, figuring they had already set up their home the way they want it, but then I would also choose different gifts for couples who have been living on their own in separate apartments and therefore already have not only some stuff, but doubles of most.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 9:35AM
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And then the wedding and shower etc for the 2nd and 3rd marriage.
I have not been invited to too many 2nd marriages, but enough!
Remembering one "wedding" complete with showers etc where the bride ran away a week before the wedding and cancelled the whole thing. Then 2 years later, got engaged again and repeated the process...but this time the marriage "took".
She should have returned the shower gifts the first time or declined another shower.
In the community where I live and the social group I belong to, there are often several showers for a bride. Each including a separate group of friends. One for work friends, one given by friends of your parents, one by church daughter even had one given by her grandmother's friends. Sometimes it's hard not to overlap. But also in the line-up is almost always a big evening couples party...big, 60 to 80 people with each contributing a nominal $$ $5 to maybe $8 and the hosts buying something their crystal, a silver tea set, a place setting of china ..or 2 depending on the cost.
Well one couople who cancelled the wedding at the last minute went to the not inconsiderable trouble of returning $4.50 to each couple for their share. It was the right thing to do!
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 12:28PM
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Las Vegas is hardly a destination wedding. Destination weddings entail having attendants and bridesmaids, etc., also, usually some guests (at least the parents). Las Vegas is for elopements. My invitations were very clear that the guests were not going to be joining the couple as they eloped. The guests invited were close family and friends who would have been invited to a wedding celebration had there been one.

I still disagree with the venue. If the MOB has a nice home and large enough to accomodate everyone AND the invitation is coming from the MOH, I don't understand the problem. The address is the only thing that points to MOB. Doesn't mean she is hosting, just that her house is where the shower is being held. As I previously posted, I find showers held at restaurants and country clubs very impersonal. I guess it is just a matter of what feel you want your party to have. Let's be honest, a shower no matter where it is held is for gifts to be given, what's the difference if the shower is held at the MOB's home? I don't think it looks as if she is trolling for gifts.

I think you also missed the point of my post. Rather than picking apart people's circumstances, why not enjoy and celebrate the great things in their lives?

In my community and in my social circle, I have never heard of people at a couple's party contributing $4.50 toward a gift. That would be viewed as tacky in our social circle. Perhaps it is a regional thing. Why in the world wouldn't the guests each bring their own gift? Is this at an engagement party or a couples' shower? I can see a workplace contribution gift, but other than that type of gift, contributing to a gift to be given on behalf of all attendees seems odd. Do the guests also bring their own gift in addition to the group gift?

2nd and 3rd marriages are like 2nd babies. There should be no shower, unless the second baby is born years later when the first child's things would have been long gone. Some people do have a late in life baby (surprise) and their families shower them with things for the blessed event.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 2:52PM
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Nope....the guests don't bring another gift....actually it's more of a dinner party with the added fun of everyone contributing a small amount to a gift for the couple.
And a very inexpensive way to fete the wedding couple. When did you ever hear of a shower gift that cost that little?
There is no long period of opening a lot of gifts, the "cost" per couple is very small, it's more about the party than the gift...but when you ask $5 of 30 couples you can have a very significant gift.
Pretty much it's a pre-nup with a little gift.
There is someone else I know who routinely gives a "money tree" shower. Every guests brings a $10, or $20 bill and it's tied onto a tree and presented to the that's tacky!
But it's all an excuse for a party.
A bride in certain circles can have 5 or 6 pre-nup parties....some showers, some just parties honoring the couple. Hectic and lots of fun.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 7:44PM
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going off on a tangent here -- but I hate the term "couples shower"!

I think the idea is to convey that it is for both men and women. So if you have to add any adjective at all, why not call it "coed" instead? "Couples" can unintentionally make single guests feel like outsiders, or perhaps make them wonder if they are supposed to find a date. Worse, some people might wonder if there is some sort of X-rated theme to the event!

But why does there need to be any adjective at all? If you were sending any other kind of invitation, you wouldn't feel like you had to call it a "couples dinner party" or a "couples barbecue." If for some reason it needs to be clarified, the very fact that a guy (or a couple, for that matter) has gotten the invitation makes it perfectly clear that men are included.

I think most people would say that since showers used to be just for women, you need to say something to avoid confusion. But there really isn't any confusion, when you think about it: if a guy got an invitation, he knows he's included. I think that the real reason is an unconscious sexism: we feel that a man might find it demeaning to participate in a shower (but a treat for women). So we call it a "couples shower," which is actually pretty meaningless (unless single people aren't invited). In the worst case, I think it is supposed to signal -- and this is really just my imagination running away with me here -- "Don't worry; we won't be opening gifts at this 'shower.'" I really hate that, because then it just looks like a gift grab ("It's really just a party, but we called it a 'shower' so you would buy us another gift"). But maybe the idea is to signal that there won't be any silly games? That's a little better, but there certainly aren't always games at showers (I can't remember the last time I saw it), and anyway, that gets us right back to good-enough-for-women-but-downright-insulting-to men.

Wow, what a screed! I bet you can tell I have real baggage here, both past and future (can you have future baggage?). I was once roped into being a co-host -- really, a committee member -- for a "couples shower" for a couple, at which, the bossy "chair" let us all know, of course they would not be opening gifts, but we had to call it a "shower" anyway "so that people will know they are supposed to bring gifts." (Note that this was not some impoverished pair who would really need help getting started; they are extremely wealthy, in fact -- more so than any of the hosts, for that matter.) Fortunately, someone (not me! I will be grateful to that woman forever) talked her out of that, and the invitation just said "engagement party." I'm sure that anyone who felt like getting them an extra gift did so without being told to do so.

And now I am co-hosting (this time just three families, thank goodness) another party/shower, and I am worried about the same things. I don't care one bit if it's a shower or a party or whatever, coed or just women. But I don't want to invite people to a "shower" at which the bride/couple don't even open the gifts. And if it is a shower, I hope my co-hosts won't insist on calling it a "couples" shower! I'm also a little concerned that there could be a suggestion to include registry info. I would feel really embarrassed to do that. Any suggestions on how to handle this tactfully? I don't want my friends to think I'm criticizing them if they suggest any of this stuff.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 11:50PM
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I know people have showers for their families members when maybe ettiquette ditates they shouldn't, but they may feel comfortable about doing it, you don't.

I admit that I would find in odd and, yes, even somewhat crass if I were invited to a shower at the home of the mother even if the invitation listed other people as hosts. If it's your house, you become a host. I could see you helping "pay" for a party without anyone knowing, but having the shower at your house is too much.

They should try to find a restaurant...or what about renting a pavilion in a park, planning a outing to a winery or other place. If you have to help pitch in for the costs under the table then so be it. But, don't have it at your house especially since you yourself are not comfortable with it. If someone is ok with it, that's their decision, but you're not, so don't be talked into it. You have enough responsiblilty as mother of the bride, you don't need to take on the those of the bridesmaids too.

Reagarding the food, since it's not your party, it's really not your call, but you may want to go over proper party procedures with your daughter (who may want to pass those on to her friends). Maybe people have offered? It sounds like these girls are young and poor and may not know any better.

Have they/you considered multiple smaller showers? The bridesmaids throw one for the girlfriends. One of your friends throw one for your relatives and friends and another family friend on his side have one for his relatives. If they are looking at having one big shower with all the friends, relatives, co-workers, etc. it may just get too big for them to handle by themselves.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 3:00PM
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In one of these responses the writer states that it is inappropriate for the sister of the bride to host a shower. I have also read that it is the responsibility of the maid of honor to plan a shower. What is they are one and the same?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 5:51PM
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Which it often is! It was in my case and my dil's too!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 7:34PM
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Zita, it is not the "responsibility" of the maid of honor to plan a shower. It is not ANYONE's "responsibility." You're right; the MOH is very often a sister (or these days, a brother!), so you have the immediate family issue. Also, often a MOH lives far away and can't really host (or maybe even attend) a shower, or perhaps she is a young teenage cousin who couldn't really do it.

But even where neither of the above applies, ignore whatever source you read that says it's anyone's "responsibility." Giving a shower is a lovely and generous -- and completely voluntary -- gesture, no matter who does it. Declaring it a "duty" of attendants is just plain bullying.

BTW, the store where I got my wedding dress was called Zita.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:31PM
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tell you what...i'd much rather attend a home shower hosted by a relative, then the fiasco at a hall, dil had...

it was too big, wrong set of guests, (her softball buddies and their pitcher of alcohol) with my 5 dgd's, dil's older grandparents, and my family...

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 7:49PM
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I have a similar situation. Bride is my daughter. MOH is my other daughter who will be living with me at the time of showers. (Bride lives out of town, as does her Matron of Honor (a friend) and bridesmaid) So the question, if my daughter, the Maid of Honor, wants to host a bridal shower, with the other 2 wedding party members, at my home since it's people near us that will be invited (primarily family) is that appropriate?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 6:12PM
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Yes....because as MOB you are not "throwing a shower" but as the Lady of the House where the MOH will be committed to dusting and polishing the silver!

Gellcom....2 years after the original post...LOL! It's called a "couples shower" not because everyone invited is a "couple" but because the nuptual couple will be feted. It's a shower for the couple not only inviting couples!
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 7:38PM
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Oh! That does make sense, lindac -- but then why is it a "coupleS shower," not a "couple shower"?

Futuremob, I think I disagree with lindac (a rare occurrence). The bride's sister, even though she is the MOH, is too close a relative to give a shower. I suppose that it wouldn't seem strange if all the attendants (or some group, like all the in-town ones) gave a shower and she was one of the co-hosts.

But ALSO having it in your home -- even though you aren't technically the host ... well, I'm sorry, but it would feel a little funny to me if I were a guest.

Maybe not so much in this case, though, because you say that almost all the guests are also family members. If this is how your family does it, go ahead.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 12:27AM
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My future DILs sister will be her maid of honor and she still lives at home, the remainder of the wedding party either live out of town, or in small homes, so the shower will be at her parents home. I see no problem with it. And although I have not been asked to bring anything, I certainly will offer to help. In todays economic times - everyone helping just makes it easier.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 1:53PM
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Perhaps the difference between "couple shower" and "couples shower" is a matter of the ear.....they sound very much the same.....actually it's a lot more difficult to say "couples shower" the error was likely mine.
And also men are invited....both men who are part of a "couple" and single men friends....with or without a date.
Anyhow I think it's a lovely custom....the party given fro my daughter at a friends house on a lovely summer evening, featured jugs of wine set in ice filled copper boilers around the yard and the deck, and similar onef filled with beer. Dinner was a chicken casserole...probably a salad and rolls....don't remember dessert but if I know the friends who gave the shower, probably wedding cake.
There were about 80 people invited and each couple was asked to contribute a small amount and the hostesses bought a lovely Wallace silver coffee service. tray coffee pot, tea pot, cream and sugar. It sits on my daughter's buffet server and is used for Christmas Easter, Birthdays and other occasions I am sure.
I don't know how the custom got started but it's been the custom among my circle of friends. I have given several, one time it was a back yard hamburger cook out and the gift was a very nice grill, another time it was a fancy cocktail buffet for 80 people ( my house was bursting!) and the gift was the bride's china...not all of it but a couple of place settings of Lenox, another time we did a garden party with oven fried chicken potato salad, beans slaw and strawberry shortcake and the gift was a piece of antique oak furniture.
All the parties were given by 2 ior 3 couples and we did all the cooking. We had lots of fun!
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 7:56PM
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I've been checking back and reading the replies to this thread for quite a while. I know what strict etiquette dictates many restrictions and rules on proper behavior in society but I believe practical considerations and common sense can be added to the mix without the shower edging into the "tacky" meter. What is the reason for having a bridal shower? Isn't it gather friends and relatives together to celebrate the upcoming wedding. I do believe that a mother of prospective bride giving the shower sounds tacky but don't see why it can't be at her house if no other suitable house is available. Renting a hall as an alternative seems so impersonal and unnecessary.

I believe many so-called rules of etiquette are overly pretentious and impractical.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 4:39PM
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