Shower timing

blueberry22January 29, 2011

My dd is getting married next January. She and future sil are both grad students in California- the wedding is here on the East coast.

Future SIL's sister is getting married in NJ in late July and afterward my daughter and her fiance are planning on coming here to finalize all the wedding arrangements. They'll then return to California and don't plan on being back until a week or two before the wedding. (Future SIL has his qualifing exams in October)

Several of my friends and relatives want to give her a shower. The only logical time is the week in August- but I am concerned that having a shower a week after her SIL's wedding would be weird for the groom's side of the family.

The alternative would be to insist she come home at another time- either earlier in the summer or in the fall (when she would have to be by herself). Either way it obviously would ruin any surprise element.

What do you all think.

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First, best wishes on your daughter's engagement!

I would forget about any surprise element. I don't think it adds that much, and it will make your planning much, much harder for a bride across the country. (The last surprise shower I went to or even heard about was about 26 years ago, so it's not like it's expected.)

I think you need to tell her the choices and let her decide. I suppose you could do it without her fiance if his availability is the biggest timing problem. She and her fiance can discuss with someone on his side (his mom seems to be the obvious choice) whether a week after his sister's wedding would seem weird to his family (and their friends). If you know his mom at all, you might consider asking her directly; it might help forge your future relationship with her to plan together.

But I am assuming that you live close enough to his family that it would even be an issue. You told us that his sister's wedding is in NJ and that you are somewhere "on the East coast." If you aren't all that close (geographically), then I don't really see it being an issue anyway. Other than his mom and possibly his grandmothers and sisters, I wouldn't think that your friends and relatives would be inviting his relatives and family friends anyway, so the proximity in time to the other wedding is irrelevant.

Anyway, the bottom line is that you need to ask your daughter what would work best for her. That's the issue with any out of town bride, with or without another wedding in the family.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 5:38PM
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I agree about the surprise aspect. I don't know a single woman who wanted a surprise shower. My mother spoke of her dislike for hers 35 years after the fact.

Around here showers are usually 8-12 weeks before the wedding. I would ask your daughter, but I would lean towards her making a special trip (the groom doesn't need to attend). Are you absolutely sure about the guest list? Because once someone is invited to a shower they must be invited to the wedding. If the shower is 5 months before the wedding that means the guest list for the shower will be made about 6 months before the wedding. If anything changes you are stuck. If anyone from the groom's family will attend this shower then I don't think it should be held so close to the other wedding. Nothing liking upsetting a future MIL and SIL to set things off on a bad note.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 5:57PM
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Thank you for your responses. We are in Boston- groom's parents are in NJ although his grandparents, aunts etc are in New Hampshire and Georgia.

We do know the guest list. Given that it is going to be in January right after the holidays and there will be considerable travel involved we are geting "save the dates" out in March or April so everyone can start to put together plans.

I guess I was old fashioned enough to think that a "surprise" was an essential element!! I hated being surprised for mine (and was TOTALLY inappropriately dressed- another story) so I am glad that is not a requirement.

I don't want to step on anyone's toes. I quess I will have to get DD to come home in the fall.

Thank you

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 10:25AM
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That probably is best. But as you are in Boston, just have it be a low-key, not too large event for local people only, which means the groom's family won't be invited anyway, and you can go ahead and do the week after the other wedding -- assuming your daughter wouldn't actually prefer a second trip east to hanging around for an extra week.

Just ask her -- she may tell you she would like to use that week for wedding planning errands.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 1:55PM
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Ok etiquette question- I did plan on it being a low key affair. There is no bridal party (my son is the Man of Honor, grooms sister the best women) and all of my DD's friends are scattered all over the country so I wasn't going to invite them.

However I did plan on inviting the groom's close relatives and the Groom's mother's closest friends. I figured I would ask her who she thought would be appropriate. Is that wrong? Would it be better to limit it just to our side- and his mom, sister and grandmother?

If it were my son getting married I know my friends and I would make it into a weekend road trip for a shower. However I don't want to impose on people nor do I want to hurt anyone by excluding them.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 6:03PM
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I am from the Boston area as well, and I can say that in this area there is generally one shower (not including work showers, etc.) and both sides of the family are invited. That was partly why I said it should not follow the other wedding so closely, those people (mother of groom, etc.) would generally attend your shower, right after their daughter's wedding. However, where the groom's family is in NJ (and NH and GA?), they may be considering hosting their own shower. Or not, if they are spread far and wide. Other than bridal party, people generally do not fly in for a shower.

I think you should call the mother of the groom and tell her you are trying to set the date for the shower. Be up front, tell her you would like to invite her family as well, but if anyone from the groom's side is planning a shower you don't want to invite people to both (except bridal party and immediate family, they can be invited to both). Regarding what she would like in terms of inviting people, ask her. She may know Aunt Betty in GA would be heartbroken if she wasn't invited (whether she will attend or not), so you invite her. But where you are sending out Save the Date cards, the shower invitation doesn't act as the indicator that someone is being invited to the wedding (meaning, if Aunt Betty didn't get a shower invitation she may think she wasn't being invited to the wedding, but in your case you are sending out Save the Date cards).

The first shower I planned was over 20 years ago. I was the only female attendant and was shocked the mother of the bride had me invite over 70 people to the shower, many were out of state. My mother thought that was gauche, being raised in a family where showers were more intimate (and not having been involved in planning a shower since the 60s). But times have changed. You sort of have to go along with whatever the family expects. Better to avoid offending. Coincidentally, one of the women who attended that shower ended up being the first wife of my now husband (they were married at the time, divorce later had nothing to do with me). Small world!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 7:16PM
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I don't when the idea of huge showers at function halls became the norm. I like the idea of a afternoon party at home for maybe 20 or 30 max. My closest relatives all live in NY or PA so driving there or up from there or from NJ seems normal to me. Half of the grooms aunts live in GA- I wouldn't expect them to come. The other half are in NH and I think they might.

I also like the idea that a shower is a time for the closest women relatives and friends- (very close "aunt like" friends) to meet and get to know one another. I met several of my Husband's relatives for the first time at my shower. Hence a smller, informal time involving both sides.

Thats why I kind of thought the week after the groom's sister's wedding wouldn't work for their side. Never occured to me to just have our side. Thanks for all your input.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 10:45PM
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We had a huge distance for both sides of the two families and college and work friends for our daughter's wedding. She finally was feeling so stressed with all the career demands as well as bridal planning that she kindly turned down the offer of 2 friends to co hostess a shower in our home town. That was a wise decision, and everyone understood. I really had worked over a year to make the wedding planning and wedding weekend as stress free as possible and fun for everyone who would attend, including the bride and groom. (The couple lived and worked 10 hours north of her home town. His family lived across the country. His college chums were from all over, but mostly in the south.) One thing we learned from her experience is that a shower held in a region far from the couple's current homes or future married home means that the family ends up with a huge packing and shipping bill to get all the gifts mailed to the bride. The shipping and mailing costs often exceeded the cost of the gift itself.

It is not always easy to plan wisely and keep everyone happy. I wish you the best. I agree that trends of huge showers or numerous large showers somehow seem to miss the gentility that showers of old seemed to share.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 9:43PM
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