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Family Only Shower Question

Posted by linda25 (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 13, 09 at 12:41

I'm hosting a family bridal shower for my nephew's bride to be. I e-mailed a list of our family members to my sister (nephew's mom), asking her to look it over to see if I had missed anyone. The room I reserved holds 32 people for 4 hours, and I had figured 25 from our side, probably 10 from the Bride's side, and 5-8 won't show. My sister took her list, which was about 8 more people, then added another 15 of the nephew's personal friends and their mothers (he has known these people since he was about 10). So now my sister thinks we are inviting 50 people, about 5 won't show. I'm concerned that the bride's side will be intimidated by the showing of all these women who AREN'T FAMILY MEMBERS, will be confused, and by the end of the shower, won't know who's who, even with name tags. I've gently tried to tell my sister that these people are not family, but she keeps saying that they won't be invited to another shower. I keep saying that's not my problem.....THEY AREN'T FAMILY. I want the bride's family to get to know the grooms family. Not the grooms family and 20 other people! I don't think we'll have enough time, either, and I can't book more. Any advice?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Family Only Shower Question

Just tell her that the room you have booked will only hold 32. You are already pushing it quite a bit to invite 35. Does that number include you or the bride and groom? The room does not hold more. There are not that many chairs. Tell your sister you are sorry for the misunderstanding (you really should have been more clear when you asked for her input), but you simply cannot accomodate more at your party.

Now if you want to be a bit snarky, just tell her that in order to add her extras, all of the original groom's family members will have to be cut from the list. I suspect the mother of the groom is on that list. Na, don't really do that, but sometimes it would feel good to say something like that wouldn't it? As a real option, her added 8 groom family members might be names to switch out with some of the original groom family members.


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

If space or cost or something is really a problem, then I think it is certainly just fine for you to tell your sister that you're sorry, but there can only be 32 (or whatever).
But it sounds like the real issue is not the size of the room, but the vision you had of the party: "I want the bride's family to get to know the grooms family. Not the grooms family and 20 other people!"

I can certainly sympathize with having your idea of your own party thwarted, and not wanting to argue about that. I'm afraid, though, that you may mistakenly feel that you can get what you want by insisting that a "family only" rule is really important -- an argument I think is going to be a non-starter, not the trump card you seem to think:

"I'm concerned that the bride's side will be intimidated by the showing of all these women who AREN'T FAMILY MEMBERS, will be confused, and by the end of the shower, won't know who's who ..."

Well ... so what? The immediate family members on both sides are going to know who is who, and the aunts and cousins really aren't going to care that much anyway, much less be "intimidated." What's the big deal if they don't know who's who, exactly, anyway? I know my sister-in-law's husband's parents and siblings, but although I suppose I met his cousins and aunts at their wedding, in 25 years I've never given them another thought.

You and your sister both have legitimate viewpoints, and you both have important interests. It's her child getting married, so she has the greater interest in who meets whom, and you did ask her to look over the list; but you are the host, and the host does the inviting (and planning and paying).

Your sister evidently feels that some close family friends are just as important for the bride's family to meet as cousins. You aren't going to talk her out of it by warning of the danger of confusion.

So talk to your sister, but not about what is the "right" way to do it -- just work together in good faith to find a happy solution. After all, you offered to do this in the first place as a gift to your sister and her family, right?

Have fun -- I'm sure it's going to be really nice no matter how you figure it out. How nice to have such a big family, all in one town. Lucky you!


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

If you're hosting, you get to decide the specifics of the party. I couldn't tell if 'your sister' was another aunt or the groom's mom and/or if she was sharing in the hosting responsibility. Granted, if it is the mom and you don't have a problem with having a bigger party financially, then I would probably do what she suggests. The families aren't really going ot get to know each other at a shower of of 30 people anyway and some friends really are just as important as family to some. But, again, if you're the only host, then you get to decide. If you are set on just doing relatives and you have all the relatives on your list, then I wouldn't even show your list to anyone for review or add ons.


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

Thank you all for your suggestions. I really appreciate the other points of view. As of this morning, I opened my e-mail to find a note from my sister (the mother of the groom), to the bride and copying me, with the guest list attached-none of this was discussed with me, period. There are 32, but they aren't all family members. I think part of keeping the group small and just with family members stems from my own daughter's wedding and showers, and the large ones absolutely overwhelmed her. By the end, she didn't know who she talked to, who the gifts were from, and what was said by anyone. I wanted it to be memorable for the bride, not just a bunch of women yakking at her. I kind of thought (We have a married son too) that the mother of the groom was just supposed to wear beige and show up. This is a gift to her and to the bride. Now it looks like she's taking it over.


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

You're in a bit of a difficult situation. You want to give a shower, a certain kind of shower. Your sister, MOG, wants you to have a slightly different kind of shower. I've been in a somewhat similar position before so I can really relate.

As Carla says, "If you're hosting, you get to decide the specifics of the party." The trouble with this statment is that a shower isn't just any party. It's really a favor to the bride. And therein lies the dilemma. You want to do the bride a favor by inviting people over to give her gifts. The bride, or in this case, MOG, wants to have additional people invited that don't fit in with your vision of the party.

So, what it comes down to, in crude words, is: do you do the favor you want to do, even though it might not meet the needs of the person you're doing the favor for? Or do you do the favor the recipient really wants?

Like I said, I was in a somewhat similar situation once. Although it took a tiny bit of "getting over it" for me, I ended up doing what was best for the bride, because, after all, the party was for HER. And boy was I glad I did because everything turned out perfectly, and everyone was happy.

The size of the room may be a problem if everyone shows up, but I think the time you've booked will be ample. My advice is to bite the bullet and go ahead and invite all the people your sister wants. In the end, I believe you'll be glad you did.


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

Lowspark, you put that really well. That is what I was TRYING to say. You put your finger right on it by pointing out that "a shower isn't just any party." It's not even "just any party" in honor of someone else. In fact, it's not uncommon -- maybe even typical -- for the honoree to provide the guest list (within the number the host offers to entertain). I don't think it's very different for her mom to do it (maybe the bride asked her to); wearing beige and shutting up is supposed to be the MOG's attitude toward the MOB, not her own sister. If the MOG isn't supposed to call the shots, why the groom's aunt?

I still sympathize: you wanted to give a family party, and I understand that. And if you hadn't asked for input, just received 10 more names in the mail one day, that would be different. But it seems to me that what your sister (and perhaps her son) is asking isn't per se unreasonable, just not what you had envisioned.

In any case, although it is true that the hostess gets to decide the specifics, it won't help to cite that or any other rule.

I agree with lowspark: in the end, you'll be happier if you do what your sister is asking.


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

Who ever sets the rules for what ever type of event he/she is hosting is then supposed to be happier because some one else can't live by the rules? No children at a cocktail party. A dinner party where some one brings THEIR favorite dish when the host has said he/she is providing the food. "Oh, I didn't think you would mind if I brought my gay son and his partner."

And the band plays on and I'm just so happy!!!


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

texasredhead, your point about the host getting to set the rules is valid and appropriate.

But, with all due respect, your gratuitous remark about gays is not.

Please help keep this forum a place where everyone feels welcome and respected.


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

Do you want to have a party for you....or for your nephew and his bride and their family?
If you want to give a party for your own satisfaction, why then do what you please....but if part of that satisfaction includes what the groom's family would like, then suck up and do what your sister has suggested.
The bride will soon come to know the rest of her fiance's family...or not.
Any new couple that I know of has to deal with all the relatives and friends on the other side....if the bride will be confused at a shower by all this, how will she survive the wedding?...and subsequent years?
Linda C


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

Do you want to have a party for you....or for your nephew and his bride and their family?
If you want to give a party for your own satisfaction, why then do what you please....but if part of that satisfaction includes what the groom's family would like, then suck up and do what your sister has suggested.
The bride will soon come to know the rest of her fiance's family...or not.
Any new couple that I know of has to deal with all the relatives and friends on the other side....if the bride will be confused at a shower by all this, how will she survive the wedding?...and subsequent years?
Linda C


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

I only made that example as I have been in a situation where it happened. The son is a lawyer and his partner is a doctor and they have been in a committed relationship for several years. The mother told them they had been invited. They excused themselves and left after the mother's remark.

And we've all been in adults only parties where some one comes in with their 4 year old and says, "I didn't think you would mind if I brought little Cedric along".


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

" I didn't think you'd mind if we brought our puppy along."
" I didn't think you'd mind if I brought a case of my newest book."
"I didn't think you'd mind if I brought some CDs by my son's band."
" I didn't think you'd mind if I brought the tape of my new granddaughter's birth."


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

" I didn't think you'd mind if I brought this casserole. It only has to be warmed in the oven at 200 for 40 minutes, but my hubby won't eat anything with onions"
"we didn't think you'd mind if we came a few minutes early to say Hi since we won't be staying for dinner as we have to go to...."


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

Hello everyone, thank you all for your suggestions. I had called the Bride to ask her about the invitees, and she was shocked to see the names on it. She had given me her list, which I thought was small, only 10 people, but her family isn't huge. She just didn't want to be in some difficulty with her MIL. I promised her I wouldn't tell her MIL we spoke, and left it at that. Within 24 hours, I had a new list from my sister. My sister, the MIL, cut family members so that her friends could attend. I'm still reeling. The MIL lives in Dallas, I live in KC, the bride lives in southern Missouri. My sister hasn't seen these women in 8 years-this is hardly the occasion to renew their friendship, they don't talk on the phone or e-mail one another. And like one of you pointed out-The shower is for the bride.


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

Yeah, you're going to run into problems trying to figure out who exactly you are trying to please. Is it the bride, the groom, his mom, you, your husband, the bride's mom? Come on... you're the host. If people at work throw you a shower, they decide who gets invited (generally work people), if college friends throw one they decide and on and on. You decided to throw a family shower for relatives... aside from adding godmother or something, I really wouldn't let someone talk you into making it something you never agreed or intended it to be. If someone wants a friends of the family shower, then I would bet a friend of the family could throw one.. no?

I don't necessarily agree with your reasoning for not wanting friends there, but if you intended on hosting a family shower and now they're cutting family members to include those friends, I'd probably just go with your original list. You're not going to please everyone. Again, I'm sure mom knows someone that could throw a friend of the family shower if one is needed. This isn't a b-day party. It's a shower - if you have a special group of people you want to host a shower for, you should be able to do that. What next, is mom going to ask you to knock off Aunt Susan and her kids so that that her bunko group buddies can come instead?


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

I have old friends. We were very close years ago, but now we do little more than exchange Christmas cards. If I were to be invited to the wedding of one of their children, I'd be touched. However, if I were to be invited to a wedding shower for one of their children, I'd see it more as a gift grab. If I were to attend, but were to get word that the shower was intended/planned as a way of getting the two families to know each other better, I'd feel like an interloper.


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RE: Family Only Shower Question

Thank you Duckie, I appreciate your point of view, and I appreciate everyone's assistance. You've given me a little more positive reasoning than I had before.


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