I am best friends with a woman we will call Susie. Susie is expecting her second child in a couple of months. She already has a son and she is expecting a daughter. I was talking with a mutual friend, “Emma,” about the coming joyful event, and Emma suggested we plan a party for Susie and the coming daughter. My initial reaction was “No” because I am not big on showers as it is and certainly frown upon the idea of a second shower. Emma, though, says that it would be nice have a small, intimate group of Susie’s closest friends. I was not thinking of it as a “shower” – just a party to celebrate friend – but I realized later I was clearly in the minority.
Now, I know what you are thinking because I have been reading this site for 2 years and I always thought the same thing. So, I should have known better. But, of course, I agreed. I thought it would be a really small party, no registries or anything like that.
A few issues arose at first and, while annoying, I moved past them. For instance, when we asked Susie’s husband for a list of people to invite to the “small, intimate” event, we got a list of 45 women. I also got a registry list that I discreetly put aside in the event someone asked for it. Susie’s husband also happened to mention the party to a couple women, one of whom emailed me her address for invitations. Unfortunately, she was not one of the 45 who made it to the list of 10 (almost entirely family). So, I had the unpleasant task of telling her there was a misunderstanding and she was not invited.
Emma and I had trouble finding a location near Susie’s house for the party. We decided to ask Susie’s MIL if she would be willing to open up her home for the party. We made it clear that we would take care of all the details – we were just looking for a location. I had checked local sites but for a 10am event most restaurants were closed and there were not many options. MIL happily agreed. This was my second faux pas.
So, Emma and I very excitedly start planning the event. I sent out invitations and asked MIL if it would be okay if I came at 9am on the day of the event to decorate – I never received a response. A few days later, MIL sent an email saying she forgot to invite a couple of cousins. (?) I was distracted by life so I did not see the subtle shift. We were fine for a couple additional invites, so we agreed.
Then, she sent an email to Emma and I explaining what she was going to serve and that she was getting decorations, paper products, favors, and anything else necessary for the party. She asked whether she should order the cake or whether Susie’s mom would like to make it. I emailed her back and thanked her for her generosity but explained that Emma and I were planning the entire event and taking care of all food, decorations, etc. I have extensive experience in party-planning so I like to take a unique approach to decorations, usually centered around a theme (Emma and I had agreed I would do decorations). I also mentioned that since it was a 10am shower, we were going to have breakfast foods (MIL had planned cold cuts).
MIL wrote back and explained that she wanted to decorate the night before and she was going out to shop for supplies. She also asked whether people would want to eat when they came to the shower and thought, instead, we’d eat after opening present and shower games (?! Of course, we did not intend to have games). Thus, lunch was appropriate. (Side note: I’ve been to several showers where the hostesses did not allow guests to eat immediately and it has always been a pet peeve of mine – most guests arrive ready to eat.) She otherwise expressed all the same points she made in the original email in which she explained her plan for the event.
At this point, I really did not want to compete with her for the event so I told her that it sounded like she had everything under control and that it made sense for me to step down as co-host. (Does a party of 7 guests need 3 hostesses?) She responded that she was sorry for offending me and that she would not interfere but just take care of favors and decorations (and return the paper products she had purchased). Honestly, I had spent all the energy I had intended to invest in the event. I wrote back and thanked her but said that we had different ideas about the event and she was clearly excited about her idea. I just did not want to fight with her for control — not one of the battles in life I cared enough about to fight.
Lesson learned: NEVER ask someone if she will allow you to use her house if you are not willing to make her a co-host and NEVER EVER go against your instinct to not throw a party. 0429-10