|Looking for that perfect bridal shower gift? Every
bride needs a commonsense guide to the etiquette that really
matters. Let Wedding Etiquette Hell: A Bride's
Bible for Avoiding Everlasting Damnation by Jeanne
Hamilton be your guide.
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This is a tacky bridal shower story. One of my college
friends "Jill" was getting married and group of mutual friends
held a kitchen and cooking shower for her. The invitations requested that
we each bring a favorite recipe to share with the bride-to-be. I'm
notorious in our group as a non- cook. I don't even own any pots or pans.
So I decided to collect a bunch of takeout menus from local restaurants
(the bride is in law school so is rather busy) and tied them up with a
cute bow to give along with my present.
At the shower, we opened gifts and oohed and ahhed over
each one and about how good each guest's recipe sounded. When we get to
mine, the bride seemed to be pleased with my "recipes" and every
one got a kick out it -- except for the bride's mother. She loudly said,
"Didn't the invitations say that each guest was to bring a recipe?
Weren't there recipe cards sent out with each one?" The bride ignored
her and opened the gift -- I had selected a nice set of casserole dishes
from her registry. The bride's mother then pointed out that the gift
wasn't as nice as everyone thought as that while the original price was
"x" dollars it was now on sale for "y" dollars.
Later on the bride was in one area of the room chatting
with guests while her mother was helping a hostess clean up. She insisted
that the collection of menus or "that trash" as she called it be
thrown away with the used wrapping paper.
Another tacky thing happened at the shower when a guest,
who had recently got engaged, bragged about how she had registered for a
certain expensive china pattern although the one she really wanted cost
less. Her explanation for this is that she could return the ones she
received for her "real" pattern and have the difference to spend
on other things she wanted. Showers 0830/03
My sister (I'll call her Cindy) was my MOH. Mostly
because she was my sister and my grandmother guilted me into it. She and I
have never had much in common as she is 7 years older than I am. Well, she
offered to throw me a bridal shower so I gave her all the names, addresses
and phone numbers of the people I would want invited. It was a list of
about 25 people of which about 18-20 would probably come since some lived
out of town. Cindy thanked me and I figured it was under control. On the
day of the shower, I arrived at the rec room of Cindy's mobile home park.
It was decorated nicely and there was enough food laid out for over 30
people! I was excited! Well, that died down when only 8 people showed up.
I was gracious to the guests who were kind enough to come and give me
lovely gifts but secretly heartbroken that so many did not come. According
to Cindy, hardly anyone had RSVP'd and she just went ahead and prepared
food for all the invitee's figuring they'd show up. I cried when I got
home. My best friend didn't come even. It was awful. Fast forward to 6
months after the wedding...
I hosted a bridal shower for a friend of mine (who,
coincidentally did not come to mine). We had several mutual friends who
were all there. I started one of those silly party games and mentioned
that I really liked this one and that we had played it at my shower.
Several girls in the room suddenly looked rather hurt. Finally, my best
friend (future sis-in-law of the bride) said "what shower?" Come
to find out, Cindy never invited most of my friends and the ones who got
invitations received them either the day of the party or afterwards. They
were all postmarked the day before my shower! My sister didn't send them
invitations! What made me really angry was that I spent a ton of money
hosting a beautiful shower for Cindy just a couple of months later at a
fancy tea house to coincide with her Victorian wedding theme. And this was
her second wedding! I'd helped with the shower for the first one! Just
This is a story about a bridal shower I recently
attended for Stacy, the bride-to-be. Stacy is the fiancée of a friend of
my husband (who will be a groomsman), and they are having a large wedding
with lots of family and friends. As a result, the shower had many guests
who brought oodles of presents. It was held in the community room of the
church where the wedding will take place. It was the third bridal shower
that I have attended, including my own for my wedding a few months ago. We
sat at long tables, wore nametags, ate some food and then watched the
bride-to-be open her gifts, which took two hours. The only game was a sort
of "Bingo" where we had to cross off the names of the presents
as the bride-to-be opened them. That was the entire shower. We got a piece
of cake as the bride-to-be opened her presents, and they called numbers
for door prizes.
At each guest's seat was a favor that turned out to be a
single white washcloth rolled up and tied with a piece of ribbon. No soap
inside, a bath salts, any mints, no anything. Just a washcloth, and a
rather cheap one at that. I even checked the floor when I unrolled it (I
opened it at home - not at the shower); I really thought something was
rolled up inside! I seriously thought there might have been some mistake.
Please don't think badly of me for mentioning this; I wasn't expecting to
receive anything at this shower except food (and since I'm vegetarian, I
ate beforehand in case there wasn't veggie food for me to eat). Getting a
favor and a door prize -- a dishtowel -- was unexpected. And I understand
that the hostess might not have had the money for a more expensive favor
for each guest. I would rather have gone without one, however, and I
really would have neither cared nor noticed if there had been no favors at
all. Nevertheless, really, a few Hershey’s Kisses would have made for
better -- maybe even cheaper -- favors than a washcloth! It was truly
bizarre more than anything else.
Stacy seemed to have a good time, which certainly was
the most important thing, but I didn't enjoy myself. (I don't blame Stacy;
she was a guest, just as I was.) The worst part was that I chose a seat at
a table with one of the groom's evil relatives. She had a very loud and
droning voice. Even if this shower hadn't been so dull, this relative
would have ruined my enjoyment of it anyway. She went on and on very
loudly about her house out in the country, how stupid some of the shower
presents were (gifts the bride and groom registered for!) and so forth. I
forget most of the things she said, because they were so boring and
insulting, I didn't want to listen. We were seated right up front; I think
Stacy might have heard her! At the end of the shower, I couldn't even hear
Stacy thank all of us for coming because this relative was talking over
it. One of the bridesmaids had to shush her! Awful woman. I mentioned her
to my husband later and he told me that Scott (the groom) hates most of
his family and could care less if they come to the wedding. I'm starting
to wonder how that's going to turn out! Maybe there will be another story
My cousin recently married an ex-roommate of my
boyfriend of nine years (for the record, we had nothing to do with them
getting together). When the wedding date was fast approaching, I noted
that there had been no shower invites sent out to anyone. The day before I
was going to buy a plane ticket for a once-in-a-lifetime out of town
opportunity, my mother got an invitation for a wedding shower that was of
course, the weekend I was planning on being out of town. To keep family
peace (there were two crazy mothers in the picture) I canceled my trip and
planned on going to the shower. I waited, and waited, and never got an
invitation. I figured since my mom had gotten one, mine just got lost in
the mail or looked over. I called to RSVP for the shower, left a message
on an unknown answering machine two weeks before the shower. Two days
before the shower, I was emailing with my sister in law and I said,
"Well, I'll see you Sunday!" She asked what was going on Sunday,
and I then learned that she hadn't gotten an invite either. Some frantic
phone calls later, I learned I had not been invited to this shower (a
month before the wedding, this was the ONLY shower that anyone knew
about). Turns out it was the groom's side throwing the wedding and (as if
a shower with the grooms side isn't uncomfortable enough) they only
invited some of the aunts from the bride's side in the interest of giving
them more opportunities to give gifts. I spent the weekend in tears,
knowing I'd missed a once in a lifetime chance. The invites for the shower
by the bride's family came the following week, a scant two weeks notice.
Oh my God! I love this site and have spent hours reading
and laughing at all the gaffes. Now I have my own to add. Several weeks
ago I was invited to a bachelorette party/lingerie shower for a co-worker
who is a supervisor (although not my supervisor). At one time I worked in
a department next to hers and we talked frequently, still exchanged books
(our reading tastes are similar) and the like.
After receiving the invitation from another co-worker
who was putting on the bachelorette party, I waited to receive my
invitation for the wedding reception. They were planning on having a
small, private wedding and a bigger reception so that they could have
space for more friends. Email updates followed with changes for the
bachelorette party and I even offered to help with some of the cost as the
hostess' husband's job was in peril. Well, guess what? I wasn't invited to
the reception! Everyone else on the email updates got an invitation but
me! I asked the person who was hosting the bachelorette party why I was
invited because it is against etiquette rules to invite people to a
pre-wedding occasion when you have no intention of inviting them to the
wedding. She apologizes profusely saying she had no idea that I wasn't
invited and just "assumed" I had been.
This was three days ago and needless to say I told her I
would NOT be attending the bachelorette party! How insulting!
Word to the brides: if you're having a shower or a
bachelorette party, make sure you only invite those who are "good
enough" to make the final cut for the wedding!
A few years ago, a dear friend of mine, Sheila, was
getting married. We met as children through our moms who were good friends
as well. I was to be a bridesmaid in the wedding. My mom and I offered to
host a bridal shower. My mom is one of the most gracious hostesses ever
and threw a beautiful dinner party in her home complete with crystal,
china, silver, table linens, favors for the guests, hand-decorated
invitations, etc. etc. I helped in all the organization, setup, and
cleanup (I was 22), but my mom financed the entire thing. The guest list
consisted of the bridal party and many of the MOB's friends. The parents
of the bride were lovely, conservative, religious people so the shower
attendees were family members and "church ladies." The night of
the shower everyone arrives dressed nicely and bringing a beautifully
wrapped gift from Sheila's registry. Everyone that is, except one of the
bridesmaids, Sheila's college friend, Gloria. She arrives to a dinner
party in sweats--not Juicy couture velvet sweats, mind you (in case you
wondering)--standard issue grey athletic sweats complete with matching
hooded sweatshirt and dirty tennis shoes. She came bearing an unwrapped
gift (leaving me to believe she picked it up on the way) of a bottle of
cheap champagne and a plastic container of bubble bath (you know, just to
remind Sheila's embarrassed mom and all her church friends exactly what
Sheila would be doing on the wedding night). After the shower was over,
Gloria approached me and told me she was organizing a bachelorette party
in a few weeks complete with a stripper (something I know Sheila would
hate). Cue for me to say sadly: "Oh, I'm so sorry, I already have
plans that evening." Fast forward to the actual wedding day, Gloria
approached me again while I'm dressing for the wedding and says that I owe
her $37.50 for the chips/drinks/stripper from the bachelorette party I
didn't attend and therefore didn't partake of said chips/drinks/stripper.
I paid it to her because a) I was young and dumb and b) didn't want to
make any waves for Sheila. Fortunately for her, this "friend" is
no longer part of her life.
I was 18 years old, fresh out on my own, and getting
married. About 3 weeks AFTER my wedding, a woman at work decided to throw
me a Bridal/Wedding Shower. I thought, well ok, at least she is trying.
The party was supposed to be a Crystal Party and I was to pick out what I
wanted from a catalogue. Well, she gives me the catalogue less than a week
before the shower. Not enough time to look, submit, and get copies to
everyone. (Keep in mind my MIL and I think it's strange that she would
throw a crystal party when we didn't even have towels yet.) Oh well, at
least I was getting a party. I gave her the list of everyone I would like
to attend (she had asked me to get this list together) and she mailed the
invitations. Two days before the Saturday party!!!
The day of the party, my MIL, the "friend"
throwing the party, her friend who actually sold the crystal, and I showed
up. No food, or cake, or even prepared drinks. Oh, and her husband and 4
of his friends who watched football and got slapping drunk. No one else
came! Why didn't they come? Because most of the people didn’t get the
invitation until the Monday AFTER the party. However they did send
presents from the catalogue. Don't think this is bad yet? Well, the lady
"Pat" called me to tell me my share of the cost was $58.00! I
said, what cost? And that was when she informed me that I was responsible
for the shipping costs. WHOA! Now for the MAJOR kicker...I found out later
that for every dollar that was spent on me by everyone, she (the host)
collected .50 towards a purchase. So basically she threw me the party so
she could get what she wanted. I ended up with some new tableware and
dinnerware.... she ended up with $200 credit, and did I mention that her
gift to me was a $10.00 tablecloth from Wal Mart? No kidding, she even
gave the receipt in case I didn't like it. Just want to say thanks to
those of you who tried.
I have a great-aunt who is quite well off. She has given
money hand over fist to her greedy children - not just pocket change here
and there, but gives them their sizeable INHERITANCES before she's even
dead, which a couple of them have had the gall to actually ask for.
(That's another story in and of itself.) Anyway, she buys and sells houses
frequently, owns two homes at a time, drives a new expensive car, etc. So
when my bridal shower rolled around, I hoped that she might give us money
with which to add to our house fund or, if she didn't want to spend a lot
of money, a little something that we had REGISTERED for. But no. I open
her gift to find an ugly serving dish that I hadn't asked for nor did I
need. Not only that, but it appeared to be maybe 15-20 years old and
therefore a regift. And not only THAT, but upon closer inspection, it had
some crud caked on the bottom which I proceeded to scrape off with my
nail. Great, thanks, auntie. I put it in with the glass recycling.
My sister announced that she was getting married, and
she wanted me to be the maid of honor in her wedding. She also asked
another sister, (I'll call her "Sarah") to be her matron of
honor. Well, my sister started planning her wedding, picking flowers,
dresses, arranging for caterers, planning the reception, etc. Since I was
the maid of honor, naturally I volunteered to help in any way I could. She
told me, "Oh, no thanks. Me and my fiancé are going to plan
everything." So I said, "Fine", and I decided to plan a
surprise bridal shower for her instead. Several weeks later, the entire
bridal party went out to dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner, my
sister excused herself, and told all of us that she was going to the
ladies room so that we could have a chance to exchange phone numbers and
plan her bridal shower! When we did not exchange phone numbers while she
was sitting there at the table, she decided to throw her OWN bridal shower
instead. When she later found out that I had, indeed, already planned a
SURPRISE bridal shower for her, she said, "Why didn't you tell
The day before the wedding, the entire bridal party
showed up two hours late for the rehearsal at the church, even though the
minister had another appointment. The minister was also furious because my
sister had not brought the marriage license for him to sign, and the
wedding was scheduled to take place the next day. Being the sister of the
bride and also the maid of honor, I had to explain to the minister why my
sister, along with the rest of the bridal party, was late for the
rehearsal. When they finally arrived, my sister gave the minister an
envelope containing the marriage license, and he agreed to have it signed
in time for the wedding the next day. He was so mad by this time that he
wanted to perform the ceremony and get it over with as quickly as
The day of the wedding, the minister arrived with the
marriage license tucked under his arm. He performed the ceremony,
pronounced my sister and her husband "man and wife", handed my
sister the marriage license, and then looked at my BIL and said,
"She's all yours."
All of the bridesmaids stood there whispering to the
minister, "No! You are supposed to say 'Kiss the bride’!"
Finally, the minister says, "You may now kiss the bride." At the
end of the wedding, we are all standing in the receiving line outside the
church. I am standing next to my sister on the left, and Sarah, the matron
of honor, is standing next to her on the right. As each guest shakes her
hand, my sister introduces Sarah as her sister ("This is my sister,
Sarah"), totally ignoring me. I have to stand there and explain to
each of the guests individually that I am ALSO the bride's sister. Later
that afternoon, each member of the bridal party forms a line outside the
hall where the wedding reception is scheduled to take place. The announcer
introduces Sarah, wearing a light pink dress, as the matron of honor, and
she walks in first, followed by each of the bridesmaids, all wearing dark
pink dresses. I am placed at the very end of the line, behind all of the
bridesmaids. The announcer introduces me as a bridesmaid, even though I am
the maid of honor. As I walk across the floor to the podium, I can hear
guests saying, "She's a bridesmaid?" and trying to figure out
why I was wearing a light pink dress, like the matron of honor was
wearing, instead of a dark pink dress like the rest of the bridesmaids. So
I was seated at the other end of the table, while Sarah, the matron of
honor, was seated next to the bride, my sister, at the other end of the
I ended up leaving the reception early. That was 9 years
ago, and I haven't spoken to my sister since.
When my stepdaughter's Maid of Honor sent out the shower
invitations, she also included most of the "invitees" to the
bachelorette party to be held the same day/night. When I opened and read
my invitation to the shower (given by the MOH?) there was a piece of white
paper with these typed words:
We are planning on a pot luck meal for So-and-so's
shower so we are asking that the mothers and the bridesmaids all bring a
dish to pass. Please call Blah-Blah at 111-1111 and tell her what you plan
to bring. Here's a list of what we want: (Insert list of dishes, salads
and desserts here).
First of all...who is the "We" she speaks of?
The other bridesmaids were not included in the planning. If "We"
are giving this shower, why are the guests expected to do the cooking? The
entire mother's lived 200 miles away, as did one of the bridesmaids. No
aunts or cousins were invited to this shindig, turns out it was only the
mothers and the bridesmaids who were invited anyway...the very same guests
who were told to bring a dish.
This isn't all...in the lower left hand corner of this
invitation, written in red ink was: "Guests are asked to donate
$10.00 each for the limo ride for the bachelorette party." Okay, so
the MOH couldn't afford the shower and now she wants the guests to pay for
the limo, too.... which the MOH got through a friend for next to nothing
(I found this out the night of the party).
Another tactless incident...before the shower, the MOH
called me and told me what the bride-to-be wanted from me for a gift.
Since I could not get it where I lived, the MOH offered to pick it up and
I would pay her when I got to the shower. I agreed. When I got the 200
miles to the shower, there was the gift *I* purchased, which wasn't what
the MOH had told me she would pick up at all. It was something completely
different that the bride-to-be went out and bought that day then handed me
the slip to pay HER back. Then she handed me some wrapping paper and told
me I could go ahead and wrap it. I didn't.
Well, I found this site several years too late!!!
First off my own mom planned my shower. BIG MISTAKE.
My maid of honor tried to help with a guest list etc,
however my mother brought it upon herself to do everything.
First off she felt that I would have 3 showers, talk
about tacky! One from my family, one from friends, and one from in-laws
side of family. Mind you, from my in-laws family there would have been
maybe 10 people at the very most. My In laws family live all over and not
too close by.
My maid of honor tried to tell my mother that
friends/bridesmaids should be invited. Yes BRIDESMAIDS should be
included.. they should plan it!!! My mother’s response, was, "Well
if you guys want to have one.. then go ahead, but not coming to this
shower. (I had no idea any of this was going on) Not only was my shower
planned poorly, but also it was held 2weeks prior to my wedding. !
I even told my bridesmaids, since most of them were
struggling on their own that I didn’t want gifts from them, just be at
my shower, bring a card, and relax and have fun with me.
Day of shower, (like I didn’t know), I acted
surprised. Well surprised I was, to my amazement, my mother didn’t
invite any, none of my bridesmaids, only my maid of honor. None of my
friends, the only in laws that were included were my future mother and
father in law. Although my mother was sure to invite HER FRIENDS. Friends
that have known me for a long time, but they are HER FRIENDS. Mind you
also, I only had 3 bridesmaids. So if they were included, how big of a
difference would that have made? It wasn’t at some fancy shmancy
restaurant, not that I would have wanted that at all, but a house party.
My girlfriends who were not invited, and my bridesmaids
were pissed, decided to throw a last minute get together the week prior to
my wedding, which of course hubby and I actually wanted to spend time
together that night before our wedding a week later and have a special
"last date" as an unmarried couple. However, I figured something
was up, and went along w/the little plan. My friends, hubby to be all met
at a restaurant and took me out to dinner. It was really nice, but hubby
ended up picking up the check because he felt bad that they all felt
"forced" to do something for me because they were my friends.
A while ago all the ladies in our office were invited to
the boss's daughters bridal shower. Most of us knew her quite well, as she
often worked part time at the office to help out her dad.
Attached to our invitations was a list of what she
wanted. She wasn't registered anywhere, but she had no trouble pointing
out exactly what make of appliance she wanted and which designer store she
wanted it from.
The gifts on the list weren't exactly in a reasonable
Anyway, the bridal shower day came round and we all met
in the boardroom with all our gifts. While she was sitting opening gifts,
I noticed that she had 2 boxes behind her chair - some gifts she was
putting into one box and others into the other. We all had a great time
drinking champagne and eating cake and when the party was over I offered
to help her carry her gifts to the car. One box she put into the trunk and
the other onto the back seat. It was then that I noticed that the box on
the back seat had "return" written on it.
A few days later a memo was sent around to all the
ladies who attended the shower stating: "Would all those who attended
Lydia's bridal shower please give their sales receipts for their gifts to
Sharon at reception. Lydia needs to know where it was bought and needs the
sales receipt so she can exchange the gifts she doesn't like.
Talk about an ungrateful, spoiled little princess.