Author Topic: Showers are a place to meet new people?  (Read 2698 times)

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mj

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Showers are a place to meet new people?
« on: January 02, 2013, 02:53:55 PM »
As background, I married into a different culture and did not have experience prior with baby showers or bridal showers.  My husbands family wanted to throw me a bridal shower and I relented to keep family harmony.  I put my foot down though on inviting people I didn't know and DH did not keep in touch with either, despite being told this way my way of getting to know them.  It seemed off to me in that this was a gifting event and I was essentially asking strangers for gifts had I allowed these people to be invited.

Since then I've been invited to showers of people that I don't really know and have been told the same thing -- by going, I will get the chance to get to know them. 

I haven't seen much written about this, so I'm curious EHell...is this mentality that showers are a place to meet new people a common and accepted concept?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 02:58:22 PM »
OK - I was thinking you were talking about actual showers like at a gym or something.   ::) at myself.

If the shower is for family only, I can see inviting far flung relatives that you haven't met or that DH doesn't socialize with much but if the shower is for friends, too?  I think it would be weird to have people there that you don't know and DH doesn't keep in touch with.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 03:00:19 PM »
Yes... but its like not meeting random people.  Its meeting aunts and cousins and old family friends, etc.  I met my [step] mother in law at my bridal shower, as well as my SIL - who was one of my bridesmaids!  My DH's father & stepmom, along with SIL, live 4 states away - if I hadn't wanted to have anyone I hadn't met before I would not have met my own bridesmaid before my wedding.  I have also been invited to showers of people I don't know, like a bride where i was friends with to related to the groom.

Because showers are smaller then a wedding but less intimate then a hospital room after giving birth, they actually are an ideal time & place to meet people.

bloo

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 03:05:29 PM »
I appreciate your viewpoint, WillyNilly, and will strive to view them the same way. I get invitations to showers of people I don't or barely know (friends of close friends - which are my family, in a sense) and I have the same sense of...unease(?) that mj has about them. 

Judah

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 03:08:19 PM »
They are in my family. There's often not an opportunity to meet extended family early on in a relationship and an intimate party like a bridal shower is the perfect time.
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camlan

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2013, 03:18:09 PM »
Let's say it's a bridal shower being thrown by the mother of the groom. She's probably seeing this as both a shower and a way to introduce the bride to her family and friends, especially if the bride lives some distance from the groom's family.

So I'd expect the guest list to include relatives of the groom that the bride might not have met yet. And a few very close friends of the MOG--those friends that the new bride could expect to meet at her in-laws' house on holidays and special occasions, but not every member of the MOG's bowling league and every neighbor on the street.

It's a chance for the bride to meet those people who are important to the groom's family--relatives and close friends--before the wedding.

So yes, I think that a shower can be used to introduce the bride to people she hasn't met yet. But they should be a selected group of people, not the entire guest list of the wedding. There should be a reasonable chance that the bride will encounter them again, when visiting whoever is hosting the shower.

I've been to showers for where I knew the groom, say one of my male cousins, but not the bride. This was my chance to meet the bride before the wedding. I did not feel as if it was a gift grab--I'd be giving the Happy Couple a wedding gift, and I always was invited to the showers for my female cousins, so why not for the bride of a male cousin?

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2013, 03:18:51 PM »
I think it depends on the shower. I have been to two showers. One had over 80 people. I knew the mom to be but didn't have any opportunity to talk to her because of the sheer amount of people. The other had 12 people - and we all knew each other. I could see in the second being able to meet new people that way, but that wouldn't be my preference.

cattlekid

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2013, 03:29:01 PM »
I see the point that they are trying to make but at the same time, I don't. 

It is common in DH's family culture to invite all of the female guests for the wedding to the bridal shower.  This translates in to bridal showers that have upwards of 200 guests.  So I have literally gone to showers where I see the bride for 30 seconds at the door when I arrive and from then on, it's just socializing with the other guests.  And even that is at a minimum because there is usually a language barrier.  But I go, because it's expected and I can at least show that I am trying to blend in. 

As the GOH, it's the same situation.  I hardly got to talk to anyone at my shower other than when they arrived.  The rest of the time was lunch and gift opening. 

In our situation, we took our wedding photo proofs around to all of DH's closest relatives and that was a good way to really get time to meet people.  It took a lot of time to get the orders and deliver the prints, but it was a really nice way to meet people in a quieter setting.

camlan

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2013, 03:55:37 PM »
I have to admit I have never heard of a 200 guest shower. Or even an 80 guest shower. When I responded up-thread, I was thinking of the typical 20-30 guest shower in my family.

And I consider that large. But it's necessary, as I have 5 aunts and 19 girl cousins. In that setting, it is possible to sit and chat with everyone for at least a few minutes.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2013, 05:05:58 PM »
In my experience it is perfectly normal for a guest to attend the shower for a bride they do not know or know well.  It could be a cousin of the groom the bride hasn't met, the lady who lived next door to the groom while he was growing up and is now thrilled to meet his bride-elect, or even a recent friend of the bride's mom who the bride hasn't met the bride because she has been living in another state.

My newphew is marrying a lovely girl, Lisa.  A shower is being hosted by my sister's friends in a town 6 hours away where my newphew grew up.  This shower isn't "for Lisa".  It is a bridal shower, but it is really to honor my newphew more so and for woman who are friends with my sister to get a chance to meet her new daughter in law and for many of my newphew's old HS friends to meet her.  Being a "traditional" format, the shower will be all women for the first two hours or so and then my newphew will arrive and visit with the guests for a while.  His Dad, his brothers, my husband, and the hostesses husbands and maybe even a few of the guests husbands will also drop by for a brief period toward the end of the shower. 

And in my background, there were always 3 showers, 1)hosted by the BM's and primarily the brides friends, 2) hosted by friends of the bride's mom 3) hosted by friends or family of the groom.  Most showers were held at a home so were under 15 guests.  There is a 4th style that became popular when I was married 20 years ago and it was the couple's shower that was co-ed and often replaced the BM shower.

But if you did not grow up with this culture, I can certainly understand why it would seem very uncomfortable to be the GOH at a party where you open gifts from people you do not know. 

MrsCrazyPete

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2013, 06:19:33 PM »
I can see both sides of this. If, for example, a male relative of mine was getting married, I'd want to attend that bridal shower, whether I had met the bride or not. She would be joining our family and I would see her again. I would happily attend.

However, last year a woman in our church was having her first baby. The church ladies threw her a shower, and sent me an invitation. My best friend, who also attends that church, was invited as well. I didn't plan on going, since I had never met this woman before. My best friend was ECSTATIC to be invited, as she viewed it as a way to get to know this person. To me, it feels like a gift grab. If I hadn't met her before she was pregnant, I didn't need to buy her a baby gift to get to know her.
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lisastitch

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2013, 07:41:53 PM »
If the invited guests are family or close family friends, it's one thing.
 
Two very close friends threw a bridal shower for my DIL-to-be, inviting primarily a group of friends who have known one another for years.  My DIL had not met them, and my son doesn't keep up with them because they are DH's and my friends, but they have watched him grow up, as I have watched their children grow up.  Our friends had heard about DS's and DILTB's meeting, their courtship, and their engagement, and most of these friends traveled to attend the wedding. 
I was delighted to attend showers for the sons and future DIL's of these friends.

When I was getting married, I wouldn't have understood how much fun it can be to attend a shower for someone I've watched grow up, and get at least a little acquaintance with the person who is marrying into my friend's family.

On the other hand, getting an invitation for somebody random, whom I don't really know, does feel like a gift grab. 

kherbert05

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2013, 09:05:03 PM »
In my family they are a way of introducing the bride to extended family.  (I know and am friends with 3rd and 4th cousins  - so we are talking large extended family) Cousin Edward might not go have tea regularly with Great-Aunt Shirely, but she still wants to welcome his new bride. A shower or bridal tea is way to do this - in part because the bride is going to be to busy during the wedding to get to know people.

 
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TootsNYC

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 10:03:04 PM »
I can see both sides of this. If, for example, a male relative of mine was getting married, I'd want to attend that bridal shower, whether I had met the bride or not. She would be joining our family and I would see her again. I would happily attend.

However, last year a woman in our church was having her first baby. The church ladies threw her a shower, and sent me an invitation. My best friend, who also attends that church, was invited as well. I didn't plan on going, since I had never met this woman before. My best friend was ECSTATIC to be invited, as she viewed it as a way to get to know this person. To me, it feels like a gift grab. If I hadn't met her before she was pregnant, I didn't need to buy her a baby gift to get to know her.

In both these situations, I think the invites were fine--to me, the idea that these people won't be *new* very long is core to the invite.

So meeting people in the extended family (or extended "kith"--*close* friends) is what I think showers are for. To meet aunts, cousins, etc., on both sides / the other side of the family.

And at a church, where I did hope or expect to become closer to an expectant mother or a bride-to-be, I would probably be happy to be invited. And I would regard it as a way to get to know her better, or at least to send the message that I would *like* to get to know her better.

But if that social circle gets too big, then no, I don't think that's what they're for.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Showers are a place to meet new people?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2013, 12:36:55 AM »
I've seen the "shower as invitation" mostly when the guest of honor is relatively new to town and doesn't know a lot of people.  In those cases, the host is throwing them a shower as a way to introduce them to the host's circle of friends.  (I remember my mom doing baby showers twice, both for wives of my dad's then-new business partners, as a way to welcome them to town.)