Author Topic: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.  (Read 6900 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

LadyL

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2848
Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« on: January 28, 2013, 01:09:43 PM »
LordL and I are getting married in the fall and we had agreed that we weren't interested in having a bridal shower or bachelor/bachelorette parties. We personally feel that the wedding itself is celebration enough of our upcoming marriage and we would like to minimize the cost and hassle for our guests by not having so many gift giving occasions.

Unfortunately LordL got a call from his mother last night to tell him that she is already planning our wedding shower to coincide with the annual family reunion in the summer. She was going to keep it a surprise from both of us but then realized she needed to get the addresses of our friends, so she opted to tell him but asked him to not tell me (he told her he couldn't promise that). She has apparently already started telling people about the shower.

There are many things that bother us about this situation. For one, if we were having a shower it would be customary for the bridal party to plan it, and she never checked A. whether we even wanted one or B. if someone else was already planning it. She did not consider that neither of us, but me in particular, are the type that enjoy this sort of surprise. I also realized that I am not comfortable with us being the center of attention at an event that is usually a family reunion - it feels like hijacking the event and I find that sort of attention awkward, not to mention the pressure on guests to bring gifts. We also think it would be a total train wreck to have his family and our friends at the same, small event - for example, he has some relatives who are vocally homophobic and two members of our bridal party are a same sex couple. There are a half dozen other things of that nature that would make it a walking on eggshells situation for our friends and stressful for us as well.

We also agreed that we need to draw a boundary about MIL making ANY plans that involve us without running it by us first. I recently posted about her inviting her own guests to the wedding without asking us first. She keeps asking about how she can help with the wedding and we'd agreed that she and FIL could host the rehearsal dinner, but I think she wants a bigger role than that and this is her way of creating a role for herself. We really need to draw a firm boundary NOW because I think she is just going to escalate as time goes on.

So LordL needs a tidy phrase he can repeat over and over that won't involve JADEing to her. Something that doesn't validate her actions, which I feel like we'd be doing by saying something like "We appreciate the sentiment, but..." Maybe "We've decided that we'd rather not have a shower. <insert her protests> We do not want a shower. I know you already invited Aunt Edna but we do not want a shower and any plans involving us need to be run by us beforehand."

Is that the right degree of directness or do you think it could be softened somehow without diluting the point?

gramma dishes

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8044
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 01:20:17 PM »
Sorry, I don't have any ready answers.  But I do want to tell you that I understand exactly how you feel. 

If it were just the combining of the 'shower' with the family reunion, I think that could be handled by basically saying that you feel it would detract from the real purpose of the reunion and might be off putting to family members to have to bring gifts to an event which normally does not call for them.  You could remind them that all of those people will be invited to your wedding and that those choosing to give gifts will do so then and you'd hate to have them feel they were being doubled-up on for gifts.

Or if the reunion is truly a WHOLE big gigantic affair where everyone even remotely related shows up, you might point out that a few of those people aren't even currently on your guest list and that it would seem rude on your part to accept a shower gift from people who were not going to be invited to the big event.

I'm of the opinion that your friends should not attend the family reunion/shower at all.  They aren't family so don't belong at a party billed as a "family" event.  If they want to give you a shower, they will have their own.  (They may also be more willing to respect your wishes not to have showers or versions of bachelor parties, etc.)

But maybe your very best bet would be just to stop this whole shebang in its tracks by reiterating TOGETHER that neither of you really are comfortable with the idea of a shower, definitely don't want one, and would STRONGLY prefer that the whole idea be dropped entirely.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21375
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 01:30:30 PM »
I do think you can have a family shower that is family only.  I also think that there is nothing that says the BP is the one to throw the shower - I've been to plenty hosted by people who are not BP so I think that assumption is faulty.  I also don't really see how this would truly be a surprise since you already know about it.

That being said, you are free to say you don't want a shower.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6358
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 01:33:50 PM »
I think a nice simple response from LordL is all that is needed.

"Mom, LadyL and I had already discussed wedding showers and agreed that we do not want one.  Though we really appreciate the offer we won't be able to accept."

If she argues with a "buy why" a "because we don't want one".
If she argues with a "but the family wants to give you one" a "that's nice but we don't want one."
If you think she'll plan to have a "suprise family only" one at the reunion then he needs to tell her "Don't plan to suprise us with one during the family reunion. It will not go well."

doodlemor

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2169
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 01:40:00 PM »
Sorry, I don't have any ready answers.  But I do want to tell you that I understand exactly how you feel. 

Or if the reunion is truly a WHOLE big gigantic affair where everyone even remotely related shows up, you might point out that a few of those people aren't even currently on your guest list and that it would seem rude on your part to accept a shower gift from people who were not going to be invited to the big event.

I'm of the opinion that your friends should not attend the family reunion/shower at all.  They aren't family so don't belong at a party billed as a "family" event.  If they want to give you a shower, they will have their own.  (They may also be more willing to respect your wishes not to have showers or versions of bachelor parties, etc.]

I'd be tempted to take the coward's way out and not attend the family reunion this year.  Haven't there been problems with it in the past, or am I thinking of another poster?  Even if MIL is stopped from the horrible shower idea, she is still likely to want to talk about your wedding.  If there are going to be people present who aren't invited this would be very uncomfortable.

Keep your boundaries set OP, and don't give in to any of the "wedding industrial complex"  items that you don't want to do.  My mother pretty much made us do what she wanted for our wedding, and I really regret to this day that I went along with it.

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4049
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 01:43:03 PM »
Since this is a pattern and not an isolated event, I don't think he should aim for softening his response.  There are many ways to be direct, but polite.  I ask because sometimes it's easier to set the boundary in writing, and then enforce it in conversation.

I agree with everything gramma dishes said related to the shower, but he may want to think about sending an email about the bigger boundary issue.  If it's about them making plans without consulting you first, then he needs to tell them it's creating awkwardness and stress that would be easily avoided if they would just remember you're like all couples planning a wedding - you want things done YOUR way.

Also, I can't remember if you're paying, but if you are, another angle is to remind them that they're among the most important of guests at this event, but the operative word is guests.  And it's never ok for guests to commandeer someone else's event (as in inviting people without checking first). 

But this is more general boundary ideas.  On the shower, I'd declineand use gramma's approach.


VltGrantham

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 488
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 01:55:41 PM »
Quote
Since this is a pattern and not an isolated event, I don't think he should aim for softening his response.  There are many ways to be direct, but polite.  I ask because sometimes it's easier to set the boundary in writing, and then enforce it in conversation.

ITA -- since this is a pattern, the time for nipping this in the bud is now and I agree with the others that I might be tempted to skip the family reunion this year.  You can always cite wedding expenses as a reason why you could not do the trip.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2013, 02:09:49 PM »
I think you should just straight out tell her "no thank you, but we do not want a shower, and we will not attend one that is organized for us."

I also think it would be a good idea to really impress this, and your FMIL's pushiness, upon your close friends and wedding party.  Because it would be super awkward and horrible for your friends & family to be invited and show up at the family reunion-shower only to have you and DH make a stand against the shower and not attend. If you get all 'your' folks on board with your wishes they can help keep you informed, and help you enforce boundaries by following your lead.

Minmom3

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2412
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 02:50:10 PM »
My grandmother threw my 'family' wedding shower.  I knew very few people there, and I got some odd things (other than what actual family members gave me), and most of the attendees were Grandma's ancient friends.  But they were SO pleased to be able to give me something it was really touching.  I think my future SIL spent the most, and some of those gifts from the old ladies were pretty feeble hand made efforts.  I think for some of them, possibly all of them, taking part in the ritual of giving for a young (28...) woman starting her married life was really important. They all brought some food (some wonderful, some *really* odd), they all brought a small present, and a decent evening was had by all.  They might have been old, but they could still contribute to the ritual.  It was almost handing on the baton, or a symbol of ongoing life, in a way that didn't occur to me for years after.  It was awkward but sweet.  I think the only time I was actually the sole focus of attention was when I was opening gifts, and then I was busy and didn't have to make talk.

I also had a work shower, after hours at the bank I worked at.  I got lingerie....  That was a much racier party, but in fact wasn't racy at all, because I'm not, and we were at work, or on the premises, AT the BANK.  So, not racy.  But quippier, and more fun, but not as sweet to me.

If you DO decided to do it, just keep it family only, if you think that contact between your friends and DH's family would be more awkward than you would be comfortable with.
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

*new*mommyagain36

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 258
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2013, 03:23:54 PM »
^ I don't want to derail or threadjack but man, I would love to know what the *really* odd foods were!  ;D
"Oh people can come up with statistics to prove anything.  14% of people know that" - Homer Simpson

Luci

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5994
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2013, 03:51:39 PM »
Quote
Since this is a pattern and not an isolated event, I don't think he should aim for softening his response.  There are many ways to be direct, but polite.  I ask because sometimes it's easier to set the boundary in writing, and then enforce it in conversation.

ITA -- since this is a pattern, the time for nipping this in the bud is now and I agree with the others that I might be tempted to skip the family reunion this year.  You can always cite wedding expenses as a reason why you could not do the trip.

She going to do it anyway if you say NO and then attend. I would let it be known as soon as the reunion is being planned that you can not be there - no reasons!

It is really awkward the she wants to invite your friends, too.

kitchcat

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 318
    • Flickr
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2013, 07:07:28 PM »
I think the easiest thing to do would to not go to the family reunion she intends to hijack. They can't shower you guys if you don't attend!  >:D

If she asks why you're not going, beandip.
Quote from: magician5
Quote from: Kinseyanne
In the bag was two cans of kitten formula

So now ... just add water and you get kittens? What will they think of next??

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5042
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 07:41:15 PM »
So LordL needs a tidy phrase he can repeat over and over that won't involve JADEing to her. Something that doesn't validate her actions, which I feel like we'd be doing by saying something like "We appreciate the sentiment, but..." Maybe "We've decided that we'd rather not have a shower. <insert her protests> We do not want a shower. I know you already invited Aunt Edna but we do not want a shower and any plans involving us need to be run by us beforehand."

Is that the right degree of directness or do you think it could be softened somehow without diluting the point?

This sort of thing would really make me angry.

I think I might phrase it more like, "We decided [previously] that we didn't want to have any showers or other pre-wedding events. So, we don't want to have one at the family reunion or any other time. Also, we really don't like surprise plans, so please don't make any more for events involving us."

Or something like that. I think you should be clear that you aren't just deciding you don't want her shower, it's that you don't want any, and you already decided this before her idea was ever brought up. You're not specifically putting down her idea or hoping someone else makes a better offer. Actually, I don't mean that to make her feel better, I mean it to emphasize the point that if she'd talked to you guys beforehand, you would have told her this right away, and she wouldn't have gotten all involved in planning and telling other people about it.

As a side note, I think of "We appreciate the sentiment" in the same vein as "it's the thought that counts." Sometimes, the thought isn't very nice, and that's what I'm counting--i.e., I'm noting that you gave me a stained dishtowel and an open box of band-aids as a gift, and in the future I won't bother spending much time or effort on gifts to you. So in this case, you can appreciate (recognize) the sentiment (of her wanting to take over your wedding). So I think you could still use that phrase, if you think it would mollify her. But if you think it would just encourage her to keep making other unauthorized plans, definitely avoid it.

And I have to agree with the others, attending the family reunion sounds like a dangerous prospect now. A shower is easy to spring on someone at a gathering, and it's hard to walk away without looking like a bad person to the (innocent) guests and making them uncomfortable. If you do attend, I would be on the alert for any signs that a shower was starting up--maybe enlist a couple of sympathetic cousins to keep an eye out for you--and skip out of the room the instant you get suspicious. Like, I would literally hide in the bathroom and then sneak out the back door if necessary, trying to avoid a scene in front of the other guests. Then she'll be the one who looks silly, announcing a shower for someone who's clearly not there.
~Lynn2000

jedikaiti

  • Swiss Army Nerd
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2720
  • A pie in the hand is worth two in the mail.
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 07:45:55 PM »
Any chance you can recruit some relatives to derail (or at least warn you of) any plans she tries to make anyway? That way, even if she does try to plow ahead with surprise party plans, you'll have warning and can plan on not attending.
What part of v_e = \sqrt{\frac{2GM}{r}} don't you understand? It's only rocket science!

"The problem with re-examining your brilliant ideas is that more often than not, you discover they are the intellectual equivalent of saying, 'Hold my beer and watch this!'" - Cindy Couture

cheyne

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1042
Re: Saying no to a "surprise" wedding shower.
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2013, 08:45:05 PM »
I've read your posts over the last couple of years.  Your MIL is a boundary trampler.  The only way to stop this is to not attend the family reunion.  I don't think it's the coward's way out at all.  Look, you know that if you and LordL attend there is going to be a shower.  MIL will be able to tell all the family and will find a way to get your friends addresses (or at least one friend's phone number) and it will escalate from there.

You had some trouble last year at the family reunion if I remember correctly.  Make a stand and don't attend.  You will see any relatives you care about in November at your wedding.