Author Topic: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?  (Read 6287 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2013, 06:01:16 PM »
If this friend is known to have such contrasting style and can't afford to fully host, what dynamics led to her being in charge?

I wonder this also. If sister chose friend to host the shower, did she really know her that poorly? Or did she know but it didn't worry her that much that friend has odd taste in decor? Unless this is a side of the friend that is very very sudden and unexpected, I'd say sister made an informed decision and the pros outweighed the cons, and so be it.

Shower recipients don't choose the hostess.

The hostess offers.

Of course, a shower recipient can then decline, but there's a serious risk of hurt feelings, as well as the idea that no one else will step up to throw a shower.

OP, perhaps your mom could try to get some time w/ the hostess and say, "I think it would be best, and Sister would be SO touched, if the decorations really reflected her personality. I brought you some of the things I've heard her admire, to inspire you."  And just keep making a big deal about how the decorations can be so emotionally meaningful to your sister.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2013, 07:23:58 PM »
Knowing that, I can see why the sister might be a bit hurt that the friend would choose a party for her as another chance to try and force her style on the sister.

I don't see evidence that the friend has an agenda and is giving the shower to reform the sister's tastes.


Quoting the OP's second reply to the thread:

Quote
However, she is one of those wonderfully meaning but clueless people who has just never really seen why other people don't share her opinions on decor, politics, baking, Mongolian nose flutes, or whatever it may be. She is well aware of my sister's "style" but seems to think that since it's very simple and plain compared to hers, that my sister obviously just needs some guidance!

Now the hostess may not mean for her decoration ideas to be a way of converting the sister's tastes, but if this is her history, it may come across that way anyway. 
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2013, 11:24:25 PM »
Personally, I don't think it's rude to simply tell the friend "Sis doesn't like neon pink. How about we choose another colour?"

*inviteseller

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2013, 11:42:10 PM »
While the party may only be a couple of hours to endure the garish style of the friend throwing the party, I would be silently upset that such a long standing friend would disregard my tastes and force her own on me because she likes them better.

If you (general) are throwing a party of your own, by all means, do it in the style you love, but as someone who has hosted/co hosted wedding and baby showers, the first and foremost idea was the GOH's tastes and lifestyle.  I would talk to friend, honestly, and tell her while her decorations and theme sound interesting, it is no where near what your sister likes or has planned as her baby decor.  Give her some ideas of what might work more towards your sisters tastes.  If she shuts you down with "Oh, well, my ideas are better/funner/ect", I think you need to talk to your sister and make sure she knows what is planned so she can decide if she either wants to cancel the shower done the way the host wants without consideration for the GOH, or if she wants the shower so bad that she can overlook the fact it doesn't represent her at all.

lowspark

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2013, 09:38:34 AM »
I just don't think anyone has the right to have input on the party's theme, decorations, food, location, etc. except the hosts. So, in this case, sure, if the mother, at whose house the event is being held, feels like she would like to say something, then ok. Unless it was understood from the beginning that she was providing the venue only and was to be a "silent partner".

There's a certain amount of generosity that goes into giving someone a shower. Not only money but time and effort. For the sister of the honoree who is not even contributing to the party in any way to just step in and start telling the host what her sister likes or doesn't like or other "how to do this party" advice, without being asked would be insulting and rude.

If the GOH accepted the party from this friend, who she must know well enough to know her MO, then there should be no further intervention by anyone who is not the host. The mother whose house it is at, maybe. The sister who will merely be an invited guest, absolutely not.

camlan

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2013, 10:08:45 AM »

Financially speaking, it's my understanding that she volunteered to host at a time when she had the money to host a party, but has since had some Real Life intrude that has taken her savings with it. However, rather than back out, she decided to continue hosting (on a smaller budget and with some help from my mother) since the honest truth is that my sister would likely not get a shower otherwise. I'd throw her one, but I live more than 8 hours away by car, and my mother doesn't feel like it's her place to throw one for her daughter since it would be in poor taste. The father and his family are not in the equation at all, so this friend hosting is pretty much the last great hope.


So basically, if this friend doesn't throw the shower, your sister won't get a shower?

It does seems a bit nit-picky to want to change the decorations of the only shower your sister is going to get and that is now somewhat of a financial hardship for the hostess. And a bit controlling. If you want the shower to have the perfect decorations, then you ought to host it yourself.

At some point, when you are the guest of honor at a party, you just have to accept the hospitality that the host provides. It is best when the host provides food and drink that the GOH can consume. And it is nice when the decorations take into account the GOH's taste.

But beyond telling the host that pink is the GOH's least favorite color in the world, and that blue and purple are her favorites, I don't think there's much that can be done, politely, to change things.

While it would be nice if the decorations were more to the GOH's taste, decorations by themselves don't make or break a party. If the shower is "ruined" for the GOH solely because of the decorations, then there's bigger problems than we can deal with here.

Give the host a heads up on the mother-to-be's favorite colors. Then just accept that you can't control everything and hope your sister enjoys the companionship of her friends at the shower.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


bah12

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2013, 11:13:37 AM »
While the party may only be a couple of hours to endure the garish style of the friend throwing the party, I would be silently upset that such a long standing friend would disregard my tastes and force her own on me because she likes them better.

If you (general) are throwing a party of your own, by all means, do it in the style you love, but as someone who has hosted/co hosted wedding and baby showers, the first and foremost idea was the GOH's tastes and lifestyle.  I would talk to friend, honestly, and tell her while her decorations and theme sound interesting, it is no where near what your sister likes or has planned as her baby decor.  Give her some ideas of what might work more towards your sisters tastes.  If she shuts you down with "Oh, well, my ideas are better/funner/ect", I think you need to talk to your sister and make sure she knows what is planned so she can decide if she either wants to cancel the shower done the way the host wants without consideration for the GOH, or if she wants the shower so bad that she can overlook the fact it doesn't represent her at all.

While I completely agree that the host of the shower should be talking to her friend and planning a party that is to her taste, I still don't think it's the OPs place to say anything.  She lives 8 hours away and I'm curious how she knows so much about the decorations when she's not a host at all.  If her mother, who is a host it seems, has been saying something, then why can't she also say something to her daughter's friend?  It is far more appropriate for her to do it than the OP. Maybe, the decorations she's proposing happens to be something she already has on hand.  If her budget is tight, purchasing all new decorations may not even be possible for her.

If this really is the only shower that the OPs sister may get, maybe she has accepted that her friend is who her friend is, and would rather have neon pink decorations than confront someone who is stepping up to do something really nice for her.  Sure, it would be great if the friend was more considerate and in-the-know of exactly what the GOH of would like, but at some point her hospitality should be accepted for what it is or rejected completely.  Is the OP even sure that her sister doesn't know about the decorations and/or hates them, or is she assuming this because she knows the decorations are not something her sister would have picked out herself?

lowspark

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2013, 11:24:19 AM »
Sure, in order to be a good shower hostess, one should do x, y & z, including taking the GOH's tastes and preferences into account. However, we are not being asked to advise a shower hostess on what to do here. We are being asked:

Is there a way to suggest some ideas that aren't out of a 1980's stereotype to this hostess without coming across as blindingly condescending and rude as hell?

My answer: No. I mean, I think it's rude for the OP to tell the hostess how to do the party.

And I think she should look no further than to the behavior of her own sister, the GOH, as an example:

... my wonderful sister is being a peach about the whole thing ("I know my friends are broke; I just want to have a party and I feel elated someone is throwing me one").

gellchom

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2013, 01:38:56 PM »
Sure, in order to be a good shower hostess, one should do x, y & z, including taking the GOH's tastes and preferences into account. However, we are not being asked to advise a shower hostess on what to do here. We are being asked:

Is there a way to suggest some ideas that aren't out of a 1980's stereotype to this hostess without coming across as blindingly condescending and rude as hell?

My answer: No. I mean, I think it's rude for the OP to tell the hostess how to do the party.

And I think she should look no further than to the behavior of her own sister, the GOH, as an example:

... my wonderful sister is being a peach about the whole thing ("I know my friends are broke; I just want to have a party and I feel elated someone is throwing me one").

Beautifully stated, lowspark.  There is no way to do this "without coming across as blindingly condescending and rude as hell," because it simply IS condescending and rude.  If I were the hostess, I would be insulted and hurt, and for that matter, I would think that your stated concern for your sister being "hurt" by decorations is simply a pretext for taking over and getting to plan the style of the party (without having to pay for it or do the work). 

OP, I'm sure the party would be prettier, and probably more to your sister's taste, if you were the hostess and were planning it.  But you aren't.  You are a guest.  So you need to stop interfering, even indirectly (I'm assuming there already has been some of this, because of your statement "I'm trying to stay out of her way").

peaches

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2013, 01:52:57 PM »
I've been to more showers than I could count over the years. I have to say that I've never believed that the host "represents" the person they are giving the party for. That is a very odd concept to me.

A host may be skillful at entertaining or not, clever with decorations or not, a great cook (or have a great caterer) or not - but none of that reflects on the person being honored. 

It would be very strange indeed to hold the honoree responsible for the skills and taste of the host.

Sometimes a host will ask a mother-to-be about the nursery colors or scheme - if the host wants to reflect them in the party decorations. But that's up to the host. 


turnip

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2013, 02:17:36 PM »
Personally, I don't think it's rude to simply tell the friend "Sis doesn't like neon pink. How about we choose another colour?"

It is absolutely rude for a guest to tell someone hosting an upcoming party that they need to change colors.  OP has no obligations/responsibility towards this party as far as I can tell, so saying "How about _we_ choose anther colour"   is completely out of place for the OP. 

EllenS

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2013, 02:30:59 PM »
Personally, I don't think it's rude to simply tell the friend "Sis doesn't like neon pink. How about we choose another colour?"

This would not be rude at all, *if OP were being consulted*.  If the hostess was talking with GH's mom and sister in a collaborative way and brainstorming about the decorations, this is a perfectly appropriate contribution to the conversation.

If OP is not being asked/included in a discussion by the hostess, then it is inappropriate/rude for her to bring it up or insert her opinion.  There is no "we" in this situation, as far as I can tell from the OP.

Lynn2000

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2013, 06:17:01 PM »
If Friend was solely hosting--providing venue, footing all the bills--I would say that no one but the GOH gets any input into the decorations etc., unless we are talking about a situation so extreme as to be offensive or dangerous. When I saw the subject of the thread I too thought it was going to be something worse than tacky colors/patterns--I was picturing an "adult-themed" baby shower for a very conservative mom, for example, or one of those horrible "baby being born" cakes from CakeWrecks.

However, the situation is slightly complicated by the fact that the GOH's mom is footing some of the bill, and the GOH's grandfather is providing the venue. If Friend, the nominal hostess, wanted to spend a lot of Mom's money on decorations and favors that Mom knows her daughter won't like, I think Mom can say, "Actually, I would rather spend more money on making sure we have plenty of food and drink, and less on decorations." Of course that depends on the nature of their financial agreement--if Mom just gave Friend a set amount of cash, Mom has pretty much given up control of what Friend spends it on (as long as it's on the baby shower). But if they're still discussing the various aspects of the budget, I think Mom can say, "I want the money I give you to go for food [or other basic hospitality necessities]. If you want decorations and favors [which happen to be tacky and not to GOH's taste] you'll have to pay for those yourself." In other words, I think Mom may have some legitimate control over the theme, because it's her money that's paying for it (all or part).

Likewise, it's Grandfather's house, so Grandfather definitely has some say over things like decorations and food--no silly string (too messy), nothing that requires being taped or thumbtacked to anything, maybe provide real glasses and plates in the hopes of minimizing spills, etc.. Or whatever. And it may turn out that these perfectly reasonable restrictions, also happen to eliminate some aspects of the party that GOH would have found especially tacky.

It sounds like the OP doesn't really have any standing to make suggestions directly to Friend, but she could certainly advise Mom and Grandfather on what they could say to Friend. Basically, don't make it about the theme being "awful." Rather, try to exercise some other reasonable powers, about practicality or hospitality, that also happen to restrain Friend's plans. Some things might slip through, of course, and GOH probably won't be surprised by them. But, if Mom doesn't want to pay for tons of cheap favors, or Grandfather doesn't want to risk his furniture being damaged by silly string, certainly something can be said about that, I think.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2013, 12:51:10 AM »
I've been to about a dozen baby showers and about a dozen bridal showers, and I have to say, without any exaggeration I can't remember a single decor item from any except the two I hosted. I remember some of the games, some of the food, many of the favors/prizes, and even many of the venues, but nope... none of the decor. The decor is just not something that affects me, so I don't really register it. I'm sure all the parties were decorated, but really i didn't have reason, as a guest to care about the decorations. the food, the other guests, the favors, these things are things that affected me for better or worse, plus I had to get to the venue so I remember those, but the decor is just forgettable background stuff.

If you want to say anything to the hostess about her plans, it should not be a criticism or focusing on an unimportant detail, if you say anything say "what can I do to help?"

Mikayla

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2013, 01:12:50 PM »

However, the situation is slightly complicated by the fact that the GOH's mom is footing some of the bill, and the GOH's grandfather is providing the venue.

I was waiting for someone to point this out.  I agree with others that it's very condescending to tell a hostess what to do, but this friend isn't really a hostess.  Mom certainly qualifies as a co-host, and if Gramps wants to weigh in, I suppose he gets a vote, too  :)

Really, though, this is a very different scenario from the friend having it at her place and paying for it.  Maybe Mom needs to decide if it's a hill worth dying on.  If not, let it go and if so, then claim her role.

It's like weddings.  He who pays gets the say.