Author Topic: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?  (Read 7014 times)

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Cortesia

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This might come off as a very rude idea, and I apologize for that ahead of time. It's why I'm asking here first before just running off to do it!

My younger sister is expecting, and a good friend of hers is planning the shower. She has asked to use my grandfather's home (it's a lovely home and can accommodate this kind of shindig), and has privately asked my mother to help with some of the expenses (as she is generally lacking in funds). I know the general rule is to allow the hostess to dictate the party's theme and decor, but the ideas the hostess has been milling over and talking about with my mother and I are just awful: garish neons, bizarre patterns in contrast to each other, lots of hot pinks and blacks, etc. (the mom to be would rather be skinned alive than allow pink anywhere near her. She has hated pink since she was a toddler). Not a single idea she has mentioned is something my sister would appreciate aesthetically. Nor would it fit with the rest of the venue's decor, which is rather understated mid-century modern. My sister's tastes run more to the shabby chic and understated natural beauty. The ideas being pushed are more reminiscent of a "diva" party, or (having seen some of this hostess' previous parties) something out of a comic from the 80's.

By no means do I want to tell this gal how to do her job, but if she throws the party that *she* wants to throw, it's going to look like a hot mess. She has done this in the past, and it never works out well. I'm trying to stay out of her way, and 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"). But I know that at the end of the day, after the streamers are pulled down and the glow sticks are thrown away and the silly string/candy bar-as-dirty-diaper/hot pink inflatable baby bottles are removed, my sister will be hurt by the lack of thought as to what might suit *her* tastes instead of the hostess' (though she'd never tell anyone who was kind enough to throw her a party of any kind).

Am I being too touchy? 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? I want my sister to have a good party, and I'm afraid she'll feel let down if I don't at least try to give her friend some guidance.

Redsoil

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2013, 01:24:25 PM »
Would it be possible, when "splitting expenses" for your mother to suggest a couple of areas that the friend could be in charge of (NOT decorations!), citing finances as a partial reason?    Perhaps also saying that as the party is at grandparent's place, they prefer minimal decorations in case something is damaged in putting them up? 

If the friend is designated as being in charge of games and a couple of other areas, that might work out if your mother says she'll take care of (say) decorating and the cake.
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NyaChan

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 01:54:09 PM »
I would just tell her that your sister doesn't like pink or bright colors.  I think that is completely okay to tell a host - I would want to know if I was using a color my friend doesn't like heavily in the decorations for their party.  You could even say, "You know, I'm pretty sure that sis is planning on a pastel theme for the baby - that might be a good way to substitute for the pink.  You could use lighter colors instead to go with that."  I also like TeamBhakta's "She goes nuts for those..." line.

Oh Joy

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2013, 02:04:39 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?

Pen^2

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2013, 06:57:31 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.

Cortesia

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2013, 07:41:52 PM »
The friend in question has been a close family friend for over 20 years to both myself and my sister. 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!

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.


I like the idea of dithering a bit and saying that while Party Theme A is awesome, sister's preferred Party Theme B might be better suited for the temperament. We are lucky in that since it is being held at my grandfather's home, he has apparently places some restrictions on what can and cannot be used for decorating. He doesn't want his things damaged, so silly string is out! :)

Betelnut

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2013, 07:52:29 PM »
Frankly, I don't see how a color scheme can utterly ruin a party that will last at most 2-2 1/2 hours.  Really.  I don't see that as something to be that concerned about.  It certainly isn't polite to criticize someone's choices about a party that he/she is planning.  I think the point of a shower is to get together to be happy about a new life coming into the world.  (Plus, to get presents for that new person.)
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Surianne

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2013, 12:25:43 AM »
Frankly, I don't see how a color scheme can utterly ruin a party that will last at most 2-2 1/2 hours.  Really.  I don't see that as something to be that concerned about.  It certainly isn't polite to criticize someone's choices about a party that he/she is planning.  I think the point of a shower is to get together to be happy about a new life coming into the world.  (Plus, to get presents for that new person.)

That's what I'm thinking.  They're just decorations.  Does it really matter?  Is there a reason your sister will be particularly upset by pink?  I hate pink too, but if someone threw me a party, I'd be pleased they did it, and not worried about the colours they chose.

gellchom

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2013, 01:55:17 AM »
Frankly, I don't see how a color scheme can utterly ruin a party that will last at most 2-2 1/2 hours. Really.  I don't see that as something to be that concerned about.  It certainly isn't polite to criticize someone's choices about a party that he/she is planning.  I think the point of a shower is to get together to be happy about a new life coming into the world.  (Plus, to get presents for that new person.)

That's what I'm thinking.  They're just decorations.  Does it really matter?  Is there a reason your sister will be particularly upset by pink?  I hate pink too, but if someone threw me a party, I'd be pleased they did it, and not worried about the colours they chose.

I agree, too.  At most, mention that your sister dislikes pink.  When I saw the "theme is awful" header, I thought you were going to say it was something bigoted or a sales pitch or proselytizing or otherwise inappropriate to the point of being offensive.

It sounds to me like the issue here is that you simply think this woman has vulgar taste.  Well, maybe she does.  So what?  What makes you so certain that your sister will be hurt -- your word, and quite a strong one -- by something so unimportant?  She knows her good friend's style and taste, and she knew it when she accepted her offer to plan the shower.  She won't be surprised, and she evidently doesn't care.  How does this even affect you?  Are you sure your "Sis will be hurt" scenario isn't just a rationalization for interfering?  This is her good friend you are contemplating insulting.  I'm guessing that that would be a lot more likely to upset your sister than pink decorations.

Ask yourself this: if the situation were reversed (and maybe someday it will be), and you and your sister were planning a shower for this woman, would you do it up Day-Glo, which you know she likes, or would you exercise your own good taste? 

Really, there is nothing wrong with the latter.  Hosts typically entertain in their own style, even when it's somewhat different from the guest of honor's.  That's fine; in fact, we'd all be surprised to see, say, a bridal shower for a grad student bride given by the bride's mother's friends as a BYOB pizza-from-the-box student-style party. 

There really is no good way to tell a hostess she has rotten taste and should do things your way, even if your taste is better.  Superior taste is not a license to be condescending.

peaches

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2013, 07:11:27 AM »
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"). .

Your sister has the right attitude.

If asked, you can provide colors and ideas your sister might prefer. Otherwise, go with the flow, and don't criticize.

I believe when people look back on important life events, they don't remember the décor. They remember the fun, the laughter, the love that was shown.



Piratelvr1121

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2013, 07:25:25 AM »
I remember the decor from my last shower, though that was mainly because I got to bring much of it home with me. :)  I liked it, as it did show how my MIL listens to what I like and wanted to make it nice.  She did a nautical theme since I said the nursery would have a nautical theme and there were dolphin shaped candles since she knows they're one of my favorite wild animals. :) 

I do think it's a nice thing when a person is going to host a party for a guest of honor and when planning keeps the GOH's interests in mind.   Actually the backstory kind of adds something to this.   OP said her sister likes shabby chic and understated beauty of nature (my kinda gal!) but this friend thinks her style is "boring" and wants to get her to change it.   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. 
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peaches

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2013, 09:30:13 AM »
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.

She's just giving a shower, and she probably wants to do the best job she can.

If the mother-to-be was concerned about this, she could have declined the offer of a shower. She didn't, she seems happy to be feted, and willing to go along with whatever is offered.

Other than making tactful suggestions if asked, what should the sister who's concerned do??

Shoo

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2013, 02:33:54 PM »
Frankly, I don't see how a color scheme can utterly ruin a party that will last at most 2-2 1/2 hours.  Really.  I don't see that as something to be that concerned about.  It certainly isn't polite to criticize someone's choices about a party that he/she is planning.  I think the point of a shower is to get together to be happy about a new life coming into the world.  (Plus, to get presents for that new person.)

I agree with this 100%.  It's a baby shower.  A little blip in time that most people will barely remember in the years to come.  Your sister's best friend is offering to do this for her, and really, the colors don't matter one iota.  The "theme" doesn't matter one iota.  What matters is that your sister's friends and loved ones are there to give her their best wishes and spend time with her and each other.

I'd stay out of it and let the host plan it the way she wants to.

lowspark

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2013, 09:14:52 AM »
... a good friend of hers is planning the shower.

A good friend of hers. You know enough about this friend to be able to predict what she is going to do, so what makes you think your sister, who is the actual friend, doesn't also have a pretty good idea about how this party will be done?

A good friend whose personality and tastes your sister knows (whether or not she or you share them) has offered to throw her a party for your sister and she accepted. End of story. Unless the friend asks for your input or help, you should have no further involvement than to show up at the party with a gift and be a gracious guest.

It's not your party. It's your sister's and her friend's.

bah12

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Re: Polite way of suggesting that hostess' baby shower theme is awful?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2013, 11:45:38 AM »
This is your sister's "good friend"...good enough that she is hosting a baby shower for her.  Is this a surprise party?

Your sister's friend should be consulting your sister and taking into account what she would like.  Since your mother is also a host, she can suggest that they consult with your sister on the colors and theme when they get the guest list from her.  I'm assuming that since this is a good enough friend that she would host a milestone event for your sister, that she would also either know your sister's personal taste or that your sister is aware of her general cluelessness when it comes to her taste.

I don't think that the color-scheme would ruin a party and  I don't think that you are the best one to say anything about how awful it is...considering that you are not a host, it's not in your home,  you aren't paying for it, and you aren't the GOH.  There's opportunity for either your mother or your sister to suggest something different and that would be my suggestion in who should approach the hostess.