Pre-wedding Parties

We're calling it a bridal shower...

We planned to elope out of state, but felt guilty and told our parents and grandparents. Needless to say, we're not eloping anymore, but having an intimate destination wedding. The whole group of us is 13.
Our wedding is December 1st, just a very short time away. Our engagement time in total will be 120 days. The thing is on December 1st we will have been together 12 years. We own our house, and have everything we need. So we've decided not to register anywhere.
With my Fiance's family, there is no such thing as keeping a secret, so we shared our news either over the phone or over Facebook with our friends. We also decided not to do the reception thing once we get back as it will be right in the timeframe for everyone's holiday planning. So we decided to invite all our friends to the Bridal Shower.
Apparently, from reading the boards I've got 2 big No-No's right off the bat - inviting people to the shower not going to the wedding, and having a bridal shower without any gifts.

Really what I want is to celebrate the excitement with all our close friends and celebrate this milestone in our journey of love. Both mine and her's (originally the elopement witnesses) Maid of Honor will be hosting our Bridal Shower at our house. We'll be having a bonfire complete with S'mores. And that is the end of my assisting in planning the thing with the exception of the guest list and invites (I do a bit of graphic design, so I asked the MoH if I could handle this part.)

I don't think we will offend any of our friends with the ettticate "No-No's" we'll be doing. My question is how do I word the no gifts request to a shower, and how do I make it known that this invite and celebration is in lieu of coming to the wedding? I don't want to cause any scenes on the day of, so should this go directly on the invitation? Should I offer the guests that feel obliged to bring a gift an option? And what should that option be since we are well established in our household?

I am less worried about what is ettticate, and more worried about not hurting the feelings of our friends - if you can share advice I'd appreciate it!
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Re: We're calling it a bridal shower...

  • The whole planning of the destination and the even really sound great.  If you just don't call the party a "shower" you will be fine.  If you are stuck with the word shower, the invitations might say:
    Let's gather to shower A and B in love and affection to celebrate their recent marriage.
    Their home is already full of appliances, and such, it's your love and good wishes that they need so much".
    I know that sounds hokey, but you get the idea.
    bridesontherun
  • Yay! I dig it! I'm considering just titling it a Bridal Bonfire, but maybe that will be confusing? Who does this? Oh yea - me... There are pictures on Pinterest, so I know I'm not the first :)
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I had a Bridal Luncheon instead of a shower, so I don't see why a Bridal Bonfire would be confusion. Is this before or after the DW? I would not call it a shower as showers are gift giving events. Bridal teas, luncheons, etc are not. Call it a bridal whatever. Or if it is after the DW call it a Celebration of Marriage. If it is before the DW there may be an expectation of guests that they will be invited, so be careful.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    bridesontherun[Deleted User]
  • Call it an engagement party. Those are not traditionally considered gift-giving events.
    bridesontherun
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited August 2014

    Call it a Bon Voyage party. Don't make any reference on the invitations to anything 'bridal,' if you're inviting guests who won't be invited to the wedding. You shouldn't mention gifts, at all, on the invitations. Should any guests arrive with gifts, put them out of site to open privately. Write the thank you notes immediately. No need to wait until you're back from your trip.

    Actually, etiquette is designed to prevent people from offending and hurting feeling, so you are concerned with etiquette, which is a good thing.

     

                       
    southernbelle0915OliveOilsMomperdonami[Deleted User]
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Just have a party. Leave the words "bridal" and "shower" out of it.
    image



    Anniversary
    southernbelle0915lc07grumbledore
  • scribe95 said:
    Regardless if it's a shower or engagement party etc she then has to invite these people to the wedding.

    Ummm no I don't, and I won't. I think you missed the part about not really caring about etticate. Did you even read the full original post?
    pineapplesmoothie
  • Call it a Bon Voyage party. Don't make any reference on the invitations to anything 'bridal,' if you're inviting guests who won't be invited to the wedding. You shouldn't mention gifts, at all, on the invitations. Should any guests arrive with gifts, put them out of site to open privately. Write the thank you notes immediately. No need to wait until you're back from your trip.

    Actually, etiquette is designed to prevent people from offending and hurting feeling, so you are concerned with etiquette, which is a good thing.

     


    I will add Bon Voyage to the list of terms to consider. However if I do use it it will be a Bridal Bon Voyage Bonfire. I will be including Bridal, as that is what it is, and exactly what we are celebrating.

    I'm curious why I should not mention anything about not wanting gifts? Wouldn't this just cause tons more work for my Maids of Honor due to lack of communication?

    Actually, I'm not concerned with etiquette. Definition: Etiquette (/ˈɛtɨkɛt/ or /ˈɛtɨkɪt/, French: [e.ti.kɛt]) is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group.

    I don't care if I do or do not fit in social norms. I do want to limit my friends spending their money needlessly, and I certainly don't want them to feel any pressure about guest etiquette. As I mentioned, I am looking to have things explained so people know what to expect so there are no hurt feelings in case they are expecting a certain "social norm".

    Your advice to write thank you notes immediately doesn't help with my questions at all. Perhaps if you were less focused on etiquette and more focused on helping answer my questions I would have felt your response more useful.
  • I had a Bridal Luncheon instead of a shower, so I don't see why a Bridal Bonfire would be confusion. Is this before or after the DW? I would not call it a shower as showers are gift giving events. Bridal teas, luncheons, etc are not. Call it a bridal whatever. Or if it is after the DW call it a Celebration of Marriage. If it is before the DW there may be an expectation of guests that they will be invited, so be careful.

    It's about 2 weeks before we leave (trying to avoid all holidays). Thanks for your input. I am liking the ring of Bridal Bonfire more and more.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited August 2014
    scribe95 said:
    Regardless if it's a shower or engagement party etc she then has to invite these people to the wedding.

    Ummm no I don't, and I won't. I think you missed the part about not really caring about etticate. Did you even read the full original post?
    Some things to note:

    1) The correct spelling of the bolded word is "etiquette."

    2) If you're going to ask about or discuss anything in this forum it is going to be discussed in the context of whether or not you are observing correct etiquette, and if you're not, or indicate that you don't plan to, you will be harshly judged, regardless of whether or not you or your family or friends care about etiquette.

    3) This whole forum is about correct etiquette for weddings.

    4) It's not a good idea to get snarky with a moderator.  Whether or not she read the full original post is not for you to comment on.  Nor is it up to you how anyone else responds to your posts.
    perdonamilovedryn[Deleted User]mrssursely
  • Jen4948 said:
    scribe95 said:
    Regardless if it's a shower or engagement party etc she then has to invite these people to the wedding.

    Ummm no I don't, and I won't. I think you missed the part about not really caring about etticate. Did you even read the full original post?
    Some things to note:

    1) The correct spelling of the bolded word is "etiquette."

    2) You are still subject to etiquette whether you care about it or not and whether or not your friends and family care about it.

    3) This whole forum is about correct etiquette for weddings.

    4) It's not a good idea to get snarky with a moderator.  Whether or not she read the full original post is not for you to comment on.

    So now these boards are for the spelling police and etiquette police only?
    You do not get to assume tone of text on a screen and assume your assumption is correct. There was no snark on my behalf in the previous post. And really, you get to tell me what I can comment on?

    I asked a couple questions specifically stating what I was going to do was against etiquette. I expected some etiquette opinions, those that were in response to my questions - I asked questions back for clarification. Those that were just insolent got insolent back, not snark. It was, "your questions don't matter because you must follow the rules", and "you don't really know what you're asking". I was clarifying I did in fact know exactly what I was talking about and I felt that would have come across if the whole post was read.

    And I beg to differ with you that the whole community forum is about "correct etiquette" for weddings. There are etiquette forums, and there are general forums where people may ask questions about etiquette. This board is titled Pre-wedding Parties, not - Etiquette for Pre-Wedding Parties, where I specifically asked a couple questions that I clearly inferred I was not interested in etiquette.

    This being a public forum, I knew some would not be able to resist and just pass this thread by, however, if I would like suggestions that I can use it seems that the etiquette police need to be placed in check. And I would like more suggestions that have nothing to do with etiquette or social norms as requested initially. So if you have anything productive to this thread and it's original topic - please do, as I'm still in search of the answers.
    pineapplesmoothieKnottie4387472
  • chibiyui said:
    If you're so worried about your friends needlessly spending money, I would skip the party. That way they don't have to spend money on gas to drive to your party, they don't have to spend money to wash their clothes for your party, they don't have to buy a "Congratulations-on-getting-married-and-not-inviting-us-to-the-wedding" card. Skipping the needless party will save your friends from spending needless money. .

    This is not helpful either, but I have a feeling you already know that...

    I will be having a celebration before we leave with our friends and family whom I'm not inviting. Your opinion is duly noted. I am going ahead with my original plans, knowing you Chibiyui do not agree with my breaking the etiquette rules. (And others on this board.) Can we move forward now with answering my questions from the original post? If you simply can not offer any answers because you are too offended by my rule breaking please move on to the next post and allow those that wish to help do so.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Jen4948 said:
    scribe95 said:
    Regardless if it's a shower or engagement party etc she then has to invite these people to the wedding.

    Ummm no I don't, and I won't. I think you missed the part about not really caring about etticate. Did you even read the full original post?
    Some things to note:

    1) The correct spelling of the bolded word is "etiquette."

    2) You are still subject to etiquette whether you care about it or not and whether or not your friends and family care about it.

    3) This whole forum is about correct etiquette for weddings.

    4) It's not a good idea to get snarky with a moderator.  Whether or not she read the full original post is not for you to comment on.

    So now these boards are for the spelling police and etiquette police only?
    You do not get to assume tone of text on a screen and assume your assumption is correct. There was no snark on my behalf in the previous post. And really, you get to tell me what I can comment on?

    I asked a couple questions specifically stating what I was going to do was against etiquette. I expected some etiquette opinions, those that were in response to my questions - I asked questions back for clarification. Those that were just insolent got insolent back, not snark. It was, "your questions don't matter because you must follow the rules", and "you don't really know what you're asking". I was clarifying I did in fact know exactly what I was talking about and I felt that would have come across if the whole post was read.

    And I beg to differ with you that the whole community forum is about "correct etiquette" for weddings. There are etiquette forums, and there are general forums where people may ask questions about etiquette. This board is titled Pre-wedding Parties, not - Etiquette for Pre-Wedding Parties, where I specifically asked a couple questions that I clearly inferred I was not interested in etiquette.

    This being a public forum, I knew some would not be able to resist and just pass this thread by, however, if I would like suggestions that I can use it seems that the etiquette police need to be placed in check. And I would like more suggestions that have nothing to do with etiquette or social norms as requested initially. So if you have anything productive to this thread and it's original topic - please do, as I'm still in search of the answers.
    Answer: what you want to do is not a good idea.

    Thing is, everyone here told you why.  Nobody is the "etiquette police" around here.  Nobody is going to fine you, write you a ticket, press charges against you, book you, or throw you in jail. 

    Something you can't expect from anyone here is that we're going to endorse something that breaches etiquette or tell you how to do it.

    But what you can expect to happen is that everyone involved in this, whether in this forum or out, is going to have a much lower opinion of both you and your plans.  And even if no one says so to your face, you can expect that people will diss you behind your back and you will lose relationships.  Why?  Because you don't care about etiquette. 

    We're not responsible for the consequences of your choice not to care about etiquette and to act accordingly.  You're bringing all this on yourself.

    PS-Don't let the door smack you in the ass on your way out of this forum.
    perdonamilovedryn
  • I wouldn't call it a shower because it's not.

    I'm another vote for "Bon Voyage" titled party.

    May I ask, celebrating with all of your friends and family is so important - why aren't you inviting them to the DW to begin with, or having the W at home so they can all attend?  Genuine curiousity, no snark involved.

    None of the previous posters have anything invested in your relationships or your wedding (unless they're unknowingly one of your pre-party guests).  They're simply trying to prevent you from inadvertently hurting people's feelings.  It's not about being etiquette snobs - there's a reason behind etiquette rules and the ones that are widely accepted and preached here are the ones that treat your guests as loved ones first and foremost.

    People may not say anything, but some will still be hurt and feel like second rate guests if you invite them to a party before the wedding and not to the wedding itself.  I know you're not keen on Christmastime, but having a large AHR after your private DW instead of a BV party beforehand would alleviate some of those hurt feelings.  It wouldn't have to be immediately after you got back, either.  You could always wait until after the holidays.




    Thank you for expressing your dissenting opinion on my plans in a manner that encourages dialog and further understanding, and the suggestion for an alternate title. Also, I didn't get any snark from your post. Thanks for asking questions.

    Why it's important to celebrate: the people in our lives have been our friends for decades. When we announced our very short engagement I didn't expect how many people were waiting for this for us. Wanting it more than we ever did for ourselves. People cried they were so happy. I feel it would be remiss not to celebrate with them in some capacity.

    They are not invited to the wedding because: we are making this happen within 120 days 4 states away from where we live on a very small budget. The bottom line is time and budget, but I also have a disease that exacerbates with stress. I want my father to walk me down the isle instead of wheel me in my chair. More people + more expense = more stress.

    Why isn't the wedding at home: We are headed out of state because marriage is not legal where we live. We were planning to elope to make sure to pay for our wedding ourselves. We are on a short timeline and budget due to a projected move and new career path. We've been together 12 years and neither of us wants a wedding where it's not legal or respected.

    There is a possibility we may have to move even before the wedding, so postponing the AHR is not prudent for our potential time line.

    To clarify further: the piece of paper doesn't establish or validate our relationship. It is a legal means of binding ourselves as family to protect ourselves legally with the changes going on in our lives. It seems to mean more to the rest of our family and friends. If I could get away with eloping and none of these parties, obligations, expenses, and potential hurt feelings - I would. I respect our parents too much for that, and thusly we are a small wedding party of 13. I am not willing to extend the invitation to anyone else to the destination wedding. If there feelings are hurt it will be here. But they have been in our lives over a decade - they will understand our reasons when we explain. The how and when to explain part is the tricky part. When I see them individually I'm sure it will come up and we can explain to minimize hurt feelings. However, we don't see ALL of these people on a daily or even monthly basis. So I thought a celebration beforehand would be the best way to be able to connect with all the friends that are important and care about us. I also thought including them in a celebration would be nice since they won't get to share in our day on the day opposed to no celebration at all.

    Because this pre-wedding party is in lieu of coming to the wedding I don't want my friends to feel obligated to bring anything. I wanted a way to address that before they show up with gift in hand, or before my MoH is dodging calls all day during her full time job from people asking where we're registered.

    I hope this provides a bit more understanding for my decisions, even if it doesn't change your opinion whether I should do it or not.

    again @wildmagelet‌ thank you for your kindness. The world could use a bit more kindness and understanding.
    pineapplesmoothie
  • Jen4948 said:
    Answer: what you want to do is not a good idea.

    Thing is, everyone here told you why.  Nobody is the "etiquette police" around here.  Nobody is going to fine you, write you a ticket, press charges against you, book you, or throw you in jail. 

    Something you can't expect from anyone here is that we're going to endorse something that breaches etiquette or tell you how to do it.

    But what you can expect to happen is that everyone involved in this, whether in this forum or out, is going to have a much lower opinion of both you and your plans.  And even if no one says so to your face, you can expect that people will diss you behind your back and you will lose relationships.  Why?  Because you don't care about etiquette. 

    We're not responsible for the consequences of your choice not to care about etiquette and to act accordingly.  You're bringing all this on yourself.

    PS-Don't let the door smack you in the ass on your way out of this forum.

    I find your response hilarious. Thanks for making me smile.
  • chibiyui said:
    There is no fixing willful obtuseness.

    You and I completely agree on something! Yay for common ground!
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    I wish you the best of luck, and hope you have a wonderful wedding. 

    That said, I think throwing this party as a consolation prize for your friends not being invited to the wedding is a bit disrespectful to them. If they're so happy for you getting married, they must know you well enough to know about your condition and temperament. I love weddings, but would much rather not be invited then have the bride get sick with worry over finances and logistics. I'm also adult enough to know that just because I'm someones friend, doesn't mean I get invited to a small family wedding, and that's okay. I'd rather just go to a friends party and not a friends Bridal party when I'm not invited to the wedding. It just rubs in that I'm not invited to the wedding.

    I also give a gift to any friend when they get married, whether not I'm invited. If they're not registered, I'll give cash or a giftcard to a favorite restaurant or store unless I know their taste very well. Some people like to give gifts. If I was invited to a Bridal Bon Voyage, I would definitely bring a gift, because of the event. If I was told no gifts, I would send it afterwards. It's not worth stressing over.
    image



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    bridesontherunOliveOilsMomJCbride2015
  • I second @MariePoppy's "Bon Voyage Bonfire". 

    The thing is that a "shower" or "bridal" party is a gift giving event. It's not cool to basically ask people give you presents and then not invite them to your wedding. As a guest, I'd be happy for you - absolutely. But I'd feel a pretty hurt that you took my gift and didn't invite me to the big day. ESPECIALLY if I've known you "for decades". 

    I think the fact that you say you're super close with these people doesn't make it better, it actually makes it worse.

    I guess I don't really understand why you can't just have a non-gift giving event, like a "Bon Voyage Bonfire". Unless the goal is to squeeze as many presents out of your friends as possible, this seems like a no brainer...
    *********************************************************************************

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    perdonamilovedryn
  • I second @MariePoppy's "Bon Voyage Bonfire". 

    The thing is that a "shower" or "bridal" party is a gift giving event. It's not cool to basically ask people give you presents and then not invite them to your wedding. As a guest, I'd be happy for you - absolutely. But I'd feel a pretty hurt that you took my gift and didn't invite me to the big day. ESPECIALLY if I've known you "for decades". 

    I think the fact that you say you're super close with these people doesn't make it better, it actually makes it worse.

    I guess I don't really understand why you can't just have a non-gift giving event, like a "Bon Voyage Bonfire". Unless the goal is to squeeze as many presents out of your friends as possible, this seems like a no brainer...

    Why didn't you take the time to read even the original post before commenting? I don't want gifts is the entire point of this thread. I'm looking for a way to get that message to my friends before they show up to the party with one in hand. Do you have any advice on this?
  • Great idea! I'm now planning something for mine XXXX 
    bridesontherun
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers

    Great idea! I'm now planning something for mine XXXX 

    Just don't call it a shower. You should never through showers for yourself.

    But yes, it does sound like a kick ass AHR/party.
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    Anniversary
  • I don't understand why it's so hard to just not call it a "bridal" anything...I'm not an etiquette fiend by any means, but your main question seems to be:  How to make it clear we're not expecting gifts?  The easiest answer to this is:  Don't call it a bridal party or shower. 

    I understand that it's a celebration of your upcoming nuptials, but you already have said that people are really stoked for you and your FI.  They will acknowledge your wedding whether or not the title of your party is "bridal" whatever.  Like another pp said, maybe call it an engagement party?  This way, you're still acknowledging the wedding, but people are less likely to think to bring a gift. 

    Maybe I'm just missing why this is a problem?
    gingerbride82perdonamilovedrynKauris
  • I don't understand why it's so hard to just not call it a "bridal" anything...I'm not an etiquette fiend by any means, but your main question seems to be:  How to make it clear we're not expecting gifts?  The easiest answer to this is:  Don't call it a bridal party or shower. 

    I understand that it's a celebration of your upcoming nuptials, but you already have said that people are really stoked for you and your FI.  They will acknowledge your wedding whether or not the title of your party is "bridal" whatever.  Like another pp said, maybe call it an engagement party?  This way, you're still acknowledging the wedding, but people are less likely to think to bring a gift. 

    Maybe I'm just missing why this is a problem?

    It's not an engagement party any more than it's a bridal shower. I am not concerned with what to call it. I am concerned with how to word that gifts are not required or requested. This party is 3 weeks before the wedding, it's purpose is not to celebrate an engagement. I've read that even with an engagement party you need to word that there are no gifts required on the invitations. No matter what I call it... How do I word that we don't want people to bring gifts?

    Let me word my question a little differently so I can get the help I need...
    I'm having a party with all of our friends before the wedding in celebration. I do not wish to receive gifts. How do we communicate this to the guests beforehand?
  • @scribe95‌ because I already know what I'm calling it. That's not up for debate. I'm asking for an answer to solve my problem without worrying about etiquette or what to call it. Why must people be so single minded? If I don't take your answer you refuse to help? There is another answer out there, so you may not have it, I was hoping someone else would. Can we please move on now?
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    @scribe95‌ because I already know what I'm calling it. That's not up for debate. I'm asking for an answer to solve my problem without worrying about etiquette or what to call it. Why must people be so single minded? If I don't take your answer you refuse to help? There is another answer out there, so you may not have it, I was hoping someone else would. Can we please move on now?
    People associate anything wedding related with gifts. If you say it has anything to do with your wedding people will want to give you gifts.


    If you just throw a kick ass house party, people won't bring gifts. Except maybe booze. 
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    Anniversary
    gingerbride82
  • lockquote class="Quote" rel="bridesontherun">@scribe95‌ because I already know what I'm calling it. That's not up for debate. I'm asking for an answer to solve my problem without worrying about etiquette or what to call it. Why must people be so single minded? If I don't take your answer you refuse to help? There is another answer out there, so you may not have it, I was hoping someone else would. Can we please move on now?

    Why must you be so single minded about this? You asked how to word it so it wouldn't come across that you're asking for presents and you got solid answers. You don't like them. Your problem - not anyone else's. No one is going to support calling it a bridal shower because these words literally mean "gift giving event".

    You're just being stubborn and single minded (ironically as you accuse everyone else as being) so I don't think there is help for you if you ask for suggestions, hate all that are given and refuse to take advice... Yea sorry. Nothing else people can do for you...
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