Wedding Etiquette Forum

"Envelope" Shower?

So here's the deal: my mom's family lives halfway across the country from me. They have asked to throw me a shower in the town where they live, but the problem of course is that at the end I'll have gifts (some of which may be large/heavy) that I need to get back home. They have brought up the idea of an "envelope shower" where they ship the gifts to my home, and at the shower I open envelopes with the gift receipts (NOT gift cards/cash/etc. that I've heard about at other "envelope showers").

Is this etiquette approved? I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be off the top of my head (other than potentially you may be shifting some shipping costs from the gifter to the bride), but I've never seen this done before and I'm not sure how it would play out. For context, this would be a very small group of women (8-15) who are all close family members.

If this is a no-go, does anyone have any alternatives to a traditional shower that I could suggest to eliminate the gift shipping dilemma? My MIL is hosting a larger traditional shower for me where I live, so frankly I could care less if this other soirée is a gift giving event, but the idea of a bridal tea/luncheon did not go over well and I am not keen on the idea of opening lingerie in front of my aunts, so the idea of a lingerie shower does not thrill me.

Re: "Envelope" Shower?

  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited March 2015
    Would you want to sit around for an hour watching someone opening envelopes? If you accept a shower, it is the bride's responsibility to get the gifts home, whether it is across town or across the country. All guests have to do is show up with the gifts. Watching someone open a picture of a gift isn't the same as watching someone open the actual gift so yes, it is against etiquette.

    Either pay for shipping of the items back to your house or see if your family would be interested in doing a bridal tea/brunch instead (which is a non-gift giving event).
    Amanderson1290
  • redoryxredoryx member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2015
    A shower is a gift giving event. People like seeing the actual gifts, not the gift receipt. When you accept a shower, this is one of the things you agree to. So I would either decline the shower all together, accept that you'll have to figure out how to get the gifts back home, or once again suggest a bridal tea/luncheon. 

    Edit: when this happened to my sister, my parents kept all the gifts at their house and then planned a trip to visit my sister between the shower and wedding and drove there with everything in the car. Is there anyone who'd be willing to do that for you? Or is that an option for yourself, to drive? Even if just one way?
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    Amanderson1290
  • HeffalumpHeffalump member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited March 2015
    I got married in the south*, but my shower was in Chicago.  The thing is, everyone knew that I was coming from out of town, so no one gave me anything huge that I would have to lug back home.  My mom and I planned to ship any large items back, but it wasn't necessary.  People who gave bulky gifts (cookware set, crockpot, china) shipped them directly to my home address.  Because they had common sense. 

    ETA:  I should add that the guests knew I was flying.  If I had driven, it would have been a different story.

    *ETA2:  I lived in the south at the time.  That was not clear.  More coffee, please.
    MairePoppyAmanderson1290
  • Watching a bride open envelopes of gift receipts sounds terrible. 

    I received a shower "invite" in the mail yesterday (a little bit different circumstances and far more of a rude/bad idea) that requested we send gift cards across the country. Then the MOG will bring everything from there to this part of the country when she comes here to visit the bride and groom.

    So we wouldn't actually get to go and bring a gift and see the bride and groom open these gifts. I laughed, FI said "that's fucking dumb and rude" and we immediately agreed that we would send nothing. 

    The point of a shower is to see the bride (or bride AND groom, ya know, if it's a couples shower) open gifts.  

    I like the idea PP suggested of having a special registry of just small items. You could also register for stuff like sheets and towels that would be easy to pack into an extra suitcase. Or decline the shower. 

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  • Yeah I definitely think that since these people know you'll have to transport the gifts, they likely won't be buying you a tandem bicycle or new coffee table, and agree it would be miserably boring to watch you read items off receipts for the whole party. Trust them to get you small things that you can fit in checked baggage on the way home, or return anything huge and repurchase it when you get home.

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  • Heffalump said:

    I got married in the south*, but my shower was in Chicago.  The thing is, everyone knew that I was coming from out of town, so no one gave me anything huge that I would have to lug back home.  My mom and I planned to ship any large items back, but it wasn't necessary.  People who gave bulky gifts (cookware set, crockpot, china) shipped them directly to my home address.  Because they had common sense. 

    ETA:  I should add that the guests knew I was flying.  If I had driven, it would have been a different story.

    *ETA2:  I lived in the south at the time.  That was not clear.  More coffee, please.

    I was a guest at a shower for a friend that lived across the country but they hosted the shower in our home town. Knowing that I got her a bunch of smaller items that could easily fit into a suite case (Artsy apron I got at a craft fair with kitchen towels and utensil). No one told me to get a smaller gift or that she was flying in... I was her friend and knew all that and used common sense.
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    Anniversary
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Thanks all.  Agreed that explicitly asking people to ship all the gifts to my place is not the best plan.  Driving is not an option (it's 15 hours one way, which I have neither the time off of work nor the desire to do), so I think I'll just gently steer the hosts away from calling this an "envelope" shower and make sure that I have plenty of small things on my registry.  As I said, it's a small group of family, so everyone will know that I'm flying in.  If anyone wants to get me something big, they'll either figure out on their own that they should ship it to my house directly or I'll ship it myself after the shower.



    One thing you might be able to do is bring nesting suitcases.  Put all of your belongings in the smaller suitcase and then place it inside of the larger suitcase.  Then you have an empty suitcase to fly home with.  I did this before when visiting a friend studying abroad to help her start bringing home all of her stuff, so she didn't have to pay to ship it.  This was before airline bag fees, so make sure the potential excess cost would be worth it!

    thisismynickname2ShesSoColdMairePoppy
  • When my BFF had a baby shower across the country almost everyone shipped the gifts to her house (without being told). I bought her a high chair printed the receipt and wrapped it with an outfit so she'd have something to open. She did receive a few items that were too large to take back on the plane we returned them before she left and then purchased the exact same thing when she got home. 
  • Heffalump said:

    I got married in the south*, but my shower was in Chicago.  The thing is, everyone knew that I was coming from out of town, so no one gave me anything huge that I would have to lug back home.  My mom and I planned to ship any large items back, but it wasn't necessary.  People who gave bulky gifts (cookware set, crockpot, china) shipped them directly to my home address.  Because they had common sense. 

    ETA:  I should add that the guests knew I was flying.  If I had driven, it would have been a different story.

    *ETA2:  I lived in the south at the time.  That was not clear.  More coffee, please.

    I was a guest at a shower for a friend that lived across the country but they hosted the shower in our home town. Knowing that I got her a bunch of smaller items that could easily fit into a suite case (Artsy apron I got at a craft fair with kitchen towels and utensil). No one told me to get a smaller gift or that she was flying in... I was her friend and knew all that and used common sense.
    Good idea. I get a free checked bag on United and FI may be coming out with me and would get a free bag too, so I think we'll both be bringing out big empty suitcases.
  • sarahuflsarahufl New York member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Meh, I got reamed out about this same thing last year when I first came on TK. I do get it- showers are gift giving events, but sometimes it just isn't practical to get a bunch of physical gifts and transport them.

    I live in NY, my family is in north Florida and my mom's friends are always throwing similar showers for all their daughters (we are all roughly the same age and have gotten married/had babies recently). There was no declining the shower (plus, I didn't want to- I love these women and were so honored that they wanted to celebrate my marriage).

    I got a lot of little things that represented the actual gift (coffee for a coffee maker, a small fork for a set of silverware) and everything was shipped directly to my apartment. It was a wonderful shower and a lot of fun. Nobody was offended.

    Plus, when I got home, H got to open all the gifts and had no idea what they were. So it was fun for him, too.

    Bottom line, I suppose, is to know your crowd. My mom has a core group of about 10 female friends who do this all the time and wouldn't dream of taking no for an answer. None of them were offended and everyone had a blast. Plus, there was cake. 

    Do what makes you comfortable, but keep in mind the crowd who is hosting and attending. It may not be as offensive as PPs have said it would be. 

    (I know this is a very unpopular opinion on this board, so sue me.)
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    simcal18MairePoppy
  • sarahufl said:

    Meh, I got reamed out about this same thing last year when I first came on TK. I do get it- showers are gift giving events, but sometimes it just isn't practical to get a bunch of physical gifts and transport them.


    I live in NY, my family is in north Florida and my mom's friends are always throwing similar showers for all their daughters (we are all roughly the same age and have gotten married/had babies recently). There was no declining the shower (plus, I didn't want to- I love these women and were so honored that they wanted to celebrate my marriage).

    I got a lot of little things that represented the actual gift (coffee for a coffee maker, a small fork for a set of silverware) and everything was shipped directly to my apartment. It was a wonderful shower and a lot of fun. Nobody was offended.

    Plus, when I got home, H got to open all the gifts and had no idea what they were. So it was fun for him, too.

    Bottom line, I suppose, is to know your crowd. My mom has a core group of about 10 female friends who do this all the time and wouldn't dream of taking no for an answer. None of them were offended and everyone had a blast. Plus, there was cake. 

    Do what makes you comfortable, but keep in mind the crowd who is hosting and attending. It may not be as offensive as PPs have said it would be. 

    (I know this is a very unpopular opinion on this board, so sue me.)
    Sounds like our situations are very similar. I also get where people are coming from, but I was a bit surprised by some of the strong reactions here. Yes, a shower is about opening gifts, but it's also about spending time with the bride (and out of town family in this instance), and sharing in the pre-wedding excitement with some good food and refreshments. To me, the gift opening part of the shower is the most boring part.

    I think realistically when it's a small group of women who are literally all family, there's very little difference between putting "envelope shower" or whatever on the invites and my mom verbally telling my aunts/cousins that I'm flying in and won't be able to take big gifts back with me. I don't think that either is an egregious etiquette fail. I just don't want people to feel unduly pressured to ship gifts, and I don't want it to come across as "bostonbride says to ship all her big loot straight to Boston because she doesn't need you to see it and can't be bothered to do it herself."
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    here's a solution...Register at a store that that has a physical location both in the city of the shower and were you live. After the shower return the gifts that were purchased of the registry, rebuy them and pay for shipping to your home address. Sometimes the store will give you free shipping, check with store before you go. Or you could return them get a store credit and then repurchase the gifts in your home city. Any off registry gifts you'll have to transport or ship yourself.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited March 2015

    I attended a shower similar to @sarahfl 's shower. The bride was living on the west coast; the shower was on the east coast, where she grew up. It was a huge shower. Her bm's, as their gift to her, promised to cover the cost of shipping the gifts that she couldn't transport. One group of friends drew pictures of their gifts or wrote clues in the cards as to what the gifts were for the bride to guess the gift. This is a know your friends type of activity, I guess, but I thought it was fun. Another guest bought a negligee, bottle of champagne and toasting flutes -items the bride could leave at her mother's house, since she would be leaving from the east coast for her honeymoon. Some of us bought gift cards. Some of us shipped our gifts via registry. One woman brought a plate to represent the place setting she bought and shipped to the bride's home.

    The key, here, is that each of us came up with our own solution to help the bride get her gifts home. No one asked anyone to ship or give gift cards etc...IMO @bostonbride2015, you shouldn't worry about this. Let the host plan the shower. Let the close family members and friends figure out how they want to present their gifts. If someone brings a large gift to your shower, return it and repurchase it at the other end.


                       
    [Deleted User]
  • here's a solution...Register at a store that that has a physical location both in the city of the shower and were you live. After the shower return the gifts that were purchased of the registry, rebuy them and pay for shipping to your home address. Sometimes the store will give you free shipping, check with store before you go. Or you could return them get a store credit and then repurchase the gifts in your home city. Any off registry gifts you'll have to transport or ship yourself.

    This is exactly what I did. My husband's family really wanted to host a shower. He is one of the only family members who has moved away from his hometown so they are not used to having to think about traveling for a shower. I brought an extra suitcase and packed what I could. Everything else got returned to Macy's who shipped the same gift to my house for free, or to Target which gave us store credit and we re-bought everything at our local store. I am sure other stores have similar policies. This worked out well and was way better than trying to ship all the gifts myself.
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