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Pre-wedding Parties

(Looong) Long-Distance Bridal Shower

chels31691chels31691 member
Fifth Anniversary 10 Comments
edited March 2015 in Pre-wedding Parties
This post is in 3 parts.  
Part 1:  The Situation (having little to nothing to do with Mike Sorrentino and the Jersey Shore)
My best friend is getting married!  But things are a smidge more complicated for her than they were for me when I got married a few years ago.  The bride lives in a suburb of Chicago.  Her parents/sibling/friends live down near St. Louis.  Her relatives are in Wisconsin.  The groom just left for basic training for the Navy; they are going to have a court house wedding when he is finished in May and he will need to leave for Charleston, SC, within 24 hours.  The groom's family lives in northern Illinois and Arizona.  The groom will be living in SC for a few weeks until his lovely bride can join him.  Then, when things get settled down, they will have a formal ceremony and reception in SC in October.  So, the family and friends are scattered near and far, the actual wedding will have very low attendance, the bride and groom will have to live separately for a little while, and when they do get to live together, it will be even farther away from everyone, meaning everyone who can make it to the ceremony in October will have a LONG drive or expensive flight/hotel stay.
Part Two:  The Matron of Honor's Duty
This lady is my best friend.  We've been attached at the hip since 5th grade.  She was my maid of honor and did as much as she could long distance (again, Chicago-St. Louis) and was there for as much of my wedding planning as she could be (we were in school at the time).  She doesn't have a whole lot of wedding planning she can do at the moment, but she does know of things that will eventually be on her wedding registry.  I'm setting money aside now for our plane tickets and hotel for the ceremony and for a gift, but I'm also trying to set some money aside to do what I can in the way of pre-wedding celebrations.  Which leads us to...
Part Three:  The Plan
I want to plan a long-distance bridal shower.  While the groom is in basic, I want to send him a letter and ask him a few basic questions (the type you'd find on a bride/groom trivia game at a bridal shower) and get a list of relatives and friends he would invite (regardless of distance) to a shower.  I've already got my list for the bride, and I know most of the question answers (but I could sneak the rest out).  Here's what I'd like to do:  I want to mail each guest to the long-distance shower a small packet.  In the packet would be a bridal shower game trivia page (questions about the bride and groom), a piece of scrap book paper to write well wishes and advice for the couple on, a self-addressed stamped envelope to send back to me, and a $5 Target gift card.  I want the "party guest" to fill out the trivia game and write their advice/message/well-wish on the scrapbook page and send both of these back to me.  I'll check the trivia pages for answers and mail the top 3 winners a small gift.  The pages and scrap book messages I'll put into a book and mail to the bride.  I'll have instructions in the packages to each guest to call the bride on a certain day (her "shower" day to shower her with love!) and hopefully the book will be on its way to her or have already arrived by then.  With the gift card, I want to have a note with directions to access their registry and an addressed envelope for their new place in SC.  Anyone who attends the wedding and brings a gift will either have to pack it in the car with their luggage or pay to have it flown with them halfway across the country.  A lot of gifts are usually bought for the shower, and typically the one throwing the shower spends a fair amount of money on decorating and feeding the guest; since I don't have that expense, I thought it might be nice to use that same money set aside to help her wedding guests out if they want to order her gift online and send it directly to the couple instead of buying it and bringing it with them; the $5 isn't much, but it'll help with shipping the gift.  If they don't want to buy her anything from the registry, I'll request that they use the envelop addressed and stamped to their new address and send her the gift card to use on what she needs.

I JUST came up with this idea.  Not sure how feasible it is or how well it'll go over with everyone.  I want it to be a surprise for the bride until she starts gets the book, gifts/gift cards, and phone calls.  Thoughts?  Comments?  Suggestions?
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Re: (Looong) Long-Distance Bridal Shower

  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited March 2015

    Cliffnotes anyone?

    ETA: This woman is already married. Wives don't get bridal showers. Especially not fake ones, where there isn't actually a party, just a gift grab

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  • mikenbergermikenberger In a f'n cornfield member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Don't even need to read the rest. I stopped at "They're having a courthouse wedding and then want to have a formal ceremony and reception."

    Nope. Doesn't work like that. You get ONE wedding. One ceremony. ONE. UNO. ONE. Not two. ONE. So she doesn't get a shower. She's already married.

  • KatWAG said:

    Cliffnotes anyone?

    ETA: This woman is already married. Wives don't get bridal showers. Especially not fake ones, where there isn't actually a party, just a gift grab

    Cliff notes: military bride wants to have her cake (military spousal benefits) and eat it too (white wedding) so she's planning a courthouse wedding plus a PPD. OP is the MOH who wants to plan a remote "shower" and solicit gifts/cash.

  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    OP, I get that you want to do nice things for your friend, and it would be very kind of you to offer a shower for physical gifts if she were inviting all the people who she's inviting to her later party to her actual wedding at the courthouse.

    However, she gives up those things by making the adult decisions she's making. You'd only be helping her damage relationships with friends and family by throwing a party which tells people "I'm getting married, and you're not invited, but we expect you to give me money."

    southernbelle0915JCbride2015[Deleted User]
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    PPs have pretty much said it all and I agree that once she's a wife, the time for showers is over.  Who is she inviting to the actual wedding at the courthouse?  If, say, Mom, Sister, and Grandma are invited, you could plan a get-together with them.  But don't attempt this shower-by-mail for guests who were not invited to the wedding.  I would be so offended to receive that "invitation."

    Your friend has made certain choices.  By prioritizing the military benefits (which is a totally valid choice) she is foregoing the big "white wedding" and the parties that sometimes go along with that (also totally valid).  What's not okay is trying to have it both ways and soliciting gifts from people who are not invited to her wedding.

    I suggest you take the budget you have for these cards and Target gift cards and spend it on a really great gift for your friend.  And/or take her out for some bonding time.  I hope she understands that by having a small courthouse wedding she won't have a bridal shower (because... she won't be a bride anymore), but would really appreciate a heartfelt gift from you.
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    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Anyone invited to the shower must be invited to the actual wedding. (That's the part where they get married, not some fake party months later.) Unless she's planning on inviting people to the Courthouse, a shower is a no go. 

    If you really want to be a good friend, help her figure out how to plan her wedding so that people can attend it rather than getting married in private and having a fake event after the fact. 
  • I am also a military bride and I'd like to say that you guys aren't being very fair. I've grown up in the military life and know what you have to miss out on because of it. This girl, and any other girl, military or not, can have as many ceremonies as she wants, it's their choice to do whatever they want and I feel like telling them "that ship has sailed" or they don't get to have one is kind of rude. I may have missed it so correct me if I'm wrong but she never said the reason they were getting married at the courthouse was so she could get benefits. Even if their plan was to get married at the court house so she was covered, their original plan was to be husband and wife, and being engaged to an officer in the Navy (who is currently deployed and missing all of the planning) and the daughter an Army veteran, I understand this MOH and brides position fully. It sucks to be in this situation where you want to get your big princess wedding but you can't because the groom can't take the day off. It's more stressful than anything you could ever imagine to want that dream of a white dress a ceremony AND reception AND cake AND friends and family, but having to face the fact that 3 months, 1 month, two weeks before you say "I do" he could get deployed. So we make things work the best we can and plan things the best we can and grin and bear it when none of it works out. 
    Now as for keeping it a secret, thats their choice, and maybe they feel it's best to do things this way. And if the courthouse wedding is a secret then its a secret and if they want a big white wedding then they should be allowed to have a big white wedding if thats what they want. If they don't keep it secret and everyone knows they are married what makes their big white wedding any different than a vow renewal, even if it does happen a year before their first anniversary. No one HAS to come to the court house wedding and no one HAS to come to their pretty pretty princess day or whatever you guys are calling it but she should be allowed to have the white wedding she wants with the man she may already be married too, and no one has the right tell her she shouldn't and or that if her friend was a good friend she'd help her plan a real wedding instead of a courthouse wedding and event later. Because unfortunately for a lot of these military brides that later doesn't come. So why not seize the day get married and then celebrate it with friends and family when he's able to be there with her to do it?
  • Oh and part 3 sounds really cool and creative :)
  • "You didn't get to come to the wedding but here's $5 to mail her a present anyway. And PS you still don't get out of doing awful party games." Gross.

  • kewest88 said:

    Now as for keeping it a secret, thats their choice, and maybe they feel it's best to do things this way.

    Boxes, ugh, boxes.

    Having an idea doesn't necessarily mean it's a good one.  People are capable of having bad idea, you know.  Like this one. 

    [Deleted User]
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    This thread just came up in real life for me, only with a baby shower. SIL had the idea to do a virtual baby shower (which was just her sending letters soliciting money for a group gift for H and I, collecting the money, and then sending us the gift). I know she wanted to coordinate these known facts: 1) there are a lot of people in H's family who REALLY want to support us in some way, 2) availability for us to come to their city between now and baby's arrival is really limited, 3) I really think showers are boring and especially don't like parties that are about me and gifts.

    But I had to tell her that it might come across as H and I acting entitled to gifts just because we chose to have a kid, without these people even getting the fun of picking out a gift/seeing us/having a party in return... so nope. If people really can't handle not getting us baby shit, they'll figure out a way to do it.

    If you can't have a shower with physical presence and physical gifts (which you certainly can't do as a bridal shower with people not invited to the wedding), you don't get to ask for things.
  • AuroraRose41AuroraRose41 New York member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    PP's already covered the PPD aspect. If she does change her mind and invite more guests to the legal ceremony (wherever that may take place), I also think that you should plan a real shower where she can be there in person. Showers are supposed to be intimate events anyways; let her decide if it is too far for everyone and if she doesn't want it. But don't do the virtual thing with sending packets to people and mail things to her. If she can't be there, then she should decline it. 

    You want to talk about long distance? I live on the opposite coast of the U.S. from all of my family and most of my friends. My mother and aunt already mentioned wanting to throw me a shower as our wedding date gets closer. If I accept, then I will make sure that I am actually at that shower, even if it is on the other side of the country, and I will take responsibility for getting the gifts back to where FI and I live. 

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