Pre-wedding Parties

Shower Drama with FI and Mom

My FI and I were with my mom and she brought up the topic of planning my shower.  Based on the outcome of this conversation, I really wish she hadn't said anything in front of him since she has not discussed it privately with me at all, but that's beside the point.  My mom had said she is excited to start planning my shower and asked how many people I wanted to invite.  I responded that she should let me know her budget and I will give her a list based on that.  She then started talking about how big our family is and she would be struggling to figure out how many people we should have.  I told her I definitely wanted an intimate shower with only aunts and first cousins, and if room allowed, some close friends.  My mom then said well what about FI's side?  Do I need to ask his mom if she would like to help me plan?  Then she said she would feel horrible asking for money from FI's mom if she did want to plan together.  I said, in front of FI, that I did not plan on inviting anyone from his side beside his mom, sister and grandmom because I wanted to keep it as small as possible with only people who I am close with.  At this point FI got annoyed and questioned why I wouldn't want any of his family to be there.  I told him I would feel extremely uncomfortable having them at my shower and buying me gifts when I've met them all less than a handful of times in the last 5 years we've been together.  Our family dynamic is also very different.  He has a small family but sees them MAYBE once a year, where my family is huge and is constantly having parties and random get togethers year round. His whole argument was that it was OUR wedding, and he doesn't understand why his family isn't going to be invited.  He said although its a Bridal Shower, we are getting gifts for OUR house, for OUR life together.  I definitely see his point in this and am at a loss of words how to respond.  Although I'm not changing my mind in having his extended family there, I feel like I need to explain to him in a different way as to the tradition of what a Bridal shower is and the fact that typically people who are close to the bride are there?  And in this case, that's entirely true because I didn't want a huge party to begin with.  I also asked my mom not to bring up anything else about the shower until we are all on the same page.  

Re: Shower Drama with FI and Mom

  • My FI and I were with my mom and she brought up the topic of planning my shower.  Based on the outcome of this conversation, I really wish she hadn't said anything in front of him since she has not discussed it privately with me at all, but that's beside the point.  My mom had said she is excited to start planning my shower and asked how many people I wanted to invite.  I responded that she should let me know her budget and I will give her a list based on that.  She then started talking about how big our family is and she would be struggling to figure out how many people we should have.  I told her I definitely wanted an intimate shower with only aunts and first cousins, and if room allowed, some close friends.  My mom then said well what about FI's side?  Do I need to ask his mom if she would like to help me plan?  Then she said she would feel horrible asking for money from FI's mom if she did want to plan together.  I said, in front of FI, that I did not plan on inviting anyone from his side beside his mom, sister and grandmom because I wanted to keep it as small as possible with only people who I am close with.  At this point FI got annoyed and questioned why I wouldn't want any of his family to be there.  I told him I would feel extremely uncomfortable having them at my shower and buying me gifts when I've met them all less than a handful of times in the last 5 years we've been together.  Our family dynamic is also very different.  He has a small family but sees them MAYBE once a year, where my family is huge and is constantly having parties and random get togethers year round. His whole argument was that it was OUR wedding, and he doesn't understand why his family isn't going to be invited.  He said although its a Bridal Shower, we are getting gifts for OUR house, for OUR life together.  I definitely see his point in this and am at a loss of words how to respond.  Although I'm not changing my mind in having his extended family there, I feel like I need to explain to him in a different way as to the tradition of what a Bridal shower is and the fact that typically people who are close to the bride are there?  And in this case, that's entirely true because I didn't want a huge party to begin with.  I also asked my mom not to bring up anything else about the shower until we are all on the same page.  


    I have to side with your FI on this one.  Based on the way you said the conversation went down, if I were your FI, it would sound like you don't like my family and you don't want them around.  I do think you are being a little unfair to your FI's family, you seem to be penalizing them because they don't get together all the time.  You said his family isn't very big, how many aunts are we talking about?  How many cousins?  Your shower might even be a good place to get to know them a little better.

    Having said that, it is your shower and you can dictate the guest list or give a suggested list to the host.  I don't think your mom did anything wrong here, often FILs that the bride may not know very well, but are close to the groom, attend showers.

    For your mom, she can reach out to FMIL about co-hosting the shower.  FMIL can either offer to help or decline.  Your mom should just go about hosting the shower with her own budget and if she gets any offers of funds from FMIL then she can add in some things or get reimbursed for things she already paid for.  Also, if FMIL does want to help financially, she may also want more of her family there. 




    His side is small compared to mine- it would be 25 people vs. my side of 40.  Also, the comparison I made of each of our families was not to penalize his family, it was to show the family dynamic and why I feel uncomfortable taking gifts from people who I have met only a few times.    But I agree with your advice regarding the parents co-hosting.  My mom said she would rather plan it on her own (privately, later on in the evening), but she didn't know the etiquette of extending the invitation to co host with his mom.  If she does end up doing that and FMIL accepts, then of course I would make sure his family was invited.  But I am trying to avoid a large party to begin with : /

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Unfortunately, saying in your FI's presence that you didn't want to invite his relatives got his back up, and that wasn't a good idea.

    As PPs note, it's one thing to want a small shower, but excluding his relatives for size reasons was hurtful to him and could be hurtful to his relatives.

    I'd start by apologizing to your FI. If your mom wants to plan a larger shower than you feel comfortable with, that's one thing, but don't arbitrarily eliminate his relatives from the guest list simply because you haven't met them or aren't close to them yet, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable receiving gifts from people you don't know.

    After all, you may be receiving wedding gifts from these same people - and inviting them to your shower will give you one more chance to meet them that you might not otherwise have.
    OliveOilsMomILoveBeachMusicernursej
  • Yeah, I'm not sure you can explain this one.

    I get not wanting his family there. With the exception of his parents and sister, I've only met FI's family 3 or 4 times in the 5 years we've been together, and I'd find it very weird to have them at my shower - but then again, I'll only have 5 or so women from my family at my shower, and he has a much larger family. I'd be fine with having his family for a non-gift giving party, but a shower would be weird. If you don't want his family there because you want a small shower, I think that's ok.

    However, as @charlotte989875  said, I don't think 40 people is a small shower, and that wouldn't fly for me, either. I think you need to pick between something intimate (10 or so) and something where all the aunts and first cousins are invited. Once you get to the 40+ mark, you're just going to be opening a lot of presents (that alone will take well over an hour) and you're hardly going to be able to interact with anyone one-on-one anyway. 
  • Yeah, I'm not sure you can explain this one.

    I get not wanting his family there. With the exception of his parents and sister, I've only met FI's family 3 or 4 times in the 5 years we've been together, and I'd find it very weird to have them at my shower - but then again, I'll only have 5 or so women from my family at my shower, and he has a much larger family. I'd be fine with having his family for a non-gift giving party, but a shower would be weird. If you don't want his family there because you want a small shower, I think that's ok.

    However, as @charlotte989875  said, I don't think 40 people is a small shower, and that wouldn't fly for me, either. I think you need to pick between something intimate (10 or so) and something where all the aunts and first cousins are invited. Once you get to the 40+ mark, you're just going to be opening a lot of presents (that alone will take well over an hour) and you're hardly going to be able to interact with anyone one-on-one anyway. 

     Just to clarify, the 40 people on my side are only my aunts, my first female cousins, and my bridal party.  That number does not include any friends.  My mom is one of 12, so that is the reason why my family is so large.  If I were to keep it intimate and lower that number, I would need to only invite aunts, which I would be okay with that idea.  However, although 40 may not seem intimate to others, as it is only those immediately in my family, this is as intimate as we can get while including all close family members.  That's where I'm stuck in between a rock and a hard place : /  
  • scribe95 said:
    I have to disagree. I feel like numerous threads like this have said mom, grandma and siblings should be invited from FI's side to all showers but it is generally up to FI's side if they want to throw a shower for his side and invite everyone. There is absolutely nothing stopping someone on his side from offering. Then she would have two intimate showers. 
    Thank you for saying this, because I too have read this everywhere on various Knot threads.  
    Knottie1452098987SP29
  • edited June 2016
    Yeah, I'm not sure you can explain this one.

    I get not wanting his family there. With the exception of his parents and sister, I've only met FI's family 3 or 4 times in the 5 years we've been together, and I'd find it very weird to have them at my shower - but then again, I'll only have 5 or so women from my family at my shower, and he has a much larger family. I'd be fine with having his family for a non-gift giving party, but a shower would be weird. If you don't want his family there because you want a small shower, I think that's ok.

    However, as @charlotte989875  said, I don't think 40 people is a small shower, and that wouldn't fly for me, either. I think you need to pick between something intimate (10 or so) and something where all the aunts and first cousins are invited. Once you get to the 40+ mark, you're just going to be opening a lot of presents (that alone will take well over an hour) and you're hardly going to be able to interact with anyone one-on-one anyway. 

     Just to clarify, the 40 people on my side are only my aunts, my first female cousins, and my bridal party.  That number does not include any friends.  My mom is one of 12, so that is the reason why my family is so large.  If I were to keep it intimate and lower that number, I would need to only invite aunts, which I would be okay with that idea.  However, although 40 may not seem intimate to others, as it is only those immediately in my family, this is as intimate as we can get while including all close family members.  That's where I'm stuck in between a rock and a hard place : /  
    Sorry but regardless of why you need to invite all 40 of these people, 40 is NOT NOT NOT a small intimate affair. I think you're being incredibly selfish and hurtful to your FI and his family by not including them. Forty is not intimate. Another 10?  15? People will not make it any less intimate.

    Invite his family. Stop excluding the people who are going to become part of your family. You already know it has hurt your FI that you didn't want to include his family  this wedding is about bringing you two (and your families) together. Why on earth would you exclude them under the false pretenses of an "intimate" event when it is nowhere near intimate?
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    Knottie1452098987InLoveInQueensOliveOilsMomSTARMOON44
  • I'm going to disagree with some people.

    Your FI's mom and grandmothers and siblings should be invited as a courtesy.   That in no way shape or form means that you need to trim the guest list of your aunts and first cousins.    

    That doesn't mean that your shower is really intimate, but a shower for each side of the family is not out of the norm and is not a bad thing.

    FWIW, I had a shower for ea side.   My BMs, mom, MIL, grandmother and Godmother were at each shower.   Those were the only doubled up guests.   The showers were a one for his side  / one for her side thing.

    Now if you excluded the immediate family, I'd say you're being overly selfish.

    By saying that your mom has a budget and a guest list and wants those immediate family members there is NOT rude to DH's side.    

    If it's that important to DH's side that they be included in a shower then they can throw one.   I don't think it's fair to your mom to say that she needs to remove her sisters or nieces from the guest list to include people that she hasn't met.   It's a shower - not the wedding. 
    Knottie1452098987SP29AddieCakelc07
  • scribe95 said:
    I have to disagree. I feel like numerous threads like this have said mom, grandma and siblings should be invited from FI's side to all showers but it is generally up to FI's side if they want to throw a shower for his side and invite everyone. There is absolutely nothing stopping someone on his side from offering. Then she would have two intimate showers. 
    I agree with this but I also think OP's response was really harsh. She basically said that FI's family was, in some way, not worthy of being invited because they have different dynamics. My family is a lot like your FI's. Our get-togethers are rare and they are so precious because they are rare! I would be incredibly hurt to realize that my family is being cut out from celebrating our pending nuptials because they don't have the same opportunities to gather as DH's family does.

    OP, I think it's fine that you don't want FI's family at your family shower, but a more diplomatic response would have been "I really was looking forward to celebrating with those that I am close with - my aunts and cousins, but would be open to having a second shower with FI's family, if someone would like to host it." That would have taken the pressure off of you and put the ball in your FI's family court.

    Obviously, it's too late to respond like that now, but you can always apologize. Talk to your FI. Tell him you're sorry, you didn't mean to just cut out his family, and suggest a solution - whether that is having one huge shower that involves everyone, or being open to a second shower for his family.

    FWIW, all of my showers were split - one with DH's family, one with mine, and one with my friends, and it worked out really well.
    This, I don't think you're wrong in not wanting to invite more than his immediate family to your shower but it was how you said it that hurt his feelings. I know you didn't mean it that way but the way you said it made it sound like his family is less important than yours and that's obviously not true.

    I'd apologize to him and also stop using the excuse of it being intimate because we had 40 people total at our wedding so 40 is not an intimate shower. Honestly I wouldn't have described our wedding as intimate, it was small but intimate is like 10-15 people. If you are open to a second shower with his family let him know that and wait to see if someone offers to host it. Also if your mom doesn't want help from your FMIL then she shouldn't ask her, being invited but not asked to help might give her the idea to host one with her family.
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    InLoveInQueensOliveOilsMomCMGragain
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm with Scribe.

    It is not wrong to not invite his side of the family to the shower your mother is hosting. If someone on his side of the family wants to host one as well, they can offer. I would invite his mother and grandmother, and his sister(s) (if any) as a courtesy.

    No, your mother does not have to ask FMIL if she wants to co-host (unless she wants to). I do think if FMIL were to co-host then you would also have to accept her guest list as well (thus FI's side of the family).

    I understand wanting an intimate shower. To me, shower's are meant to be more intimate. Just because someone is invited to your wedding doesn't mean they must be invited to your shower, thus the argument "you might get gifts from these people at your wedding anyway" doesn't hold.

    I had a similar situation. I had a pretty small shower. I was unsure about inviting much of DH's family, as I had met his aunt and cousin once, and had not met any other extended family members. My parents are the ones who said I should invite them, as it would be rude not to. So I did. None but my MIL and SIL came anyway. My MOH and mom hosted the shower.

    I do think that your wording to/ in front of FI came out wrong. To him, it probably sounded like his family wasn't as important. I think you should apologize for the misunderstanding and let him know your mom is only able to host so many and you would happily accept the offer of a shower on his side, should someone offer it.
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I agree with Scribe. OP said she wanted to invite certain people from FI's side; he's claiming, "You don't want my family there." Not what she said at all. She even said she wanted it small/intimate. Who all from his family does he think needs to be included? 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    SP29
  • kaos16kaos16 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    I just want to add one thing to think about. If your reasons for not inviting his family include that you will feel uncomfortable taking gifts from them because you don't know them well, it might be better to invite them to the shower your mom is throwing. Imagine how much more awkward you would feel at a party thrown for you with only his side present!
    OurWildKingdom
  • AddieCake said:
    I agree with Scribe. OP said she wanted to invite certain people from FI's side; he's claiming, "You don't want my family there." Not what she said at all. She even said she wanted it small/intimate. Who all from his family does he think needs to be included? 
    For the sake of telling an abbreviated version of the actual story of what was said, my original post may have seemed as though I was cold, harsh, rude, etc. The actual conversation was much more of a conversation compared to "I said this and he said that."  One of my biggest peeves is clicking on a post on a thread and seeing a novel, so I took the main points that would help my case- who is supposed to be invited to a bridal shower hosted by mom, my vision was specific people from his family and my first cousins and aunts (looking back, intimate was not the appropriate word to use- I should have just used immediate family maybe?), and how to handle the situation when your FI assumed and expected all of his family to be invited.  

    To answer your question AddieCake, FI expected almost every one of his female family members that we are inviting to the wedding to be invited- his aunts and cousins, close family friends who he considers "aunts and cousins," and some (not all) of his parents' aunts and cousins.  
  • AddieCake said:
    I agree with Scribe. OP said she wanted to invite certain people from FI's side; he's claiming, "You don't want my family there." Not what she said at all. She even said she wanted it small/intimate. Who all from his family does he think needs to be included? 
    For the sake of telling an abbreviated version of the actual story of what was said, my original post may have seemed as though I was cold, harsh, rude, etc. The actual conversation was much more of a conversation compared to "I said this and he said that."  One of my biggest peeves is clicking on a post on a thread and seeing a novel, so I took the main points that would help my case- who is supposed to be invited to a bridal shower hosted by mom, my vision was specific people from his family and my first cousins and aunts (looking back, intimate was not the appropriate word to use- I should have just used immediate family maybe?), and how to handle the situation when your FI assumed and expected all of his family to be invited.  

    To answer your question AddieCake, FI expected almost every one of his female family members that we are inviting to the wedding to be invited- his aunts and cousins, close family friends who he considers "aunts and cousins," and some (not all) of his parents' aunts and cousins.  
    Is it possible that your FI just doesn't GET how showers work?? 
    ei34MairePoppy
  • Yes, that's what ended up being that case when we talked about it again later that night.  I explained that not every one invited to the wedding needs to be invited to the shower (I know, ppl invited to shower need to be invited to wedding).  

    But he was still upset at the fact that I would be having a shower without most members of his family.  Although I want his sister, mom and grandmom there (and I told him this), he was hurt that I wasn't going to have MORE of his family, because his whole argument that a "shower" is for US and OUR marriage, not just the bride.  So if that's the case, more of his family should be there.  

    So I never really got a response on this thread addressing how to handle that, which is what I was really looking for.  
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I would tell him that you apologize for upsetting him and that the issue is not his family, but you can't handle more people at the shower than are already invited. If that doesn't mollify him and he keeps pushing it, I would then tell him that ultimately it's up to whoever is hosting the shower, and not him or you, who is invited and say, "I'm sorry you're not happy about this, but I would really appreciate it if you would let it go now."
    SP29AddieCake
  • What about a couples shower if he wants to be so involved? Otherwise, I'm not sure the guest list is any of his business. 
    YogaSandyBostonLilly12
  • What about a couples shower if he wants to be so involved? Otherwise, I'm not sure the guest list is any of his business. 
    Even that's up to the hostess.   A couples shower could double the guest size or it may not be what she wanted to do.  

    He doesn't get to force it anymore than a bride does.  
    SP29
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