Pre-wedding Parties

Is it ever okay to decline a shower hosted by your future in-laws?

Background:
The day my fiance proposed was the happiest day of my life... until we broke the news to his family.  Although his mother knew for over a year that he wanted to marry me and knew for over two months that he would be proposing very soon her reaction was less than appealing.  Her reaction was a very simple monotone "That's a pretty ring" and then she changed the subject to cats (of all things!).  Next we told his sister who was clearly surprised and said an obligatory "Congratulations" with a slight pat on the back before she too changed the subject (this time to her problems at work).  In both cases nothing more was said about the subject.  The saving grace was his brother's overwhelming support and reaction to our news!  :)

I try not to take their reactions personally because I know their issue is not with me.  They're very protective of my fiance because he was married before and his ex-wife walked out on him.  They've also experienced divorce within the family (his father left his mother when he was young).  So basically they are two very broken, very hurt women who don't trust easily.  My FMIL still does not ask me anything about myself or my daily life - I'm not sure if she just doesn't want to get attached to me for fear I'll leave or what?  The thing is she's super generous to everyone else around her so I really can't figure it out...

My Question:
After their less than thrilling responses, and the fact that they still have not taken a vested interest in our upcoming wedding I'm am worried about a potential offer to host a shower (if they even offer of course).  I cannot seem to let go of my feelings that they "tainted" what was the happiest day of my life thus far - it still hurts.  If they do offer to host a shower I would like to politely decline and have discussed this with my fiance on the grounds that I don't want any 'obligatory' showers, I think showers are a joyous occasion and should be thrown for celebratory purposes not obligatory purposes.  He agrees with me (given he wasn't thrilled with their attitudes either and he feels my hurt feelings are valid).  

So...IF they do offer do you think it's okay for me to politely decline??

Re: Is it ever okay to decline a shower hosted by your future in-laws?

  • edited December 2011
    A shower can always be politely declined. 

    I also don't know that you're being totally fair.  Wedding talk should be limited.  I'm getting married myself, and FI's sister just got engaged, and I had zero interest in talking wedding (mine or hers) last time I saw her.  People just tend to not care a ton about weddings.  It's probably not personal, and odds are you're reading more into their reactions than you think.  They probably weren't surprised by the news, so I think odds are you built up the moment in your head more than how these things actually work out.  

    I know there is a decent chance that you're going to come back on here and try to convince me how terrible they are, but as long as they give their blessing for the wedding, that's about all you can expect from a family member.  They probably do have a lot going on in their life, so don't expect everything from here on out to revolve around wedding talk.  Remember, even though you're now a bride-to-be, you still need to maintain and build relationships with these people.  We see a lot of girls around here who treat their friends terribly and use the wedding as an excuse.  

    BTW, what does "vested interest" in the wedding mean?  You might want to look up the definition before you use it in the future.  
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    edited December 2011
    It's okay to politely decline any shower. But I'd really think twice about it, if she does offer.
    To me, it sounds like your FMIL is a very reserved woman. If that is her personality type, don't hold it against her. Or she possibly could have concerns about her son getting hurt again. If she offers to throw a shower for you, take it as a sign that she really is happy about your upcoming marriage.



                
  • kworrallkworrall
    First Comment
    member
    edited December 2011
    Thank you so much for your replies!

    You are correct marrisa_claire, I would like to comment to your post but definitely not to convince you they're terrible people.  I don't believe they're terrible at all and I actually tried to present the situation as evenly as possible by explaining the issues that likely were impacting their responses. 

    I guess I had just thought that this would give them an opportunity to start communicating more with me (as you will note in my first post I said "My FMIL still does not ask me anything about myself or my daily life - I'm not sure if she just doesn't want to get attached to me for fear I'll leave or what?"  It's not the wedding talk specifically, it's a personal interest to get to know me or open up to me.   

    I wasn't trying to vent or say they're terrible people.  I truly just wanted to give some background as to why I was contemplating politely declining a shower.  I don't want them throwing a shower out of obligation and wanted some advice on whether it was okay to politely decline.  I have not talked to my close friends about this because I am trying very hard to form relationships with my FILs- family is very important to me - and I would hate to say something to a friend about them that I would regret later.  

    I'm sorry if my post came off as complaining about them as that was not my intent. I wrote it late at night when I couldn't sleep because I've been worrying about it.  You are correct though - I had built up their reactions to our proposal in my head given my family's reactions were so wonderful.  My co-workers even had better reactions.  But I need to let that part go but unfortunately I can't change the fact that it still hurt.

    Thank you for your opinion that I can politely decline.

    And I had to laugh a little at the wedding talk discussion because my girl friends and co-workers often make fun of me for not being more excited and talking more about my wedding details  :) 
  • kworrallkworrall
    First Comment
    member
    edited December 2011
    Thank you MariePoppy!  I am truly hopeful that I will see signs that she is happy about our marriage, and if I do see that then I won't have any reservation about accepting the shower. 

    And you're right, she is a reserved woman with great fears of her son being hurt.  I try very hard not to hold it against her, in fact my fiance is very pleased with all the efforts I've made to bond with his mother.


    In Response to Re: Is it ever okay to decline a shower hosted by your future in-laws?:
    It's okay to politely decline any shower. But I'd really think twice about it, if she does offer. To me, it sounds like your FMIL is a very reserved woman. If that is her personality type, don't hold it against her. Or she possibly could have concerns about her son getting hurt again. If she offers to throw a shower for you, take it as a sign that she really is happy about your upcoming marriage.
    Posted by MairePoppy
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: Is it ever okay to decline a shower hosted by your future in-laws?:
    Thank you so much for your replies! You are correct marrisa_claire, I would like to comment to your post but definitely not to convince you they're terrible people.  I don't believe they're terrible at all and I actually tried to present the situation as evenly as possible by explaining the issues that likely were impacting their responses.  I guess I had just thought that this would give them an opportunity to start communicating more with me (as you will note in my first post I said "My FMIL still does not ask me anything about myself or my daily life - I'm not sure if she just doesn't want to get attached to me for fear I'll leave or what?"  It's not the wedding talk specifically, it's a personal interest to get to know me or open up to me.    I wasn't trying to vent or say they're terrible people.  I truly just wanted to give some background as to why I was contemplating politely declining a shower.  I don't want them throwing a shower out of obligation and wanted some advice on whether it was okay to politely decline.  I have not talked to my close friends about this because I am trying very hard to form relationships with my FILs- family is very important to me - and I would hate to say something to a friend about them that I would regret later.   I'm sorry if my post came off as complaining about them as that was not my intent. I wrote it late at night when I couldn't sleep because I've been worrying about it.  You are correct though - I had built up their reactions to our proposal in my head given my family's reactions were so wonderful.  My co-workers even had better reactions.  But I need to let that part go but unfortunately I can't change the fact that it still hurt. Thank you for your opinion that I can politely decline. And I had to laugh a little at the wedding talk discussion because my girl friends and co-workers often make fun of me for not being more excited and talking more about my wedding details  :) 
    Posted by kworrall

    Glad to help - I think you'll find this along the way that it's best to keep wedding talk to a mum and only chat about it when someone asks you about how it's coming. If you ever have any other q's, you can always send me a message!

  • Kristin789Kristin789
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
    member
    edited December 2011
    First, it would be highly unlikely, and against traditional etiquette, for MOG to host a shower - see below, from hallmark.com:

    Who should host?
    The maid or matron of honor, unless she willingly gives up the hosting privileges to another close friend of the bride. Usually the mothers of the bride and groom do not host the bridal shower or are involved in its planning.

    Now, MOG and FOG could host an engagement party, to introduce you to FI's extended family.  In your case, this would probably be very, very, very unlikely.
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