Pre-wedding Parties
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bridal shower - who to invite

A slight variation on the usual theme (and VERY long, sorry)....
My aunt has offerred to host a shower for me, which was actually something I didn't want at all, but I've determined that I can't really turn her down. I already turned down a shower (but not for people invited to the wedding!) offered by my FSMIL, although now she's saying she wants to have a party for both of us, to invite their friends, so I'm not sure it was ever really a shower she wanted to do in the first place...Anyway, so now I've agreed to this shower (which will be in the city my aunt lives in, which is across the country from where I live, although I do have family in the area), and the next huge issue is who to invite (keeping in mind I do not want a shower at all, and so am very resentful of all of this).

The problem is there are lots of conflicts in my mom's family. So apparently my aunt would not want to invite two of my other aunts and my cousin, since there is this bad blood. But, to me these are all family and are all invited to my wedding. It also doesn't help that for whatever reason all the communication about who to invite goes through my mom - she doesn't want me to talk to my aunt for some reason, so I can't get a straight answer. So, I've decided to just list the people my aunt hates on the guest list, and hopefully that will not piss her off too much. But the alternative is to leave them off to support her, and then she'll assume I hate them too, which is far from the truth. So I was thinking it was appropriate to invite the women in my family - mom, sister, aunts, grandmother, adult cousins (about 10 total), regardless of where they live (although almost all of them are within a couple hours of the shower, which is many times closer than I am to it!). I definitely understand that some will not be able to come, and I don't even care about the gifts (like I said, I do not even want this shower - we have spent hours registering for things, so people can be happy and buy us stuff, but it all just makes me very uncomfortable). But anyway, it seems only courteous to invite every one of them, and not arbitrarily draw the line when they are all family and I would say equally related (even though I am closer to some of them than others). My question is, is that wrong, or should I, for example, leave off my aunt and cousin on my dad's side, since I haven't seen them in five years? It seems more appropriate to invite them.

The next issue is my fiance's family...I am definitely inviting my FMIL and FSMIL (they'd have to travel, not quite as far as me, but still travel, to attend), even with the awkwardness of saying I was too busy to travel to where she was for a shower, yet here I am traveling even farther for this one, as well as his sister-in-law (although I doubt she'll be able to come). It never occurred to me to invite his step-sisters on either side (he did not grow up with these step-sisters at all, and we didn't even go to his step-sister's wedding last year, although I have spent some time with them, at family get togethers, at least for the ones on his dad's side). Is it wrong to not invite them (it is two step-sisters, and two step-sisters-in-law on his dad's side)? He's saying I should maybe at least invite them (on that side) but not worry about the ones on his mom's side (who I've only met once, and he does not know well at all)? To me that seems beyond what is typically invited to a shower, but I could be wrong.

So, finally, this shower is a luncheon on a Friday. So it is not convenient to anyone who works (I have to take a day off work, and fly in at 1:30 in the morning to avoid taking two days off work!). And, it is near where I grew up, but I haven't lived there in 15 years, so am only inviting a few friends from that area to the wedding. And actually, outside of family, there are not that many friends that I am inviting to the wedding at all. So I was thinking for the shower of just inviting the three friends (plus my brother's girlfriend) who are kind of in the area of the shower and leaving it at that. I can't see inviting people from across the country, and I don't think anyone I know would be offended at being left out. Honestly, I don't have many close friends anyway. So, is it wrong to choose my non-family guest list (of four!) by proximity? One of them is my oldest friend, and the others I've also known for a pretty long time. I'm almost at the point where I'm thinking just invite the family only as that is conflict enough to deal with!

Any ideas are welcome. I know it's wrong to be so resentful of this shower, but I'm finding it very stressful of having to deal with it, and the extra travel/cost I need to now find a way to fit in one month before my wedding.

Re: bridal shower - who to invite

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    edited December 2011
    Your post is very confusing. Why didn't you just tell your aunt that you will not be able to travel across country for the shower? You would have saved yourself alot of aggravation, without telling your aunt that you didn't like her specific plans.

    You were correct in turning down a shower that would include people who would not be invited to your wedding. That would be very rude.

    If your fi wants his step-sisters to be included, they should be invited. Basically, you should let him decide who will be invited from his side. So you don't have to concern yourself with that issue, at all.

    As for the issues in your own family, don't jump into the middle of anyone's problems. The guest list for the shower should include your closest freinds and relatives. Give your aunt your guest list. Hopefully, she will invite the other aunts to the party. If she doesn't, I'm sure they will know it was her decision, especially when they receive your wedding invitation. You could also make an effort to get together with them for lunch or something while you are in the area.

                       
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    edited December 2011
    Yeah, I figured my description might be confusing...

    Basically, I explained to my mom (keep in mind, for whatever reason, she wanted to be the middle man and thought it best I did not contact my aunt, and I didn't want to stir things up more by bypassing that...) that what my aunt was asking really wouldn't work well for me (besides me not wanting the shower at all) given that I didn't really have the capacity (time/money/stuff going on at work) to fit in an unexpected trip. So she went back to my aunt and explained these constraints (or so I assume) and then came back to me with just alternate dates (still a Friday). I specifically asked if at this point (now we've been 'negotiating' for a week or two) I could graciously decline my aunt's offer (even though it is very generous of her) given that this really wasn't working for me, but my mom thought that would not be appropriate - my aunt wouldn't understand (since from her perspective this is a great thing and it shouldn't be a problem). Yes, I could have lied (and said I was completely booked on every possible date), but that seemed wrong. So basically inconvenience was not considered a valid excuse, so here I am.

    I think I'll just finalize the guest list and send it off, and see what happens. It certainly can't get anly worse, and maybe I'll even be pleasantly surprised at the event!
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    edited December 2011
    Try to get an explanation from mom about why you shouldn't contact your aunt. Unless she has a valid reason (which I can't imagine), you should talk to her directly.

    By the way, my mom had that kind of family, too. You never knew who would be speaking to who at any given moment. But usually they would put their differences aside for an important family event. Then they went right back to squabbling afterwards, with plenty of new things to argue about. Some people just enjoy fighting.
    God bless them.

    I hope things work out well for you.
                       
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