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Register Mandate on showers

Maybe I should have posted this to etiqette... but:

In the short while I've followed the boards (and added my not-so-valuable 2-cents) I've realized that the general consensus, at least here, is that if you don't have a large registry, you must decline showers.

Why exactly is that?  If someone doesn't want to register and would rather be surprised (even if it means duplicates), or receive a hand-me-down....why are they out of place?

Is it because of the word "shower?"  If the hosting friends/bridesmaids called it a bridal luncheon, would that be rude....as it leaves the onus of "should i bring a gift"  on the attendee?

I ask because while I understand showers are gift-giving parties, they also, to me, seem like a general female-centric small celebration of a 'girls day' (if you do have an all girls or mostly girls shower).  Aside from the gifts, there is something to be said by having the closest women in the bride's little community have a celebration of her wedding and rite of passage.... I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I think there is more to the shower than the gifts.  And if the gifts are not something the bride is as interested in, but would appreciate a luncheon or brunch or some other girly day....

why is wrong not to register?  How is it ruder to ask guests for to bring a recipe or a card than to direct them to wishlist?

Thanks in advance...

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