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Bridal Shower Dilemma! URGENT! Need Advice!

Hi,

This is so long and I'm sorry there is lots to say but please read through. I'm open to all advice just stuck at how to proceed. And if I’m a whiney bridesmaid just tell me.

I'm one of three bridesmaids in a wedding in two months. I know the bride but don't know any of her friends, none of her family, sort of know the groom, know none of the groom’s family, only met each other bridesmaid once. There is no maid of honour.  As a background I was a bit surprised when I was asked and actually thought maybe she doesn't have many other female friends but recently met some of her childhood friends (who expressed their surprise I was a bridesmaid). All of the bridesmaids don't live in the bride's town or the town where the wedding, showers and bachelorette will take place. I am the closest to that town at 2 hrs away.

The bridesmaids have already discussed the bachelorette and planning has started for that.

In late December/early January I was told by the bride that an aunt is hosting a shower. I was then told the date and that a church hall had been booked. This week I found out that actually the aunt is hosting the shower for the bride's father's side of the family. The other shower where the date and hall had been booked is actually to be hosted by the bridesmaids and will include the groom's family, bride's mother's family and bride's friends.  In fact the bride only included myself and one of the other bridesmaids (groom's sister) in the "you're hosting" email. She says she excluded the third bridesmaid cause she lived very far away and couldn't attend.

I sent the groom's sister (bridesmaid) an email that asked if she could take the lead on planning the shower (since a large part was her family and I know no one besides the bride in this wedding) then I could take the lead on planning the bachelorette.

The groom's sister said she doesn't want to take the lead on anything as she lives so far away. She said she could send out an email invite to help and could help with other planning if needed. So that leaves me and the bride's mom who booked the hall.

I sent out a feeler email to the sister and mom just to figure out how much had been done. Among the questions were how many people are invited and how do we want to break down cost. I only heard back from her mom to say she paid for the hall, a guest list had been sent to the bride (but no mention of how many invited) and we could do coffee, punch and nachos. I heard no response from the sister.

So I have the type of personality that if I'm going to do something I want to do it the best way I know how. And I was raised that shower invites are always snail mailed (as are thank yous), a shower has multiple finger food options with coffee and tea, the bride never plans her own shower, a favour for guests is bonus.

I was unsure of how to react to email invites and nachos for the shower since I don't know any of the people invited. Perhaps that is how they do it in their crowd.

Anyways, since I heard minimal from her mom and nothing from the sister (who's side of the family is attending) and after multiple lengthy conversations with my mom I called the bride.

I explained that I felt unable to plan the shower as I knew so little of basic details and got very little from the other two involved. I would gladly help whoever did plan the shower. And I would continue to plan the bachelorette party. At this time I found out it would be about 50 people. I definitely can’t afford to fully pay for this shower and no one has mentioned money at this point.

She seemed understanding and said she'd call the sister. She kept say 'I'll find someone to help you" and I kept repeating "I won't plan the shower I will only help". I also told her the extra cost of hosting a shower was a surprise. I don't even know who to call if I wanted to get family help. If this were any of my close friends or family I’d know exactly who to call to ask to bring a dessert tray or who could help me make coffee during the afternoon.

At this time I emailed the sister bridesmaid about my discussion with the bride and to say I can’t organize planning but can help out with tasks as needed (essentially what the sister told me) and will continue to work on the bachelorette.

Today I got quite the email from the sister that included how I really over reacted, how I caused undue stress to the bride and that I offended her (the sister). She said it is no big deal and with 3 people planning there will be lots of ideas (but in my experiences ideas don't lead to things getting done). She signed off with the statement “this is not a good way to get things started”.

Then I got an email from the bride saying it should be no problem to plan if we all work together and here is the list of people to invite.

So...now I’m at a loss for what to do.

The crazy thing is that if I backed out of the wedding (which I have considered before as there have been a few minor events that I have questioned why I’m part of the wedding including a few months ago I got a public scolding from the groom in a restaurant for joking about hiring a stripper for the bachelorette – those that know me know I have zero desire to see a stranger’s genitalia and that when it comes down to it I follow all rules as I’m that scared of authority) I would likely never cross paths with any of these people again. That is how little we have in common. The only one I could run into would be the bride as we work in the same field and could see each other at professional events. Plus it makes me feel like a horrible person to entertain the thought of backing out of a wedding and what people would say.

Well, any help/thoughts/advice/constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated!

 Thank you!

Re: Bridal Shower Dilemma! URGENT! Need Advice!

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    AJuliaNJAJuliaNJ member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited March 2013
    This is awful. She has no right to tell you that you have to host something. A host is supposed to offer, and if no one offers, she just doesn't have a shower. I would talk to the bride and make it very clear that you are unable to host the shower. Let her know you had no idea this would be part of your role and you are not able to take this responsibility on right now, that it is not even remotely a possibility. Basically what you are already doing, but you have to just continue to repeat yourself despite how guilty she might make you feel. Don't engage in any discussion about it. After each thing she says, just say something like, "I understand, but it is just not possible for me to host this event." Express that you are able to help out with favors or whatever else, but you are not going to take the lead. If she is not understanding, I would completely back out of the wedding. It doesnt' sound like you are very close to her anyway. Being a bridesmaid should be fun, not stressful. 

    Keep reminding yourself that you are completely in the right here. 
  • Options
    Thank you for your thoughts. I wasn't sure if I was being a complete snot. I thought I made it clear when I spoke with her on the phone on Friday.

    Based on her latest email of "you can all work together" to do this I think I'm going to have to play the passive aggressive bit and I hate that as I prefer to be upfront with people. It also bugs me cause if my name is going to be tied to this I would like to be something I feel good about. 

    Ultimately it really isn't about planning a party. I could do this in a snap. It is that I can't afford to do this and no one has talked cost, I don't know who I can call for help for even basic things like making coffee or washing dishes and that I was voluntold.

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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_bridal-shower-dilemma-urgent-need-advice?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:d0f831d3-da5f-4f59-983c-fadca3db723cPost:94ea39f1-1cfc-43e5-b9d2-ff00f881d9fb">Re: Bridal Shower Dilemma! URGENT! Need Advice!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thank you for your thoughts. I wasn't sure if I was being a complete snot. I thought I made it clear when I spoke with her on the phone on Friday. Based on her latest email of "you can all work together" to do this I think I'm going to have to play the passive aggressive bit and I hate that as I prefer to be upfront with people. It also bugs me cause if my name is going to be tied to this I would like to be something I feel good about.  Ultimately it really isn't about planning a party. I could do this in a snap. It is that I can't afford to do this and no one has talked cost, I don't know who I can call for help for even basic things like making coffee or washing dishes and that I was voluntold.
    Posted by cdmc[/QUOTE]

    <div>Since you hate to be upfront with people, it is just perfect that she wrote this to you in an e-mail. You should say, "I may not have made this clear on our phone call. I cannot host this shower." It is blunt, but it sounds like she needs blunt.</div>
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    The bride shouldn't have appointed hosts for her shower and bp. That's ridiculous. I like AndreaJulia's approach. Tell the bride you are sorry that she misunderstood, but you will not be able to host her shower. Lather, rinse and repeat as necessary. E-mail it to her,  so she has it in writing. With any luck, she'll kick you out of her wedding party.



                       
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    Well I could really be stirring the pot here but I couldn't help it after getting another email from the groom's sister bridesmaid that made me feel like I was being told off for tattling to a parent.
     
    This is so out of character for me - it is just eating me up inside.

    I sent an email to the bridesmaid and the bride detailing exactly why I "really over-reacted" and called the bride to decline planning and only help whoever hosted. It included direct quotes from the sister emails to me.

    Sigh. So much for taking the high road.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_bridal-shower-dilemma-urgent-need-advice?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:d0f831d3-da5f-4f59-983c-fadca3db723cPost:e61c91ef-257d-4ca4-afd2-696c38f8c2c4">Re: Bridal Shower Dilemma! URGENT! Need Advice!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Well I could really be stirring the pot here but I couldn't help it after getting another email from the groom's sister bridesmaid that made me feel like I was being told off for tattling to a parent.   This is so out of character for me - it is just eating me up inside. I sent an email to the bridesmaid and the bride detailing exactly why I "really over-reacted" and called the bride to decline planning and only help whoever hosted. It included direct quotes from the sister emails to me. Sigh. So much for taking the high road.
    Posted by cdmc[/QUOTE]

    <div>Good luck! </div><div>
    </div><div>I feel that the more you try to make arguments and explain yourself, the more they have to respond to in order to pull you back in out of guilt. I would come up with one simple sentence that you can keep repeating that basically says, "I am not able to host this shower under any circumstances."</div><div>
    </div><div>I'd distance myself from her as soon after the wedding as I could.</div>
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    Yes, good idea. I was kinda on that path until that latest email which prompted me to try to explain myself. You are exactly right I'll keep being pulled in if I keep trying to explain myself. Thank you!

    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_bridal-shower-dilemma-urgent-need-advice?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:d0f831d3-da5f-4f59-983c-fadca3db723cPost:68379c4b-04d2-47e6-bd52-3191ad29c820">Re: Bridal Shower Dilemma! URGENT! Need Advice!</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Bridal Shower Dilemma! URGENT! Need Advice! : Good luck!  I feel that the more you try to make arguments and explain yourself, the more they have to respond to in order to pull you back in out of guilt. I would come up with one simple sentence that you can keep repeating that basically says, "I am not able to host this shower under any circumstances." I'd distance myself from her as soon after the wedding as I could.
    Posted by AndreaJulia[/QUOTE]
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    Thanks for making me feel better about being upset I was voluntold! Good advice about lather, rinse, repeat. It also made me laugh. :)

    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_bridal-shower-dilemma-urgent-need-advice?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:d0f831d3-da5f-4f59-983c-fadca3db723cPost:da9239cc-1195-4263-8ca8-aca1d3b49984">Re: Bridal Shower Dilemma! URGENT! Need Advice!</a>:
    [QUOTE]The bride shouldn't have appointed hosts for her shower and bp. That's ridiculous. I like AndreaJulia's approach. Tell the bride you are sorry that she misunderstood, but you will not be able to host her shower. Lather, rinse and repeat as necessary. E-mail it to her,  so she has it in writing. With any luck, she'll kick you out of her wedding party.
    Posted by MairePoppy[/QUOTE]
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    This almost exact thing happened to me.  I will share my own little novel and what the outcome was.

    My FSIL asked me to be in her wedding.  I knew she would ask me, but I didn't really want to be in the wedding party because I anticipated bridezilla behavior.  Because she is going to soon be my SIL, I accepted reluctantly.  I heard from her many times how she was going to have a shower and at one point she said how she and her MOH had discussed details of the shower.  So I emailed all the bridesmaids and MOH asking what the plans were.  The MOH sent back an email detailing everything the bride had already planned: the date, the restaurant, that she expected 2-3 games, and decorations, etc.  Immediately bridesmaid 1 of 4 emailed to say that she lived far away and couldn't attend or participate in the shower.  Bridesmaid 2 of 4 emailed to say that she was very busy and had a limited budget, so she couldn't be involved much.  The MOH emailed a follow up explaining that she was busy with her new baby.  

    So that left me.  I took some time to think about it and my FI and I decided that the two of us would plan a game, decorations, and favors.  The bride's mother (my FMIL) offered to pay for the food.  I emailed all the bridesmaids to let them know my plans and everyone seemed okay with it.

    In the mean time, the bride actually bought, paid and sent out her own invitations because she wanted specific invites.  That really bothered me, but I kept my mouth shut.

    Every single time I talked to the bride, she would ask about the shower.  Eventually I just said that my FI (her brother) and I had it all handled.  So she flat out asked me what the other bridesmaids were doing and I restated that we had it all handled because we knew how much she wanted this shower.  

    Next thing I know, this bride has gone to her bridesmaids and told them that they are not participating enough in the shower.  So I get frantic emails and calls from the bridesmaids all worried that the bride is mad at them.  I reassured them that everything was fine and that they could add whatever they would like to the shower, ie more decorations, games, food, whatever, or they could just show up and have fun.

    Just after this, the bride's FI emailed me telling me that I was sharing too many details of the shower with the bride and it was stressing her out and I needed to stop.  That was the final straw.

    I sent her and her FI an email pointing out every single time that she inserted herself in the planning and the uncomfortable position she had put me in.  And then I said that if I was causing so much stress, I would send her brother (my FI) to the shower with all things I had bought for it and I would stay home.

    She told me I was being immature and childish.  I didn't speak to her for a few weeks.  She came crawling back to me trying to make nice.  I did go to the shower, but hung in the background and just got through it.

    If she had not been my FSIL, and was just a friend, I would have run for the hills.  That's what I suggest you do.  She sounds like a peach, just like my FSIL.  And if you think the shower is difficult- just try getting through the wedding day. 

    May 2013 February Siggy: Invitations

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    edited March 2013
    cdmc - I suggest you take Retread's advice. It's brilliant. Why stress yourself out over this aquaintance's wedding? Do it ASAP so you won't have to think about it anymore.
                       
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    Thank you for your advice. You know what is sort of funny - most of the time I really don't have a problem saying 'no' to people. I also value being upfront with people And there are very few people who I really care what they think about me.

    I just don't know what happened with this one. It just kinda snowballed on me while I was out of the country for the past month.

    I thought I made it clear on Friday during a phone call with the bride that I would not plan the shower but would help whoever did plan the shower if they asked me to do a specific task. I have since received multiple emails from the bride indicating I was planning the shower collaboratively with her mom and bridesmaid sister-in-law-to-be. Even said bridesmaid responded to my most recent "here is why I decline to be involved" email with a "we can plan together and share the cost 3 ways" (no mention of what that cost may be).
     
    I've heard everyone with backing out of the wedding and I very well may. What I do stuggle with is backing out of something I agreed and committed to.

    This requires some thinking. But not too long as I just got an email with the shoes I'm supposed to buy for the wedding. Sigh, despite the fact I said multiple times I wouldn't agree on buying any shoes unless I've tried them on and they are ok to wear all day (I've had back surgery and heels aren't always my friends).

    Hmmm...the answer might not be that hard.

    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_bridal-shower-dilemma-urgent-need-advice?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:d0f831d3-da5f-4f59-983c-fadca3db723cPost:7fa95156-b29d-41cc-a9dc-be0a4382cee8">Re: Bridal Shower Dilemma! URGENT! Need Advice!</a>:
    [QUOTE]I understand.  I came from the generation of women whose mothers insisted it was mean and ugly to say no, and you were a bad person if you did.  You were supposed to be quiet and sweet, so everyone could see what a nice person you were.  Nobody would want to be mean to you. We all know what crap that is......bullies know how to roll right over any excuse you make. I read a book called "The Power of No" several years ago, and it was a real eye-opener.  I came across it entirely by accident, because I review books for Amazon, and they sent me an advance copy. If you can't say no, try, "I'm sorry, but that isn't possible for me at this time."  Just repeat as possible. Don't balk at saying, "I've said I can't do this, but you keep pressuring me.  Why do you keep trying to force me into something I've already told you I'm not comfortable with?"  Nobody can take advantage of you without your consent. You aren't being mean or ugly....the person who is trying to force you into something is. Work up to saying NO.  You have no idea how much it will free you. I finally quit trying to be a pleaser 20 years ago (I'm 49) because I realized I WASN'T making friends, or being that nice person.  I was just being USED, over and over again. Will you be unpopular with some folks? Yeah, but use what I do to remind myself:  WHY WORRY ABOUT THE OPINIONS OF PEOPLE YOU PROBABLY DO NOT LIKE ANYWAY???
    Posted by RetreadBride[/QUOTE]
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