Christian Weddings

Baptist wedding shower-need advice

I've posted this under a few other boards, but I think you might be able to help the most.  I'm sorry it's so long, but I need advice.
 
My FI and I joined a Baptist church last summer, got baptized in October, and have been attending sunday school and service regularly.  I also play an instrument in the choir/orchestra.  We became close friends with the pastor and his wife and a handful of other church members, and sent them save the dates last September.  We live in a small southern town.  My FI has been here a year and a half, but I've only been here 7 months. 
 
We are getting married at the Baptist church, with a reception at the country club we belong to.  The variable cost per person to attend the reception is approximately $60.  The venue can hold 150 people inside with a dance floor, OR 200 people inside without a dance floor.  There is also additonal space outside for another 100 people, but I would rather not seat people outside. Our guest list is currently at 189 people, and we expect around 40 to decline due to inability to travel.
 
For the past couple of months I have been approached by several ladies in the church about them hosting a shower for me.  I politely declined three times, saying that I appreciated it but didn't have much time (I only have two free weekends between now and the wedding in May!).  I also talked to the pastor's wife about the wedding, and let her know that I did not have very many church members on our guest list because I had made the list before meeting a lot of these people and don't have space at the reception site for additional guests unless current guests RSVP no. 
 
Last night I was approached by a lady whose face I recognized, but have never met.  She told me that she and some other ladies want to host a shower for me.  I told her that I had been contacted by a few other ladies, and she said she was in the loop with them and wanted to find out what date works for me.  Then she asked where I was registered, and I told her BB&B.  The nearest BB&B is 45 minutes away, but it is a good option for our out of town guests.  She then told me I need to register at one of the local shops so local people can get me gifts.  I told her that only a handful of our guests are local (12 to be exact, but I didn't tell her that). 
 
I know I should be gracious and thankful that people want to buy me gifts and celebrate my wedding, but I feel like this shower (and now the added requirement of registering somewhere else) is just adding stress that I don't really need.  What do I do?  My FI says to just have the shower and register for more stuff.  My mom says I should just invite all these people to the wedding.  From my position, $60 per person is a lot just to have 40 women I hardly know throw me a shower.  Do I have to invite them to the wedding reception?  Traditional etiquette says that anyone who attends a shower must be invited to the wedding (for obvious reasons), but if I don't even know the people attending my shower, do I have to invite them to my wedding?  I want the reception to be just the people who I really want there (the 189 people on my guest list) and now I feel like people are trying to force their way into an invitation.  Is this customary for small towns or Baptist churches?  What do I do?

Re: Baptist wedding shower-need advice

  • edited December 2011
    Hmm, interesting problem.  I'm not sure that a short and sweet answer would help but I'll try to keep my thoughts short!

    1 - I agree about people attending the shower need to be invited to the wedding.  If you can't afford any more invitations / reception spots for more people, I agree with declining the shower.  

    2 - the ladies that want to throw the shower would probably need a guest list anyway, right?  So, maybe if you give her a guest list and show her that you have VERY few people on the guest list from in town, maybe she'll understand why you don't need to register at a local store?  

    3 - I agree with your thought about it being gracious of them to throw you the shower, and repeatedly declining can look like you're just being humble, but I'm not sure why they aren't getting the message.  

    Do you have friends or family who are throwing you a shower, and can you use that as another reason to decline the shower from the church ladies?  "Thank you so much for thinking of me, I really appreciate it, but I only have enough spare time for 1 shower, and so-and-so is hosting it in this-town."  

    Now, that being said... I know that at a lot of Baptist churches in my area, the wedding ceremony is open to anyone who wants to attend, so if they wanted to attend the ceremony they could, but if anyone asks bluntly, maybe you could just say I'm sorry that I can't accept the bridal shower, and anyone who is invited to the shower should be invited to the wedding, but we just can't fit any more people into our reception and I would feel bad by having a shower with people who aren't invited to the wedding."  

    Don't know if any of those thoughts would work for you, but I hope you are able to find a solution somewhere in the midst of this.  
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  • azdancer8azdancer8 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011

    For what it's worth, church showers are often listed as an exception to the "must invite" rule. The ladies at both my church AND my husband's church (Baptist) threw me showers, and very few of them were actually invited to the wedding and reception, because we just didn't have space.

    As for registering, you can share your current registry info with them, and they can find similar items at a local store or make things of their own. (That's what DH's church ladies did, since it's a VERY small town - 3 hours from the places we were registered.)

    Really, the ladies just want to share advice with you and shower you with gifts. It sounds like they love you and are excited to help you get started in your married life. I realize you're busy, but it would probably mean a great deal to them to have a few hours of your time for such a special occasion. :)

  • edited December 2011
    Thank you both.  Kellya, I'm not having any other showers.  All my BMs and family are all over the country, so logistically it would be a burden to travel to a shower and the wedding.  In response to #2, I was shocked yesterday when the lady talked to me because she said that they want to host the shower with a bunch of ladies from the church and if there were some other people I would want to invite, I could tell her their names.  To me, that implies they already have their guest list picked out, without having asked me for a guest list!  Is that a logical conclusion or am I overreacting?

    azdancer, I think you helped give me some perspective.  What you said about them wanting to share advice is probably very true.  I'm sure their intentions are meant with love and joy.  I just don't want to offend anyone.  Is it more offensive to keep declining the shower or to let them throw the shower but not invite all of them to the reception? 
  • iamjoesgurliamjoesgurl member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    I don't know how it is in the South, but I know that where I'm from, most of the older women have always felt that it was their responsibility to throw showers for anyone getting married in the church.  Most of the time it is less about who is being invited to the wedding and more about a bunch of women in the church being able to spend time together and do something nice for one of the young women in the church.  That is my experience.

    I think you are doing the right thing by declining.  But I think it might be helpful to understand that they might not have any expectations of being invited to the wedding and might just want to do this as a women's church gathering to celebrate your marriage.  

    Okay - now to my suggestion.  If they are persistent, maybe you could explain that you don't have time before the wedding but you wonder if they might like to do something after the wedding - no gifts - just cake and punch and a time of fellowship.  

    I had a similar issue with my church and both my mother and I repeatedly explained that we didn't want or need a shower but we appreciated the thought.  (The difference was that we got married 400 miles from here so most of them wouldn't have been able to come even if invited.)  They decided to do a little open house after church one Sunday afternoon where people from the church came and spent time with DH and I.  Many of them brought gift cards but some just came and had some cake, snacks and drinks.  We had the pictures by that time so we made a slide show and had that playing for people to see.  We also did favors for everyone who came to thank them for coming and hanging out with us/wishing us well.  It was a really nice gesture and in the end, I gave in because if I just felt it was the polite thing to do.
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  • edited December 2011
    Hmm, I hadn't thought about the church shower being an exception to the rule of the wedding guest list invitations.  Actually, now that you said it, it makes sense... thats why some of the ladies in my church do throw the showers they do.  I am remembering somewhere in the back of my mind, though, that they do stick to the guest list?  I don't know, I'll have to see what happens when it comes time for my MOH to do my shower (she already told me she wants to do one, LOL!).  

    Sorry I wasn't much help!!  Sounds like AzDancer and IamJoes gave some good thoughts that were more on target than mine, so it sounds like you may have some direction to think about!! :-) 


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  • DramaGeekDramaGeek member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011

    At our church, if they're hosting a shower for you (and they do if you're a member), they just put it in the bulletin and whoever comes, comes.  I definitely think that is an exception to the "must be invited to the wedding" rule.

    Could you maybe talk to one of these ladies, explain that because of space constraints none of the shower guests will be invited to the wedding, and that you don't want to offend?  That gives them the chance to tell you they do this for every bride in the church and they don't expect to be invited or to backtrack and say they didn't realize that.

    I definitely would not register at a place for their convenience, but perhaps you could ask that it be billed as an advice shower or a bridal tea.  That takes the gift part out of it and opens it up more to just a social time.  People could still bring a gift, but since it's not actually a shower there's no obligation to do so.

  • heyimbrenheyimbren member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    My church has church-hosted showers for church members as well. It's considered to be the exception to the rule, as is the co-worker rule in some instances. I know some workplaces will host very casual showers without expectation of needing to be invited to the wedding.

    If you really don't want the shower, I would just politely explain how busy it is for you right now OP.

  • edited December 2011
    like a PP post said, if you don't have time before the wedding - after the wedding is always an option. Or sometimes at my church they host "basket" showers - everyone just brings a gift and puts it in a basket - then after church the basket is taken to the bride and groom (or if they bride/groom is at church that day, they just bring it home with them) Sometimes the basket is there for several weeks to allow everyone to bring their gift.

    You wouldn't have to invite them to the wedding - you're not actually inviting them to the shower - they're doing it in your honor. They want to give you a party to show how much they like you and wish for you to have a good marriage.

     Often times, the reason they throw a shower is because they know they won't be able to attend the wedding (or won't be invited) It's they're way to show they care without imposing on your wedding day.

    It might not make sense to you, but coming from a small baptist church myself, I have a bit of experience with this. I grew up in one church, but currently attend another (in the same town) and althogh I'm not getting married until October, I've had ladies from both churches come to me asking about  a shower.  I told each of them they can get together and instead of having 2 small ones, they can have 1 larger one, but neither liked that ideas.

    and I know you said you don't want to register for any thing else - if you do register locally, you'll most likely get everything on the list. If these women are anything like the women at my church, they love buying things for people  - and they love hosting parties.

    I also just read another PP - they won't need your guestlist - it's them hosting a shower for church people to come - not for your wedding guests. They'll probably put an announcement in the weekly bulliten or announce it at church, and whoever from the church wants to come or bring a gift, will.  It's not a big deal - just a way for some generous ladies to give you gifts and show thier appreciation.
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you all very much for your advice.  This has helped calm me down.  I am going to try to continue to decline the shower and explain that I can't invite additional guests, but if they insist for the fifth time, I will participate.

    I really don't want to register for more stuff just to appease these ladies though.  What would you think if I suggested (if approached again), that I don't really want them to worry about gifts, but that I would love to hear all their advice and get their favorite recipes?  That way they can have the fellowship event that I think they are looking for, but everyone will be discouraged from spending money to shower me.  Should I just say nothing and let whatever happens happen, or would that be a good idea?  I have seen in the church bulletin how they list baby showers and where the woman is registered, so I think this shower may be the same way (like kalizoomba said).  Would it also let me off the hook from inviting extras to the wedding receptions etiquette-wise if they bring recipes instead of gifts? 
  • iamjoesgurliamjoesgurl member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    I thought you had said that you don't have time, but if you do actually have time, your recipe idea sounds good.  I think it is just important to be up front with the hosts and let them know that you do not feel comfortable having the ladies shower you with gifts as they will not be able to be invited to the wedding and that if they still wanted to something, that you would be happy to have a get-together to hear any advice they have to share and think it would be great if the ladies wanted to share recipes with you. 
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  • edited December 2011
    recipes are a good idea. Everyone loves sharing their favorite recipes. :)
  • edited December 2011
    Aw, I would LOVE to go to a recipe shower!  If you can make the time, I'm sure the church ladies would love to do that for you instead of a traditional shower.  Some might still buy from your registry (maybe a kitchen or cooking item) along with their favorite recipe which is what I would do (and others I know).  


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  • DramaGeekDramaGeek member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    A recipe shower is a great idea!  I usually give a recipe for a shower, and then buy a kitchen item that goes with it.  If I gave a cookie recipe, I'd buy a cookie sheet, spatula and oven mitt, for example.  And after being married 8 years I can tell you that you can never have too much of that stuff, so even if it's not what's on your registery you'll use it, I promise!  I think you could definitely suggest that it be a recipe and kitchen shower - if ladies want to purchase a gift, that's fine, but if not a recipe is a wonderful gift in and of itself.

    Either way, I don't think you're on the hook to invite extras as it is.  You've explained the situation, they still want to have a party for you, so let them.
  • edited December 2011
    Thanks for this post.  I am new to the baptist church, and a few of the ladies in my church have already expressed that they want to help out.  I think they think I am having my reception in the basement of the church, which would be great except it would not accomodate the amount of guests I'm haivng as my FI's dad was one of eleven. lol.  Now I will know what to do if they ask to throw me a shower.  Although I may invite some of them as they have been so wonderful and are a blessing to have around.
  • edited December 2011

    I agree with others that it seems they just want to love on you and do something special for you. I don't think it would hurt to communicate your thoughts to the lady who has been talking to you. Pull her aside for a private discussion and explain your situation. Politely say that you want to accept her offer for a shower, but also say that you're not able to invite any of the ladies to the wedding and that's why you've been hesitant to accept. Ask for her advice. She'll probably say, "that's ok sweetie, don't worry about that. We just want to do something special for you." And then leave it up to her to explain to the other ladies - especially since she's the one making the shower guest list! You are not obligated to invite them, especially if you're not doing the inviting for the shower.

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  • edited December 2011
       This is a church shower, correct?  In my opinion then, you are under no oblication to invite everyone who is attending the shower to also attend the wedding, especially because you have tried to decline the shower on numerous occassions.  It is customary at my church to throw showers for every woman getting married, even if she is not a regular attendee of the church but her fiance is.  I agree that it feels weird and seems wrong, but I'm assuming that these women understand not to expect an invite.  Since you're new to the church though, you can always ask someone if this is customary for their church as well or not.
       As far as registering, I'm not really sure what to tell you...BB&B items can always be purchased online and then delivered to the buyer or to you, but I'm sure there will probably be several people who do not know how to shop online...
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  • edited December 2011

    Ladies, Thank you again for all your advice and help.  I just wanted to give a little update about what has happened concerning the shower in the past two weeks. 

     

    I was sent a FB message from one of the ladies at church asking again which days I could do the shower, and I told her two Sunday afternoons I’m available between now and the wedding, but that I would want to talk to my mom before confirming which date would be best.  I never heard back from her.

     

    After some more urging, I registered at a local shop for some of the same items on my BB&B registry (same china pattern and a few other items that I can just track and change on my BB&B registry). 

     

    This past week I read the bi-weekly bulletin that goes out to all church members and it said there would be a reception for me and FI on one of those dates I had said with a specific time.  They never confirmed it with me but ended up putting it in the bulletin!  I guess it’s a good thing I read those flyers! 

     

    At church on Sunday, I had a lady (who I’ve never even seen before) come up to me and ask if I was the one the shower was being held for, and she said she was looking forward to it!  Another lady (whose daughter I know) came up to me and complimented my china pattern and told me that I should pick out more accessories because I would be guaranteed to get all my china settings from the church crowd if I don’t have any other options! 

     

    I’ll admit, I’m absolutely flattered and excited that everyone at the church is so interested in showering me.  My anxiety is gone and I’m looking forward to getting to know the members of the church a little better at this shower.  Now that it’s on the calendar, it’s a lot less stressful to think of it as showing up to church for a couple extra hours than thinking of it as one more thing I have to do before the wedding!  To everyone who prayed for me and my situation, thank you very much.   

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