Feeling guilty...What should I do?

My friend says that lots of brides go through this if they are in similar situations or not... what do you all think? (Sorry it's long, lots of details important to the situation)

I am from a small(ish) town where everyone knows everyone for the most part. (I also have a large family on both my Mom and Dad's side.) I graduate college in 17 days (Woo-hoo!!) and get married in 192! A very long story short, my mother was very ill for a long time and recently passed away. The community was great helping us out with meals etc while she was sick (and my family is one of those humble, don't like to take help type) and have been just as amazing since her passing. Many familys are excited about the wedding and trying to help out where they can in place of my Mom...

Issue A: I feel horribly guilty about sending out graduation announcements! I don't want to be perceived as I'm sticking out my hand for a gift or acting as if I expect something. They have all been so gracious already... but I also don't want to offend anyone by not sending them an announcement. I received many local scholarships and private schol. when I graduated HS and in a lot of ways I want my announcements to be a "Thank you for your support" not a "please send cash or checks only...". A friend suggested putting on the bottom of the announcement "no gifts please" but to me it makes it sound like I was expecting one in the first place. What do you think?

Issue B: I feel even worse because my graduation and wedding are so close together. I just recently had my first shower, it was a big surprise at the family reunion on my Mom's side. I don't want to seem ungrateful or like a snot by sending announcements to people who just gave me gifts! To make matters worse, I know I'm receiving at least 2 more showers. A couple of people have mentioned another 3 to me, there just aren't details or a date set yet. So now I feel even more awkward about getting gifts, especially with the unavoidable duplicate guests at the showers.
I know that I almost always follow etiquette to the rule - if I get a shower invitation for the same couple to 6 different showers I will give 6 gifts plus a wedding gift and if they graduated I'll send something then too. I don't want to put people in that financial bind, or even make them feel like they should in the least!

What do I do? Any suggestions on how to make it not seem like I'm being a snot? Am I over-thinking this? And how to I act gracious and thankful when really I'm embarrassed and don't want the spot light?
Beka Lou

Re: Feeling guilty...What should I do?

  • First of all, most people will choose to only attend one shower even if they are invited to multiple.  And I don't know anyone (other than you, I guess) who would buy 6 gifts if invited to 6 showers - for that matter, I don't know anyone who has had 6 showers.  Maybe you should talk to your MOH and other family members to make sure they get a little bit more coordinated, though, because 6 showers comes across as very gift-grabby, which is exactly what you're trying to avoid.

    Secondly, I didn't send graduation announcements.  People knew that I was graduating.  I think it's nice that you want to thank people for helping your family get through such a rough time, but a graduation announcement isn't really the way to do it.  I'm assuming you were thanking people as this was going on, and if you wanted to do a 'grand gesture' type of thing, you could host a 'thank-you BBQ' or something at your house and invite the people in your community that were inviolved.  And not have it be part of your graduation.  Or, if you plan on inviting all of these people to your wedding, you can make a little mini-speech at the reception thanking them for their help.

    It's up to your friends how they spend their money, so you can't feel bad if they buy you a graduation gift, a shower gift, and a wedding gift.  I understand your embarassment, and I feel awkward getting 'showered' with gifts as well, but people will give you something if that's what they want to do.  Sending graduation announcements, and inviting people to 6 showers, however, DOES make it seem a little more like you are asking for gifts.  Not that graduation announcements are bad, necessarily, they just usually only get sent to close friends and family, people who would already likely be sending you a gift.  And if you're concerned that it might seem like you are asking for gifts, just skip it.
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  • 6 showers? Holy cow. Yeah, I'm with previous poster. Consider talking to your MOH about consolidation. 6 is excessive and does come off as gift-needy. Although, also like she said, no one is going to attend all 6 or buy 6 gifts.

    As for the graduation announcements, I don't see a problem sending them out. Chanes are, with your small community and them having been really involved in your life lately, they probably are aware you're graduating and would be wondering why they didn't get an announcement. But here's what you can do. I like pp's idea of a "thank you BBQ" a lot. At these things, it's your responsibility to feed people anyways, but I think putting in the announcement somehting like, "In appreciation of everyone who has helped me make it this far, you're invited to a graduation BBQ" or something like that. And if you're worried about people bringing gifts, put the "no gifts please" note on there. Thing is, people DO expect gifts at graduation parties, and your guests WILL assume so. But putting the note on there makes it clear you don't expect them to actually bring one. If they do, they do, and there's nothing you can do to stop them from being generous. Hope this helps!

  • Thank ladies!
    By the way - the 6 showers, most people aren't aware that there are 6 and beyond really, really close friends, bridal party and family they would have no reason to know or be invited to them. The reason for the quantity is location, most of them are several hours away from each other to give family and family friends chances to throw one. I didn't have anything to do with it, nor did my MOH, she and my other BMs are throwing one for my college friends and have nothing else to do with my other ones.
    Beka Lou
  • That's usually the reason for multiple showers, 6 just seemed excessive!  But if they're all pretty far apart, there won't be much overlap in the guest lists and you probably don't have to worry about that.
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  • I definitely agree with the previous posters; a relatively informal graduation barbecue would be a great way to say thank you to all these community members who've helped you out so much. And considering the fact that these people went out of their way to do what they did in your time of need, they'll likely WANT to bring you a gift or card at an event like this.

    And besides, you've worked really hard to graduate, and I'm sure everyone there is proud of you :)
  • I agree I think a thank you BBQ is a great idea. It will show people that you appreciate everything they did for you and your family. Good Luck! and Congrats on your graduation and upcoming wedding!! :))
  • Thanks ladies! I called my Dad tonight and gave him the heads up on the upcoming BBQ! : )
    Beka Lou
  • Late to the party - but I totally love Laura's advice on the thank you BBQ!

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