Pre-wedding Parties

Fiance's Family will not let it go...

I'm not sure how to continue to politely decline a shower without doing lasting "damage".

My fiance and I are planning to be married privately, with only our parents present. While we love our friends and family, we are generally very private people and if we extend beyond our parents it immediately turns into a large affair due to the size of our families (not even considering our close friends) which is just not something we are comfortable with personally or financially. Anyway...

So my fiance's entire extended family (maternal and paternal) live in a small-ish town about 5 hours away. We are not close to them, only seeing/speaking to at major holidays, etc. I have only met them on a handful of occasions. However, they continue to insist on throwing us a shower and *will not let it go* despite multiple polite declinations, explanations, etc. New "word on the street" (via the family rumor mill) is that they feel like we are declining THEM, not the concept of the shower. That we are "too good" to let them host us a shower. That we (but especially me) are ungrateful. I can't believe that it's blown up to be this big of a deal...I'm not sure if they (especially the grandmothers) feel like they are being denied some "rite of passage" or what. (Again, small-ish town, in the south, ALL the family is in the area and that kind of co-dependence just builds on itself)

I'm kind of afraid we might be doing some kind of lasting damage here and fear the back handed/passive agressive/who knows what come the holidays.How on earth do I navigate this situation gracefully?

Re: Fiance's Family will not let it go...

  • itzMSitzMS member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    It seems devastating now, but they will get over it. FI does need to "handle" his own family, though.
    "Aunt Jane, mmm and I appreciate your generousity. We are having a private wedding, so we would feel uncomfortable with a wedding shower. Thank you so much for the offer, but we have to decline. We will try to make plans for a get together sometime after the wedding".

    DH & I declined 6 showers in this fashion. We each handled our own "sides" and life is good.
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Yes, your fiance needs to tell his family that since you are having a private ceremony, showers are not appropriate b/c you can't invite anyone to them who is not invited to the wedding. He can assure them it is nothing personal. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
  • We had one similar deal with FI's family wanting to throw us an engagement party (where, yes, the people involved felt like we were denying them a rite of passage by declining).  FI handled it directly but was having a lot of trouble getting through to them- it's one of those things where he gave the etiquette-based reason (i.e. "We're not inviting any of these people to the wedding; it would be rude to invite them to an e-party") his family just kept saying "Oh, these are all our good friends; they won't care," and we kept hitting that wall where even if the guests didn't care, WE would care, you know?

    My sister-in-law eventually just helped us out and ran interference and gave the rest of the family a little talk about how it was our wedding and they needed to be more respectful of how we wanted to do things and, I guess, be more understanding of the fact that just because it's a rite of passage for them doesn't mean we think of it the same way.  They eventually came around, but I'm not sure we could have done it without SIL being the voice of reason.  Got anyone you can enlist to do something similar?

  • mmm4763mmm4763 member
    Tenth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    calliopeia--I think you are right in that we are going to have to enlist in an ally b/c the etiquette message that he and I have continued to deliver is just not getting through. I'm going to have to think on who this might be b/c FSIL (while very nice) is a gift-grabby person and thinks we are crazy to decline and FMIL is being put in the "you have raised an ungrateful son" position and if I'm being totally honest with myself is probably not helping our cause b/c I think she feels some "rite of passage" here too even if she's not verbalizing it to us.

  • Your FILs sound just like mine! We are having a decent sized wedding and are happy to have FMIL throw us a shower, but it took about six months to convince her to limit the invites to guests only. What worked for us was using standard TK-recommended polite language immediately followed by bean-dipping, and then repeating whenever it came up again. We tried to have FI deal with it himself, but she would frequently call me directly to put me on the spot. Finally, she asked us one more time right before she sent invites and then said "Ok. I'll drop it." Good luck!
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    You should ignore the family rumor mill. By the time the commentary gets back to you, several people have probably embellished it. 

    It's not polite to invited people to a shower, when they won't be invited to the wedding. It's not rude to turn down a shower, either. 

    If you and he want to celebrate your marriage with his extended family, you can plan a get together after the wedding. 
  • I think that if it's a family-only shower, then it's fine. Especially if they know that you cannot accommodate the entire family at the wedding. If they want to celebrate with you, let them throw you a family shower.
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