Pre-wedding Parties

I don't want a shower, and people are upset

phiraphira Bahstin member
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I don't like bridal showers. It's not like, "They're stinky, no one should have them!" But I really don't want one. The origin of the tradition makes me very uncomfortable, I don't want to have a gendered party (and my partner does not want to have a Jack and Jill shower), and I don't want anyone to feel like they have to get me a shower gift AND a wedding gift.

I've had some pressure from my mom to have a shower, things came to a head at my cousin's shower yesterday. My mother, my aunts, and my grandmother are all very, very upset about the lack of shower. They want to host a luncheon for me and insist that it won't be a shower because I don't have to open presents (except that people will still bring presents).

I'm honestly really angry because my polite but firm declines are not being respected. It's not as if I'm not sure about having a shower and/or asking for opinions. I absolutely do not want a shower. I said no, and everyone's saying, "BUT YOU HAVE TO." It's very clear that the shower would be for them, not for me.

They say that it's important because it's a chance for everyone to get together and be excited for me. My mom has offered to host it and has indicated it can be co-ed if I want it to be, but has admitted that while I wouldn't be expected to open gifts, people would still bring them (even if we said, "No Gifts," which we wouldn't because both my mom and I know that "No Gifts" is not appropriate to say).

I'm a stubborn person, and all of this "But you must!" just makes me even more determined not to have one (which is fine because I didn't want one). However, if I can avoid enduring 5 more months of this song and dance, I'd be a lot happier.

Does anyone either have advice for how to handle declining a shower when everyone is determined to make me have one? Alternatively, is there any way I can satisfy my family's desire to have a pre-wedding party for me without it turning into a shower? If there's any chance of it turning into a shower where everyone or most everyone brings a gift off the registry, I'm not interested. And we've been engaged for almost 9 months; I don't think an engagement party would be appropriate at this point.
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Re: I don't want a shower, and people are upset

  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
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    I have no advice, I just want to offer internet hugs 

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    majadiria
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    I would honestly be okay with a non-shower or gift-giving party.  If someone at the party brings you a gift, I would just thank that person effusively but tell them that you plan to open gifts later because you're not comfortable doing it in front of everyone and right now you want to focus on socializing.

    But insist that your family and the other guests stand by the "no gift opening required" at this party and that they have your back if someone tries to push it on you and you stand your ground.
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
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    Jen4948 said:
    I would honestly be okay with a non-shower or gift-giving party.  If someone at the party brings you a gift, I would just thank that person effusively but tell them that you plan to open gifts later because you're not comfortable doing it in front of everyone and right now you want to focus on socializing.

    But insist that your family and the other guests stand by the "no gift opening required" at this party and that they have your back if someone tries to push it on you and you stand your ground.
    Do you think that would be an okay thing to do? The party would be my mom, my grandmother, my aunts, my future mother-in-law, future sisters-in-law, my partner's aunts, and my bridesmaids. I'm pretty sure that my bridesmaids and my partner's contingent would listen if told, "Hey, just so you know, this isn't a shower, so please don't bring any gifts." But given that my mom, grandmother, and aunts all got all, "Well, you HAVE to let us give you gifts even if it's not a shower," I don't really trust them not to bring any.

    And is there a name we could give it?
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
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    Either continue to say, "Thanks, but no thanks" to all parties, or let them throw you a luncheon and if people bring gifts, graciously open them. 
    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
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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
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    @scribe95 I actually have ZERO problem with opening gifts. I think my family is under the impression that I'm "shy" about it or something, which I'm not. I am entirely 100% in the, "I do not want a bridal shower because I do not like the tradition" boat. I don't want to go into all the reasons because I have All the Feelings about it, and I don't want to make other people feel judged for their choice to have a shower. But this isn't about being shy about opening presents in front of people. I do not want a bridal shower at all.

    I do love my family, and if it were really just, "Let's get together and get excited that you're getting married," I'd be entirely up for it. But since what it REALLY is is just a shower with a different name, I'm really irritated.
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    [Deleted User]
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
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    phira said:
    Jen4948 said:
    I would honestly be okay with a non-shower or gift-giving party.  If someone at the party brings you a gift, I would just thank that person effusively but tell them that you plan to open gifts later because you're not comfortable doing it in front of everyone and right now you want to focus on socializing.

    But insist that your family and the other guests stand by the "no gift opening required" at this party and that they have your back if someone tries to push it on you and you stand your ground.
    Do you think that would be an okay thing to do? The party would be my mom, my grandmother, my aunts, my future mother-in-law, future sisters-in-law, my partner's aunts, and my bridesmaids. I'm pretty sure that my bridesmaids and my partner's contingent would listen if told, "Hey, just so you know, this isn't a shower, so please don't bring any gifts." But given that my mom, grandmother, and aunts all got all, "Well, you HAVE to let us give you gifts even if it's not a shower," I don't really trust them not to bring any.

    And is there a name we could give it?

    Stuck in the box....

    Yes, I think it would be fine to have such a party.  But even if your mom, grandmother, and aunts, or anyone else brings you a gift, you aren't required to open it then and there.  I'd say something like, "Thanks, I'm going to save it for later to open so we can socialize now," and set it aside.  If they call you "rude" or otherwise have a defensive or inappropriate reaction to that, you can say, "Look, I told you I wasn't okay with a shower, so I'm sorry, but I'm not going to treat this party as one.  I'd really like to circulate with the other guests now.  Bean dip?"

    As for what to call the party, I'd just call it a get-together, luncheon, dinner, or even just a "party."  None of those names have a gift-giving connotation.  
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
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    So I spoke with my mom yesterday and explained how I felt about the situation. I added that I'd be more than happy to figure out some kind of non-shower luncheon, but that anything that was just a shower with a different name didn't sit well with me. And I added something that my mom has known for years (which makes this ALL so much more irritating), which is that when I say no to something, I mean it and repeatedly trying to change my mind just frustrates me.

    My mom was really understanding and said it was totally fine, and not to worry about it. No more talking about showers. It sounds like the luncheon was definitely meant to be a shower in disguise, so that's off the table as well. I'm a little disappointed (since the luncheon sounded FINE), but also relieved. I've learned from experience that when you're hosting a bunch of people and you give them a "simple" direction like, "It's not a shower, please do not bring a gift, no really," lots of people forget, or ignore it. So it was likely to turn into a shower anyway.
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  • I absolutely 100% agree with you on this! In my opinion, it's a farcical occasion anyway. I don't believe in dowries and I definitely don't believe in showers, especially if there's no need to follow a tradition based off of patriarchal disapproval of the union. Which I'm surprised people have forgotten was the origin of this event in the first place, considering it's only been around since the 1890s. 
    Kudos to you for standing up for what you believe in for whatever reason you believe in it. It is your big day after all and family and friends should not be forcing their beliefs on you just because they want to celebrate your happiness, and sometimes it just takes a firm but loving reminder. Good luck to you in your planning and on your big day!
  • I am 100% with you, btw. I did not have a shower OR a bachelorette party. In lieu of that, I bought an expensive plane ticket for myself to go visit one of my best friends who lives on the other coast (in Vancouver) and we had a nice 4 day weekend together as she showed me her town and we just had a good time being together. That's all I wanted - my friends are really spread out.

    What if you just had a small brunch with the people who seem to really care about the shower? Also, I don't think it's rude to say "no gifts". My Aunt did offer to throw me a shower (I think that she really WANTED to be involved), but I politely said no thanks and she luckily dropped it. I think I'm going to ask her if she wants to have another kind of "just us" day together before the wedding.
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
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    @majadiria The topic has finally run its course--no one is asking about a shower anymore, and it's been a relief. I didn't want to have a brunch for people who wanted me to have a shower because I knew they would turn it into a shower and insist on bringing gifts (even if I asked for no gifts, and I don't think it's polite to do that).
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  • Are you positive that it has run its course?  I hate to throw in a wet towel, but they may have backed off and got quiet because they are planning a surprise.
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
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    @Lauderdale Pink Yes, I'm sure. I know my mom well enough to know that she's going to respect my decision, and some of the family members who were really pushing for a shower have actually given me "non-shower" gifts already. So there's that.

    I have a well-earned reputation for being unbelievably stubborn, so I think my family members realize that if they did try to surprise me with a shower after I made it so clear that I didn't want one, I'd probably walk out.
    Anniversary
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~
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    holyguacamole79chibiyuibeethery[Deleted User]
  • Gotta love a bride who sticks to her beliefs and a family who respects them, in the end anyway.  Can't blame your mom for trying though, it's a great time to be a mom.
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
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    @Lauderdale Thanks. I do feel sad because I know how badly my mom wanted to host a shower, but she's recognized that I've said yes to a lot of things she asked for (e.g. walking me down the aisle).
    Anniversary
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