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Hermes

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Throwing a bridal shower
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I thought this forum needed a little activity wink.gif


My cousin is getting married in a few months. There no maid of honor, but there are three bridesmaids (me and two other cousins). The other bridesmaids and I had talked about throwing a shower together but nothing concrete ever happened, so finally I sort of took charge and emailed and said "we're doing this, these are the possibles dates and locations, pick one."

It took two weeks for them to actually commit to a day/time (one never really did...) and it's been like pulling teeth to get them to discuss the shower ever since. I've emailed about a couple other details (menu, invitations, etc.) with mixed results. Sometimes they respond and sometimes they don't. They haven't offered to do anything or seem interested in planning anything. I will say this is unlike them.

I have a big family so it's not going to be cheap to put on a shower by myself. I can plan and pay for this all myself, but I guess I'm annoyed that they always talked about wanting to help until the time actually came to start doing this.

I guess my question is: would it be super bitchy to just go ahead and do this and say "it cost me $X, please pay me 1/3 of that" and just involve them if they offer?

Or should I go ahead and plan this and plan on not having their help (financial or otherwise) unless they come to me (especially considering that if they had never said they would help, I'd still be throwing a shower anyway).

The shower is two weeks away but I want to get everything done so it's not hanging over my head. And I'm not going to let my cousin have a shitty shower just because no one will cooperate.


(P.S. I know it's against "good etiquette" for a family member to host a shower, but this is a family-only shower.)



-- Edited by Kelly on Friday 11th of February 2011 05:02:52 PM

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Gucci

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This was me about 9 years ago when my first brother got married. My SIL has one sister (who lives out of town and is a major flake) and a group of friends who are extraordinarily unreliable. Nice girls who I got along with fine as fellow bridesmaids (the "maid of honor" was a guy friend of her's) but none of them were particularly great about follow through. So I ended up taking charge and threw her the only bridal shower she received. It was a large shower, about 50 people, and I held it in my backyard. My immediate family all pitched in and it was really a great party, but a hell of a lot of work.

My advise? At this point you have tried to involve them and they have pretty much indicated that they aren't really interest in co-hosting the party. Since they are family and not some random friends of the bride that you won't see again, I'd send one last email. Pick a date that works for you and the bride. Tell them that you'd be willing to take the responsibility of throwing the shower and all the details, but you could use some help financially. Remind them that this was something you all discussed earlier. Tell them that you'll do all the leg work, but would like to split the cost 3 ways. Tell them you'd love them to help out if their schedules permit it and let them decide on the level of involvement they want. This way you won't feel like you are being "super bossy bridesmaid" but also won't be stressed over one of them flaking on a responsibility assigned them. Chances are they will offer to bring food or show up early to decorate or something like that.

Here's what not to do:

The only time I've ever been angry as a bridesmaid was for my other brother's shower a few years ago.. Her mother ran the show (through the mom's best friend who was the official host.) She never asked me for any impute. Basically she ordered me around, both before the shower and during. She assigned me jobs, but actually forgot to tell me about a few of them so I looked like I blew them off when the official hosts asked me for updates. The host's house was about an hour away from where we all lived, which inconvenienced a lot of guests. The mom told all of the bridesmaids to bring an appetizer and that we'd split the cost of the food for the shower (which seemed fair.) At one point in the shower, the mom actually pulled me aside and demanded that I give her my share right there and then, although up to that minute I hadn't been told an amount. The actual amount was outrageous too (when i did the math, I realized that the bridesmaids actually paid for the WHOLE shower, not just the food.)

Basically, it's 2 years later and I'm still apparently pissed about it. I think as long as you are fair and upfront with your expectations and communications, the other two bridemaids should be glad that you are willing to do all the hard work. Treat them the way you'd want to be tried and things will work out.

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Marc Jacobs

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I'd ask them what their budget is and what they would like to help with and see what responses you get. If they each say $50 and I don't have time, you know you're on your own. If they offer to pay 1/3 and someone really wants to plan the decorations, then you know. It is really hard when the others aren't involved. But, I think I'd call them each individually and see what is up. If they weren't family I might approach it differently, but since they are, I'd be a bit more personal to start with than planning and giving them an amount to write a check for.

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Marc Jacobs

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I agree with approaching the others first.  I think just being clear will be the way to go - - no emotion involved.  

Something like:

"As you know, Darla's shower is coming up.  I would love to get all the arrangements in order as early as possible so the event will be a snap to host and so that we can enjoy the day with the bride-to-be.  I've been thinking about the different aspects of the shower, and I want to know what portions you would like to be involved with, as well as, what your thoughts are on the cost of throwing the shower."


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Hermes

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Since they never said they'd help pay for it, I think charging them 1/3 of the cost after the fact would not be the way to go. Just have an upfront conversation with them about it, saying something like pollyjean said. If you can do it face to face with them, I think you'll get a better read on what's going on, plus they won't be able to dodge the question or delay giving you an answer like they would via email.

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Chanel

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The only thing I would add is to mention to the other two that you want to keep the costs down - being in a wedding is already expensive for most people, and throwing a shower just adds to those costs.

E.g. you could suggest a potluck, do evites instead of mailing invitations, etc.

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Hermes

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Thanks for the advice! One bridesmaid finally emailed me today and asked what she could do, and apologized for being so flaky. Hmmm....spying on me on ST? evileye

And the bride's stepmother emailed me asking if she could help, and my own mom called and asked if I needed her to do anything.....so this is coming together even if it's not how I envisioned!

Boots - That's what I'm so afraid of, being too bossy and having them resent me (and still be pissed a few years  later!) but I don't want them to be pissed if they feel like I'm doing it all on my own either. And this will sound stupid but one is super close with her mom, and her mom likes to gossip - so I know if I piss her off, the whole family will hear her side of the story and think I was acting like an asshole.





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Gucci

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Kelly- I know exactly what you mean. Only my other SIL and cousin know exactly how the shower and bachlorette party went down. I was careful not let anyone else know because I didn't want it to affect my relationship with my new SIL or ruin my brother's wedding. But the way the bride's family was acting is extremely different than how you're handling it. You're a "do" and they were certainly a "don't."

I'm glad that at least one bridesmaid is stepping up and that you're getting some help. Do the best job you can. You're treating the other bridesmaids with the respect that you'd want in return, so I can't see anyone getting mad at you.

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