Friday, June 19, 2009

Flashback Friday: A lesson in bridal shower etiquette

I am vaguely aware that we Mormons have some strange traditions going as far as weddings go. We include pictures with our wedding invitations, we invite more people to the reception than the wedding, and in fact, we often hold more than one reception to include as many friends and family in the festivities as possible.

Then there's the bridal showers. Maybe this is common outside of Mormondom as well, but it seems like girls who are getting married usually have two showers. There's the practical shower attended by older, long-time family friends, and there's the younger, hipper shower with all the bride's contemporaries. As you can imagine, the gifts given to the bride by these two groups of people are very different.

I figured this out the hard way. A few weeks before my brother got married, my sister Teresa and I were invited to a shower thrown for our future sister-in-law, Emily. It was the young, hip shower, held at a downtown Portland restaurant. I was 18 at the time. My mom packed me and my sister in the car and sent us on our way with directions to the restaurant and a gift. The gift was a rice cooker. This will be important later.

Blair & Emily

We got to the shower and as the evening wore on, Teresa and I slowly realized that this was not a rice cooker kind of shower. Everyone else had given her lotion, hand cream, cosmetics, etc. Obviously, our gift was in a whole different category.

So toward the end of the shower, after opening a lot of beautiful, pampering gifts, our future sister-in-law opened our gift and there it was, a rice cooker, in all its glory. Teresa and I were so humiliated. We just wanted the shower to end. We were embarrassed before it was opened because we knew what was coming, as it was opened because everyone else got to share in our shame, and after the fact because from then on we were the weird sisters-in-law who gave a rice cooker at the cool person shower.

But we did learn our lesson. I will never make that mistake again (or, as the case may be, allow my mom to make it for me).


Liz Johnson said...

Hahahahahahaha. Eh, I bet they used the rice cooker more than anything else. Useful gifts are underrated, in my opinion.

JackJen said...

Oh, man. I'll admit I'm with Liz on this one. My rice cooker might just be the wedding gift I use the most. I'm siding with your mom on this one. =)

And while 18 year-old Bridget was embarrassed, would Bridget2009 be embarrassed? Because I'd imagine that if you knew the bride well, and knew she WANTED a rice cooker, I'd be willing to bet that you'd get her one...even for the cool shower. =)

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Did you forget the gal who brought the spice rack? I wasn't there, obviously, but one of you said another gal gave a spice rack, so the three of you humiliated gals instantly bonded. That was one of the funniest stories I've heard.

This was the first 'cool personal shower' I had ever heard of. When I and my friends got married (in dinosaur days) we were all poor so gifts at peer showers were things like canned food & cookbooks. Seriously. No one had $$ for fancy lotions or gift certs for pedicures. Still don't!

Lindsay Gunnell said...

SO FUNNY! I love your flashback Fridays. Actually I love all your posts. You are so insightful and interesting Bridget and I will be sad to see you go. I have much to learn from wonderful women like you. Keep your blog going. I've had so many similar thoughts to yours it's nice to see someone write them out so elegantly and sensitivly (I may have spelled that wrong)!

Amber said...

Oh Bridget, I did the same thing at my future sister-in-law's shower! I missed the part on the invitation that said "personal" bridal shower, which I discovered at the shower meant lingerie! I gave her a nice bowl from her registry...The worst part was that the shower included grandmas, aunts, moms, etc, who all got the memo on what "personal" meant. I was the one loaner with the out of place gift! And, if it makes you feel better, this was only two years ago, so I was an even more embarrassing 26!

Katie said...

ha ha lol
So, in the future, how do you know which shower you are going to? Do they include that on the invitation? What if you think you're going to the young cool shower and bring edible underwear as a gift, and it turns out that you are at the old shower including RS president, old lady neighbors and grandma's?

shabba shabba said...

We don't have multiple receptions to include people, we have them increase the amount of booty we collect.

Bridget said...

Liz and Jen, you really make me feel better. And Jen, you're right, Bridget v.2009 would give a rice cooker if she felt like it. But doing it on purpose would make all the difference.

Mom, I had totally forgotten about the spice rack girl. But even a spice rack is not so utilitarian as a rice cooker, so I still think we had it worse.

Amber, I'm glad to commiserate. Though I think it would have been worse if the reverse had happened (brought a personal gift to the grandma/aunt shower). As Katie points out.

Mikael said...

that is not as embaressing as opening some skanky lingerie piece at the "old woman" shower... ya, totally bad! There sat a getup of victoria secret, draped over the pans, rice cookers, and towels! HAHA

Crys said...

I love my rice cooker. I'll be honest any "personal gifts I got" have probably only been used two or three times...including smelly lotions...those mostly got tossed. My rice cooker on the other hand gets used once a week. In fact the 1.0 model got a broken handle and we kept using it. Then it shorted out and we had to replace it with 2.0. We tried to cook rice on the stove again but just couldn't go back :)


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