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04.17.2003: Etiquette Schmetiquette
common-sense manners
for real-world living
1 2 3
wedding shower etiquette ...
Q: I am the bride and my best friend is the maid of honor who is throwing a small shower for me and my friends...very little family. My grandmother, who is a great cook, offered to prepare most of the food and desserts but insists that it is not PROPER for her to "throw me the shower." My maid of honor sent out invitations that gave credit to my grandmother as the caterer...this was done at my request. Is that HORRIBLE ETIQUETTE? My friend is credited as the HOST and my grandmother is credited as the caterer. 

Please advise if I made a horrible and uncorrectable faux-pas.

A: So many rules, the danger of offending somebodyís notion of propriety lurking at seemingly every turn Ė weddings can be so stressful, canít they? First things first: relax. This is supposed to be fun, right? Take a deep breath, and forget about trying to please everyone around you. Nobody likes a Bridezilla, itís true, but youíre allowed to actually enjoy your time as a bride, to do what makes you happy. And technically, the bridal shower isnít even really your party, but your maid of honorís party (or whoever happens to be hosting it) -- though you will of course, be the lovely guest of honor. Any faux-pas committed regarding the execution of the party itself, therefore, wouldnít really be something you have control over, and therefore couldnít reasonably be blamed on you.

Second of all, you can breathe a deep sigh of relief: you and your maid of honor have done things just fine with this shower, and the etiquette police donít have a thing on you. Your grandmotherís right that traditionally, itís considered inappropriate for immediate family members to throw the bridal shower Ė the idea being that since the shower is one of those events whose chief purpose is to deluge the bride-to-be with an obscene quantity of new goodies, it looks a little tacky if, say, mom of the bride is the one inviting all these folks over, as thereís the potential that it might look like an obvious plea for gifts for her darling daughter, a sort of sneaky way of accumulating a dowry or something. These days, however, there are certain circumstances where I think itís perfectly fine if a family member of either the bride or groom throws the shower, though thatís getting a little off track with regards to your situation, as youíve gone by the book in having a shower thatís hosted by one of your attendants. Iím not aware of any etiquette book that has anything to say about who is and isnít appropriate as the caterer for a bridal shower,  but personally, I think itís just lovely to give credit where creditís due, and to let everyone know that your grandmotherís the person to thank for all the fabulous food that the guests will be partaking of come shower day.

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