Hoping to get out of your dreaded bridal shower and live to tell the tale? Don’t let your family or friends convince you it’s obligatory if you don’t want one. Let us help you navigate this tricky situation…
The more women I talk to getting married the more I get asked, “How do I get out of this bridal shower?!”
This is not to shame any bride who wants a bridal shower. In fact, we’re so excited to help you if you want one! We just shared gifts perfect for a bridal shower and have loads of other fun advice on the matter.
But, it seems to me that there aren’t many resources or alternatives for the bride who dreads the idea and never planned on having a bridal shower. With more and more modern brides ditching various wedding traditions, we want to help! Everyone should have the opportunity to celebrate their upcoming wedding how they want, not how other people want it for them. We’re tired of hearing friends, family, vendors & bloggers tell brides ‘they’ll regret not doing xyz…’
Real talk: there was no way that I would be having a bridal shower. In fact, it never even occurred to me. I never once thought someone would suggest the tradition when we got engaged. These sort of things – old-school wedding traditions – just aren’t “me”.
And, I know I’m not the only one. My best friend, who happens to be a major influence at Bridal Musings, said “over my dead body” when she was faced with the idea. In the last month alone I’ve heard from numerous brides trying to get out of bridal showers they were guilted into.
So what gives? Why are so many brides being told: “you must have a bridal shower”? And how can we convince others that it’s just not our thing? To start off, I want to list all the reasons why you might not want a bridal shower. I want my fellow brides feel seen, heard & maybe their family & friends might see this, too.
Totally okay reasons not to want a bridal shower:
- You don’t like party games & bridal shower traditions.
- Opening presents in front of a room full of people makes you uncomfortable.
- You already live with your fiancé, don’t need gifts or don’t have a wedding registry.
- Bridal shower sex & marriage advice feels awkward.
- You’re not from the place the party is being held or know anyone coming.
- You don’t want to feel obligated to invite all the attendees to your wedding.
- Your mother or family members you’d want there have passed away.
- Bridal showers are not part of your own wedding culture.
- You find bridal showers antiquated.
- It’s not part of your wedding vision.
- You’re eloping.
- Literally, any other reason.
Okay, now that we’ve shown you’re not alone in your thoughts & feelings. Here are my best suggestions – that I’ve given to my own best friends – in how to tell your mother, future mother-in-law, or whoever is planning the blessed event that you don’t want a bridal shower. (Oh, and by the way, I’ve already covered how to tell your unsupportive family and friends about your fabulous wedding plans).
1. Be direct.
Often, in interpersonal conflict, it’s nice to try hinting at what you want. You may feel compelled to be extra courteous and soft in your approach. But honestly, I don’t think that’s the best first plan of attack here. If you don’t want to have a bridal shower, tell whoever is planning the event (or their messenger) that it’s just not something you want. If you aren’t clear about your feelings, attempt to hint instead, or are passive in your communication, they may just assume you’re bashful about accepting gifts or parties.
Need some help crafting your explanation? Here you go…
“Hi insert name here,
Thank you so much for offering to plan me a bridal shower. I can’t tell you how touched I am to hear you want to offer your time & talents to plan a party in my honor. I feel so loved & cared for!
While I absolutely appreciate the sentiment & gesture, I have to tell you that having a bridal shower is really just not something that I want. It’s kind of you to offer, but I’m going to have to decline as this is just not my thing (or insert another reason here). I hope you can understand that I really feel so flattered and will always be grateful that you offered!
Thank you so much for making me feel celebrated. Let’s the two of us get together and celebrate soon?
2. Send in the troops.
Is the party being planned by someone on your future spouse’s side? Chances are you are already in agony and uncomfortable about the idea (you’re reading this article, after all). Now is the perfect opportunity to send in the troops. Have your fiancé address the subject with your future mother-in-law or whoever is planning the bridal shower.
This is a great opportunity for you to both start working together and standing up for each other in family matters. If you didn’t ask for the bridal shower, you shouldn’t have to bear the uncomfortable brunt of turning it down completely on your own.
3. The Decoy Bridal Shower: Suggest an alternative plan.
Are your direct requests being turned down? Is it your own mother making the plans? Need a more nuanced approach? The next step is to propose the decoy bridal shower…
If your bridal shower party planner can’t bear the idea that you don’t want a bridal shower, suggest an alternative that seems similar to a bridal shower in their mind, but is an event you’re more open to.
Real-life example: Real bride’s mom absolutely insists on her daughter having a bridal shower because she clearly wants to show off to her friends. The bride doesn’t really know the attendees or plan on inviting any to the actual wedding. The bride absolutely does not want a bridal shower. My solution for the bride? She tells her mother, “Actually, I was thinking for my bridal shower, we go have brunch at this restaurant that I love. Something intimate and you can invite your friends!”
Rather than saying “instead of a bridal shower” she says “for my bridal shower”. This way, her mother still feels like she’s throwing her daughter a bridal shower, and the bride doesn’t have to invite anyone, basically making it a casual brunch she’s attending with her mom’s friends.
Yes, it worked. Yes, it happened. And, I can confirm it minimized the suffering.
4. Plan the bridal shower yourself.
Can’t get out of it? Take the reigns. Plan the bridal shower yourself.
This might take some finesse but if you can’t get out of the bridal shower and you plan it yourself you won’t have to include the activities you find abhorrent. Make it a party that you can stomach and invite people you’re okay with attending. Don’t let anyone guilt you into doing anything you don’t want to do. Remember what I always say, “this is your wedding, make it want you want!”
5. If you must, compromise & make conditions.
I’m so sorry if you’ve resorted to tip five. Truly. Send me an email and maybe we can have a virtual venting session over some wine.
If you can’t get out of the bridal shower, and you can’t seem to take over the planning, at the very least make a list of bridal shower wants & conditions. Tell the planner which bridal shower games or traditions you’re not okay with. Give the party planner an explicit guest list. And let them know, “this is the only way I’m coming” if you must.
Love getting real with Editor Claire? Benefit from more honest advice in our Real Talk section.