Q: I am in the final stages of preparing for my upcoming wedding. We have a large number of guests who are returning to our hometown after living here during grad school and professional programs when we were all in our twenties.
Now in our thirties, people are having babies left and right, like you do. One of our close friends who is a part of our wedding party is also pregnant. On a recent visit to town, she announced to me that she would be asking someone to host a baby shower for her the weekend of our wedding, so she could take advantage of the people who are also in town that weekend. She made a comment about how I was “exempt” from hosting, of course, because I was having a wedding (um, duh).
I received an email invite from her sister-in-law to the shower, which she is hosting the day after our wedding, two hours after our post-wedding brunch, to which all our guests are invited. I also got a text from my pregnant friend/wedding party member saying she understands if I can’t attend, cause I will likely have a lot on my plate (um, double duh).
My feelings are really hurt by this, because I feel that she is ultimately trying to capitalize on people coming to town for our wedding so she can get baby gifts. (She is also having several other baby showers in other locations, for the record, and has a very supportive family who can help her out quite a bit with anything the baby needs). I understand that she wants to be celebrated, and that this may seem to her (selfishly, I think) like an opportune time for her to gather people to celebrate her soon-arriving baby. However, not to mince words, it just seems like a selfish gift grab to me, infringing upon the events that I have spent more than a year preparing for our wedding. I would be less annoyed if the shower were later in the afternoon, not so close to the events we have already planned, or even if she asked me how I felt about it. It would hurt less if she wasn’t one of the people we asked to be in our wedding. I feel like the weekend should be about us, and now she’s tagged on yet another event, asking more of our guests.
Should I respond at all? Is it worth it to say anything, or just let it be and enjoy our wedding weekend, ignoring the baby shower? At this point I have just ignored it, but am still stewing and simmering. Am I crazy, or is this totally unnecessary gift grabby behavior?
—Baby Mama Drama
A: Dear BMD,
One of my least favorite wedding-related things (other than those cake toppers where the groom is being dragged by his shirt) has gotta be when someone accuses a couple of being “gift grabby.” Oy. No matter what specific choices you’re making about date, time, guest list, meal, napkin color, somehow folks find a reason to insinuate that you’re having a wedding not so you can celebrate a marriage with your loved ones. Nope, it’s about the toasters.
Please don’t pull that same crap on your friend here.
What sounds to you like “taking advantage” or “capitalizing” or being “gift grabby,” sounds to me like a friend who is trying really hard to not make all her loved ones travel to the same town twice in short order. What’s coming across as self-centered to you, is sounding (okay yes maybe a little oblivious to your feelings, but) mostly well intended and guest-conscious.
As you’re probably well aware after this wedding planning stuff, planning an event isn’t just about you, or about what you want, but is also about guest politics. Your friend may not be thinking about how many more diapers she can squeeze out of her friends, but instead, “Ooof, I have to invite so and so, or she’ll be offended, but I also don’t want her to feel obligated to come all that way.” After that year plus of planning, you’ve got to be able to relate to that weird tension.
Give your friend a pass on this. It’s asking an awful lot to expect your entire friend group to dedicate two whole days to you guys (let’s be real, I often poke fun at the idea of “our day,” let alone a whole frigging weekend).
Instead of seeing this shower as taking away from your events, try to frame it as adding to them. Your whole group of friends is coming to town for a nonstop celebration of this crazy phase of life. You get a party! And… you get a party! Presents and celebrations and mimosas for everyone!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK APW A QUESTION, PLEASE DON’T BE SHY! IF YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO BE NAMED, ANONYMOUS QUESTIONS ARE ALSO ACCEPTED. (THOUGH IT REALLY MAKES OUR DAY WHEN YOU COME UP WITH A CLEVER SIGN-OFF!)