Should I Be Hurt That No One Threw Me a Bridal Shower?


There's only 2 weeks left until the wedding...

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

bridesmaids standing together in a row

Q: Am I allowed to be upset that my wedding is two weeks away, and I haven’t had any type of shower or party thrown for me? My engagement was ten months long, I have wonderful bridesmaids, and I’m pretty confused that nothing has been organized. I thought that it was pretty standard to do at least a bridal shower or a bachelorette party.

Some context: I have six bridesmaids, two of whom are local, and three of whom are within a three hour drive. My sister and maid of honor is only nineteen, in college, and lives very far away. So I never expected her to be the one planning things, or even to be able to attend any shower or party or anything. But I don’t understand what the deal is with my other bridesmaids, or my mom. I never wanted anything expensive, but I was hoping to at least have a nice lunch with pretty napkins or something! I’ve been very cognizant of costs during the whole planning process. All I asked them to do was buy an inexpensive dress—no requirements for shoes, hair, makeup, or accessories.

But I don’t know if I should say anything. It seems so bratty to express that I’m upset that nobody threw me a party, especially when four of my bridesmaids are already traveling for the wedding and everything. But I just feel like in the course of ten months, somebody could have hosted a little something. I would be happy with just a bridal luncheon, no gifts, no crazy partying or expensive destinations, just a time to celebrate my wedding in an intimate setting with my female friends, and feel like a bride. My fiancé’s groomsmen threw him a whole bachelor weekend, but I never had so much as a congratulations brunch.

So I guess my question is, should I tell my bridesmaids that I am upset? Or just keep it to myself? At this point it’s too late to do anything about it, and I don’t want any hard feelings at my wedding.

—Anonymous

A:Dear Anonymous,

It depends on what you hope to accomplish by telling them. Like you pointed out, it’s too late for them to throw a shower now. There’s no real way to fix the problem. Would telling them do anything other than spread around some blame and guilt? Will your relationship be improved or harmed by having that convo?

And just so we’re clear, (though it seems you may know this) you’re not owed a shower. It’s not a requirement. We’re led to believe every wedding means a shower and an engagement party and a bachelorette and a congratulations brunch (is that a thing?), but meh. Not always. Lots of weddings happen without any of these extra little events.

I realize that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. You were hoping for this stuff, and it didn’t happen, which can sting. Sometimes friends aren’t good at anticipating what we want, others just aren’t good at planning, some stink at surprises. But in this kind of situation, even more than all that, it’s likely just a matter of not knowing the expectations, and not knowing who’s handling what. Your friends probably figured that if a shower was going to happen, your maid of honor would be the one to do it. It’s the old assumption that, “Oh, someone will take care of that,” without realizing that you, personally, could do it. Maybe it’s just me, but I usually imagine that there’s someone closer, someone more important, who’s in on planning all the stuff. And it’s too late for you now, but I’d like to go on record in favor of whispering to a close friend, “Psst. Do you think you could maybe throw me a shower if someone doesn’t already have one in the works?” (Just don’t wait ’til two weeks before the wedding.)

It’s disappointing that you didn’t have all these parties, but no. Don’t say anything.

Instead, I’d buck up and pull together a bachelorette party for yourself. You’ve got two weeks! If all you want is some time to celebrate with friends, then get on it, girl!

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Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.

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  • louise danger

    Two weeks is plenty of time to get the local and local-ish ladies together for a lunch, especially if it’s free from the trappings of a Traditional Bridal Shower™ (no games, no big crowd, etc). Find a nice restaurant, get a cute dress for the occasion if you want, and invite them! “I know things are busy with the wedding coming up, but I was hoping maybe you all would be free to get together for a few hours on [day] just to chat over lunch and celebrate together a little before the big day.” Easy peasy.

    • Elinor

      Totally throw yourself one! Fire out an email asap saying ‘Sorry for the short notice, etc, but who’s around this weekend for a get together’ and see what comes back. Then you can plan the occasion to suit the crowd. Also for what’s it worth, as someone from a small country, 3 hours is not far! I have travelled many an hour for bachelorette parties

      • Amy March

        I wouldn’t be up to drive 6 hours round trip the weekend before a wedding when I’m going to have to make that trip again. Am I staying over? Driving home late? I think at this stage your best bet is suggesting lunch the day of your rehearsal, mimosas the morning of the wedding, or just getting a round of drinks post rehearsal dinner.

        • Elinor

          I think if I was invited to a last minute invite to bachelorette party I would either a. do the journey and mark it down as a trip that I would have been making earlier in the year anyway.. and then repeat again the week after or b. reply in good faith it wasn’t possible to come and I’ll see you next week anyway!

        • Lisa

          Or if most of the wedding party is getting into town on Thursday evening (assuming a Saturday wedding), then they could do a late thing the night before the rehearsal. This is what we did for one of my friends’ weddings where the entire bridal party was out-of-towners, and it worked well.

          • lamarsh

            Yes, I have been invited two weeks out to more than one bachelorette party that was scheduled the Thursday before the wedding. Now granted, I was flying and couldn’t change my flights to attend, but I definitely didn’t think it was unusual.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          Yeeeeah, my parents live 3 hours away, and I don’t tend to visit them unless I’m spending the night. At the very least, if something is a bit of a hike, I want so spend at least as much time doing X thing as it takes for me to get there and back. Maybe throwing a last-minute casual thing will work if she’s including local guests that are not necessarily in the bridal party, but I would be understanding if the people who live 3 hours away can’t make it.

      • Jess

        I say invite a few extra local people so you don’t feel so sorry for yourself if the people who are far away can’t make it!

        • emmers

          I did this. I still felt sorry for myself, but I was surprised at the random assortment of awesome ladies who showed up to represent!

          • Jess

            I definitely don’t think there’s any way around missing people who can’t show up. But bolstering yourself with surprising and awesome women? Rock on!

  • Meredith

    I don’t blame you for being hurt! Yes, it’s not a “requirement”, but 3 hours is close enough for some sort of activity. This is (probably) the only time you will have to be the bride and it would be fun to honor that. I think you should casually suggest brunch or lunch or happy hour with your ladies the day before or of your wedding. That way you don’t have to point out you’re hurt and sound bratty, but you still get the point across that you want to celebrate with them. Congratulations!

  • Sara

    I don’t know, I kinda want to push back on the not saying anything. But I am a very blunt person, so I probably would have already asked someone what was up. It seems weird that out of six bridesmaid and your mother (or even mother-in-law) that no one even asked if you wanted one. I’ve been in weddings where the MOH dropped the ball a bit or couldn’t handle it, but the other bridesmaids stepped up. Of course no one ‘needs’ a bridal shower or a bachelorette party, and many women don’t want them. But I would think the women in your life would at least ask you before saying ‘That’s not something Anonymous would like’.

    I do think you should just plan something with your girlfriends for a night out or a nice meal. But I don’t think there’s a way to ask for a ‘bridal’ luncheon or ‘bachelorette party’ without somehow pointing out that the ball got dropped. You’d have to frame it like @louise_danger said below and not want it as a celebration of you and your upcoming nuptials.

    • Amy March

      If the question had been 4 months before the wedding, I would have said absolutely drop a hint or two. But now? Saying anything is just complaining.

      • Sara

        I would probably have said something months ago to be honest. I can see waiting around and figuring everyone had planned a surprise then realizing it hadn’t happened. But definitely with my mother and sister, I would ask why it never came up.

        • Amy March

          I’m all for not asking someone to throw you a shower as, like, a general rule. But saying “hey mom do you know if sis is thinking about maybe a bridal shower” would, to me, have been perfectly appropriate. Going back now when it’s too late to change anything just seems like sour grapes.

          • Sara

            Oh no, I wouldn’t ask someone to throw it at this point. I’m just endlessly curious about things so personally, I’d probably ask the girl I’m closest what happened. Then just ask them all to hang out in my room after the rehearsal dinner or something for a mini-bachelorette.
            But I would also be wary of framing anything as a bridal luncheon or bachelorette party that I was throwing in case they felt like I was trying to guilt trip them.

          • Lil Hana

            I agree on this, especially if it’s something that I’d have lingering in my mind. Just ask someone I’m closest to (not everyone) and be sure I phrased it in a way that was merely curious, rather than trying to throw shade/blame.

  • Lisa

    If your wedding is local, it’s not too late to have a bachelorette party! It would be pretty easy to suggest a casual happy hour or whatever you’re envisioning the week of the wedding. We did a couple of informal hang-outs with our bridal party and families in the days leading up to the wedding. Everyone wants to hang out with the bride and/or groom when they’re in town to celebrate, and hopefully your bridal party will want to participate.

    If you’re really set on having someone else coordinate your bacehlorette bash and since your MOH is underage, you could potentially bring it up with one of the local bridesmaids. You could structure it as, “As we’re getting closer to the wedding, I’ve realized how important it would be to me to have some time to celebrate just me with my bridesmaids [and close friends/family]. Would you be willing to help me organize a low-key get-together during the wedding week?” If she can’t do that, then see above about throwing your own thing if it’s still important to you.

    • emmers

      Yup! It could even be post-rehearsal-dinner (if you’re having one) drinks. We did this with one friend who got married.

  • Katharine Parker

    Is this the first wedding among these friends? If I’m a bridesmaid, I expect that the maid of honor is going to take the reins on planning stuff, and I will contribute as needed. If the MOH were 19, I would probably step up and ask the other bridesmaids to make a plan for everything. But if I had never been to a wedding as an adult or acted as a bridesmaid, I could understand dropping the ball on that stuff, expecting someone else to take care of it as Liz says, and not understanding that it was meaningful to the bride. Probably the LW needed to talk to one or two of her bridesmaids about planning these things early and lay out her expectations.

    For now, can you host a bridesmaids lunch or dinner in the time before your wedding? Or a bachelorette night out? I don’t know if you can ask someone else to host without rebuking them for not having done it already, but someone else might have a suggestion for language to do that. But you can throw your own thing, for sure.

    • Rachel

      Seconding this too. If you’re 35 and all of your friends/bridesmaids (sister excepted) have been to at least a dozen weddings and quite possibly been a bridesmaid multiple times, then yes, they probably know exactly what’s expected of them based on past experience (especially if your social group is fairly traditional and most of the weddings in your social group have followed those conventions).

      But if you’re 22 and the first to get married among your friends and most of your social group has never attended a wedding besides their older cousin’s wedding when they were 6? They have absolutely no idea what is expected of them.

      • Elinor

        +1 on this also. We all cringe a bit when we look back at our friend’s wedding when we were all 24. Her maid of honour was about 20 and 3 bridesmaid’s 23 and all the other ladies were 22-25. No one knew what to do, how much to spend, what to buy… but we did try hard and she had a great time so that’s what she remembers now… hopefully!

        • Rachel

          Exactly this. My first friend to get married got married when we were all around 23. Her sister and maid of honour was 18. None of us had the faintest clue what we were supposed to be doing, and if the bride hadn’t been good about giving gentle guidance about the kind of experience she was hoping for, I suspect she would have been really disappointed. Not because we don’t love her and didn’t want the best for her, but because none of us had ever even attended a wedding before. We had no idea what the traditions were, no idea what we were supposed to do, what we were supposed to plan, what we were and weren’t expected to pay for, etc.

          The fact that the bride’s sister is only 19 suggests that maybe the bride is on the young side too, and her friends may just not be experienced with this stuff. It’s possible I’m wrong (I have a 17 year old brother and I’m 30, so I get age differences), but it’s just a possibility.

      • Sara

        My friend got married at 20, and there was no shower or bachelorette AND she asked me if she was allowed to keep wearing her engagement ring after the ceremony. It was a pretty trial and error wedding for everyone. As her bridesmaid, I was constantly worried we missed something (we did, but survived)

    • lamarsh

      I was 27 before I was in a wedding, and I remember being 25 and asking someone what a bridal shower was. As in, I did not understand the concept. Also, in my family and in the only wedding I’ve been in, the extended family plans the bridal shower, not the bridesmaids. So, yes, if they’ve never been in a wedding before (even if they have been to weddings as an adult), it is very likely they didn’t know they should have planned one.

  • laddibugg

    Ouch. I mean sure, you’re not owed a shower, but no one said, hey, let’s go out and celebrate your wedding?

    Even if people are far away and can’t travel for a shower….maybe a virtual shower can be had if it’s a small group? Like you set a time, send everyone a special glass and have people purchase a special drink, and y’all get together over skype or facetime or whatever the cool kids use these days.

  • Rachel

    This, 100% “Your friends probably figured that if a shower was going to happen, your maid of honor would be the one to do it.”

    This is maybe regional, but certainly where I live, if things like a shower and bachelorette are going to happen, there’s an unwritten understanding that the Maid of Honour takes the lead on talking to the bride, getting a sense of whether or not she’s interested in a shower and/or bachelorette, and then rounding up the other bridesmaids/close people in the bride’s life to plan something.

    In the rare occasion where I’ve been involved in a wedding where the MOH definitely couldn’t take the lead (one that comes to mind is a similar situation to this one – the MOH was the bride’s much younger sister who lived very far away and didn’t know anything about weddings) – the bride was great about saying in a very non-demanding way “Hey, I would love to have a bachelorette, but my sister lives really far away and has never even attended a wedding before, so she doesn’t know much about them. Could you guys help her out with planning something fun and low-budget?”

    It’s fair to feel hurt, but important to remember that the only official responsibility of a bridesmaid is to show up on the wedding day and within reason wear what the bride asked and be supportive. The extra things like showers and bachelorettes are awesome, but they’re not a given, and this is a situation where hurt feelings could probably have been avoided by simply being more up-front about the experience you were hoping for.

    • idkmybffjill

      I would even note that in some circles it can even be perceived as rude to ask about a shower when there is a MOH! Like you’re assuming she doesn’t have it under control.

      • Jess

        WHAT?! If I don’t hear about plans for a thing I want, you better believe I will kindly ask someone like the MOH, “Hey, are there plans for X? I’d really like to do X, if it’s possible. I haven’t heard anything yet, so I thought I’d ask.” There’s a big difference between inquiring and demanding.

        Circles where it’s rude to nicely ask for what you want are circles where there are a lot of hurt feelings and resentment, in my opinion.

        • idkmybffjill

          Oh I TOTALLY agree. In my experience, this usually happens when the bridesmaids don’t really know eachother. In the personal experience I’m speaking from, I was the only local bridesmaid. I asked the bride if she wanted an engagement party, as I’d be happy to throw one for her – she declined as her sister and MOH was throwing one.
          Later, I asked about a shower – again, her sister was throwing one. I then found out a friend of the grooms had emailed the MOH & her mom (again, they weren’t local), to ask if a shower was being thrown and if not if they thought the bride would want one… they didn’t respond and it was generally circulated that they felt she was being pushy.

          FINALLY two months before the wedding, the bride came to me and the other friend who had asked to say she wanted a shower. Alot of back and forth ensued, which isn’t really relevant. But it came out later that although the MOH hadn’t and wasn’t really truly planning to plan anything, she resented us for taking on that role.

          In this situation there are lots of other things to unpack, but it happens! Especially when you’re each part of the bride’s life from different time periods/don’t know each other at all – so you can’t be like, “hey! You on this or what?” in the way you can with a friend.

          • sofar

            Similar story. Bride’s sister was MoH. Announced she was too busy to plan anything, so the bridesmaids did it. MoH got PISSED, and the bride lectured the bridesmaids about making her sister feel “excluded.”

            … so yeah … I get why people may not want to step on MoH’s toes.

          • idkmybffjill

            I’ve heard of it in multiple situations and yeah, in all of them it was a sister thing. I think it’s tough because people generally assume that they’re not closer to the bride that family, but then you have the other issue of sometimes sisters are more sisters than friends. There can sometimes be alot of family dynamics going on there which are weird for friends to step into! I don’t think this is the LW’s situation by any means, but I don’t think it’s that uncommon to be like, “I am not the MOH and I am not going to ruffle any feathers!”.

          • Jess

            This just seems exhausting! I have nowhere near enough patience to deal with this.

            In the above situation, the MOH was out of line for being upset that people made her feel like she was dropping the ball, when she was, in fact, dropping the ball. Classic case of making your bed and refusing to lay in it.

          • idkmybffjill

            It’s super exhausting! It really sucked.

            I totally agree re: the situation. Just saying it’s not uncommon, and offering it as a possible explanation for why none of the other bridesmaids stepped up!

        • idkmybffjill

          Also to clarify – I didn’t mean it’s rude for the bride to ask. But for a bridesmaid to ask the MOH.

    • Greta

      I did exactly this with my bachelorette party. I just had 2 MOH’s who both lived on the other side of the country. So I asked a good local friend if she would gather together some ladies for a nice dinner out on the town, and she jumped at the chance. I’ve also planned a bachelorette party for a good friend who had no bridal party. There’s no harm in nicely asking if that’s what you want.

    • Katelyn

      Absolutely – I think this was a perfect storm kind of situation. The MOH is very young and far away. The other bridesmaids don’t know her well. They assume that the bride has expressed her wishes for party/parties to MOH and she has it under control. After all, a lot of brides these days don’t want all the pomp and circumstance. If they ask directly, the bride might feel pressured to go through the motions to make others happy.

      It sucks to have to be the bride, stuck between feeling like it’s inappropriate to directly ask for these things, but also having a bridal party of people who don’t know each other well and don’t know how to be the “leader” unless they are specifically designated as MOH.

      I’ve known more than one bridal party where there’s been conflict with bridesmaids trying to take the lead on things over the MOH. The best person to support the marriage and the best person to lead the group aren’t necessarily the same person – but we somehow bucket those roles together.

  • sofar

    LW, are you the type to plan showers parties for people, and have you done so in the past in general? Only reason I ask is that, I’m curious if you have the kind of social circle where none of you are really the type to step up and plan stuff.

    Now… if you’ve planned celebrations for these friends in the past and they didn’t step up, it may be time for you to take a giant step back on these friendships after the wedding.

    • Meredith

      damn, that’s some harsh truth.

    • mssolo

      There’s a third possibility, that if LW is the person who does all the celebration planning in the group that the others have dropped the ball because they’ve never had to do it before (and subconsciously have been waiting for her to).

      But your last paragraph – harsh but true. If they’re physically present but fail to show you support, even when everything is easy for them, it’s time to step back from the relationships post wedding into those that return your emotional commitments.

      • sofar

        That’s a REALLY good point I hadn’t thought of.

  • Anon

    In my experience, I personally think it’s a lot easier for people to shrug and say, “It’s not a requirement” when *their* friends and family came through for them. Because then they can stick to the etiquette script without experiencing the sadness one feels when they’re let down on what have become some very societally expected rites of passage in many circles, if not all.

    And of course it’s not a requirement! But it feels dismissive of the disappointment one can feel when all of your relationships at least seem *conducive* to caring about these sort of activities and it being surprising when no one takes the reigns. Just because it’s not “required” doesn’t mean that your people can’t let you down, especially when it’s common practice in your personal circle.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice, but from someone who’s been there? You’re not being selfish or entitled for feeling sad about this, even if “etiquette” says you are.

    • H

      100% agree

    • Mary

      I see what you’re saying, and I do validate the LW’s feeling of disappointment and sadness. And I think she could have taken initiative to communicate her feelings ahead of time. If she has expectations of a shower, she should communicate that. All these bridesmaids are not mind readers and should not be held to know all these “rites of passage”. Instead, if this is something she wants, she could have asked or communicated. And she didn’t. And it didn’t happen. And that’s a good learning opportunity to be responsible for getting your needs met and communicating those needs to people instead of holding other people responsible for anticipating and meeting those needs.

    • Greta

      I also wonder if she’s one of the first of her group to get married. Not that this is really an excuse, but if you’re having the first or one of the first, often times it’s not obvious who does what or when certain things need to happen. I definitely did not know a lot about weddings and etiquette for my first few, though now that I’ve got more than 20 under my belt, I feel like I really understand how it all works.

    • LizGB

      I agree. I dislike the tendency I see on wedding sites / blogs to dismiss feelings of dissappointment when someone doesn’t get a bridal shower, or isn’t asked to be a bridesmaid, or someone close to them doesn’t get them even a token wedding gift, or declines to attend, etc. Yeah, no one is REQUIRED to do these things – but it’s disingenuous to say they aren’t expected or hoped-for by many of us. I didn’t even want a bridal shower and a I felt a little bummed that no one even asked to throw one for me, especially since other women in my family have had them. Why them and not me?

      It comes down to feeling like your friends and family don’t care about you as much as you care about them. Frankly sometimes that’s even the case (like when someone I considered a best friend didn’t ask me to be one of her 9 bridesmaids – ouch). More often it’s not true, but even when you know that it’s not it still FEELS like it is. And that is a really painful, lonely feeling.

      To that end, I DO think LW should talk to her bridesmaids. “Hey guys, I know I should have talked to you about this a long time ago, but honestly I felt awkward. I was just wondering… do you know if the idea of a bridal shower or bachelorette party for me was discussed at all? Honestly I feel sad that I didn’t get to experience either of those things.”

      What will it accomplish? Well first of all, they might give a reason that makes sense to LW. “We thought your sister would put something together and didn’t realize she wasn’t going to until it was too late.” or “We didn’t know about those customs since this is the first wedding we’ve been involved with.” Secondly, they might still be able to do a small event like a girl’s night out within the next two weeks. Thirdly, they can have an honest and compassionate discussion instead of LW just feeling lonely and sad and not feeling like she can express it.

      • Sunni

        This: “More often it’s not true, but even when you know that it’s not it still FEELS like it is. And that is a really painful, lonely feeling.” About so much re weddings. :)

  • Jess

    a) This stings. I totally see how not having any parties at all planning in your honor could make you feel less-than-valued/celebrated.
    b) I get how this could have happened, especially if your MOH wasn’t going to and maybe didn’t realize she should ask somebody else to step up. Extra especially if your group of friends either hasn’t been in a lot of weddings or doesn’t throw a lot of events.
    c) 2 weeks out, I would say it’s ok to say something like, “Hey, I kind of feel like I’m missing out on some of the pre-wedding festivities. I’d like to set up a semi-bachelorette day.” but not ok to be like, “Hey, this thing nobody did that I never asked anybody to do is making me really resentful, guys…”

    Sure, it may be smaller/your out of town people won’t come. I would invite anybody local that you’d want there to make up the difference and have a good brunch/spa/hiking/night on the town event.

  • Mrrpaderp

    LW fell into a trap that many of us have experienced. Women are taught to not be too demanding, don’t seek the spotlight, don’t have wants or needs. Graciously accept things that are given to you but don’t go out and ask for what you want. Unfortunately, life rarely hands you what you want. You have to make it happen.

    LW didn’t want to be an attention-seeking bridezilla, so she didn’t tell her bridesmaids, hey my sister/MOH isn’t in a position to throw a bachelorette or shower, would any of you be open to handling that? That’s an uncomfortable conversation to have. You have to put yourself out there and risk rejection or judgment. But these are your people. They would not have thought you were a bridezilla for wanting to celebrate with them. So pick up the phone and have that conversation now, today, while you still have two weeks to go.

    • Amy March

      Asking people to throw you a shower or bachelorette on two weeks notice is absolutely an unreasonable demand. It should be an uncomfortable conversation to have. I agree with you that there were ways to have this conversation at some point, but not now. I think there’s a big distinction between asking for that now, and inviting them to spend some time with you!

      • Mrrpaderp

        I don’t disagree. I think at this point the conversation has to be more along the lines of, “What are you guys doing next weekend? Tour and tasting at a local brewery?” not asking for an elaborate party.

      • mssolo

        I don’t know, traditionally the bachelorette is held immediately prior to the wedding (last night of freedom and all that) and mostly involves bar hopping, same as the bachelor party would have. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing to pull together before the wedding even at this stage. Depending on what all the BMs are getting into town, you spend a day finishing off favours/centrepieces/getting dresses altered, then all go out on the town together, with the bride wearing deelie boppers and an L plate, or stay in and have a girls night with rom coms and novelty penis shaped food. Bachelor/ette parties inflating to long weekends away with planned activities that require reservations and RSVPs and back up plans is a very recent thing, and tbh kinda misses the original point because it’s so far in advance of the wedding.

        (when my sister got married both our mum and her MIL were really disappointed the MoH organised a weekend away camping, because they’d been looking forward to a girls night in/out traditional style bachelorette – keeping it simple and short notice can actually help you be more inclusionary!)

        • Lisa

          This must be a regional thing because moms are not really invited to bachelorette parties where I’m from. I’ve never had a family member who wasn’t in the same age range as the bride included. Most people probably don’t want to eat penis cake, get drunk, and play sex-themed games around their moms/MILs!

          • AP

            The first bachelorette I ever attended was for my friend who got married right out of college at age 22…her mom was our DD! She drove us around all night in the family minivan! It was awesome:)

            However. That was an isolated event! In thinking back over the other bachelorettes I’ve attended (drag shows, sex toy parties, Thunder from Down Under, Vegas bar hopping, drunken beach weekends….) I’m VERY glad no mothers or aunties were present!

          • mssolo

            Neither would I, and I’m sure my sister was glad not to either, but when you see hen nights out drinking here it’s really common to see women with MoB and MoG t-shirts in the groups so I can see where the previous generation were coming from. I think the idea is that you can’t normally eat penis cake with your mum and MiL, but on your hen night you can (while they impart wedding night knowledge).

        • Amy March

          And traditionally you don’t ask for one. I’m not saying the bridesmaids couldn’t throw something together, just that is rude to ask them to do so on short notice.

  • Alexandra

    My feelings would be hurt. In fact, at the ripe old age of 37 and 34 weeks into my second pregnancy, at my last OB/GYN appt my doctor asked me “when’s the baby shower?!” in a perky voice, and I got kind of miffed. At her for asking such a presumptuous question, AND at my friends. Which feels a little immature of me.

    Um…I don’t think we’re having one? Nobody has brought it up? I guess it’s our second kid, so it’s…not a thing? I dunno, I’m not dwelling on it. But I totally get the stinging feeling, and also the feeling of being immature for having the feeling!

    In the OP’s case, I might have a girls’ night out at a bar the way people throw themselves birthday parties at restaurants/bars in their twenties. Just get drinks and appetizers and have a nice time. Or buy some yummy takeout and several bottles of wine and watch Bridesmaids in the living room? Seems fun, right? Just as an excuse to have a party with the girls pre-wedding. Treat them–counter-intuitive but generosity often is a great antidote to the “why didn’t they do this for me?” feeling.

    Kind of a let-down compared to Pinterest/blog showers, but still fun!

    • Amy March

      It’s not a thing! Please don’t feel hurt by not getting a baby shower for your second baby- it’s really not an insult to you or a lack of caring by your friends, its just really not a thing.

      • Alexandra

        Yeah, I know. I think it was more the OB asking as if it were a foregone conclusion, and then I felt weird and awkward saying I wasn’t having one…like I don’t have friends, or something. When ACTUALLY they threw us the most awesome baby shower ever for kid #1. You know how someone will sort of put an idea into your head and you get all miffed about it for three seconds? That was me.

    • Jess

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a second-child baby shower, for the record. I would feel kind of weird about going to one, because… don’t you already have all this stuff from the first one?

      • Eh

        In general I agree that baby showers aren’t a “thing” after baby #1. I have been attended showers for 3rd babies before (didn’t know the people when they had baby 1 or 2). In both cases there were many years (5-6 years) between baby #2 and baby #3 so they had gotten rid of the baby stuff. Also, in one case it was the father’s first child (his family threw the shower and the shower was co-ed).

      • Lisa

        I’ve heard about “sprinklings” instead of showers for a second baby though I have never attended one personally. They’re usually designed more as a celebration of the mother, and people will sometimes bring new outfits, particularly if the new child is born in a different season or is a different sex than the first.

      • Alexandra

        Yeah, I think that’s the idea. Most of our stuff for 1st baby was hand-me-downs which we dutifully gave back as soon as we didn’t need them anymore, and last night I was inventorying what we have left and…there isn’t much. We’re having a girl after having had a boy so we need clothes (although a lot of the baby clothes we have are pretty gender neutral, so NBD), and any big ticket stuff like strollers/crib/pack n play has all been surrendered to the next friends who needed it. So right now I’m gearing up for a couple of weekends of intense Craigslist-ing, and a little nostalgia for the last time around when I just made a big list on google docs and everybody brought me their old stuff.

        • Jess

          I can see it being very isolating to go from “Yay! New Baby! Have all my things!” to “Oh, congrats. Your second…”

          I think it seems ok to make a list of stuff you need and see if your community has some of it (if that community is still around). It doesn’t have to be a shower, necessarily, but you would still be able to have that supportive feeling of people coming by and dropping things off.

          • Amy March

            Right? Like, no you can’t register for a shower for your second baby, but if you passed along things to friends there’s certainly nothing wrong with mentioning to your circle of friends that you are in the market for a hand-me-down stroller if anyone’s kids have outgrown them. I don’t know that just posting a list would necessarily come across well, but spreading the fact that you’re open to a few hand-me-downs in conversations and interactions with your community is sort of the point of having a community.

          • Alexandra

            On it. Composing a community email of stuff we donated to the friend circle about a year ago and asking if anybody wants to pass it on/back. Had been hesitating on this for fear of appearing tacky, but baby stuff is so transient/temporary I figure it’s worth a shot.

          • Liz

            I would for sure want to know that you needed new baby things, if I were you friend.

          • Danielle

            I don’t think it’s tacky. You’re asking for what you need!

          • Lisa

            It sounds like it’s not out of place in your friend circle so I definitely don’t think it would be tacky! I love the idea of a close community where you can pass those items around.

      • Danielle

        I’ve been to a second-child baby shower. It was for my cousin, and it was really fun! We were all happy to get together, and happy for her to be having a new baby :)

        • Jess

          I think I would be in for a “New Baby Party” or like Steven’s “Big Sibling Party” but the multitude of gifts thing would just be weird for me a second time around.

        • I threw a shower for a friend having her second before I knew that it really wasn’t a thing. But it was pretty low-key and we were just all glad to celebrate with her…

    • StevenPortland

      Our neighbors hosted a small “big brother” party focusing on our 4 year old instead of a shower for baby #2. It was great. Low key, no presents, and helped get our son in a good mood about the arrival of what he viewed as compe

      • E.

        That’s an amazing idea! I teach 4 years olds and have quite a few kids in my class struggling to adjust to a new or impending sibling. Something to get them excited instead!

      • Jess

        This sounds awesome!

      • Lisa

        I love this idea!

  • Anon

    Oh girl! Ask for what you want! I am terrible at doing this, but it’s so so important to set clear expectations with your bridesmaids! I was a bridesmaid for one of my best friends and in retrospect, I think she probably wishes we fussed over her more but I had no way of knowing it because she didn’t tell me. As a lady planning a wedding, I know that your wedding feels like The Most Interesting Thing/Biggest Deal Ever to you, but your bridesmaids have lives and intrigues of their own and probably don’t even realize you feel neglected. I think women are often told not to ask for what they want but that’s hogwash and doesn’t do anyone any good. Tell your girls you want a brunch before your big day, and I bet you’lol get one. Congrats on your upcoming wedding! I hope it’s the best party ever!

  • Kelly

    I’d be hurt, just like I was hurt when one of my BMs who told everyone she wanted to be in charge of the bachelorette didn’t plan anything for the date she gave everyone and then didn’t say anything until I followed up and asked if it was still on a week before.

    I can see 19 year old dropping the ball, but if this isn’t the other BMs first rodeo one of them should have stepped up and at least talked to you about it to see what could be done.

  • OP, I feel for you. I was in a similar situation, with only 1 bridesmaid that was local, and I also didn’t have a maid of honor. I was really anxious about having a shower and no one planning it…so I bit the bullet and told my bridesmaids & friend group that I really wanted a shower, if they wanted to throw me one. And they came thru for me and threw me a lovely shower and I was so happy.

    If you never explicitly told your group that you wanted a shower, it’s not too late!

  • KitBee

    Frankly, I would be hurt by this, so I totally see where you’re coming from, LW! I know bridal showers are not required, but they are definitely the norm for women in my family, so I’d be upset if nobody planned one for me (or at least asked if I wanted one!).

    I don’t think you should ask the bridesmaids about it en masse, but talk to your mom and/or sister about it. It’s not rude to express your feelings within your own family. And maybe they’ll be able to explain what happened — did all the bridesmaids try to set something up, but things (finances, scheduling) got in the way? Are they planning a secret shower/bachelorette combo for the Thursday night before the wedding? Or did they simply drop the ball (which sucks, but I’m sure no one was intentionally trying to hurt your feelings)?

    And if you still want to have that time of celebration and community with the women closest to you, I definitely agree with the other suggestions to organize something yourself! Could be a meal together in the days leading up to the wedding, a girls’ night out with the local attendees, or even inviting people to get ready with you on the day of the wedding. I hope you’re able to work something out, and I”m sure you will have a wonderful wedding no matter what!

  • JLily

    This wasn’t your question but it might help you feel better–my bridal shower wasn’t fun. Yes, I appreciated the effort and I am grateful to have women around me that wanted to make me feel special, but it felt kind of awkward, I had to deal with archaic ideas about marriage and wifely duties, and it was stressful for the people that put it on. HOWEVER! My “bachelorette party” was the best thing ever, and consisted basically of a pre-game with a special cocktail, a hilarious game of never-have-i-ever, dancing, and a late night stop at a burger joint. Perfect night for me! Whatever your version of an ideal fun time with your girlfriends is, you can still do it! I would let your bridesmaids know what you want to do and who to invite, and see if they can organize it for you.

  • NolaJael

    Depending upon the customs of your area, the younger women might not have known this was expected or thought you wanted it. Of the 3 ladies in my friend group who’ve gotten married recently, 2 were the reluctant recipients of showers put on by baby boomers and the other had a shower/bachelorette weekend combo. So in my limited experience, no one my age has thrown a pure shower for someone my age. Just a thought.

  • KPM

    One reason your mom may not have thrown a shower is the (perhaps mostly in some places) the tradition is family members don’t throw the shower. My mom really sticks to this rule for both weddings and baby showers. And showers often are thrown either by bridesmaids or by family friends of the older generation so since I’m far away from where I grew up, no one offered.

    And your sister being young may not of felt as in charge of the bachlorette either.

    Organize yourself a fun event pre-wedding even if it’s with local friends who aren’t bridesmaids. I promise they’ll be excited to celebrate with you.

    • KPM

      Oh, and wanted to say that even though I understand all the reasons there wasn’t a shower or engagement party thrown for me, I still did have moments of hurt. So those feels are okay too.

  • idkmybffjill

    Ooof I hate that this happened. You had a couple REALLY tricky things going for you.
    1) Miss Manners says that family members don’t throw showers for family members. If your Mom is a subscriber to Miss Manners etiquette, she may have never thought it was appropriate for her to throw you a shower.
    2) Your sister is 19, so that is probably the biggest reason she didn’t do anything. But see number one as well, some people’s families would not think it was appropriate for her to throw you one.
    3) Bridesmaids generally assume the MOH is in charge of rallying the troops. Her being young and your sister is kind of a double whammy.
    4) The fact that many of them aren’t local also has a tendency to make people not do stuff. When I’ve been in weddings my default assumption has always been that either the MOH or the local bridesmaid throws the shower.

    I was in a wedding this year where the MOH was a sister who kept floating shower/engagement party/bachelorette ideas and then flaking on them. I was the only local bridesmaid so I eventually threw a shower, but it was rushed and really stressful! No one wanted to step on MOH sister’s toes, including the bride. It was really tricky!

    All that said – I’m so sorry this happened. I’m sure it was just miscommunications – but it still hurts! I’m sorry.

    • TeaforTwo

      Yeah, I think so much can be explained here by the MOH being 19. I was a bridesmaid at 19 for my brother’s wife, and I was…useless. Not on purpose, but because I was a teenager and none of my friends had ever been married before, and I had no money and no idea what was expected. Weddings were just in a different world for me then.

      I don’t know how many of LW’s friends are married, but I think that can make a big difference. If she’s one of the first to get married, then it could just be general cluelessness on the part of the wedding party, and an assumption that someone else would take care of it all. For me, being on the other side of Big Life Events (specifically my wedding and having a baby) has been a HUGE eye-opener about the ways that I fell short in being supportive to the friends who did it before me, and has made me a way better support person to the ones who came after.

      • idkmybffjill

        Oh my gosh absolutely. I was a bridesmaid at 21 and ummm really dropped the ball on alot. I just had no idea I was supposed to be doing anything!

  • Leah

    It’s totally ok to feel hurt! I felt a teeny bit miffed that no one threw any kind of pre-party for me. But then I realized that a) I’d intentionally not had a bridal party (didn’t want to burden them), and b) for the closest ones whose weddings I’d stood up in, I’d done jack to organize anything for them, either. I realized that hanging around wedding websites had made me think the pre-parties were more common than they are for my people. As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better at trying to celebrate others, but really, for so many people just trying to get to a wedding is a lot of work. So it’s totally ok to be a little sad, and if you can, try to counteract that by organizing a little something yourself, maybe when others will already be in town for the wedding (Thurs, or after the rehearsal dinner, or morning of).

  • Daisy6564

    My mom and sister (MOH) planned my shower with quite a bit of input from me because I did not want to burden my busy friends. It was the first wedding my sister was in and the first wedding of someone she was very close to (and she was broke) so I knew that she would need some help. I just asked my mom to do it. Once they got the ball rolling they were able to assign tasks to the other ladies. Point of the story: I had to get the ball rolling and actually ask for what I wanted.

    Remember too, the actual point of a shower is the gifts. If you sent signals that you did not want to be showered with gifts (like by not registering anywhere) then that might have confused people. If you did opt to not register and then did not directly ask for alternative to a shower then people could not have read your mind.

    My advice now would be to plan your own small hang out/bachelorette the week of the wedding, assuming there is time. I know APW posts these Ask APW posts after the fact so I realize it may already be too late.

    I might not bother saying anything to your friends but I would talk to your mom and sister about it since as family, you can be a little more real with them. I would approach this from a place of seeking to understand. Showers especially tend to be the purview of the older generation so it might be genuinely confusing that your mom or older female relative did not insist on you having one (of it might not be, depending on your people).

  • Lmba

    Sounds like your sis probably doesn’t know it’s her ‘job,’ and the bridesmaids don’t want to step on toes. Your mom may feel it’s not her place as traditionally it was considered a ‘gift grab’ for parents to throw a shower.

    That said, I totally understand your disappointment. Our wedding was far away from where we and all my family lived. My mom had sort of talked about doing a shower so the extended family could participate, but then later said she wasn’t going to do one ” because hardly anyone would come.” I’m sure there were practical reasons for that, but ouch. Can’t say that made me feel great. Feel how you feel, then let it go and bask in the joy of marrying your person!

  • idkmybffjill

    On a happy note – I wanted to mention… I didn’t ask for very much help at all from my bridesmaids, and I come from a circle of a lot of DIT and alot of delegation. Part of that was practical – the only DIY stuff I did was design with my husband or hand lettering which isn’t really a group project. I had this hope in the back of my head that because I hadn’t asked for much leading up they’d show up SUPER HARD on the wedding, and this couldn’t have been more true! Everyone was really pumped and sort of itching for their moment to really pitch in. I hope this’ll be the same for you! Everyone will be extra excited to celebrate!

    • Riot

      Thanks, this is exactly what I needed to hear (though I’m not the LW :)

  • NotMotherTheresa

    I definitely agree that this sounds like a case of everyone thinking someone else is going to do it, and a reluctance to step on toes.
    That said, what is your relationship like with mom, sister, or a best friend? Because I know the advice here is not to say anything, but honestly, I don’t think it’s too late. If you have a comfortable, “I can talk about anything with this person”-type relationship, you might mention (in a very nice way) that you would loooooove to have some kind of bridal luncheon or something the day before the wedding, and that if they could maybe get something small together, that you would be eternally grateful.
    No, this close to the wedding, you obviously are not going to be able to have a 60 person shower at the Ritz Carlton, but it’s not too late for a small bridal luncheon, and that will totally get you your fancy napkins! There may be a few key people who can’t make it, but that’s true of any shower or pre-wedding party. As long as you’re nice in how you ask about it, and you have a comfortable relationship with the person who you’re asking, and you keep your expectations in check (again, no on the 60 person shower, maybe yes seven or eight people at the cute bistro in town), I don’t see any reason that you can’t have a small celebration.

  • RNLindsay

    Another point to add is that, at least amongst my friends, these days bachelorettes and showers are rarely “surprise parties”. With busy schedules and far-flung friends and families, these events have always gotten planned with input from the bride amongst my friend group. My BFF and I got married 2 months apart and were each others MOHs. I worked every other weekend at the time, so I emailed my weekends off and said ok – what works for your events and what works for mine? I didn’t actually plan my own shower/bach but I knew when they were happening. I think unfortunately nowadays, the bride does have to speak up and make her expectations known (early on in the planning process of course, 2 weeks out is too late). Especially if you have friends from different stages of life! They might not know each other and as the bride, you are the one thread in common. You might have to do a bit of troop rallying!

  • Penny7b

    Wow, the Australian tradition seems like it’s really different. Pretty much every wedding I’ve been involved in the bride specifically asked someone (MoH, bridesmaid, other organised friend) to be in charge of the hen’s party/bachelorette/kitchen tea/bridal shower type event. I honestly can’t imagine any bridesmaid organising such a thing as some sort of surprise. What if they organised something you didn’t like? What if they organised something and someone else was already organising it?

    But I agree with others here, it’s absolutely not too late for a casual lunch or cocktails or something similar. If you don’t want to arrange it yourself maybe just ask one of your local bridesmaids to arrange it? Just make clear that you’re after low key and casual since it’s so close to the wedding. Just book a table at a restaurant/bar and tell everyone local the time and place.

  • Sara

    What do I do if I have the opposite problem? We had a giftless engagement/housewarming party (thrown and paid for by us at our home) and I do not want anything else, but some of my partner’s family members are insisting on throwing us showers or another party. It has been brought up several times despite me shutting it down each time. I don’t want the attention, the gifts, or the bother to be totally honest – but people are telling me it’s rude to tell his family members they can’t throw us a party if they want to. I think it’s not their choice, it’s ours. What say you, ladies??

  • Kara E

    I did brunch at my apartment the morning before the wedding with the friends and aunts and cousins. My mom told me that I “shouldn’t” be hosting, but it was the only way I could ensure it would happen. If you want it to happen, see what you can do yourself (or ask someone to do a day or to before)? We seem to get a lot of the “isn’t someone else doing it?” in a large, far flung family.

  • Amie Melnychuk

    If not a shower, as it is too late for that, why not ask if there are plans for a chill bachelorette?

  • It is awful to not feel cared for, especially in times that are full of change and emotions. I’m sorry you are feeling neglected. I’ve felt this way too when something I hoped for didn’t happen (no going away acknowledgement when moving, no birthday party planned, etc.) I agree that trying to pull together a brunch or dessert night after the rehearsal for the people you’d like to spend time with is a great idea and will perhaps give you what you hope for…that special time with your close circle of friends before you get married. Good luck!

  • Jessy

    I didn’t want a bridal shower and my husband thought I should have one. He went it of his way to push my mother into providing one which still pisses me off and also recruited his sister who promised help along with his mother and they never delivered- never even called to RSVP until 2 days she beforehand and had the nerve to ask what help was needed as though everything wouldn’t be done already, considering the size of the party and that it was 1000 miles away. So although it was something I didn’t want and my husband didn’t listen to me and got his sister involved who is so politically correct when it comes to weddings that it’s embarrassing, and she said along with her family they would help- no one helped my family at all. And parties are expensive! My mom let me decorate because she knew I would want to-I do events so I like to design and decorate and it keeps me stress free. Coincidentally my mother actually knows me very extremely well whereas his family clearly doesn’t or more aptly put doesn’t care what I think or feel. His sister proceeded to have an attitude day of, and not host games though she said she would. Keep in mind this was her and my husbands doing- not something j had any interest in at all. I had fun but the fact that I decorated caused my inlaw family to openly talk trash about and judge my family because they “made” me decorate my own party. They had no room considering none of them made any real efforts to help as promised and if they had any idea who I am as a person they would know that that’s what I do and my mother just knows me well enough to allow me to do my thing because that’s where I get my enjoyment. To this day issues about their behavior are brought up because my husband is ashamed at how they behaved and treated me and my family (clearly the story is more extensive than this) and he brings it up now that my sister in law is getting married even though I’ve told him not to. (That’s a different issue) then he reports to me how my SIL is still trying to trash talk my mother but that he had to “shut her down” on that. Truth is- this caused more headache for me than any good it did. And it also gets under my skin that despite how they acted they’re still blaming my family- who has yet to say anything wrong about them even though they forced a party on my mom who already had paid for my dress and had to travel with my dad and three other siblings to Florida just a month later and be prepared for a wedding etc. It’s one of the most childish and inconsiderate things I’ve experienced to date. I didn’t want a party because I didn’t want to burden anyone. We still had a great time because that’s what we do! But still to this day I feel sad and almost obligated to pay my mom back. I’d have been better off going to breakfast alone reading a book with mimosas. What I’m saying is it’s not important and you could’ve had one and have it go horribly so why bother?

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