Did I Get Snubbed by My Step-Daughter?


AAPW: They planned the shower knowing I couldn't go. Is there an etiquette rule about that?

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

Q:

My step-daughter, who I helped raise and with whom I have a close relationship, is getting married. While visiting last weekend, she mentioned casually that there will be a wedding shower on a date we have a family vacation planned (with the rest of our immediate family and to which she was invited). These plans have been known for months, the travel is booked, and no one asked us about this possible shower date. Some of my other children (who hadn’t yet booked their travel) are now backing out of our vacation, and I’m left feeling hurt and excluded. We discussed this calmly with our daughter and her partner and were told that while they knew it conflicted, the date they chose was most convenient for the majority of their guests.

I am incredibly hurt, partly because no one asked us about a possible date and availability, and partly because we will miss participating in the shower. We received a rather cold reply from our daughter’s partner about all of this (admonishing us, which added to the feeling of being hurt and excluded). Do you have any advice?

Heartbroken

 

A: Dear H,

Hurt is legitimate here. I would be hurt.

But, let’s start by giving these two the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been to weddings where it was assumed that each family would be hosting their own shower. Could some sort of family-culture misunderstanding be at play here? Maybe; maybe not. But even if that’s not the case, most couples don’t have experience planning weddings. Most are jumping into completely unknown, totally stressful territory without any practice (and usually with a whole lot of pushy and nosy opinions being shoved in from all sides). Excluding you from the shower was thoughtless, but it’s possible it was the kind of unintentional thoughtlessness that comes from stress and confusion, rather than the willful, cruel kind.

The sad truth (which it sounds like you’ve already acknowledged) is that it’s too late for you to work out a way to attend the shower or force them to reschedule. I’d suggest you throw your own, but I imagine there’d be major overlap in the guest list, and it’d all be pretty redundant. So the only thing to do now is gently let them know you’re hurt, and that you hope to be included in the next chance to celebrate the two of them.

If your daughter and her partner haven’t excluded you before, chalk it up to a misunderstanding. Who knows how many family members are pushing their agendas, feeding them misinformation about how to plan weddings, whatever. It’s likely this won’t happen again. But it’s important you let them know your feelings just to be sure.

If you would like to ask APW a question please don’t be shy! You can email: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. 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! 

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.

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • snf100

    As the daughter of divorced parents I didn’t plan my own shower and while I asked my mother to make sure my stepmother was on the list, she choose to do so in a thoughtless and hurtful way, essentially saying to my stepmother, this is the shower date but I’m sure you can’t make it since you live so far away. This was not what I wanted but I had no control over it. So while it sounds like your stepdaughter is aware of her shower and perhaps helped planned it, she might not have had as much control of the guest list as she wanted. She may very well have been caught in the difficult place of trying to make everyone happy, and if her mother or other family members hold some sort of a grudge she may have felt compelled to make them happy first.

  • Elizabeth

    While I understand why the stepmother is hurt, I wonder if her feelings are a bit misplaced. A wedding shower is generally considered a gift to the engaged couple, hosted by a third party, rather than an event planned by the couple themselves. I suspect that the bride may be juggling lots of expectations, schedules, and pressures – perhaps from her own mother, her future mother-in-law, the shower hosts, grandparents and other family and friends. One of my least favorite parts about wedding planning was balancing those (sometimes competing) interests. The bride may have been asked to provide a few possible dates and to comment on the guest list (though maybe not), but we don’t know whether the bride gave final approval on any details. I’d give her the benefit of the doubt, and again, seriously evaluate whether these feelings should actually be directed toward the bride (and her fiance).

    • z

      I agree. It’s really, really hard to keep up with everyone’s expectations/demands. I have a stepmom, and I like her just fine, but sometimes I just had to pick winners and losers and call it a day.

      And also, it isn’t the daughter’s problem that the other children chose the shower over the vacation. They are adults and are responsible for owning their choices. Maybe part of this hurt comes from the actions of the other children, rather than the daughter.

      • Caitlyn

        I feel like this aspect hasn’t really been acknowledged. Not only is the stepmom being excluded from the shower, but she has had her family vacation hijacked. And she has basically been thrust into a very awkward popularity contest – i.e. are my kids going to prioritize our vacation (that they had already agreed to go to, but just had not bought tickets yet!) or the shower? I would personally be more upset about the other kids who have suddenly decided to back out of a vacation they agreed to go on. Which is not the bride’s fault exactly… but knowing that her siblings/stepsiblings were planning to attend the vacation as well… I really do think it makes it extra sh*tty. Yes there are a LOT of feelings, etc. to take into account when planning and I’m sure a lot of conflicts in picking a date (and yes maybe the host ultimately picked the date). But at the end of the day, the bride still choose to not attend a family vacation and instead deliberately plan (or allow the host to plan) a family event that she knew would conflict with not JUST the stepmom, but all of her siblings as well. I really see this as a much bigger issue than the bride not taking the stepmom’s vacation plans into account. She is ignoring an entire family event and forcing the whole family to pick sides. To be honest, maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I feel like there is a certain “mean girl” vibe going on here – especially since when the stepmom tried to express her hurt – the response was the partner admonishing her.

        • z

          Well, maybe that’s a plausible reading too. It’s hard to say without knowing more of the family culture and the back story. But if the bride thought the other children had already committed to the family vacation (even if they had not bought their tickets), she may not have realized she was setting up a conflict. I would never expect someone to cancel an entire vacation just to be at my shower, and would be really surprised if anyone did. It sounds like the other children just don’t want to go on the vacation and the shower is a convenient excuse. Because what could you possibly do at a shower that is more fun than an entire vacation?

          I still think what’s going on here is that the LW doesn’t quite have the big happy family or relationship with her stepdaughter that she thought she did, and the wedding is forcing some unpleasant realizations.

        • JDrives

          Yeah I was thinking about this too. LW says her other children (I’m assuming bride’s stepsiblings?) are going to the shower instead of the vacation. Which means that the stepfamily *was* invited to the shower. Despite Bride knowing about this vacation plan (having been invited to it!). Now, like lots of folks have said, this happens for many reasons. But – the fact that this date conflict was “casually mentioned” instead of “apologetically mentioned” or even “mentioned before the shower was booked” seems off to me. Trying to negotiate a date that works and failing is one thing; willfully booking (or allowing to be booked) a big event when you know a whole side of your family will be out of town is another.

          • z

            Yeah, I mean, I’m not really defending the bride here, although it’s hard to say without knowing the whole story.

            But something seems weird if the other children are willing to pull out of an entire vacation because of a shower. Even if it was inappropriate of the bride to invite them to a shower on that date, that doesn’t mean they have to say yes. I understand that the LW feels snubbed by the bride, but aren’t the other children breaking rules of etiquette and snubbing their mom/stepmom too? That’s what makes me think there’s something deeper going on here. At least, not all of the LW’s hurt feelings can be pinned on the bride. Even if this awkward situation was created by the bride, the other children made choices too.

          • JDrives

            I agree that LW feeling excluded probably also has to do with the fact that her kids are not choosing to hang out with her. Honestly though, I’d skip a family vacation to attend my stepsister’s shower. Of course that is totally determined by multiple factors including how close I am with my stepfamily (close), how important I view showers as being (important), and how frequently we have vacations together (often).

          • Liz

            Yeah, for some of the families I know, family wedding festivities trump anything else that’s going on.

    • emmers

      So true! Scheduling was the worst when we wedding planned. I vividly remember how hard it was to pick a wedding date juggling family members’ schedules (vacations! birthdays! work commitments!), availability, and our work schedules, and how I had many upset conversations with my fiance about how much it sucked balancing it all, and why couldn’t people be more understanding, because it’s soooo tough to coordinate that many factors. Someone is bound to get the shaft. It may be something similar since, as you mention, the shower is probably being hosted by a third party who has their own expectations & schedule.

      Though it’s probably painful, if the stepmother can be gracious about this, that may be super-appreciated (i.e. one less voice in the crazy must-please-everyone time).

      • Natalie

        It’s nearly impossible to work around many people’s schedules and leave no one out. Picking a wedding date that accommodated all of our family members and our own work/school schedule was really hard (and we only have 4 parents and 2 siblings between the two of us). There was not a single other weekend in the 6 months between getting engaged and our wedding day that worked for us and our immediate family. Planning stuff when family and friends are far-flung is really hard. I think people need to remember when they’re hurt and feeling excluded over scheduling conflicts.

    • Katie

      I think EVERYONE should try and be understanding here. Those of us who have gone through wedding planning, or are going through it now, will understand that the bride and groom in this situation are probably *so tired*, and that it would be awesome of the stepmother to throw them a bone here. However, it also sounds like the couple knew of the vacation, had probably at least somewhat implied they planned on attending, that OTHER family had planned on attending, and now all that has fallen apart. It’s understandable that couples get tired and overwhelmed by feelings and expectations, but when you chose to let those feelings guide your behavior, and people get hurt, you should expect to apologize. Maybe that’s all the stepmother really needs here. An “I’m sorry. We wish we could have figured it all out, but it just wasn’t possible and we’re so tired and overwhelmed that we didn’t talk to you in advance like we probably should have.” That’s two sentences. And it would probably make a huge difference.

    • Lauren from NH

      Absolutely! And sometimes I seriously disagreed with the final plans for things, but couldn’t say without starting fires between the families! I didn’t want them to dislike each other often over the simple fact that they come from different background and just approach things differently. It’s tough covering for everyone and trying to keep everyone happy!

  • Caitlin

    Showers especially can be tricky, because they are often not planned by the couple themselves. Giving the benefit of the doubt while expressing your feelings is best, because it may not have even been the couple who caused you to not be included. If someone else is planning it, it can sometimes feel like an imposition to have oversight and veto power.

  • z

    Honestly, maybe the daughter just didn’t want to go on the vacation. Wedding planning is extremely time-consuming, and she probably needs to save her vacation days for the wedding and honeymoon. The stepmother should try to be understanding of the logistics here.

    It seems like maybe the stepmom has a vision of a big happy family, and the daughter (and the other children) are not going along with it. That can be very painful, I understand. But unfortunately it’s a normal part of the wedding planning process to have to make hard decisions about relationships, and decisions that expose relationship issues that we would rather not have to face.

    • Caitlyn

      If the daughter didn’t want to go on the vacation, then she should grow up and tell her stepmom that she doesn’t want to go – especially since as you stated she has the excuse of a wedding and honeymoon happening soon. Planning a family event to avoid a vacation seems extreme.

  • AP

    I can sympathize a small bit here. I was recently excluded from the planning of my best friend’s baby shower by her family, and I didn’t realize anything was being planned until it was too late to contribute. We’ve been friends over fifteen years and she’s the first of us to have a child, so there are lots of FEEEELINGS at play here. And since she lives in another state, this was the only shower opportunity. I *was* invited to attend, however, (with less than a week’s notice) which I did happily. But it stung to feel like a “guest” at the shower, left out of the planning and the hostess photos and such. I can’t imagine the hurt if it had been planned on a day that others knew I was explicitly unavailable. Hugs to you.

    FWIW, what I’m keeping in mind to lessen the hurt is this:
    – Consider the source. I’ve known my friend’s family a long time, and they are very last-minute, casual, somewhat thoughtless people. There was a mom, grandma, aunt, sister, and a few family friends all acting as hostess already. Excluding me from helping with the shower was not on purpose. That’s just how they are, and I probably should have anticipated that. Which leads me to…
    – What was my role in this? Knowing her family, it probably would have been a good idea for me to be more proactive in approaching them about helping with the shower, instead of waiting to be asked. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when or how. Lesson learned.
    – This was not my friend’s fault. As much as I wanted to complain to her about feeling blindsided by her family and being disappointed that I wasn’t more involved, I held my tongue (and I’m glad I did.) Yes, she knew her family was throwing her a shower, and she knew what day it was, but she also thought her family was handling the details and communicating appropriately with the rest of us.
    – This is not the last opportunity I’ll ever have to shower my friend with love and spend time with her (even though it might feel like it!) She’s having a baby and that means things are changing. But there will be other milestones, other ways to be there for her, other ways to celebrate our relationship. I’ll just focus instead on those.

    If it makes sense to, throw the bride something of your own- if not another shower, maybe a tea? Or a spa day? Or just make some time to spend together just the two of you, shopping for your dress for the wedding or something like that, so you’ll be able to create some special memories of this time with her and eventually the hurt from the shower snub will fade.

    • Vanessa

      FWIW, it sounds like you handled your situation with maturity and equanimity. Cheers.

    • JDrives

      That last part sounds like a great idea. Personally, if I was the bride in LW’s world, I would be the one offering this. That’s because I do have a good relationship with my stepmom, and I respect her and want to include her in important things. I’d also bet that we’re both on the same page about how close we are, which we don’t know is the case here with LW’s stepdaughter.

      • AP

        Yeah, I definitely agree that ideally the bride should be the one initiating some quality time with the step mom. But if wedding stress and carelessness on the bride’s part is the root of the issue, better for the step mom to initiate the quality time than for it to not happen at all. I’m all for asking for what you need from people and not putting it on them to guess what you need (lol, which was only reinforced by my shower situation above.)

  • LizStanton

    This is only tangentially related to the questions above, but I feel like I find myself falling on the opposite side of this equation as a person planning a wedding (30 days!). I’m trying to walk a fine line between staying sane, and being respectful of the millions of feelings being flung at me every day by family and friends.

    Following a recent wedding shower, I found myself apologizing to my sister for not spending enough time with her during the event. Shortly after, I found myself apologizing to my estranged father for not spending enough time with him.

    Each time I have these conversations, I feel defensive and attacked, and guilty at the same time. How can I balance my own emotional well-being, while respecting the feelings of my family and friends?

    • z

      +1. It’s just too many feelings. I am fine with my stepmom, but I’m not going to place her feelings above my own, my partner’s, my actual mom, my dad, or my siblings. And by the time I get that far down the list, I’m just all feelingsed out. I never asked for a complicated family!

      • emmers

        Yep! With our wedding shower, there was drama because it was hosted at my mother-in-law’s house, that she shares with her new husband. My father-in-law’s side of the family refused to come to the wedding shower. They said that they wanted to get together separately, but this never actually happened before the wedding, because we just didn’t have time. It sucked to not have them there for the shower, but it was what it was.
        It’s so hard, but so kind when divorced spouses and families can get along, at least enough to be cordial and civil for these kinds of things, without putting the bride and groom in the middle of the drama.

        • z

          My parents and step-parents totally do get along, but still! It’s just too. many. people. Too many schedules, too many preferences, too many feelings. Once I accepted that, I was a lot more able to handle the stress.

      • too many feelings… drowning in emotions… huge life changes… all at once… with so many people… who all matter… help!

        (my wedding is 2.5 weeks out and i can RELATE!! This is an insane time and I’m trying to not drown. What is your life preserver? Mine is meditation, working out, talking with my partner, snuggling our cats, and remembering at the end of the day we will be married! we will go on our honeymoon and all the drama can suck it!)

        • z

          To be honest, I would remind myself that I am just doing my best and that’s all I can do. I don’t actually try very hard to cater to my parents and step-parents’ emotional needs, because I think that my parents voluntary choices (infidelty and verbal abuse) led directly to their choice to divorce. And of course my step-parents voluntarily chose to join a family that they knew was pretty complicated. So we might be in pretty different situations.

          I probably sound like an asshole here, but I really think these conflicts are par for the course in a not-so-blended family, and it’s not my responsibility to cater to their emotional needs. I try to make the choices that are easiest all around, but sometimes someone gets screwed and that’s just how it has to be. It’s like an LSAT logic puzzle, trying to reconcile all these schedules, and ultimately it can’t be done, so I don’t try to do it. If my stepmom is disappointed that she isn’t my priority, well, the fact is that she isn’t my priority, so disappointment is to be expected and it doesn’t ruffle me.

          • Ellie

            But it doesn’t sound like your step-mother helped raised you, whereas the letter writer did help raise her step-daughter.

          • z

            She didn’t, at all. But I don’t know that I would feel differently if she had. I never felt the need for additional parental figures, and any advantages she might have brought would have been counterbalanced by the added complexity. None of this was my idea, and I don’t think I should be compelled to treat someone as a parental figure just because she voluntarily chose to treat me as her stepchild even though I never wanted her to.

            In any case, it was her choice to join a complicated family, and difficult decisions are to be expected. I don’t go out of my way to be mean to anyone, but nobody is going to get what they want every time, and that isn’t my problem. Even if I had a close emotional relationship with either of my step-parents, I wouldn’t place their feelings above my actual parents, or myself and my partner and my siblings. I have made (or been forced to make) a lot of compromises for the romantic relationships of adults in my life. So I expect everyone to recognize that sometimes, we all have to compromise– especially the ones who had a choice in creating this situation. I realize I take a harder line than some people, but my family is so crazy that this is the only thing that works.

          • Ellie

            Well, it sounds like your feelings are colored by the fact that your parents split because of infidelity. You feel they imposed on you with their romantic “adventures”, which is totally understandable. It’s probably an appropriate way to handle your family situation.
            But most divorces occur because the spouses can’t make their relationship work; not because of infidelity. In such instances you can’t blame people for eventually moving on after the divorce and finding someone they can be happy with.
            A step-parent who takes on the duties of a parent deserves … something. Maybe not to be put above a bio parent, but something. I think if I performed the exhausting duties of a parent and my efforts were not appreciated, I’d wonder why I didn’t spend those years pleasing myself instead of taking care of a step-child who ended up not caring!
            This is not your situation I know, but it is the situation for many. No wonder so many say being a step-parent sucks. You get all of the duty and none of the honor.

          • z

            As to why someone might choose to be a step-parent, I think it’s because it enables them to marry the person they want to marry. So they are pleasing themselves. It’s a big mistake to become a step-parent in the hopes of a close relationship later, because it often doesn’t turn out that way, even between biological parent-child relationships.

          • Kayla

            You might sound like an asshole, but I’m right there with you. People expect children of divorced parents to pull off amazing feats (see this brand new person as family! even though you don’t love them! even though they’re cruel to you! you have to get along! but don’t get along too well because that might hurt your mom!)

            Sometimes it’s the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves to admit that our family is just always going to be a little fucked up. Or a lot fucked up. Sometimes there’s no getting past that. And, frankly, it sucks that our parents get off the hook for their own choices while we’re the ones who are supposed to make everything work.

    • Lawyerette510

      Oh sending you hugs. It can be hard to navigate all the feelings people throw at you during this process, especially people who want more attention.

      I imposed (for myself) of not apologizing for things I didn’t do wrong and just generally not engaging in interactions where people would emotionally vomit on my for the 3 weeks before the wedding. It wasn’t easy but I think it made me in a better place when the wedding came and it framed what was and wasn’t ok conduct by family members on the day of, especially for things like this where people are unhappy with the amount of attention you gave them. I had separate conversations about a month out from the wedding with each of my family members about how glad I was that they were participating, went over the way they were participating in the day and the lead up, and said that I expected the next few weeks and the day would go really quickly and probably at the end of it we would all come out of it feeling like we hadn’t had enough time together, so we just all needed to give the benefit of the doubt that this was the nature of the thing, and that I wouldn’t be engaging in any discussions about the quantity of time spent with anyone over the next few weeks because this was a day for community and family in the larger sense, not an individual attention event.

      It went generally well, then a few days before the wedding my dad started making a time grab and talking about feeling like he wasn’t getting as much time as he wanted with me, and I just said “remember when we sat down 2 weeks ago and talked about this? I love you, but there isn’t more time for me to give, so after the wedding let’s make time to spend together.”

      Don’t know if you can have those kinds of conversations, but I do know that it’s never easy, so good luck and lots of internet hugs.

  • Another Meg

    Liz gives excellent advice, as always. Wedding planning is scary and stressful. I planned three and I’m probably not much better at it than I was at 22.

    That said, maybe there’s a kind way to move past this? I’ve been on the receiving end of wedding-related exclusion and it sucks. I expressed my hurt, the bride expressed her stress, we moved toward finding another way for us to spend time with her and her partner and celebrate her marriage.

    Maybe there’s a good time after the vacation to have dinner with your daughter to celebrate. Maybe even something casual where you can help with wedding planning stuff. It might help you feel more included and help her deal with the ton of work she’s likely facing. And it may help you both move past this moment, which is pretty key.

  • Amy March

    I don’t even think the daughter was thoughtless here. She knew when the vacation was scheduled, considered it, but went with it anyway because it worked for most of her guests. That’s thoughtful- it’s just that the thoughts didn’t lead to prioritizing her step-mother over many other guests.

    In fact, I think if you wanted to be involved in a shower, offering to host one or help out the hostess months ago would have been a better option. I can see being disappointed the timing didn’t work, but not “incredibly hurt.” If you still want to participate in the shower send flowers and a gift to be opened there. There are so many schedules and events and priorities to balance I think the biggest gift you can give the couple is choosing to be flexible, understanding, and assume the best of them.

    • Lauren from NH

      Yep. Also balancing all these things between different communities is hard. We had an engagement party and a shower hosted for us and will be doing a rehearsal dinner and every time it has been kind of tough to parse out for these smaller events who should be invited. We always tried to respect the host’s space and budget constraints first. Still I have felt kind of guilty inviting local friends but leaving out other people in the same friend group due to space and nearness. My partner has gone through the same thing but with family. Some people have been chill about it, others not so much. It’s TOUGH and we’re doing our best, honest!

    • Gray

      I disagree the bride is not thoughtless. I’ve got remarried parents too, and I would never act like this towards my stepmom. The bride could have proactively reached out to the stepmom, apologized for the date and explained why she picked it, and made time to go out to a nice brunch or something with her stepmom and father after their vacation so she didn’t feel excluded. Instead she was cold about it.

      You can’t always accommodate everyone with wedding planning, but a little kindness and sincerity goes a long way to erasing hurt feelings.

      • Sarah E

        For sure. Yes, the needs of the many may outweigh the needs of the few, but I also would expect the step-mom’s availability to be respected enough to be contacted directly and kindly about it. There’s a difference between hinging the whole shower on the step-mom’s preferences and simply reaching out personally to say kindly that the “shower scheduling couldn’t be avoided, but please know we’re thinking of you and look forward to celebrating with you soon”

      • macaroni

        Yeah, I’m going to have to (respectfully) disagree with Amy here as well. Both of my parents are remarried, and have been for years, and planning our wedding was a major balancing act between the 6 parents. I’m not sure if my hyper awareness surrounding this exact kind of instance is tied to the fact that my parents’ divorce was messy (and the direct involvement of my stepmom in that messiness), or something else, but it’s there.

        I love my stepmother, and would never correct anyone who referred to her as my mother. I can’t imagine planning a shower (or, rather, having a shower planned for me) and not consulting or at the very least informing her of dates. If there’s a conflict that can’t be resolved, it is what it is, and you should err on accommodating the majority of guests first and foremost. But considering their feelings and making an effort to let them know you wish they could be there, etc. is important.

        Also, re: hosting a shower…I’m from the South, so it might be different in other regions, but down here showers are never/rarely hosted by parents of the bride or groom. They’re hosted by aunts/uncles/cousins/family friends. Obviously people can do whatever they like, but maybe that’s part of it? (Although the hostess should have stepped in with communication with regards to the guest list if the bride/groom felt overwhelmed.) Anyway. Just my two cents!

        • TeaforTwo

          One thing that is relevant here is that there are many ways to have a relationship with your parents’ spouses.

          It sounds like you are very close with your stepmother – I am not close with the woman my father is married to. There isn’t any animosity in our relationship, but we also don’t have much of a relationship that isn’t through my father. Someone commented at my wedding that it didn’t seem like there had been a role for her and that was pretty much true – she was my dad’s +1.

          It doesn’t sound like that’s the LW’s situation, or perceived situation, but if someone offered to host a shower for me and asked for a list of invitees, she would only be on the list as a token gesture of inclusivity, not because it would matter to me one way or the other if she were there.

          • macaroni

            Very true. I was writing from my own perspective, and from the perceived perspective of the LW. However, it’s definitely possible that the daughter/stepdaughter doesn’t feel they have as close a relationship as the LW does. (Which would be really unfortunate, IMO.)

          • Guest

            Agree with Tea for Two – why does it sometimes feel like everyone must have a ROLE in your wedding?! Being a guest (or even the date of the Father of the Bride) is good! when my husband and I were planning our wedding we thought that ‘honoured guest’ was a nice thing to ask someone to be – but some people complained that we hadn’t made their ‘role’ special enough. So frustrating.

            To the OP – Don’t underestimate how many different directions an engaged couple could be being pulled in. It’s a shame that you can’t make it, but don’t assume it was in any way malicious. Maybe the mother of the bride feels uncomfortable with her ex-husband’s new partner being there? The only way to get to the bottom of it is to talk to the bride (with compassion and non-judgementally) and not jump to conclusions. Or trust the bride that she had good reasons for picking this date for her shower.

    • BSM

      When does the “Dear Amy March” advice column start accepting questions?

      • Eenie

        I would so read that. AKA cut the bullshit advice.

      • CMT

        Yes, please!

      • VKD_Vee

        This could be the beginning of a beautiful tumblog…

    • Lisa

      I do love the idea of the stepmother contributing to the event in some way still — possibly by sending table arrangements, a special treat like a favorite cupcake, or just a nice gift. That keeps her somewhat present on the day.

      Also if she’s not going somewhere totally off the grid, it could be possible for her to Skype in for an hour or two. That’s what I did when I came down with a horrible flu the weekend of my sister’s shower and was unable to make the three hour drive home for the party I’d orchestrated. Someone was in charge of “being Lisa” and holding the iPad, and I Skyped in for one of the games and the present opening.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      Yes. I also think that people need to communicate what they’re really upset about. Is LW upset that she wasn’t included? Is she upset about other people backing out of the vacation? Would she be upset if the vacation went forward as planned as well the shower? Figure that out and communicate it so people can be responsive to you.

    • Mags

      I agree that we don’t have enough information to determine whether the daughter was thoughtless. Another point to consider: it’s not clear what the bride’s relationship to her bio mother is compared to the step-mom and what the relationship between the two moms are. The LW said she helped raise the bride, which can mean a variety of things and may mean she was in the bride’s life just on weekends and family vacations for just a few years. Also, sometimes with divorced parents one refuses to be in the same room at the same event as the spouse of the other. For example, my father-in-law can’t stand being near my mother-in-law’s husband; obviously both needed to be at the wedding, but in all other situations my MIL is expected to attend events solo — including all wedding events, graduations, and her visit soon after our son was born. Is there a chance the bride’s mother said she didn’t want step-mom to attend?

  • Not Sarah

    I wouldn’t read too much into the date picking. At a shower I went to, the bride wasn’t even consulted on the date picked and didn’t like that date very much! I didn’t even know a shower was happening or that I was invited until I got an invitation from the matron of honour. The bride had put me on the invite list, but the party wasn’t organized by her.

    • jennifaz

      Yeah, I’ve heard of plenty of surprise showers where the bride had no notice, so presumably had no input on the date or the guest list.

    • Sarah

      Am I the only person who doesn’t get surprise showers? My wedding and upcoming baby ones dates were run by me…perhaps because I’m a few hours away. It seems sorta mean to have a nervous bride/heavily pregnant woman walk into a room of loved ones and be caught off guard.

      • Sarah E

        On my dad’s side of the family, “Shower” is nearly synonymous with “surprise.” I have no idea if my cousins catch on to the planning ahead of time or not, but generally the aunt/cousin planning the shower is just in cahoots with the fiance/spouse to get the bride/mom-to-be there. I live way too far away to have had one, but every single one I’ve attended on that side has been a surprise. Family culture, eh?

  • Perhaps they didn’t ask because they already knew your schedule, perhaps her finance is cold and short because he is defensive about her stress levels. Scheduling around so many people is incredibly difficult add in the fact that emotions are especially higher and offenses likely to be taken and it can become an anxious nightmare.

    • Gray

      Being anxious about a wedding is not an excuse to be hurtful, though. My stepmom would be crushed if I purposefully excluded her from a wedding event for my own convenience. IMO it would be better not to have a shower at all than to have one in a way that hurts the feelings of your loved ones.

      That said, I don’t think there is any gain to be had for the stepmom for staying upset in this case. The date is set, the shower is happening, she expressed her disappointment. Best to allow herself a little cry and then put it behind her. Going forward, she may want to express directly what events are important to her to attend when there is still time to change the details.

      • My point being that I don’t think the decision was made with the intent to be hurtful.

      • Violet

        You say “IMO it would be better not to have a shower at all than to have one in a way that hurts the feelings of your loved ones.” But for many of us with multiple families, it is literally impossible to do one thing that makes all parties happy. That’s why many of us have given up- you truly cannot please everyone, if your “everyone” all want different things.

  • joanna b.n.

    I agree with many of the comments about where the bride may be coming from, but I’m guessing that the stepmom feels like this is a slap in the face to how close she thought she and the bride to be are. She says that they are close and she helped raise her – can you imagine if your mother was not at your shower because you scheduled it on a day she couldn’t come? So I think some of the pain here may be in the stepmother realizing that her expectations of where she stands in her stepdaughter’s life are not jiving with how the wedding-activity planning is playing out. And so there’s perhaps a deeper conversation to be had (or just something to think about) in terms of whether this means something about the relationship or truly was just the bridetobe up against a rock and a hard place.

    • z

      I totally agree with this. Maybe the stepmom needs to examine her own expectations of the relationship and whether they are realistic and accurate. I’m sure it really hurts to love a child and help raise her and then not have a close relationship in adulthood, but it happens a lot– and to biological parents too! Children don’t usually have a choice in who helps to raise them, and step-parenting relationships are not necessarily emotionally reciprocal.

      • Liz

        I completely disagree. Reading other comments, I get that you’re coming from a perspective rooted in your own experience with a stepmom who didn’t raise you. But I think there’s a certain level of consideration due to anyone who does take on that role of raising a kid- biologically, adoptively, or as a step. (excluding sordid sorts of experiences that I’m under the impression don’t factor in here)

        • Kayla

          Some step-parents, like some bio-parents, are fairly toxic people. Do they deserve consideration? They do. But sometimes that consideration is, “How do I get through my wedding without this person wreaking me emotionally?”

          • Liz

            Yeah, like I said, I don’t think those dynamics are at play here.

          • tr

            Some aren’t even toxic, per se, just difficult.
            I have some family members (step and biological) who are good, kind, loving people. They’ve done a lot for me over the years, and I have a deep appreciation for them. At the same time, the unfortunate reality is that for one reason or another, they’re really difficult to be around. Sometimes, they get excluded for precisely that reason. I feel bad about excluding them, but if I want things to go as smoothly as possible for as many people as possible, some exclusion is just part of it. (Particularly when we’re talking about the weird dynamics divorce can create.)

      • Caitlyn

        I think you both have hit on something, but there is an extra layer to it. Sometimes acknowledging how close you are to a stepparent can be perceived as a slight to the bio-parent. And while it shouldn’t be, it’s hard it is to feel like you are hurting one of your parents. My dad and I aren’t very close – he always made an effort to see me, but growing up typically lived at least an hour away. My stepdad has lived with me for most of my life. By proximity he witnessed and been involved with a lot more of my life. I would never call him my dad, but he is my parent.

        I have decided not to have anyone walk me down the aisle or “give me away” (the implications bother the sh*t out of me). But if I were going to, I would REALLY struggle with how to handle it. If I were being true to my heart, I would have to have them both walk me down the aisle. But I know that would really hurt my Dad. And ironically because he and I aren’t as close, I would probably have an easier time expecting my stepdad to understand that while I wanted him to walk down the aisle with me – I needed him to be okay with that not happening for my dad’s sake. In other words, as awful as it is, because I am closer to my stepdad, I would probably feel more comfortable slighting him and dealing with the fallout (because I know our relationship could weather it) and including him and then having it hurt my dad (which I’m not sure our relationship would recover from).

        I wonder if there isn’t any of that happening here – perhaps the bio mom has expressed strong opinions about stepmom and instead of upsetting mom, the bride is hoping the stepmom will be the cool parent she usually is and step aside (which typically stepparents have to do a lot as it is and I think sometimes stepkids take for granted).

        Not that it’s okay, but as a stepkid I do understand that sometimes it’s really hard to navigate family events – especially ones that have really defined roles for certain family members.

      • Kayla

        As a step-child and step-mother, I agree completely. There’s an imposed closeness that happens when a parent partners with someone new. The parent obviously sees their new spouse as an integral part of the family, but the child might never feel the same way.

        I have a hard time not thinking that the step-daughter in this case probably has reasons for not including her step-mother that go beyond the timing, and I would guess that’s where a lot of the upset is coming from.

  • jennifaz

    I wonder when the family planned this vacation. If it was before the couple set a date or was the only day that worked for the family, then there’s not much they could have done.

    But my family and my in-laws didn’t take any vacations in the months leading up to my wedding. And I consciously waited until after my sister’s wedding to take any trips, so I would be able to attend any showers, bachelorette parties, crafting nights, etc.

    Obviously, the couple can’t expect everyone else to put their lives on hold leading up to their wedding, but for the inner-circle people who want to be involved in everything, it can make sense to avoid scheduling things that are likely to conflict with pre-wedding activities.

    • Eenie

      Nope. I would not want my inner circle to do this. Our wedding is one day, and spreads out over one weekend. I would expect them to make every effort to attend my WEDDING and consequently make it as easy as possible for them to attend (run the date by them, give them enough notice to plan, etc.). They do not need to put their social calendar on hold in the months leading up to my wedding. If there’s another specific task I’ve asked them to complete and that requires weekend time/free time/me time I expect them to be grown up about it and schedule the time to get the task done or let me know they need to back out.

      • jennifaz

        It’s definitely up to the guests. If there aren’t going to be any pre-wedding parties, then that makes it easy for everyone. If I decide that attending a close family or friend’s bridal shower is more important than taking a vacation that month, then I’m going to keep my schedule as open as possible.

        There are very few people that’s true for, probably my siblings, best friend, and eventual children. I might not make the same decision for a cousin or more distant friend.

        • Lauren from NH

          Haha. I joked to my mom recently, “the year of Lauren and T must come to an end eventually!”

          • Sarah

            It’s nice when every family gathering isn’t all about your wedding.

          • TeaforTwo

            Yes! I love it now when other people in my family get married, so we still have the excuses to get everyone in the same room, but I don’t have to be the bride, and can just sip cocktails and gossip like god intended.

        • Sarah E

          But how do you even predict when those parties are happening? Even knowing, say, that the wedding if in June, the shower(s) or bachelorette could be anywhere from March onwards. That’s a lot of weekends to keep free.

          • Eenie

            EXACTLY. There are some showers that are 6 months before the wedding. If a guest doesn’t make it to this event and it was REALLY important to both of us, we’d celebrate separately and alone. This isn’t quite the same as asking someone not to get pregnant when you’re planning the wedding, but definitely approaches a similar line in my personal opinion. I’m also not very extroverted person so knowing people were changing so much about the schedules for me would make me extremely uncomfortable.

      • Amber

        Yes! Yes! And we’ll said!

  • z

    Maybe the stepmother just needs to fully grasp that marriage means the bride and groom’s family expands, and that means that each individual person gets a smaller slice of Consideration Pie. There are about twice as many relatives relatives, yet still only 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year.

    My own parents were shocked, shocked, when I started showing up for Thanksgiving every other year after I got married. And I was like, really, dudes? You didn’t see this coming?

    • raccooncity

      I’m not sure what gender you/your partner are, but I know my mom’s friends have spoken matter-of-factly that they’re very happy they have only daughters so they get every christmas with them. I guess they just feel that daughters family wins in all hetero relationships.

      ANNNND…I think that is super gross.

      • RoseTyler

        UGH! That is awful. There is no way that sort of power-dynamic can be functional in a relationship.

        • raccooncity

          The problem with being all “yeah, we’re going to be seeing my family only…” starts when you give birth to a son and try to explain to him later why you’re upset that he spends holidays with his new girlfriend.

          • RoseTyler

            or when your daughter marries a girl and is all like “well her family expects us every Christmas TOO!”

        • Leah

          one of the true perks of the interfaith marriage (I’m Jewish, my husband not) – he gets Christmas, I get Thanksgiving – since my family doesn’t do christmas, everyone wins!

          (plus, holy shit there are so many presents at christmas! I had no idea how many presents are involved. having lived the first 30 years of my life never having seen a christmas morning, all i can say is: no wonder there are so many christians)

          (kidding)
          (mostly)

          • Eh

            Some families go way overboard at Christmas – others do not. My family is reasonable with gifts. On the other hand my inlaws are crazy. To the point where I am uncomfortable with receiving gifts. I am also uncomfortable with how much money we spend on gifts. We buy gifts for people in my husband’s family (grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins) that we would not buy gifts for in my family. That said, my husband’s family shows love through gifts.

          • Leah

            Of course; and I was being flippant about the gifts part – though sincere in the fact that getting to view the rituals of a family’s christmas morning (including but not limited to gifts) for the first time as an adult is actually a very special thing, and getting to celebrate that time with his family while not missing out on anything going on with my own parents makes me feel very lucky.

          • B

            I totally get it – I wouldn’t say my husband’s family goes overboard with gifts, but still the first time I remember thinking, wow, there are so many presents at Christmas! And I also love getting to be a part of his family rituals, and they love when I bring mine (such as when Christmas and Hanukkah overlap and I bring my menorah to their house). And we never have the struggle over whose family gets which holidays.

          • laddibugg

            Heh, my I used to joke with my Jewish ex that he had the best thing going. He got (xmas) presents but never had to give them. My family said they didn’t expect him to get anything but they felt it was their duty to buy something for everyone that was coming to the house.

      • Eenie

        HAHAHAHAHA. My mom is not winning the Christmas battle with her sons or daughter.

      • z

        We’re het as can be, but my parents have never put a gendered frame on this. What it’s really about is their divorce and the fact that they have less grandparent time as a result, and their failure to anticipate that this would happen. We go in a strict alternation– even-numbered years, it’s Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with the in-laws. Odd-numbered years, it’s the opposite. So my parents each get half of a major holiday each year. Of course, there are also various other visits, but for some reason they both obsess about the winter holidays.

        It really is a mystery to me that they didn’t see this coming. It seems so obvious to me!

      • Luna

        Ugh. I agree that is super gross. So his side of the family suddenly doesn’t matter anymore?

        We usually spend holidays with my fiance’s family but that’s only because his family lives less than an hour from us and my family lives on the other side of the country. Add inflated holiday travel costs and it becomes more of a challenge to spend holidays with my family.

        • Eh

          I have never heard that women generally spend holidays with their families and not their inlaws. My husband’s family also lives only lives an hour away while my family lives 7-8 hours away. All of my husband’s family/extended family married people who’s family live within an hour, so holidays can be split. My MIL was devastated the first time we suggested that either both of us or even just me would be visiting my family for a holiday. We are about to have a baby and I obviously want our daughter to spend some holidays with my side of the family too. That said, my sister lives on the other side of the country and I would travel home around her travel schedule over travelling home for a holiday.

      • Lawyerette510

        We rarely spend holidays with my family, because at a minimum it requires a 4 hour plane ride during busy travel time (and then once there I have to navigate divorced parents) vs. his parents who are 65 miles away. However, this year we committed to being with my mom at her new place for Christmas through New Years which is a shorter flight and somewhere we like as a stand-alone destination, and my in-laws are freaking out. We even invited them, but they didn’t want to come because my MIL doesn’t like being in the cold, but she also is not liking that we won’t be at her house. Finally when we saw them this weekend, I talked to her and asked her to put herself in my mom’s place, and that seemed to help. Of course, what she doesn’t know is that we are probably skipping Thanksgiving so my husband can go on a rock-climbing trip, but I’m going to let him sort that out with her.

  • Sarah E

    I’m not sure I would give the bride the benefit of the doubt here. Undoubtedly someone else planned the shower, so perhaps her responsibility is limited. However, there’s no excuse not to include such close family members, at the very least by giving them a heads-up and a chance to bring a dessert. I suspect there are family politics at play, or that WIC notion of blood relatives trumping all is muddying the water.

    I totally agree the stepmother should express her hurt (briefly) and be sure to emphasize how willing she is to celebrate in other ways with the bride. I know everyone is trying to protect the bride’s stress level, but a snub like this does not seem like an oversight to me. Offering to host may not have solved this issue months ago, if the stepmom was waiting for someone else to step up, or wasn’t sure if the bride wanted a shower, or was deferring to bio mom/grandma/dad. I’m not really buying the “wellll. . .maybe you shouldn’t have planned a vacation” or “maybe you should have just offered to host yourself” response. Seems like it’s putting the onus on the person was (clearly, if negligently or intentionally) hurt by another.

    • Liz

      I’m also really surprised by those pushing the responsibility on stepmom!

    • A.

      It seems like not just a WIC notion of blood relatives trumping all – there are comments here that imply or seem to directly state that as well. Which, yeah, if that’s how it works in your family, of course that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean this stepmom is inherently wrong for feeling hurt or left out, just because she’s not her daughter’s “real” mom. To me, that’s actually a bit calloused view, especially since based on the letter, it seems like the LW is surprised that her daughter made this choice and there’s no reference to a bio mom or other blood relatives at all, unless my reading comprehension is off?

      Sensitive subject for me, though, so I’ll admit that bias.

    • Lauren from NH

      With regards to the “maybe you should have offered to host”, I took it more as advice for others on how to ensure having a role in the shower, so more as empowerment to take charge of your involvement rather than wait and possibly be/feel left out. For the current LW that advice is a little too late, but I think it gets at that it’s kind of unfair to make the couple (and really the bride) responsible for everyone having a positive experience around the various events for their wedding.

      • Sarah E

        I agree the bridal couple shouldn’t be obligated to please everyone. Including the step-mom who had a hand in raising you– not even as hostess, but respecting her enough to politely inform her of what’s going on– seems like the least point of civility, not over-the-top people-pleasing to me. Mrrpaderp’s comment after mine hits it well I think– that no matter what the scheduling was, the bride could have handled it with some acknowledgement that the step-mother cares about her and wishes to be there by reaching out first.

        • Lauren from NH

          How the daughter relayed the information is open to interpretation. My guess would be that she did it as nicely as possible, while trying not to make it feel like a huge deal and not apologize as though it is her fault. Your guess may be different. Unless she was outright rude, quibbling over the delivery seems fruitless to me, for us and the LW. Sometimes there is no great way to deliver unpleasant news, especially when depending where the other person is emotionally, they are only going to hear half of what you are saying anyways.

  • Mrrpaderp

    I’m wondering what the letter from the partner said. A “cold” “admonish[ment]” might be the cause of the hurt feelings more than the shower issue. I imagine (hope) LW wouldn’t feel the way she does if step daughter had said something like, “I’m so sorry this conflicts with your already-scheduled vacation. It really was the only date that worked for the host(s) and the other guests. I would love it if you could come with me to my next dress fitting/hair and makeup trial/cake tasting/drinks on a random weeknight to take my mind off wedding planning.”
    I think it’s probably better to let it drop, but if the letter was particularly egregious, LW should say something to step daughter. “I understand that the date conflict was unavoidable, but I wish YOU had been the one to reach out to me.” I’m on the fence about whether to specifically call out partner’s email; I think it really depends on what it said. Emails can come off cold even if written politely; but “admonishing” your partner’s parents is also clearly inappropriate. Was step daughter copied on the email? Might be worthwhile to forward it to her.

    • Kayjayoh

      “Emails can come off cold even if written politely; but ‘admonishing’ your partner’s parents is also clearly inappropriate.”

      That was my first thought, too. I imagine, since we only have the LW’s personal perspective, that there is a chance that she stepped over the line in some way in how she dealt with her step-daughter. We can’t know that. But, as an adult, even being “admonished” by a peer can sting. Being admonished by the partner of a child (even an adult one) has got to feel like a slap.

    • Kayla

      I’d venture to say that admonishing you partner’s parents is clearly
      inappropriate… unless their behavior was way out of line. Which really
      does make me wonder about the details of the conversation that led up to the letter.

  • Leah

    Just one point to add to the conversation – not explicit from the letter that there is indeed a groom involved; if it’s 2 brides, that may make for even more conflicting interests surrounding a shower, no matter who is planning it…

    • eating words

      Exactly the point I wanted to make as well.

    • rg223

      Agreed – the use of “partner” makes me think there are two brides, and if bride 1’s family is planning the shower and LW is step-mom of bride 2, I can see how step-mom and her immediate family’s schedule might not have been the top priority in the planning, unfortunately.

  • La’Marisa-Andrea

    I always find these kinds of letters a bit perplexing. What resolution exactly is LW seeking here? I don’t like to quibble about how people feel. Stepmom is entitled to feel however she feels, whether it be snubbed, hurt, etc. It’s not clear from the letter whether the daughter was apologetic when LW discussed this with daughter and the partner. I mean, if you tell someone something they’ve done was hurtful, they acknowledge your hurt, apologize and offer some form of explanation, what more can they do to appease your hurt feelings? You’re still going to be hurt. And in this particular situation, what’s been done is done. The shower has been planned, LW can’t go. If daughter has acknowledged LW’s feelings and sincerely apologized (and it’s not really clear that she has), LW has no choice but to express next time she would like to be included and go on with her life. I just don’t think the daughter is responsible for LW’s continued hurt feelings at this point. I’m not trying to be cruel, I’m just not a fan of going on about hurt feelings if people have apologized and tried to make amends. I also wouldn’t attribute the partner’s response to LW’s feelings to the daughter.

    • RoseTyler

      I would argue against the idea that when someone’s feelings are hurt the appropriate response is necessarily an apology and explanation. I for instance, have a family member who chooses to have hurt feelings whenever I refer to them using a pronoun. Any pronoun (no gender complications etc here). I’m not going to apologize for using pronouns instead of proper nouns. This same individual is currently very upset that I do not attend the same religious services as they do. Again, sometimes people’s feelings are hurt by their own unreasonable expectations. And likewise, i’m a grown adult as is step-daughter. Explaining our decision isn’t necessarily something that is required. After all, “No” is a complete sentence.

      • La’Marisa-Andrea

        I’m not saying that an apology is required. I think sometimes one is and I think, given the relationship here, perhaps stepmom deserves one or at least some kind of explanation. Sometimes, in relationships with people, you do owe them explanations for certain behavior if you actually want and expect the relationship to thrive and continue. I think the idea that you never ever have to explain yourself because “no is a complete” sentence is a bit unrealistic as far as interpersonal relationships are concerned. That being said, that’s not really the point though of my original comment. What I’m trying to understand is what is LW looking for? IF daughter apologized and explained, what more can she do?

        • Teresa

          my reading of it was that the LW was looking for validation or for someone to tell her she kind of has to suck it up and get over it. Like, here’s the situation, here’s how it made me feel. Are my feelings justified or am I overreacting?! Sometimes when something really upsets you, it’s hard to get out of your own head and look at the situation rationally and I think weddings seem to really magnify all kinds of emotions and situations. I’m not sure who was right or wrong, but I think she either wanted commiseration or a get-grip kind of answer!

  • Natalie

    I wonder if some of the problem is a generational thing? I can completely understand why the LW is hurt. But perhaps her stepdaughter does not view showers as important as the LW does? I have friends of many generations, and those my age (20’s and early 30’s) don’t really care about wedding showers. I’ve only been to 2, including my own. They’re just not a big deal in most of my circles. Some of my older female friends threw me one for our friend group. My mom, who lives across the country from me, was super sad that she could not throw me a shower or attend my shower due to the distance. To me, the shower was not a big deal at all, just another excuse for a party with some girlfriends. To my mom, it was a Big Important Wedding Event. Perhaps the LW might consider the possibility that her stepdaughter does not view the shower as important as she does, and so did not realize until after the fact how hurtful it might be to not schedule it around the LW?

    • Sarah E

      That’s really fair.

    • Juliet

      This was my thought as well! Especially if the shower is being organized by a friend of the couple/bride, and not a family member, the two parties here may be perceiving the event every differently.

      When close friends of ours got engaged, we through them a stock the bar engagement party that could have easily been called a shower if that’s what someone wanted to call it! We invited no family, only local friends, and it was a very casual event more like a cocktail party.

    • VKD_Vee

      I was also thinking this. I didn’t have a shower. It wasn’t really on my radar.

    • Bsquillo

      I think it’s most definitely a generational AND cultural thing. I didn’t really care to have any showers, and none of my friends seemed to think that was strange. However, my husband’s mother, who is fairly Southern and conservative, INSISTED that she throw us a wedding shower in our hometown back in Alabama, which actually ended up happening after the wedding due to timing and traveling. It was lovely, and I certainly appreciated it, but it was not something I would have planned for myself at all.

    • anon

      I unintentionally hurt my S-MIL’s feelings SO BAD because of this…I just did. not. think. the shower was that important, I actually saw it as an imposition (“hey, I know you’re hosting our wedding at your house for free and all, but can you also drive all the way down here and give me some presents first?”) and pretty much just invited “my side” people, but then a bunch of “his side” people got invited without me knowing until the last minute but *not* her and…OMG it was a mess. I still feel awful.

  • BDubs

    Was stepmom even invited to this shower? Based on how stepdaughter “mentioned” the shower, it doesn’t sound like this was an event that LW was supposed to be included in.
    That stings, but if stepmother wasn’t invited, she really isn’t allowed to quibble about the date.
    Maybe this is going to be a wild drunken bachelorette bash or a lingerie party or any number of events that you wouldn’t comfortably invite older relatives to..?

    • Natalie

      Excellent point. It might be that the shower was intended for the bride’s generation only, or that it’s hosted by the stepdaughter’s partner’s family for their side.

      • JDrives

        The generational thing might be it, but if it was indeed the partner’s family hosting for their side, why invite LW’s kids (the bride’s stepsiblings)? LW says that some of her kids are forgoing the family vacation to attend the shower, so unless they are crashing, they have been invited.

  • jhs

    As an aside, “traditionally” showers are not supposed to be thrown by the mother of the bride (or stepmother), since it supposedly came off as a gift grab. Whether you follow that “rule” or not, it could be that the bride/other shower people involved are operating on the assumption that they shouldn’t involve her in planning.

    • Lawyerette510

      I was thinking that as I read this, that generally showers are thrown by non-family members for the couple or the bride, and likely it was as simple as the hosts offering a few different potential dates and the couple picking the date that worked best for them and the people hosting.

  • M Tee-Rex

    it sounds like the step-daughter made choices intentionally, and it sounds like probably it could’ve been handled more graciously, and that LW’s feelings are not hurt without just cause- I wonder if the step-daughter would indicate that she also felt very close to LW? I am also about 4 weeks out from my wedding, and there have been a few interactions that I have handled less-than-perfectly and avoided certain conversations because of feeling pressured and a little bit manipulated by many different people’s expectations and feelings. It’s a lot to manage, and it may bring up (at least it does for me) old unresolved feelings and issues from way back, which can make it much harder to deal with the situation at present. (this is also not just a one-sided thing, I think in most families it goes both ways)

    So it may not be comforting to LW, but I think it’s fair to say that step-daughter is working through some feelings and is feeling overwhelmed and it is fair to let her know that LW is feeling hurt and excluded but also, there’s a lot going on.

    • BSM

      Wow, this comment rings SO EFFING TRUE today. Thanks.