Prev Next
Bridesmaid Shower Credit

The Case of the Uncredited Shower Contribution

By Amalah

I helped give a bridal shower, but I don’t think the bride knows!

I am one of three bridesmaids for my brother-in-law’s fiancée.  The other two bridesmaids and I agreed to give the bride-to-be a bridal shower together, meaning that we would all help plan, prepare, and pay for the party.  But because I live out-of-town, the other two girls handled most of the planning.  The most I could do was send them a check for my portion – $100, a third of our $300 budget (which I thought was steep, but paid anyway).

I sacrificed going to my uncle’s wedding AND I drove for two days with a newborn to get to the bridal shower.  It was a great party and definitely worth the trip.  The other two girls did a great job.

HOWEVER, when we were cleaning up after the party, one of the other bridesmaids pulled me aside and said that they went a bit over budget and would need me to send another $50.  I said sure, no problem, and asked her to e-mail me her address so I could mail her a check when I got home.

When I got home, he e-mail said that she actually needed $150 more.  I had misheard her at the party.  I begrudgingly sent the check, but don’t you think that $750 is a bit much for a bridal shower?!  And how could the other bridesmaids go so far over budget without consulting me, and yet still expect me to pay extra?  They sprang this on my AFTER the money had been spent.

On top of all of this, the Thank You note that I received from the bride thanked me for the gift and for driving so far for the occasion. It did not mention my contribution (even if it was only financial) to the bridal shower.  I’m afraid that she must think that the shower was thrown only by the other two girls because they were there to do the planning and preparation.

I feel like my contribution – which ended up being 150% more than I wanted to contribute in the first place – has gone unappreciated. What can I do to modestly let my soon-to-be sister-in-law know that I helped plan and pay for her bridal shower?  I don’t want recognition for my ego – I just want her to know that I care for her as much as the other two girls!

L

Advice Smackdown ArchivesI’ve now let this email simmer in the queue for awhile now, because every time I think about my answer, I decide that maybe I’m cranky or overtired or need another cup of coffee that day. So I mark it as unread again and wander off to choose another question. I’ve now done this enough times that I guess…well, I’m not cranky. I’m just particularly on your side here.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I think, if the other bridesmaids did purposely mislead the bride to think you had nothing to do with the shower, that that’s totally gross and unfair, but I see no evidence in your email that would really suggest that. Did the invitations like, include their names but not yours? Were they the only ones to play hostess at the party (leading games, organizing food, helping gifts, thanking guests for coming)? That could definitely lead to an incorrect assumption on the bride’s part, and I’ll get to how you might correct that in a minute.

Where you lose me, admittedly, is…well, everything else. You say you don’t want recognition for your ego, but because you want the bride to know you “care” as much as the other girls, but the rest of your email is one big long bitch session over money and inconvenience. You admit that you didn’t help with the planning, and thus removed yourself from the budgeting or (lack of) budgeting or from being the voice of reason about a $750 bridal shower. Should they have given you a heads up before the costs skyrocketed? Yeah, sure, though it’s likely that they didn’t even tally everything up until the end, or maybe they  tossed the original plan out the window and asked you for more money since they DID do all the planning and heavy lifting and such. Again, not particularly cool, but that’s not the bride’s fault. This is all kind of hindsight, I guess: don’t let these women plan parties on your dime.

Then you say “What can I do to modestly let my soon-to-be sister-in-law know that I helped plan and pay for her bridal shower?” But you didn’t plan it. You helped pay for it, albeit begrudgingly. I understand wanting the bride to know that you played SOME PART in planning the shower — I do, I really do! — but there’s just too much Other Stuff going on in your email that makes me feel like you want something from the bride that she’s not obligated to give you — it basically reads like you’re asking how to get credit for paying for something that you didn’t want to pay that much for in the first place and didn’t think it was worth it and are just sooooo put out and inconvenienced.

The bride should NEVER know how much her bridal shower cost, or how the to-do list was divvied up, or how irritated you are at her other bridesmaids.  If you want to be irritated at the other bridesmaids for going over budget, that’s one thing. Be irritated. You can definitely be irritated to a point, and use this as a Learning Moment in regards to footing the bill for events you aren’t super-involved in. But leave your future sister-in-law out of that!

If she did make an incorrect assumption — not realizing that two maids did the planning but all three of you contributed money — promise me you’ll leave all the behind-the-scenes annoyance at the door before bringing this up with anybody. And I would bring it up thusly:

1) Ask one of the other bridesmaids something simple like, “hey, does Bridesy know that we all contributed? Because I wasn’t able to be so involved with the planning/hosting I guess I’m a little paranoid that she thinks I flaked on her or didn’t do my part!”

2) Say something to the bride, like, “hey, I just wanted to make sure you enjoyed your shower, since I didn’t get to talk to you as much as I’d like that day, but I had a great time and I’m so happy the three of us were able to throw the party for you.” Don’t give crass specifics like, “they planned but I PAID” or imply that you felt slighted by her note or who did what and how much and when. And then DROP IT. Maybe she will be all, “oh I didn’t REALIZE, I’m so SORRY” and send you a revised thank-you note. More likely, though, she’ll simply assert that yes, she had a great time and wasn’t that cake delicious? Still: DROP IT. You set the record straight, but no fishing for more recognition and compliments, you know?

And I’m sorry this answer comes across as hard on you, because I get that you probably just wanted to give the background details and ended up venting maybe more than you meant. Wanting credit where credit is due is not a terrible thing — I just to make sure you get your motives and sense of tact are in the right place before accidentally turning this into Bridalshowergate 2010, and that everybody makes it to the wedding with feelings intact.

(Oh. And I probably wouldn’t let the other two bridesmaids plan the bachelorette party by themselves. Just FYI.)

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon

Comments

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Danielle
Guest
Danielle

I’m with you on the recognition and wanting to feel included – I’d want that too! Where you lost me is the $ complaint. $750 seems REALLY low for a bridal shower. Food, drinks, decorations, locale rental… these things cost money. I am really impressed that they were able to keep costs that low in the first place. I can’t even imagine how you could throw a party for $300. Here’s hoping you enjoy the wedding celebration!

eva
Guest

Hmm, totally agree with Amy about the ego/getting credit for spending stuff. BUT…cannot imagine spending that much on a party which is really jsut a prelude to the real party (wedding) which is really just one day in the life of hopefully a lifelong marriage. This seems indicative of how Americans have gotten themselves so so much in debt, personally and as a nation. Set budgets and stick to them, and don’t be chipping in more than you can afford, and the whole sub-prime mortgage/credit crunch may not have happened so severely. I had one of those teensy weddings, no… Read more »

Cassandra
Guest
Cassandra

$300 for the whole party is too much? Having just thrown my SiL a bridal shower (ok, wrong, her friend planned, threw, and did most of the work and I just paid, which I was happy to do as my part since planning a party from three states away is just ridiculous and I feel the exact opposite as you – I feel embarrassed that she is giving me credit when i didn’t really do anything) I can say that I paid that much just for the food. And this was a small shower and a modest restaurant. Huh. I… Read more »

EB
Guest
EB

I’m in the ‘I really don’t know why we are all expected to basically buy the bride and groom a new house, and spend tons of money on the pre-wedding stuff even as THEY spend tons of money on the actual wedding’ camp. What IS wrong with us, as a nation, that we are such big spenders no matter what our actual budget is? I’m getting married in three weeks. My mom, about a week ago, says, “Hey, do you want a bridal shower?” Firstly, I think if she wants to throw one, she just does it, right? Secondly, my… Read more »

Christen
Guest

I would like to 2nd/3rd Amy’s advice and reiterate to chalk this all up to life experience and learn from it. Meaning, if you agree to financially contribute to a party, either be involved in the planning (to put the kibosh on having flowers imported or whatever) and/or make it very clear what you can contribute. We’ve all been the underappreciated bridesmaid or hostess and it sucks, but it does sound like the bride-to-be was grateful for your present and presence. And it’s fine to be annoyed with the other bridesmaids for going over the agreed-upon budget, but learn from… Read more »

Beth
Guest
Beth

Well it may be hard to do this now, but if you ever help plan a party in future, instead of simply writing a check, I would ask for copies of ALLLLLLLL receipts. Then you know how much you are really paying and for what. I don’t know these women, but for all you know they got snotty and decided to give you the whole bill. If you don’t have any kind of paperwork, how can you now for sure? What kind of bridal shower costs $750? How many people attended? I’m a little surprised you didn’t question this and… Read more »

Lisa M
Guest
Lisa M

I know this is too late for this situation, and hindsight being 20/20 and all…but next time try to stay more involved and more vocal. Just because you’re not local, doesn’t mean you can’t help. Sure, you can’t be expected to do the running around, but anyone can order a cake on-line, or call a local bakery (just check cake-wrecks first); or send out invites, call people who didn’t RSVP (grrr); lots of little things that would have helped the other hostesses, and kept you more in the loop on the budget. FWIW, I do think $750 is outrageous for… Read more »

jamie
Guest

I wasn’t going to comment because I think Amalah’s advice is spot on as usual but Daniele’s comment threw me for a loop… $750 is LOW for a shower? That just made my brain explode. We must have very different shower expectations.

Procrastamom
Guest
Procrastamom

I’m with Eva on this one (maybe it’s because we’re both from Canada?).  What is with this spending $300, $400 or even $750!!! on a wedding shower?  What ever happened to holding a shower in someone’s living room (the aunt with the big house?), complete with deli trays and pot-luck appies and a paper-plate-present-bow hat for the bride?  What the heck has happened to us that we believe because a couple is getting married that we’re obligated to throw them multi hundred or thousand dollar parties and also, by the way, purchase them an expensive gift off of their registry?… Read more »

Lisa M
Guest
Lisa M

Oh, and one thing about your last line. You can’t “modestly” brag. Either you’re in it to do something nice, and you did; or you’re in to look good. If you try to look at it that way, it makes it easier to just drop it and move on. Heh-heh…move on to the bachlorette party. Good luck!

Kimberly
Guest
Kimberly

I’m so intrigued by the comments here. I have a similar-ish problem. I co-hosted a baby shower for someone (hosted in my home, I paid for all the decorations, the invitations and all food and drink but the cake), and never received a thank you note from the momma-to-be, not even for my baby present. My co-host, who lived out of state and who brought the cake, received an effusive thank you note (which I saw on her refrigerator and asked about and she invited me to read it b/c “it was sooooo sweet.” And yes, it was). I’m still… Read more »

tasterspoon
Guest
tasterspoon

I think $300 is plenty to spend on any party – you can make a lot of mimosas with $300. A little tangential, but I had to vent: A friend (not a best friend, just a friend) of my mom’s threw me a bridal shower a while back and I thought it was a little weird because she wasn’t really involved in my life – the guest list was a bunch of other sort-of friends of my mom’s, but more of the other lady’s. The gifts were fine, not much of the practical things I’d gotten around to registering for,… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

The outrageous (well, to me, anyway) cost of the shower has me wondering if perhaps the writer didn’t unwittingly pay for more than her third of the amount over-budget. $450 is a lot closer to the original budget than $700. Is this a possibility? In any case, I’d side with Amy’s advice to speak tactfully to another of the bridesmaids to clear things up.

Life of a Doctor's Wife
Guest

This whole situation sucks. It sucks if you have to pay for a shower without the fun of planning it. It sucks if you don’t get any recognition for your contribution. It sucks if the other bridesmaids didn’t make it clear that you helped, and if they overcharged you. It sucks if the bride doesn’t thank you. I would feel much the way this bridesmaid feels… put out and put upon and grouchy and unappreciated… I would want to stomp around pouting. BUT I think you have do things for yourself, you know? Like, I will give $XXX toward this… Read more »

G.G.R
Guest
G.G.R

$750 dollars for a shower?! What the HELL went on at that shower? How many days? Was there AT LEAST some sort of spa treatment involved? Add another $250 on to that sum and you have the cost for my entire wedding (in 22 days it will be our first anniversary!) Jeesus. Then again, I am not american =P If I was that bride with that bridal shower I’d be embarassed. What a lot of money to spend! But maybe as you didn’t seem to have any problem forking over that amount so maybe you are rich? I don’t know.… Read more »

Angie
Guest
Angie

Okay, I just want to point out that the region of the country you reside in makes a HUGE impact on the budget for things like showers. My sister, our mutual best friend and I were a bridesmaid trio for each other. I was the maid of honor for each; my sister was my MOH, they were both bridesmaids for each other, as was the mutual friend for me. We were a well-oiled bridal party machine by the end of the third wedding. I personally LOVE giving fun, personal, unique shower-type parties. (I know; it’s weird. I also love giving… Read more »

Suzy Q
Guest
Suzy Q

Amy, I think you left a very important NOT out of your sentence: “I’m just particularly on your side.” The gist comes through, though. I think $750 for a bridal show is outrageous, unless you’re engaged to a celebrity or are a celebrity yourself. I agree with all of Amalah’s advice, except this: I would NOT advise that you get involved with any planning of the bachelorette party. You’ve been burned once, and that’s quite enough. Let the other people do it and attend if you can. Also, you have your entire life to spend time with your bro and… Read more »

Juliet
Guest
Juliet

I’m American, and I would NEVER spend that much for a shower! Not all of us are that crazy, not by a long shot. My own shower was at a relative’s home with lots of women, silly games, snacks, wine, and that’s it – what else could you possibly need?

Lisa
Guest

I’ve thrown a bridal shower and baby shower for my sister in the past year, and both cost right around $750, both held at home, both catered. I don’t think that’s outrageous. It does seem that the other bridesmaids could have given her a bit more notice prior to the shower that things were costing so much more.

stacy
Guest
stacy

Jeez. I chipped in $40 for my SIL’s bridal shower…. (they “asked” me what I could contribute). The bride’s sister (the MOH) was having it at her house and my personal feeling was that her sister (my SIL) had asked me to spend enough money on bridesmaid tralala crap (to the tune of $300+), that she can figure out how to throw a party on 40 bucks a host. There were 5 bridesmaids in total. My experience tells me that Cosmos and finger foods can be done for $200. If they want to spend more than that – well, cheers.… Read more »

L
Guest
L

OP here. Thanks to all of the commenters that agree that $750 – or even $300 – is too much to spend on a bridal shower. I’m with the group that thinks that bridal/baby showers should be simple occasions hosted at a person’s house with food cooked and brought by friends and family. I’m American, but my nationality no excuse for spending an egregious amount of money on a not-so-extragant party. There were only 30 guests, it was in a private party room at a local coffee shop, and it was catered with coffee and pastries. NOTHING FANCY. I have… Read more »

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Just want to toss in – $750 doesn’t sound ridiculous if you rented a place and had it catered. 30 guests at $15 a head is $450 right there…then any decorations, invitations, favors, rental fee for the room….it does add up quickly. (Especially if you had to prepay for a certain number of guests, say 35, and only 30 showed). A quick trip to the party store for balloons and streamers can turn into an easy $75 if you aren’t paying attention and buy all the cute stuff you see. So….I’m just saying, before you accuse them of sticking you… Read more »

wallydraigle
Guest

I don’t think the cost should be the issue. Yes, $750 sounds outrageous to ME, but I live in semi-rural Midwest. To me, fancy is anything over $50/bridesmaid in a three-bridesmaid wedding. What would really tick me off is that the planners didn’t seem to do any budgeting or planning. Costs ballooned, and they didn’t stick to a budget. While they had a say in the planning, the long-distance bridesmaid did not. It might be fair for her to spend a little more monetarily, since they’re doing all the work, but that much just seems ridiculous. I would be angry… Read more »

christina
Guest
christina

” I’m just particularly on your side here.” Amy — totally thrown by the seemingly missing “not” here??

Also, Beth — the suggestion to request copies of all receipts: um, really!?!?!? I can’t think of a faster way to burn bridges and create MAJOR drama than to treat a shower like nothing more than a business transaction. Sorry, but it’s not.
Above all,
I think “L” needs to get over it at this point, and just move on. Keeping score is a crappy way to live.

christina
Guest
christina

On second thought, I have a couple of questions that “L” could maybe address: L, did you ask them what the $ covered? Seems fair to politely and non-accusingly ask (preferably at the time you were asked or emailed for more $) how it went over budget and what this was covering. And, was your name not on the invitation? That seems weird to me…but if it was, and your issue is that the bride just didn’t mention your financial contribution (since you didn’t plan it, as you note) on her thank you note, then please see my comment above… Read more »

L
Guest
L

christina and others – none of our names were on the invitation, which is why the bride understandably may not know that I was involved. I’m not keeping score, but I am concerned that the bride might be having hurt feelings if she thinks that I didn’t contribute (as wallydraigle suggested).

Anyway, this was several months ago now, so I vented and got over it well before amalah smacked me down. It was good to hear that I’m not alone in thinking that my venting is unprecedented, though.

andrea
Guest
andrea

Going over budget happens with these events. That does seem a lot but you didn’t have to pay the $150. You could have said hey I only feel comfortable with $50 as I didn’t have a part in the planning, but then again you also could have asked along the way about what they were selecting since you knew you’d be helping to pay. Whatever you do please don’t bitch to the bride about it. Happened to me where one of my maids post wedding just ranted about every little thing that happened up to the wedding. I know you… Read more »

j
Guest
j

I think it is partly incumbent on the bride to find out who was involved in planning the shower. My husband’s aunts threw me a big wedding shower (which I’m sure went well over the $750 budget) but I made a point of asking his mom who were the ones in charge, who else did a lot of work, etc so I could get them a small gift and a shower planning-specific thank you note in addition to the thank you for any gifts. I understand how a shower could cost $750 but I definitely would have had a hard… Read more »

Kerry
Guest
Kerry

Wow, people are being a bit hard on the OP. I would feel a little put out, too, and can understand where she’s coming from. Disclaimer: I understand that it’s ALL about the bride, and ALL about her special preshus day and keeping her happy. I get it. If you’re going to throw someone a shower, you should do it out of the kindness of your heart and not “keep score.” Don’t be a whiner and all that. Still, being a bridesmaid and all the responsibilities that come along with it is quite stressful! It’s hard to know if you’re… Read more »

Kerry
Guest
Kerry

Sorry, I just had to say one more thing: Darn it, people DO deserve credit where credit is due. Even if she only contributed $25, she still made a sacrifice and rightly wanted the bride to know that she wasn’t a slacker bridesmaid. I pray to God that when I’m a bride, I won’t just assume that people are going to throw me showers and indulge me. And if one of my bridesmaids pulls me aside and says, “Hey, umm, just wanted to let you know I helped out with your shower. Maybe you didn’t know,” I wouldn’t be mad… Read more »

L
Guest
L

OP here again. Kerry, you just made my day 🙂 Thank you.

Jaymee
Guest
Jaymee

It seems to me like alot of you are bad with money. If I make a budget, I stick to it. $300 is MORE than enough for a Bridal Shower. There is no need to have it at a fancy country club or have it catered or spend tons of money on decorations and expensive drinks. I (and 3 other bridesmaids) through a Bridal shower for our friend. It cost us a total of $200. We limited the guest list to 20 people(plus the bride and us) made all of the food ourselves(No need for a 5 course meal, some… Read more »

The gold digger
Guest
The gold digger

Holy smoke. I am totally on the side of the letter writer. $750??? For a shower? What did they serve, caviar? I was the co-hosesst for my friend’s bridal shower. The other woman held it at her house. We both cooked and baked (as did several other guests). I wanted to be more involved, but she just wanted me to bring food. I thought that would be the end of it – I made a few things – but then she told me that I needed to give her $50 to cover the expenses. I was ticked off at that… Read more »