I know what I'm about to say won't sit well with many brides-to-be or friends of brides-to-be or mothers of brides-to-be. I assume most gleefully partake in this tradition, but hear me out: I'm not into the whole bridal shower charade. In fact, I just recently got engaged and already know I won't be having one.
Yes, they are usually beautiful, lovely, elegant occasions. And normally, I love any and every chance to celebrate. Holidays, accomplishments, birthdays, pet birthdays! Too often, though, bridal showers feel more like formal obligations than true celebrations. Here's why I think they need an overhaul:
The Cost & Endless Planning
Weddings are already insanely elaborate affairs that are both expensive and time consuming for everyone involved. The couple, the guests, the bridal party, the family. Must we do more planning? Take another precious weekend day from everyone's schedule? Force more gifts upon ourselves? Make our friends stock our kitchens and underwear drawers?
IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.
The Opening of the Gifts
Every shower I've been to was dominated by one thing: gift opening. Not eating, not socializing, not even those little games. No. Everyone crowds around to watch the future Mrs open every. single. present. And read every. single. card.
Oh can you feel the silence? You know, that awkward period where the guest of honor has to read the sentimental notes while all eyes are on her. Granted, I'm an introvert, but CRINGE. Maybe some people would be offended if their gift wasn't opened at the soiree, but I would admire a bride who set the task aside for later.
Has anyone else ever felt unusually anxious waiting for their gift to be opened? It's immediately ranked by the loudness of the oohs and ahhs. Your present always seems to come after a fellow attendee who spent a ridiculous amount of money on several items made of pure silk and cashmere from Neiman Marcus. Even when you know your friend isn't like that, it's hard not to flinch while others watch the unveiling.
Why Not Men?
Watch me read into this here, but why isn't there an equivalent for men? Is it not an equal feat for them to have found their partner in life?
Lyla Cicero sums this up perfectly in her Jezebel post on the subject matter:
They send the message that babies and marriages are events worthy of all the women in your life gathering together in your honor. We don't get showers for finishing our dissertations, writing books, improving our mental health, training for marathons, landing the perfect job, being well-read, advocating for oppressed groups, getting promotions, or choosing to live sustainably. Further, traditionally men don't attend showers, offensively suggesting that marriage and children are more pivotal in the lives of women than men.
Plus, let's think about the content of the gifts for a moment. I love kitchenware and lingerie as much as the next, but it's hard not to interpret this as some sort of representation of our role as wives.
Is it a Not-So-Humble Brag?
I was thrilled when my boyfriend proposed on my birthday, it was incredibly special and majorly exciting. But as a shy person, spreading the word almost felt strange. I wanted the world to know! But was I rubbing it in people's faces? I doubt anyone on Facebook actually felt that way, but a bridal shower seems to take things to the next level. As Cicero brings up, it's not always a fun-for-all, "For many women, showers bring about painful feelings that change throughout the lifespan."
That being said, if you love the idea of a bridal shower, by all means have one! Enjoy the heck out of it! Perhaps it's just personal preference, like nuts in your ice cream. It's not for me.
Maybe if the whole shower was given a new angle I'd be all in. I certainly won't miss the showers of best friends. I'm just hoping they're heavier on the champagne and lighter on, well, everything else.