Friday, April 27, 2007

etiquette 101

Thanks for the funny and kind comments about my playgroup anxiety. In response to some of your thoughts: this is a community ed thing through our school district, it is only 1 hour per week, and I am not as crazy as I made myself sound. I behaved perfectly normally, truly I did...I just felt like I needed to run about 5 miles when we left to blow off all the pent up nerves. I'm not good at being the new kid. Anyway, it was fine, really it was, and we are going back next week.

And now I have an etiquette question (unrelated to the playgroup).

Part of the reason I haven't blogged much is because the biggest thing going on around here has nothing to do with me. Back in March, my bro-in-law (Hubs' brother, who I will call "C") finally proposed to his looooooooooooooongtime girlfriend ("M"). Now, C and M have been living together in her house (not her parents' house, her actual house that she bought) while C tried to get his life figured out. He graduated with a degree in sociology in 2002, but has been knocking around trying to get a police job ever since. All he's had is security work, until finally he was accepted into the US Border Patrol, which we think is pretty awesome. So he's been away at their academy since January, while M remained here, working and whatnot. She went to visit him on her birthday and he proposed (awww), and plans immediately commenced.

Their engagement is to be only 6 months, which seems so short to me, but he will be stationed in California so they want to speed things up for M to move out there. So things are coming rather quickly. Hubs was asked to be a groomsman/usher, and Daughter was asked to be a flower girl (which we declined based on the fact that she will be less than 2.5 years old at that time, and also with Hubs being at the altar who would help me wrangle her?), but I was not asked to participate. That's fine with me, but my question is this: what role do I play in the preparations...specifically, her shower(s)?

Hubs has only the one bro, no sisters, so there are no women from "our" side of the family involved. The bridesmaids are to be M's only sister and I guess some friends (possibly cousins, I don't know). We are not very close to C and M, because they are 4 and 5 years younger than we are. Hubs was never tight with his bro due to that age gap. We see them once in a great while, mostly at my in-laws' house. Case in point - Hubs is NOT the best man. C chose a friend instead (as did Hubs for our wedding).

So I'm just not sure if I should hang around and wait for a shower invitation, or if I should offer to help somehow. If so, who would I even contact? My mother has told me that, typically, a girl's own mother/sister/grandmother do not hold a shower (though I realize people do it), so I don't know if I should speak with them or not. I've never even met those women. I guess I don't HAVE to do anything, but I'd feel awful if 5 or 10 years down the road it came out that they were aghast that I didn't offer any help.

Here is your chance to play Miss Manners. What would you do?


Pam said...

So here's my story - My only brother married a nice girl who had many, many tall, thin and Barbie-licious friends (no, I'm not jealous - why do you ask?) anyhow, my sister's husband and mine were both in the wedding party. My sister's son and mine were the ring bearers (spelling?) and since my sister has the most amazing ability to do hair and makeup, she was given the all important task of doing the bride and bridesmaids hair and makeup. My soon to be sister in law was thrown a bachelorette party by her friends which we weren't invited to and then the church my family all attended at the time threw her a bridal shower which of course, we all came to. Anyhow, I had no part in the wedding and aside from the hair stuff, neither did my sister. So we just kind of hung out, got pictures taken with the family and just helped if it looked like there was something to help with.

I've never been accused of being Miss Manners (hee hee) but sounds like you should just let them know if there's anything you can do then you'd be happy to help out and if there's not then just enjoy seeing your husband in a tux:)

Ann-Marie said...

i would suggest that you offer to help--let it be known to your MIL that you will help however needed.
I didn't know the "rule" that a Mother/Grandmother didn't throw a shower.
In my case, my church had one and my MIL to be had one.
I don't think you are obligated to host or plan anything--given you are not that close, are not involved in the wedding and are not one of her friends.

Ruth said...

Talk to you MIL. Tell her that you'll be happy to help out however you can, and ask who is planning the shower. If it's someone you know, ask if you can help.

HangerMom said...

Not much new to say except that if you wanted to hope with a shower, you could reach out to the maid of honor, as I thought that she would traditionally be the one to hostess a shower. I wasn't aware of a rule about a mom/sister/grandmother NOT doing so. However, given the circumstances, I would say that you're under no obligation whatsoever, but it would be polite to be make it known (to the bride or the MIL) that you'd be happy to help if there's anything you could do.

HangerMom said...

"help" with the shower, not "hope". Sorry. It's late.

Morning Glory said...

I think usually the maid of honor throws a personal shower for the bride, and if she has a church, they usually throw the general shower. Technically, this girl is no relation to you - yet. She has family and friends who should take the lead in her wedding preparations.

It's natural that your husband would be asked by his brother to be a groomsman, but this girl really doesn't have to involve you at all. The advice above about offering open-ended "help" to the girl or her mother, is probably the most you should do.

I know wedding protocol has changed over the years, but it's not a good idea to step in where not solicited. Bride's can get pretty testy, especially if it's an in-law trying to take on duties that she'd rather have someone else do.

Just offer to help and then sit back, relax and enjoy.

Teresa said...

I agree that all you can do is offer. I have had a unique experiance of throwing a shower for somone I hardly knew (at the time) It was less than a month before the wedding, and the groom was a good freind of mine. The bride's maid was being flown in from Japan (no relation to my inlaws) The only other person even close to the bride was her mother. I did this as a favor to the groom, because he felt she deserved it, and there was no one else stepping up to bat. It went well, and she insisted on throwing my shower in turn.