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Sticky Situation: Asking Bridal Shower Guests for Cash Is a Definite Don't

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moodboard via Getty Images
moodboard via Getty Images

Sticky situation:

I am a soon to be mother-in-law to a beautiful woman. A late summer wedding is planned. The bride and groom recently decided that a "stag and doe" was too much work. They opted for separate affairs: a wedding shower for the women and a camping weekend for the men.

My son and his future wife, live together in a small apartment. They are hoping to soon purchase a house.

When we discussed the shower, she told me that she is thinking of a money shower. She wants to ask guests for cash, in lieu of a gift, to contribute to their down payment.

When asked about my thoughts on her idea, I requested time to think about it, but I think my shocked face gave away my opinion. This seems very tacky to me. Close confidantes that I have mentioned this to also had a surprise look on their faces.

Is this a new trend?

I am mortified. I would be embarrassed to send invitations to a money shower to my friends and family.

What should I do?


I completely agree with you -- asking for money at a shower is tacky. I too, like you and your friends, would have had a shocked face.

There is no such thing as a "Money Shower."

Imagine the scene. The room is beautifully decorated. A circle of women surrounds the bride-to-be. All eyes are on her for the main wedding shower activity, the opening of the presents. Friends, family members and maybe colleagues are holding a tea cup or a champagne flute.

A wedding shower is "all about the gifts," that is the "main attraction."

Her Maid of Honour, her BFF and the hostess of the gathering, is sitting to her right. She ceremoniously passes her a white scalloped laced envelope from a round table that has a basket full of other envelopes. The bride-to-be carefully opens it, as the women nibble on delicate treats.

She takes out the card and reads it. She then politely smiles as she discreetly peeks at the token amount on the check, or sits back with eyes wide, surprised by the generosity of the $1000 bill that is inside. She looks up at the wedding shower attendees in search of the one that donated this gift of money. She puts the card back in the envelope and hands it back to her "lady-in-waiting." As a dutiful wedding shower hostess she notes the amount on the shower gift record, to make sure that all gifts get a thank you note.

The future bride gets up. Personally thanks and hugs or kisses the giver, and then "Please pass the next envelope"... Yikes!

Bridal shower gifts are based on the bride's personality, her likes, needs, values and passions. They are more intimate and personal than wedding gifts.

Traditional wedding shower themes are kitchen, lingerie and bathroom. Modern themes can be Wine and Dine, Books and Music, Backyard, Beach and Barbecue, or Charity donations.

As for your soon to be daughter in law's wish for cash, you can let her know that it is acceptable for wedding gifts, by word of mouth only, when wedding guests inquire.

Note that unlike a shower that focuses on gifts, it is never acceptable to mention gifts on a wedding invitation. Read this previous blog post for more information on how to spread the news for cash wedding gifts.

The only way to approach this sticky situation is to speak from your heart. Address your concern and inform gently.
  • Have this conversation with both your son and his bride-to-be.
  • Let them know that what you are about to say is difficult, but that you have their best interest at heart. Explain that you would not want them to do something that may insult their guests or have them be judged negatively.
  • Mention that you have thought about it. Add that to make sure your opinion was not an unusual one, you also spoke to close friends and even researched it.
  • Inform them, based on the information above.
  • According to their needs and likes, suggest a wedding shower theme that may appeal to her.

Lastly, I commend you for your poise and consideration for your future daughter-in-law's feelings. You were wise to ask for time and to seek advice. They, she and your son, are lucky to have you, a kind and considerate councillor, mother and soon-to-be, mother-in-law.

You have a sticky situation at work or at home? This is your forum. Write to Julie and she will reply promptly. Want more solutions to sticky situations? Go to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or order your autographed copy of Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility. Planning a conference? Julie happily travels coast to coast and beyond, to present customized activities. With Julie's help gone will be awkwardness, embarrassment and faux-pas.


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