major stress over guest list — The Bump
Baby Showers

major stress over guest list

My mom is hosting my baby shower and I have been trying to stay out of all the planning (all being done by my mom and mil with guest list and date help from husband) because I don't believe it's my place to get involved with the planning.

Unfortunately, because we live in Florida and all our family and most of our friends are in NJ (we moved down here a few years ago) and because my mom has never planned a shower before I have had to get involved answering questions more than I feel comfortable with. The shower will be in NJ and I originally said I thought it might be a nice idea to do a non-traditional shower where husbands/significant others/children were welcome. I made this decision primarily because I think it makes it easier on some people (some of whom will be driving over an hour as our families live on opposite ends of the state). Also, since my husband and I have been together since college we share many friends and some of the women on my guest list are friends of mine through the fact that they are wives of his old college buddies and we usually hang out in a group. Also, since this is one of the few times we make it up each year it's a nice excuse to see many of our friends who we might not otherwise see until the holidays.  

 (Here comes the stressful part). I am starting to regret my original decision because now we are being asked to give my guest list of friends and their addresses and my husband seems to be adding to it. We are now butting heads because we both think a non-traditional shower means a different thing: to me it means my friends are invited and their significant others are welcome to share in the fun if they want. To him it means he gets a guest list too (he wanted to invite some of his single friends at one point), and we are disagreeing on some of the couples (I want to keep the list small with close friends so as not to seem gift-grabby where he thinks we can't not add someone if we've been invited to their wedding). I've looked online and just can't seem to find the etiquette on how co-ed showers work and who should be invited. My mom has no clue and his mom only planned a shower for my SIL (husband's brother's wife). This was co-ed as well but they only have a few friends so this issue never came up. Any help or experiences are GREATLY appreciated here! We all just want to avoid looking tacky and I want to be put blissfully back in the dark on the whole shower.

Issue # 2: One of my closest friends has been trying to get pregnant for almost 2 years now. They have gone to a fertility clinic, had multiple tests, and were very recently given awful news that they can't have a baby without major invasive IVF. They are devastated by this. We talk about this a lot as we used to vent together (it took us a while too and I had 2 miscarriages last year). While they are happy for us, most of the other girls in our group happen to have all either had a baby in the past year or are currently pregnant and this obviously frustrates her even more, especially since we have both been with our husbands the longest (since college) and people are starting to ask her. She gets stressed every time the group gets together b/c the talk always turns to babies. When I went over my requested guest list I realized that over half of the friends I want at my shower are either pregnant or just had a baby, and these happen to be the friends that she knows best. I really don't want her to be uncomfortable (part of the reason I originally thought of the co-ed idea). But every time I bring up the fact that I'm stressed over this I get no good advice. All anyone says is "it's your shower she will be ok" but to me that's very insensitive. I hate the thought that I am causing my friend so much pain. Does anyone have any ideas that I could pass along to my mom (who is aware of the situation) to make her experience less stressful?

At this point I have so much agita over this whole thing I don't even want a shower and I wish no one had ever asked me about a guest list (but I understand why they had to). I don't see myself getting any better about this as guest list arguments caused us to cancel our wedding and elope 7 years ago. On top of this just the thought that I'm going to be the guest of honor at a party, have everyone fuss over me, and be the center of attention makes me feel guilty enough. I guess the biggest feeling I'm having over all of this right now is guilt and it sux. Sorry it was so long I just had to vent and am desperate for advice.  

Re: major stress over guest list

  • If I were you, I'd skip the couples shower, women only. Invite your friend and don't draw any attention to her by trying to accommodate her, that would make things even weirder. It's her choice to come or not. If you feel comfortable and don't think it would make things worse, you can say to her 'I understand if it would be too hard to come, but we'd love to have your there if you want' 

     That would solve all the drama 

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  • I know you're in the thick of this, but it doesn't have to be so stressful. Talk to your mom about how many guests she'd ideally like to host and her budget (because venue, food and decor costs will be directly impacted by the size of the guest list) and then you and YH will have to work on cutting down the guest list within those constraints.  

    ETA:  Generally for a gift-giving event like a shower, only those you are close to should be invited.  Aside from family, if you don't see or talk to these people regularly, there's no reason to invite them.   

    As far as your friend with IF, a heart to heart and a show of sensitivity would be best for your relationship.  Definitely invite her to the shower, but I'd call her and tell her that while you'd love for her to be there, you can understand how difficult and painful it might be for her and let her know that you won't be hurt if she declines to attend.  This way she has an out without worrying about affecting your friendship or hurting your feelings.  

    ETA:  If she does decide to attend, I'd speak to your mom about not asking the horrible and dreaded  "when are you going to have a baby?" to your guests. GL!   

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  • Thank you both for the help, it does make this seem like less of a huge problem.

    I'm going to talk to my mom about how many people she feels comfortable with because I think this could make things a lot easier for us to narrow down(especially since my husband has a huge family and she's hosting at her house that she has up on the market as it is...yes, she offered and wants to host it there and feels very strongly as I grew up in the house and the shower will probably be the last time I'm there).

    I'm going to talk to my husband/mom soon about maybe wanting it to be more traditional after all to help me with the drama of which friends to have there and which to not, hopefully it is not too late.

    I'll definitely have that convo with my friend. Unfortunately the issue with insensitive questions isn't people like my mom asking about when she's having a baby (my mom is very sensitive to others). It's our friends because she has only told very few people about what's going on. Most people don't know so they say stupid things and she doesn't want to respond with a snarky comment b/c then they would know her private business that she isn't ready to share.

  • I would just keep it a woman only party.  Sure some of your friends might like to bring their families, but others might like the break and go out by themselves.  This would also keep the guest list much more manageable and hopefully keep the guest lists down. 
  • jencnhjencnh
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    I agree. Keep it women only. If there are going to be some men around cause they traveled with their wives, then they can all go out and play golf, hang out at someone else's house, or do whatever manly things the men in your family do! Smile 

    Agree with previous posters about inviting your friend but being understanding if she chooses not to go. If she does go and the conversation steers toward when she's going to have the baby, casually steer the conversation back to you/shower/other subject, the best you can.
  • Ask the hostess how many people she will be able to accomodate. Narrow the list down with your husband. Then get it approved by the hostess. 

    Honestly, this isn't a kegger or a house party. Its a gift giving event. You don't have to invite everyone you know and their mother. It looks gift grabby and tacky. Whittle it down some.  You are making a situation that isn't that difficult into a big deal. If your husband wants to invite a whole slew of people then look into cutting out some folks and holding a meet the baby BBQ later for the rest. I don't understand how this is difficult. 

    Invite your friend suffering through IF. If she is able and feels up to attending she will.  Again, taking something straight forward and turning it into something more difficult than it has to be. 


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  • 1. invite only the people you've seen in the last 6 months-year. People who you haven't seen recently; don't invite them. they are obviously not that important in your life. Ask your mom how many people she can handle. If it's 100+ people like your wedding- cut the list!!

    2. Invite your friend with fertility issues. If she's that upset about not getting pregnant, that it'll hurt her to see her friends with kids and being pregnant, she won't come.  

     

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  • I agree to keep it women only.  That would cut out the stress and complications.   The shower is just a few hours...hopefully you and your DH can still find time to see male friends at another time.  And to be honest, I'm pretty sure a single guy would rather shoot himself than attend a baby shower...co-ed or not.   I remember attending an office shower for a co-worker and one of the men said (with a glazed look in his eyes), "We have to watch her open ALL of the presents??" It made me laugh and think, "And that's why men don't attend showers!"

    As for your friend, invite her and leave the decision up to her.  I had a good friend who had a late-term loss who did not attend my shower.  I totally understood why she wouldn't be comfortable, and it was fine.  No hard feelings.

     
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  • My husband and I are having a co-ed shower, and haven't run into any issues. His family almost entirely lives in Virginia and North Carolina (we live in Mass) so we invited them as a courtesy and aren't including them in the guest count. If they feel like making the trip up just for the shower, great! More the merrier. I love the idea that both my friends and his will be there, as well as mutual friends and family. Why shouldn't dads get to be included in the fun? He was included in the fun of making the baby ;) 

    There are a few scenarios where I could see not wanting a co-ed shower:

    1) You simply want an intimate affair with your girlfriends and female relatives. (Consider having a dude shower, since your hubby seems really into participating.)

    2) Your husband and his friends would turn it into a kegger/bro-fest and you're not down with that.

    More friends, more presents, more fun!

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  • image PrimRoseMama:

    Honestly, this isn't a kegger or a house party. Its a gift giving event. You don't have to invite everyone you know and their mother. It looks gift grabby and tacky. Whittle it down some.  You are making a situation that isn't that difficult into a big deal. If your husband wants to invite a whole slew of people then look into cutting out some folks and holding a meet the baby BBQ later for the rest. I don't understand how this is difficult. 

    Invite your friend suffering through IF. If she is able and feels up to attending she will.  Again, taking something straight forward and turning it into something more difficult than it has to be. 

     Maybe you "don't understand how this is difficult" but I am a people person. I love all my friends and wanted to make everyone's lives easier. I've also never planned a shower and never really feel comfortable at wedding/baby showers anyway (usually hide out by my friends and the beer) so the thought of a non-traditional one where everything was more relaxed is good to me.

    That's why I'm on here looking for advice. I'm sure there are things outside your comfort zone that you look up online for help, not some snarky response from a stranger...

  • image LilToad1990:

    My husband and I are having a co-ed shower, and haven't run into any issues. His family almost entirely lives in Virginia and North Carolina (we live in Mass) so we invited them as a courtesy and aren't including them in the guest count. If they feel like making the trip up just for the shower, great! More the merrier. I love the idea that both my friends and his will be there, as well as mutual friends and family. Why shouldn't dads get to be included in the fun? He was included in the fun of making the baby ;) 

    There are a few scenarios where I could see not wanting a co-ed shower:

    1) You simply want an intimate affair with your girlfriends and female relatives. (Consider having a dude shower, since your hubby seems really into participating.)

    2) Your husband and his friends would turn it into a kegger/bro-fest and you're not down with that.

    More friends, more presents, more fun!

     

    Thanks! This makes me feel a whole lot better. I've told my husband to cut out (like his single friends...and for some reason had to explain why!), and told him to handle the rest with our mom's, I'm out of it. At this point whatever it is it is I'm not the one who threw it.

    I'm glad you mentioned those "if you don't wants". It's never going to be a small gathering with my close friends b/c husband has a HUGE family anyway so for me the more friends (male or female) the better. The ironic thing is I've always felt way more comfortable at keggers than showers lol!

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