1. Georgina

    Hi, I need some advice on how to handle an invitation to a bridal shower.

    I was recently invited to my cousin’s bridal shower. Only my name was on the invitation. However, I have a four month old who I am exclusively breastfeeding at home and I need to find out if I can bring him to the shower with me. Also, the invitation doesn’t mention a specific “host” just a person to RSVP to, should I assume this person is the host? Is it appropriate to ask that person if I can bring the baby or do I just bring him? How should I approach this?

    • Typically only those who are mentioned by name on the invitations are invited. If the invitation states “Georgina and Family,” then anyone in your family is also invited. Because it’s your name only, you are the only one invited. If you are unable to leave your baby with anyone else for an hour, then please RSVP your regrets to the person indicated.

      • Elizabeth

        Showers are rarely only one hour long, and with travel time it could easily be 3 hours or more. I think an invitation to “Georgina and Family” would be confusing, because then would her husband be invited?? It’s highly likely that cousin’s friend hosting the shower doesn’t even know Georgina has a baby. I personally don’t consider infants to be “separate people” at that age. It’s one thing to take a crying baby into a wedding ceremony or a hushed high-end restaurant. But a baby shower is often very informal, with lots of talking and activity, and – for goodness’ sake – the focus of the celebration is on babies. I’ve never been to a baby shower that wasn’t attended by a few nursing babies. It’s not like they take up any additional space or eat any additional food, nor do they take any “spotlight” away from the mom-to-be. I did recently host a shower for a friend, and when a couple of the invitees asked if they could bring their infants, the answer was a no-brainer – yes. I think a toddler would be a different story.

        • I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to suggest that babies are never invited to showers (though yes, I’ve been invited to more than one bridal shower where men were welcome… I have a lot of gay friends). Georgina mentioned this is a bridal shower, not a baby shower. I haven’t been to many bridal showers where children of any age were in attendance. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, nor that it’s a bad thing.

          • Elizabeth

            Bridal, not baby! Ok! Yes, those do tend to be more formal, held at restaurants, etc, and I can see why it would be less appropriate than at a baby shower. In this case, I think the OP should just check. The hostess will be able to say whether it will be a problem or not. I have even been to showers at restaurants that were more generous spatially, and the baby just slept the whole time when it wasn’t discretely being breastfed.

        • Anna

          Actually, they do take up space. I hosted a baby shower for my friend, and the day of, one of the invitees arrived with her 3-month-old in a gigantic car seat/ carrier. She had not asked me if she could bring her baby, or mentioned that she had one, and as a result, there was not enough room. The space allowed to us in the restaurant was limited based on my RSVP number, so this woman putting her baby on the seat next to her made another invitee have no seat. Once the woman whose chair was occupied arrived, the only place to put the carrier was on the floor or table- on the floor, people couldn’t move around, and on the table, no one could see anything or anyone else. The baby was not even being breastfed, by the way.
          Please, Georgina, do ask your host, and if necessary, decline. You have no idea what arrangements for space have been made with the venue. It is very rude to just bring a baby where it has not been invited.

    • Elizabeth

      You should bring it up when you RSVP. I think you are correct in assuming the RSVP person is the host. When you call or email, you can say “Thanks for inviting me, I’d love to come. At the moment I’m exclusively breastfeeding my 4 mo son/daughter, and I just wanted to check whether it would be ok if I brought him/her.” In my experience, lots of people bring babies to baby showers, and especially if it’s held at a home, it’s usually no problem. However, if the host says that the event is child-free, you can feel free at that point to decline the invitation.

    • Becky

      If you can not find a sitter or other arrangements since it would be very inappropriate to show up with the uninvited infant, you should regret. But you could regret with the qualifier that you’d love to attend but you are breastfeeding which keeps you from attending things without the baby. the insightful hostess will probably be able to detect the unasked “can i bring the baby” and can respond without being put in the inappropriate position of having to say ‘no’ to a direct question. If it is not ok for the baby to attend, they will just respond with a simple “we will miss you” but may invite the baby along as well. You haven’t pushed them into a corner to respond with a negative or ‘inflicted’ an uninvited guest on the host/other guests.

    • MaddzzT

      Having been the bride in this situation, please don’t take your infant to her bridal shower! My sister-in-law brought her infant & toddler to my bridal showers & our engagement parties & the attention was taken away from me whenever the children would make any kind of fuss. Every family member from my husband’s side of the family would rush to check on/fuss over the kids. It was ridiculous. Please don’t take away from her special time, it can lead to a lot of frustration & hurt feelings that may linger.

  2. Shubha

    A colleague at work, recently mentioned (informally) he is going on vacation.
    I wished him to have a great vacation, but, made a faux pas.
    I asked him – ‘and btw, where are you going?’.
    Probably, he did not want to share that info.
    He hesitated a bit, and told me the places he is visiting.
    I felt I shouldn’t have asked him where he was visiting. After all, its his personal trip.
    What could I have done when he hesitated?


    • Elizabeth

      I don’t think your question is inappropriate. He was the one who volunteered the information about going on vacation. (He could have just said that he was taking time off, which doesn’t imply a trip.) I don’t think casually asking where the person is going is intrusive, and I think it’s odd that he made it seem like that information was secret. You did nothing wrong.

  3. PT

    Want to write a thank-you note to my ex spouse for helping to pay for our daughter’s beautiful wedding/ reception. We have not conversed except minimally in over a decade but I would like to express my appreciation. Any advice on the wording would be so appreciated!

    • My suggestion (I’m sure others will have great suggestions):

      Dear ExSpouse,
      I wanted to extend my warmest appreciation for your help in making our daughter’s wedding so lovely and memorable. I know I shall enjoy looking at those pictures for years to come.

      Kind regards,

  4. Morgan

    Feeling hurt here. I attend a rather small Chruch about 65 folks. We have been there for about 8 years. There are several ladies (5) there that I consider to be my closest friends, and I have tried to treat each of them with care, as I understand what friendship means. I have hosted several parties in their (individually) honor, birthday lunches etc. I have assisted them with helping them with parties at their home homes, lugging serving pieces they wanted to borrow, etc. I have listened to them for hours on the phone pour out their hearts and cried with them over difficult times in their lives. When there is a special event in our church, sick person needing a meal, a baby shower, a bridal shower, I am one of the first one called on to assist or asked to volunteer my time. A few months ago we had a serious health crisis with my husband and three of the five stepped in and assisted me in a way that was just unbelievable and loving. It in turn gave me the opportunity to thank them in a note with a small gift, and tell them how much their friendship meant to me . THEN just last week my closest friend out of the bunch happened to mention they had been invited to hang out after church and have lunch. She did not know we had not been included . When I mentioned we had never been invited to this friends home she was shocked and surprised. It was at that point I wonder about true friendship. We entertain a fair amount, and when we open our home it packs out, and yet we never get invited to anyone’s home for dinner. After church we always eat out and ask others to join us, yet nobody ever asks us first. I am beginning to feel used.

    • Elizabeth

      I can sympathize with how you feel. I also tend to be a do’er, and after awhile you step back and realize how unbalanced things are, and it can feel pretty crappy. I think there are a lot of possible reasons for what you’ve described. However, you can’t control other people and having a confrontation about it is also not likely to get you what you want. To a certain extent, you are experiencing a dynamic that you played your part in creating. It’s hard to change social dynamics, but not impossible.

      The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to pull back a bit and see who comes forward. You already had something like that with your husband’s health scare, and you saw who your real friends were. Stop putting so much out there, and be cognizant of who reciprocates. Don’t invite people over for 6 dinners in a row without being invited over their house. People will feel more invested in a friendship with you if they understand that they have to work at it too, and that you will not be the doormat/short-order cook/party planner to the community. Some of the things you described are (to me) a bit over the top – people can be responsible for their own birthday celebrations. As much as I love my friends, I would not host birthday parties for them, because … that’s their gig. Don’t over-give of yourself and your hospitality, because I think that will make ‘users’ out of even normal people. They can’t (or don’t feel like they should) reciprocate in the very generous manner that you did, so they don’t do anything at all. Over-giving can make people feel uncomfortable, as if you are trying to buy their affection. It may just lower your social capital because you are always perceived as giving and giving and doing without ever holding back and allowing others to do for you. Don’t go way out of your way, don’t inconvenience yourself – people can obtain their own serving pieces and throw their own parties without your assistance. You will still have friends! You just won’t have the moochers that only value you because of what you can do for them.

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