Here Comes the Bridal Shower

No Telling

I‘m supposed to be at a wedding shower in a few hours and forgot to buy a gift. Down South that’s a real faux pas. I’m sure they have the same rules of etiquette up North, but down here something like this can severely damage your reputation. Permanently. Social mistakes are somehow written indelibly on your DNA thereafter like a fow-pah tattoo.

“You know Monda over there? She teaches over at the college…writing or literature or…”
“Oh yes. She’s the one who showed up empty handed at that Bannister girl’s shower.”
“1988. That’s her. Here she comes…”

I can’t let that happen. Luckily, today’s brides register everywhere, even Wal-Mart although I find that practice too tacky to even acknowledge. Target is perfectly fine, Wal-Mart is NOT. You might as well put on the announcements that you’re registered for linen and china at The Dollar Store.

Or change your last name to Duggar. They registered for Gatorade and beef jerky at Wal-Mart.

In my mother’s generation, young brides registered for china and silver – real silver – and that was it. Girls in the ’50s expected to get four toasters and odd clocks. That changed a little for those of us Generation Jonesers. We made it more casual by registering for “everyday” dishes and flatware. While we sere more casual, we still had to sit through “tomato aspic” bridal showers thrown by our mothers’ women-friends. The rules were strict and the etiquette, unbendable. Legs crossed at the ankle and embossed thank you notes, that sort of thing.

These women are still around. In their golden years, all they do is go to church and rattle their pearlsls at showers. And they still scare me to death. Besides, these old gals remained married to their high school sweethearts while most of us Gen Jones brides made more than one trip to the altar.

Gen Y brides aren’t afraid of anybody. I love that about them. They register everywhere and run around with little electronic guns shooting a very specific gift list onto the internet. No worries about four toasters for these young women. They show up to their bridal showers in flip-flops and bring their men. Whoa. Maybe they learned something from our mistakes. I hope so.

Since I’ve procrastinated, I’m scouring this bride-to-be’s online gift registries and wondering what opens at 9:00 so I’m not socially banish-ed forever. It seems she’s signed up for everything but a perfect life. Bed Bath and Beyond probably doesn’t carry that, though.

Someone should.

61 thoughts on “Here Comes the Bridal Shower

  1. So how was the bridal shower? I'm planning to get married soon. Is bridal shower something your friends would arrange for you, or the bride to invite her friends?

  2. Totally agree about Walmart. You can't register anywhere that people make redneck jokes about, even in the South. That in itself should be a faux-pas.

    Anywhizzle, good luck!

  3. absolutely hilarious! I'm a Southerner as well, and I know exactly what you're talking about here. It still shocks my mama that very few of my friends have a silver pattern, much less register for one or a nice china pattern.

  4. Thank you for enlightening the youth about a world that isn't so far away! I can hear my mother's pearls clacking and I'm dreading my grandmothers tomato aspic at my wedding.

    When I was 10, she brought home a catalog and insisted that I choose my China pattern for my marriage (when I turned 18). She's still completely offended that I chose Barbie!

  5. I have to say that I am indeed a Walmart kind of gal.
    The reason being primarily is that the prices at Walmart typically beat Target prices on everyday sundries and such that I stock up on (there are exceptions, of course to every rule). I find Target to be a little to expensive for my lifestyle. I'm merely speaking for myself, of course.
    Anyone who has read my blog understands why.
    With that said, let me say that I do like Target better. Their clothes are a little more up to date and not so generic, plus the clientele–at least in my area–is a tad more “upscale” (I know, I'm being very UN-pc here).
    Perhaps the brides-to-be who register at multiple places simply want to be able to cater to everyone on their guest list and want to give their myriad of friends–from all walks of life–more economic options: some are people who can indeed afford places like Target–and/or more higher scale stores–while some, like myself, have a budget that simply flows better with the economic amenities Walmart offers.
    I think most people–especially during times of financial crisis– will appreciate having the choice of where to shop. I, for one, would resent (although, the bride-to-be would never hear about it) being given only one choice of where to purchase gifts.
    Peace, love and happiness,
    “Diary Of A Sad Housewife”

  6. I had no intention of registering for my bridal shower or wedding, but caved after being badgered over and over again about it. I would have much rather my friends put time and effort into finding something that they thought would “fit” us or find a card that fit the occassion.

    My husband and I registered at Bed Bath and Beyond after being pressured by numerous family and friends. I then turned around and told all of my friends that what I would do, if I were they, is to print the registry list and take it shopping somewhere I could afford – at least then they had an idea of what was on the list.

    Good luck at the shower.

  7. I love all the Southern Gals in the house! This bridal shower business is slippery ground – more ways to mess up than to be successful. I managed to blow it again by having the time wrong.

    No problem. I'll scoot a nice gift over this afternoon and make personal apologies. While it won't save me with the pearl-rattlers, it WILL clear me with my cousin-in-law-to-be. I never could make the old girls happy, anyway.

    The gift, by the way, came from Target. A Scrabble game. She registered for it, I swear. Besides, I thought the $140 serrated knife from BB&B was a bit pricey.

    Maybe board games make for healthier marriages?

  8. I hate lists, showers and anything else that really says, “we only want to acknowledge you because we are seeking your favours…gifts…money”.

    The latest one we were guided to was “Our bliss list” Ugh! Everything looking more expensive than it should. Three different travel guides for $35 each. Who are you kidding!

  9. I would be one to go with Target for gift registry. It's classic, not too expensive; carries a lot of “necessary” items. My brother, though, favors Wal-Mart.

    And, sadly, he would be one to select beef-jerky as a wedding gift.

  10. Good lord. I was going to comment on the “No Pressure” post until I saw that there were 50 people ahead of me. I can't be original with that sort of pressure. It's easier to get noticed posting over on Jezebel.

    My first husband and I received a gigantic Jesus in the Garden picture as a wedding present. I re-gifted it, years before such a thing was acceptable. With all this registering for everything you ever wanted, how are these young people going to learn to deal with gift adversity

  11. Well, Monda, here in WASP/New England/DAR-land, we have our own version of those social-police matrons, who not only check that you have brought a gift, but check the gift-wrapping you've chosen (none of those facile gift bags, please!) and whether you have fake or real nails under the French manicure. The more you and I get to know each other, the more I think the only real difference between being a Northeastern gal & a Southern gal is how many R's one chooses to pronounce & how many months one keeps the A/C going.

    BTW, now that you're a Blogger of Note, I hope you won't forget all us little people who started reading your jottings 'cause we felt like it, not 'cause someone told us to….sniff.

  12. Kelly – donating to charity in lieu of a shower gift is the best suggestion I've heard all day, especially for those couples who already have houses set up.

    Crazy People – gal, I love me some Target, too. You can't drag me out of there.

    Zacl – bless your heart. I believe everyone has at least one beef-jerky relative. Count your lucky stars, though, because I've seen entire beef-jerky-and-gatorade families around here.

    Bcp – a kindred spirit! I'm so glad you came by!

    MangoBanana – you're heartily welcome!

    Olivander – I need to live where the hot-dish substitutes for anything. Round here, a covered-dish is an assumption.

    MundaneJane – My friends are turning on me. That said, I'm with you on gift adversity AND gift diversity. No one gets skanky gifts anymore and that's just wrong.

    Kathi – I'm howling about the nail-check! Those old gals check everything and generally find most of us wanting. It's a lose-lose situation, made easier only by knowing they do this even up in the Great Cool North. I'm just glad you came by, darlin' even if the room's a little full just now.

  13. Constructive, I will indeed be forever marked. They may forgive, but they will never forget.

    Over 40, registering at Home Depot sounds like a big disappointment. I'm trying to figure out a reasonable excuse for doing it, but I've got nothing.

    Susan, many girls think it's tacky. Back in the day guests received a shower invitation and were expected to do their own legwork. The invitation for this “house shower” not only told me where she was registered, but which room I was expected to buy for.

    Marriage itself is not about the gifts. Weddings, on the other hand, are absolutely about the gifts.

  14. I love this post. It's nice to know that there are manners being carried out somewhere.

    I am still laughing at the Target being acceptable, but not so much WalMart. The reference to registering with the dollar store…priceless.

  15. “what room to buy for”??? You have got to be kidding me.

    Of course, I'm the one who will look at a registry, and say, “I don't like any of that stuff— Look! here are some tasteful candlesticks” and let that be that.

    Todd's aunt bought us a crystal bowl and pitcher when we got married. It is in a box packed away at mom's. I am just not a crystal kind of gal…

    Although, my daughter tells me that I am getting to old to throw parties with Styrofoam plates. Maybe I'll have to pull that stuff out of storage. Because if I am using real plates, there should probably be a glass pitcher involved.

  16. Diane, I nearly said Fred's instead of The Dollar Store, but I figured that was regional. Same thing, though.

    Faer.han, you have years before you have to worry about such things. Even then, there will be scads of women old and young pushing you out of the way to get things done. You have a lot to look forward to.

    Rose, I'm howling. When they jimmy that Wii controller to produce a whole happy life, I'll be the first in line. You think they'll have it out in time for Christmas?

    Laura, I'm NOT kidding about the “assigned room” thing. It was on a separate slip of paper in the invitation envelope. There might have been a smiley face on it, though.

    The only reason you still have crystal is because you packed it away. Two hours in the light of day and somebody will chip it.

  17. Listen, Girl Over 40, there are quite a few of us girls who love power tools & wouldn't mind if someone gave us one now & then, whatever the occasion! But please, don't buy them from Home Cheapot. Most of the stuff I've ever bought from them has had something wrong with it — a chain saw that came with the wrong sized chain, an upholstery staple gun that jammed up immediately, a lamp with a harp over the socket that most light bulbs don't fit in. So, I'd suggest Lowe's as a better registry possibility.

  18. 🙂 Very nice stuff. Great blog. Check out my blog guys for great tips and resources for getting more people to come to your website/blog.(Web Traffic) Good luck and I'll see you there. 🙂

  19. Monda, I'm just so amazed at your blog. I really did know you when. By the time I got here there were already 34 comments. I remember when I was first, or maybe even second.

    I just noticed that to actually post this comment, I'm required to type “chratbag” into a box below. I am not making this up. Chratbag. Who knew?


  20. Thanks, Dealz and Free VB -I'm glad you stopped by!

    Mike, half the joy of commenting is finding meaning in the word verification gobbledygook. It's like playing Scrabble.

    And thanks, mister.

  21. I was looking to find some new and interesting write, and I came across your site. What caught my attention was your straight up comment about Wall-Mart. It kind of put a chuckle into my morning.

    I was beginning to think I was the only one that wasn't a Wall-Mart fan. I guess I should say we are lucky to have a choice of places to shop. Anyway.

    Generation Jonesers, I've never heard reference to a generation. Most curious! Thank you for your write…nick

  22. I can't believe someone would register for beef jerky. Don't they get paid to do that show? Buy your own beef jerky. No one wants to know if you eat that crap anyway, right? Secret Squirrel.

  23. I loved this post and found it so humorous. I am getting married next summer and I am still on the fence about the whole gift registry thing. I can't decide if or where to register. I was considering Walmart, but that is because there are no Targets in Canada and The Bay is just so expensive!

    This is my first time reading your blog, but I think I will be back for sure!

  24. Thanks Nikgee and Phoenix! Come visit anytime.

    You know it, Amber. I'm convinced those Duggar's make enough from their show not only to buy their own beef jerky, but to save us from hearing about it as well.

    Cathy, bless your heart. Wal-Mart registries should only be used as a last resort and it sounds like you're stuck. Be sure to let us know how you manage this dilemma!

  25. Wow.
    You, Monda, are just amazing.
    …and the posters also.
    Great writing, ideas and a great
    blog. Really.

    The Target, Wal-Mart registry deal really funny the way it's put here.
    But still, those are the nasty companies who destroyed your local small stores and trades-people,
    filling garages with crummy junk
    from Chinese factories.

  26. Steven, don't you dare register for beef jerky at Wal-Mart, you sly thing. I know you're thinking about it.

    See, even Sex Anonymous thinks Wal-Mart's trashy.

    Rand, thanks so much! And you're right. Wal-Mart closed the hometown stores forever.

  27. My mother, who was born in 1934 & married in 1956 (yep, 22), was horrified that her partner's son, who was getting married for the second time, sent them an invitation with a gift registry card. She was irate, firstly that they weren't having the wedding at the Bride's home town (they'd been living together for 3 years), and secondly, that the gifts were not being sent to the Bride's parent's home (300 miles away from where they lived), and finally, that they were having a gift registry. Her gift? $50 in an envelope, no card, nothing. Nice, huh?

  28. I'm howling. And I think I've met your mother.

    Women of a Certain Age spend most of their time perfectly horrified anyway – in their day, the rules were set in stone. That cardless envelope was a MESSAGE, loud and clear! Ha!

  29. I gasped when you took that poke at the Duggars. You would register at Walmart too if you thought having 18 kids was in your future.

    I forgive you because I gasped and then laughed.

  30. I don't know if I'd fill out a wedding registry with beef jerky and Gatorade, though, no matter how many kids I had. I'm glad you got a laugh and slid me a little forgiveness, Analisa!

  31. I really enjoyed this entry! So much of my family came from the South, but I myself didn't grow up there so it's nice to read a blog that brings to life the culture I was told so much about. I look forward to your updates!

  32. I also agree, Walmart will not bring you items that will last– well, at least for some marriages.

    As a 30s something woman (single, mind you) think that now I'm on my own and already have my own kitchen appliances, I might go backwards…when the time comes, I might ask for china…it makes sense to get something that lasts, is priceless, and something I don't already have.

  33. Every woman deserves at least one set of china, Lisa. I have several, but I like vintage china. Tell me, have you picked out a pattern yet?

  34. I have a friend who says that if WalMart doesn't have it, she doesn't need it. Some people just like Walmart. I think it's fine to want something from there. On the other hand, if Walmart doesn't have it, by all means go somewhere else!

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