When Hosting A Shower

Lounge By Torts Updated 2 Feb 2011 , 1:59pm by sweetmonkeycheese

Torts Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 12:04am
post #1 of 27

Hello Everyone icon_smile.gif I'm in need of some advice.

I'm a bridesmaid in a good friend's wedding coming up in March. Her maid of honor asked me and three other bridesmaids to host her shower. I've never been to any sort of wedding shower before, so I didn't exactly know what it entailed, but seeing as I am a bridesmaid, I felt like I should help out. I told her "Well, I have a 50 page brief due for school the same day, but I think I could make a cake a few days in advance," (I know I'm no pro decorator, but my friends flatter me and get so excited every time I make a cake). I asked if there was anything else I needed to do; she replied saying once she figured out all the food and flowers and everything, she would send the girls who were hosting "an estimate" of what we need to contribute.

So later she tells me we are expecting 50 people at the shower (good Lord is that normal? I definitely wasn't expecting that many people.) Another one of the bridesmaids said we'd probably have to contribute about $150 each.

Now it's not that I don't want to contribute the money (okay, maybe it's something like that)... but making a custom cake for 50 people... I'll probably end up spending $150 on the cake, after ordering Satin Ice, buying ingredients, making a nice cake board, etc.

So I don't want to be rude, but another $150 on top of that... well it just doesn't exist in my wallet! Is there a tactful way I can mention to the MOH how much I'm spending on the cake and perhaps that be my contribution since it would normally be an expense of a shower? Or perhaps send her an itemized list of expenses and have that added to the grand total of the shower and then we could divide the entire cost of the shower, including the cake amongst us?

Or because I offered to help host, am I obliged to contribute an extra $150 for all the other expenses? The MOH has already printed the invites with my name listed as a hostess, so I can't opt out entirely.

Am I crazy to think a shower bordering $1000 is semi-ridiculous?

I am completely ignorant as to bridesmaid etiquette as I I've never done it before, but I think the MOH is one of the many who assume it will cost me $20 to produce a custom cake for 50 people. I'd like to figure this out before she sends all the girls an estimate, since I can't back out of paying once she tells everyone what they owe...

So do any of you have any suggestions? Or an etiquette guide? Much thanks in advance!

26 replies
Spuddysmom Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 12:32am
post #2 of 27

First of all, are you saying the Maid of Honor requested that you and the two other bridesmaids host this shower while she (MOH) is not contributing? Her duties as MOH should include sharing the expense of this shower.
Second, the cost of the cake normally would be included with the rest of the expenses of the party and then shared by whoever is hosting the party. You should not be stuck with a larger share of the bill than the other bridesmaids, but, you're right, most people don't know how much that will cost you to make.
The cost is hard for others to judge, sounds very high to me, but I've been to many showers which were not high-end so I can't tell.
One more thing, are you planning on giving her the cake as a gift or planning on buying her something else - puts a different spin on things in that case.

karabeal Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 12:44am
post #3 of 27

Well, the invites are sent so the party size is going to be what's it's going to be. Not much to be done about that. But there's still time to plan/re-plan the shower. Consider talking to the others hosting the event. Are they also concerned about the cost? Maybe more of the food could be made instead of purchased/catered. Often many people attending will ask if they can help or bring anything. Accept their offer and give them something to bring! Maybe party favors or decorations could be scaled back somewhat.

But also, definitely consider talking the MOH about your cost commitment in the cake. All of us here know it costs plenty to make a cake. Especially if none of the other bridesmaids are making food (and I expect they aren't with a budget that high), your cash payment should be reduced or eliminated.

Be warned that there are lots of other costs and inconveniences involved with being a bridesmaid (dress, shoes, jewelry, travel, sometimes MULTIPLE(!) showers, etc.). So if you are concerned about the financial commitment this is a good time to speak up and start having those conversations. Good luck!!!

Karen421 Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 12:59am
post #4 of 27

I would definitely have a talk with the MOH. This appears to be a big affair, the costs seem high. But, I guess it could be regional - here the parents of the bride buys all the bridesmaids dresses, & shoes, and the showers aren't that elaborate. icon_smile.gif

catlharper Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 1:11am
post #5 of 27

I have been in this position more times than I could count and I usually just look at the person asking for the money and say "well, my portion will be covered by the cake so let me know if you need anyone to help assemble favors or address envelopes!". They usually do look a little aghast but they get over it. If they come back at you with "well, the shower is going to cost more than the cost of the cake so we still need you to pay the 150" then you need to let them know you are not going to be able to provide the cake as well as pitch in so it has to be one or the other. But do it quickly so that this money isn't going onto someones credit card and then you are expected to pay it back. An elaborate shower for 50 guests can easily top 1k so yes, it could be 150.00 times 4 contributors. It really depends on the level of the shower...which should have been discussed amongst those paying for the shower. Guest list first then budget..the amount of the people divided by available budget gives you the starting point for the type of shower you will be able to have. Now everyone wants a Platinum Weddings type shower but since we all don't make millions a year we can't all provide Platinum Wedding showers...sometimes it's 8 women around a coffee table with cake and coffee. Time to have a meeting with ALL the wedding party, except the Bride, and have a budget meeting.


QTCakes1 Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 1:25am
post #6 of 27

Spot on Catlharper! I think that's a lot of money myself, but it definitely would be one or the other, not both.

catlharper Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 1:53am
post #7 of 27
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

Spot on Catlharper! I think that's a lot of money myself, but it definitely would be one or the other, not both.

I've been an event planner for over 15 years now and big showers are becoming the "norm" but smaller paychecks to cover those big showers are also the norm right now so you have to be extra realistic when planning one. And that requires upfront honesty with all those providing money and/or products/services.

Presently I'm helping my older daughter throw a baby shower for her baby sister, my youngest daughter. I'm doing the cake and volunteered to do the favors too. Other than gifts to my younger daughter and helping to set up that is the extent of my help. My daughters have learned over the past 15 years what it takes to bring off a big shower so we have all been right up front with eachother when it comes to the money needed, including the Mom to be voluteering to pitch in if needed. I think if you keep your expectations in check with your budget then everyone ends up happier in the end!


QTCakes1 Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 2:25am
post #8 of 27

This is true, but I think people are still seeking the unrealistic expectations. Too much "Platinum Weddings" and the baby shower one. I've always thought the bride's family threw the shower and the MOH threw the bachlorette party with a little help from the bridesmaids. I think the cost of being in a wedding, financial and time wise, on top of a wedding present should be more then a fair contribution to everything. $150 on top of that, a bit too much for me. icon_wink.gif

cownsj Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 2:39am
post #9 of 27

Since the bride isn't part of this planning and shared expense, I'd be sure to give her a traditional gift, regardless.

There must be someone on here, who may live in your area, who would help you out and write out a customized bill for what that cake would cost. Then you can take this cost, give it to the MOH and ask her to refigure the amout due from each person. This way it's not just you saying the cake should cost "x"; and the MOH will also realize that there really is a cost factor with the cake. Now, if she decides to go with a Walmart cake because of budget, then you can just concentrate on getting your brief done. And be sure it's clear you cannot afford to compromise on your time because this brief is your future, not a one day event and it has to take presidence.

I really do think it's just ignorance of her part as to what a cake really would cost for this event.

Torts Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 4:44am
post #10 of 27

Thank you all so much!

The cake would not be the gift; I just saw it as my contribution to the shower when I offered making it. I've already bought a $250 gown, $100 shoes, and helped with a lingerie shower (and gift)... so on top of a shower gift and a wedding gift, an extra $150 would be difficult to come up with. Given that I have no job, it's between wedding things and eating, ha. Fortunately the wedding is local (and I will NOT be making that cake!)

I love the girl who is getting married; I just think the MOH is expecting a lot (although to be fair, she is putting in a great deal herself and her co-MOH hasn't even bought her dress yet).

Bah, remind me to never get married... or be in another wedding!

I will probably send MOH an email- would something like this be appropriate?

"Hey MOH, I was wondering what you anticipate the cost of the shower to be? I was making a list of ingredients and supplies and preparing to order fondant online- I always forget how expensive cakes can be when I make them (especially for 50 people). Anyway it looks like I will be spending about $150 on getting all these cake supplies together- rough estimate. I didn't know if that was an appropriate financial share for me to contribute or if it looks like everyone will have to spend more than that? I can definitely come up with an itemized list of all the ingredients/supplies if you're trying to be meticulous and have everyone bear the cost equally. If you think all the girls hosting won't have to contribute that much money, I'll just take care of the entire cake cost. Let me know what you think is best. The cake is going to be so cute- I think you girls will love it!

Can't wait,

Please offer any suggestions you might have! Or let me know if you'd be put off by anything in an email like this.

Thanks a bunch!

Corrie76 Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 5:20am
post #11 of 27

I would suggest making a couple changes to that letter. First, I would not ask about what the total cost of the shower is expected to be....that may open the door for the MOH to up the amount. Also, I wouldn't raise the question of the other girls contributing more or not...again that may lead the MOH to think that you are flexible with the contribution amount.
I would be very direct in the message something like, "....just wanted you to know that after adding up the costs and getting the right supplies ordered for the shower cake, the total came to X amount of dollars.... This cake will be my financial contribution....let me know if there is anything else I can do to help as far as setting up or helping in other ways to prepare for the shower, being an unemployed student, I have more time and talent than money....."
Stay away from questions and use statements.
LoL, this post reminds me of a horrific bridesmaid experience of my own. I was the "poor bridesmaid" in a "platinum wedding" and finally had to put my foot down with my best friend's mom...I resorted to tears with her and explained that after the 75.00 shoes and 500.00 dress I couldn't possibly contribute the 200.00 she wanted from all six of us bridesmaids to foot the bill for the shower.I ended up making the cake for the shower in lieu of the 200.00.

Torts Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 5:55am
post #12 of 27

Thanks for the advice MadameRaz. I know I need to be more assertive; I just can't help feeling guilty for some reason! Good thing I'm sending my email through y'all's filter icon_smile.gif

I cannot IMAGINE spending $500 on a dress. I do hope it was something you could wear again. And again. But is anyone ever that lucky? I was frustrated about spending $100 on shoes that have FIVE inch heels! 1) I'm already 5'7" - all the girls will be taller than all the guys in the wedding (which might not bother some people, but the guy I'm walking down the aisle with in like 5'5" so I think I'm just going to look like a silly giraffe hovering over him; and 2) I broke my foot six months ago. If I break it again wearing these darn things... bah. Of course all this is off topic.

The Bride isn't having a platinum wedding- she would elope if it were up to her and has already cancelled two other showers (which is probably why this one has so many people). The MOH picked out our $250 dresses. Surprise.

I think part of the issue is that the MOH wants to start an event planning business, so maybe she sees this as practice (or for her portfolio?) But honestly I don't understand. She's unemployed too. Actually we all are. One has a brand new baby and is on welfare, another is newly married herself, and a third's husband just lost his job. Then there's me who stupidly decided to go into $100,000 in debt by going to school to go into a field where there are no jobs! Where exactly she sees this money coming from is beyond me. Cake + Presents = a party to me. Maybe a vegetable tray so you don't feel guilty about eating the cake.

I really should have just said no from the get go, but I guess it's too late. I'll think about what you said and try to come up with a new way to approach it. Thanks again icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 6:25am
post #13 of 27

Geesh, I must be WAY out of the loop on this stuff!

my son just got married in October and my daughter-in-law's bridal shower was cake, punch, some appetizer thingies that her friend threw together (veggie tray, meatballs, cheeseball). No "favors" (holy cow when did THAT come into play for showers? ). A couple of games where token gifts were given (hand lotion; photo album).

Someone tells me I need to pitch in 150 bucks for a freakin' shower (times HOW many bridesmaids????) and I tell them where to put that dollar figure!

Sounds like the person in charge of planning was way too free with spending everyone else's money!!

What the he!! ever happened to asking people "How much can you contribute?", adding that up and planning the party INSIDE a pre-determined budget? Instead of planning the party and THEN telling people, "Here's what you owe me."

That's a bullsh*t method of planning, if I ever saw one!

Corrie76 Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 6:27am
post #14 of 27

Sadly, I never wore that dress again, or the shoes - it was a pearly pink color and it looked awesome on the rest of the brides maids, who were all latina women with nice tan skin and I was the lone pearl pink skinned girl, wearing the pearl pink dress,lol. I tried dying it later with rit and the fabric just would not accept the fabric dye...it was crazy how stain-proof it was...(I'd also like to add that my own wedding dress was only 125.00 and I paid for my bridesmaids' dresses, which only cost 27.00 each)
Well, it sounds like all the other bridesmaids are in the same financial boat, so I would suggest holding a shower-budget meeting...maybe give all the other girls a pre-meeting heads-up that you will be bringing up ideas to help save on expenses...that way the others will feel more comfortable talking about how managable or unmanagable the costs are for them to have to pay. Maybe then, the MOH will get the hint that she might be planning a shower that is not fiscally reasonable.
Good Luck!

Torts Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 3:15pm
post #15 of 27
Originally Posted by indydebi

my daughter-in-law's bridal shower was cake, punch, some appetizer thingies that her friend threw together (veggie tray, meatballs, cheeseball). No "favors" (holy cow when did THAT come into play for showers? ). A couple of games where token gifts were given (hand lotion; photo album).

Exactly what I was anticipating when I agreed to help. icon_confused.gif

Originally Posted by MadameRaz

I was the lone pearl pink skinned girl, wearing the pearl pink dress

I can empathize with you somewhat- I'm the pale pink girl, but at least my dress is navy. Next thing you know MOH will be organizing a trip to the tanning salon icon_rolleyes.gif

Thanks everyone for your advice and input. I thought maybe I was just being selfish, but you've made me feel a lot better about approaching her!

indydebi Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 3:50pm
post #16 of 27
Originally Posted by Torts

I think part of the issue is that the MOH wants to start an event planning business, so maybe she sees this as practice (or for her portfolio?)

Hubby and I were discussing this very line. We can understand someone using an opportunity to "practice" their new entrepreneurship .... we do it with our family all the time with our free cakes. But if MOH is starting a planning biz, then she needs to INVEST in her own self to promote her up and coming biz venture. How many of us on here make cakes to show family/friends what we can do and 99.9% of the time, we are investing in that cake 100% out of our own pocket?

MOH needs to, as we say in our house, get her head out of her a$$.

Corrie76 Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 3:59pm
post #17 of 27

icon_lol.gif I was approached by the MOB about getting a spray-on tan right before the wedding, I refused. I was also the only bridesmaid who did her own hair and did my own alterations as well. I defenitely grew some backbone by the time the wedding day came and ended up saving literally hundreds of dollars by simply saying "NO" to the endless demands.
icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I also, got paired with the shortest, roundest and rudest groomsman, my husband later told me that our walk down the aisle reminded him of Snow White with a scowling Grumpy tagging along. icon_razz.gif

cownsj Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 4:36pm
post #18 of 27

All in the same area here, attitudes toward weddings and showers vary. When I got married 8 years ago, I went with my MOH to pick out a dress. The whole plan was to find a dress she loved and wanted to wear, no matter the style, price, anything. Her dress, her decision. And we looked for something she could wear again, not a typical bridesmaid dress. And no shower, I was old enough, and established for so long in my own home I didn't need anything.

Back in the 70's when I was MOH for my best friend we all went and were told to find dresses we loved. We all agreed on a dress we loved but each liked a different color on us, so the bride told us to get whatever color we wanted. And I hosted her shower in my mothers backyard. We had a ball.

When both my nephews got married, there was more than enough money from both their families to have quite elaborate showers. However, both were given my showers in my SIL's family room, large enough to accomodate lots of people, and like Indy said, finger foods, a few silly games, cake and open presents. I think everyone has a better time at these. When another friend's daughter had her shower last summer, it was at an expensive restaurant, and it was nothing but stress on all of them, including the bride and MOB.

Maybe you need to tell the MOH that a good portfolio idea would be show how well you can do a beautiful shower on a tight budget.......

(Not to get off subject, but does anyone else remember ages ago doing the shower and making the carnation flowers out of tissues to cover a homemade wishing well for the presents?)

indydebi Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 4:46pm
post #19 of 27

oh! oh! oh! pick me! Pick me! Pick me!

i remember making those tissue carnations! We used to make them just for the heck of it!! tacky as all get-out, but we sure thought they were snazzy at the time! icon_lol.gif

catlharper Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 4:52pm
post #20 of 27

I try to get Brides, or MOH's or whoever is throwing the shower, to concentrate on ONE idea that is within the budget. I've worked restaurants as well as private homes and have found that if they just focus on one really great item, like a fantastic cake, or great food, or just really cute favors, then it will make the impression that they want. I attend way too many where they tried to do way too much with too tight of a budget. It's like trying to do all of your Christmas shopping with the same $20. You really can't do anything well. When we renewed our own vows last year we did it all on 8k..and that included the honeymoon in the fancy B&B in Monterey. It was held at a museum, had 50 guests with drinks/champagne, cake, and appetizers...all held in the middle of the afternoon, and topped off with a great cake. And, yes, we had the fancy invites, the DJ and the photographer. It can be done...most people just don't want to go to the trouble to do the work to get it done with a realistic budget. And that's how I stay in business as a planner <G>

Kiddiekakes Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 5:01pm
post #21 of 27

Amen to Indydebi's response....I have never been to a shower that cost that much for 50 people. icon_eek.gificon_eek.gif ..I would say the cake is your contribution but NO to all the rest..You just don't have the money!!! Period...

Corrie76 Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 6:09pm
post #22 of 27
Originally Posted by cownsj

(Not to get off subject, but does anyone else remember ages ago doing the shower and making the carnation flowers out of tissues to cover a homemade wishing well for the presents?)

my first ever crafting experience was making tissue flowers when I was like 5 years old! I worked at our local Boys and Girls Club for the summer last year and I taught the kids how to make them to decorate our parade float for the state fair. They loved it so much and so many of the moms and grandmas were delighted to see these tissue flowers from days of yore!

cownsj Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 6:21pm
post #23 of 27

I was a kid making them too, and we did think they were stylin'. Of course that made it easy for the mothers to get us to do all that work for them. I can still see those wishing wells. A new outside metal garbage can, vertical supports and a cardboard wishing well top, and we just covered every inch of it with those carnations. I'm so glad you showed the kids how to do them and brought that back for those of us that do remember them. Did you take photos?

Corrie76 Posted 21 Jan 2011 , 8:20pm
post #24 of 27

No pictures, I purused the WY state fair site to see if there were any photos but no luck... LOl I also have no pictures of me in the 500.00 bridesmaid dress either...

Torts Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 4:20am
post #25 of 27

WELL the Wedding was called off; hence the shower was as well. All this stress and drama for no reason! But I suppose it prevented much more drama in the Bride and Groom's future!

Corrie76 Posted 30 Jan 2011 , 7:02am
post #26 of 27

icon_eek.gif hope you're able to get a refund for the shoes and dress! You are absolutely right though, better to call off a wedding than hire divorce attornies!

sweetmonkeycheese Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 1:59pm
post #27 of 27
Originally Posted by Torts

WELL the Wedding was called off; hence the shower was as well. All this stress and drama for no reason! But I suppose it prevented much more drama in the Bride and Groom's future!

wow, did not see that as an outcome.

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