DISCLAIMER TO ALL WHO ORGANIZED AND ATTENDED MY BRIDAL SHOWER : I LOVED my bridal shower. I had a fabulous time. It is simply my nature to pick things apart and snark about them.
My mom and my sister threw me a wonderful bridal shower this Saturday, despite the fact that, with 82 years between them, neither had ever actually attended one.
Bridal showers are a strange custom no matter what -- the whole affair generally resembles your four year-old birthday party, starring you as a somewhat infantilized pretty pretty princess -- but they are especially vexing for the modern-day bride. Showers originated as a way to give poor brides-to-be the dowry that their family couldn't afford, so assuming you're not destitute, you feel a little bit, well, greedy. This feeling multiplies when you realize that you already have most of what you are registered for ... it's just that the registry items are so much nicer than yours. And generally more expensive. So not only are your nearest and dearest shelling out money for plane tickets, new outfits, and hotel rooms, they're also buying you more expensive versions of things you already own. I think "Bridezilla" is not really the term, it's more like "asshole".
Anyway, I arrived promptly at two o'clock to find my mother and my almost mother-in-law cutting up crudites. The living room was abloom with flowers, cupcakes were stacked to the high heavens, and mimosas were flowing. Did I already say I loved my shower? I totally did.
At first it was just like any other party: people showed up, got a drink, and schmoozed. I tried to pretend I was just another guest, as I am not, generally, comfortable with being the center of attention, but that's the thing about being a bride -- you are always on display, like it or not. Thankfully, mimosas were nearby, and three in quick succession took the edge off.
I had to be drunk, I think, to handle the Present Opening. The last time a crowd of people watched me open presents, I was ten years old. My mother, by way of ice-breaking, told a story about my third or fourth birthday party, at which I greeted guests at the door by asking "Where's my gift?" I think I should start answering the door like that all the time; nervous and unprepared friends will start handing over keychains and half-empty packs of gum. But I digress.
Faced with a huge crowd of people, present opening takes on a theatrical feel. Each gift is presented, the card is read, the paper is ripped off, and the contents must be held up for public viewing. The bride must seek out the face of the gift-giver in the crowd (tough if you have had five mimosas) and say as genuine a thank you as she can muster given her inebriation (drunkeness is not required, obviously, but I like to think it lent a special something to the proceedings). Then, as if the ceremony weren't already the most formal present-opening performance you've ever given, the gift and the giver are recorded by your very own scribe (otherwise known as your sister). It is truly a surreal experience. But it's not over yet! Your very talented and very patient friend has spent the whole time making you a fetching hat made of bows and a paper plate! You must wear it and pose for pictures, and try to remember who gave you the gift adorned with a bell, 'cause that really added a certain je ne sais quoi to the whole ensemble.
I received, in case you want to know, one glass cake stand, a 13-piece Calphalon cooking set, various potions designed to make me look and feel lovely, and approximately 80 pieces of lingerie. Ladies, if you still think you want to stay sober for your shower, think about holding up a see-through teddy and matching thong in front of your mother-in-law and hearing one of your friends call out "Jeff will love that!"
A mimosa sounds pretty good right about now, doesn't it?
I'll leave you with a photo of some of my lovely friends who came out to celebrate my avoidance of spinsterhood: