Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri: Wedding traditions and norms for today’s new culture
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
Our wedding is in two months. My in-laws-to-be have made it into a monster ball, according to my mom. It’s formal. The in-laws insisted on paying for the wedding and reception, even though my mom, a widow, says she can provide.
My mom thinks formal traditions are ways for people to show-off. My mom has traditions, but they are modern.
Then my mom decided to host (and pay for) our bridal showers. Because my mom used to live here, she said she’d arrange a “couples wedding shower” and invite her artist friends (from when she lived here). I don’t know them and my mom’s not supposed to be the host. Plus, she wants guests to donate money to an animal shelter, instead of getting us gifts.
My mother-in-law said bridal showers should be done two weeks before the wedding because the last two weeks are too busy. My mom says that it’s selfish to expect people from out-of-town to either come into town too early or miss the showers.
She even arranged a work shower and is bringing a cake and decorations, when most people aren’t invited to the wedding.
Mom also organized a lingerie bridal shower for the last week and invited tons of people.
My fiancé and I both tried talking with our parents to no avail.
We feel your best solution is to work backwards, starting now.
What we mean by working backwards is to start with your end result in mind … within your time-frame.
We do assume that your desired best end result is to create a loving and blessed marriage based on honorable goals, with your chosen traditions, and norms based on your chosen values.
If traditions are upheld just for traditions’ sake, then the tradition of a bridal shower would be as it was in the 1800’s, where a bride without a dowry (money and means), had her friends help her raise money to marry the man of her choice.
In today’s terms, good friends may help out their engaged friends with meaningful gifts as tokens of love and support. This tradition started with friendships separate from family.
Remedy your situation now, by having a good friend (who’s offered to help) throw you one small, special shower.
Ask yourself if you agree with and enjoy some of today’s cultural norms like extravagant ceremonies, lingerie parties, and drinking to excess with some people you hardly know.
It’ll be challenging to undo and downsize your wedding, but you might be the first couple in this era to start new and precious wedding traditions. Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation and host of a podcast at therhondaorrshow.com. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Write them at Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org.