Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bridal Showers

It’s official. I’m old. I’ve started saying, “Back in my day….” Our current onslaught of family weddings is overwhelming mentally and financially. Currently I am having a problem with the notion of a wedding shower.

Back in my day the purpose of the shower was to assist a bride in setting up housekeeping in her own home. She was going from her parents’ house to that of a new home with her husband who presumably didn’t have a lot in the way of linens and kitchen furnishings. Showers had themes usually linen, kitchen or lingerie. Increasingly it appears that showers are a second bid at a wedding gift since the shower hostess will include the name of the store or stores where the bride and groom are registered. “I’m just getting something from their list,” my daughter-in-law said sanguinely regarding my niece’s shower. Not me. If I shop off that list it will be for a wedding gift. Shower gifts are supposed to be inexpensive and the party more about celebrating the bride. Nowadays many brides and grooms have had homes alone and together for a number of years before they decide to marry and there is no longer an actual need for a "shower."

I like old fashioned embroidered tea towels. My husband had no clue what a tea towel was when we married and I still have to constantly remind him that these towels are not for dirty hands. I don’t have the time to embroider them myself anymore although I did back in my day, but I shop enough antique and second hand stores to find them. So rather than purchasing something off of my niece’s Macy’s list I hit a couple of my favorite antique malls and got three beautiful tea towels, staying away from some that were really rather racist—napping Mexicans and pickaninnies. I admit to also purchasing some sweet measuring spoons, too.

There is a real possibility that I will not be buying off the Macy’s list for the wedding either. In the last few years I’ve begun giving family brides and grooms pictures of their grandparents. Family is important to me and so I will be scouting out a nice double frame for copies of the sweet pictures I have of my in-laws when they were young.
On the other hand, a baby shower, especially for a first baby is quite another thing altogether. Fortunately, we haven't any of those looming on the horrizon. Three engaged nieces and one engaged brother are quite enough, thank you.


Lorrene said...

Napping Mexicans and Pickannies just cracked me up. I remember !!!
We have 40 percent Mexican's in this town and let me tell you. Mexican's are not lazy. They either have a job or they start their own business. I think Pickannie is totally stupid. At least us white folks finally got a few brains, somethig we seemed to be lacking in the past. I loved your post. I could go on and on.

Stephanie Frieze said...

My husband looked up "pickanny" (mostly because I wasn't sure of the spelling) and Iguess it's of Portuguese origins and means child. I think it has bad connotations here. On the Long Beach Peninsula landlords like renting to Mexicans because they take good care of the place. They want to be able to bring more family. I know that there's some in Mason County that live in some terrible houses, but I've also noticed that they are fixing them up so you're right. I think by-and-large they work hard and deserve to get citizenship. The government should spend more time worrying about the employers and less about illegals. Besides, most of us are immigrants somewhere in our family history.

Kim Thompson said...

I wanted to comment on the pure uniqueness and genius of your gift choices! Antiquing for a shower gift is totally cool. But the wedding gift? What a neat idea to give family photos, done up real nice! If you don't mind terribly, I'd love to share your thoughts with others.

You know, I had a couple of wedding showers and they were ACTUALLY as they should have been--inexpensive, fun, and needed things. The time was about family and friends. Period.

For our wedding, my husband and I worked very hard to make sure that had affordable things on our registry. Nothing over $40. Seriously. We didn't need much (mostly dishes and linens) anyway. Many of our friends, just starting out themselves, came to us in appreciation for that effort.

Stephanie Frieze said...

Kim, you are welcome to "steal" any ideas that pop out of my mind. I started giving copies of old pictures with my cousin's daughter. When I received the invitation to her wedding I was slightly irritated since her parents had not made any effort to let me get to know her. Ever the penny pincher I wasn't going to go get some lavish gift off a registry list, but I did want to do something that I thought would be meaningful to her. I knew how much her grandparents cared about her and figured it was a two-way street so a copy of a portrait from when they were young and starting out their married life seemed like a no brainer. When another cousin's daughter married I did the same thing. I have portrait type pictures of most of my aunts and uncles and making copies has turned out to be a nice gift and something no one else is going to do.

Rituals are what bind us as families. The ritual showers, if somewhat out-moded do still serve a purpose. I'm just not interested in getting in a competition to see who can give the best gift. On that note I will say that while I was poking around antique shops I found two hankies with the initials of the bride's sister and mother. The sister is also engaged and while I am skipping the engagement party in favor of my last few days of vacation, I am taking her and the mother of the brides hankies and leave to cry all they like.