Have you ever had to co-host a bridal shower or baby shower and wanted to kill the person you were planning with before the day of the shower even arrives? I have a friend who is about ready to kill her recent co-hostess, and after hearing the stories, I'm willing to help her bury the body and hide the evidence.
We'll call my girlfriend "Michele" so I don't tip off her potential victim. This story is about planning a baby shower, but all of this applies to giving a bridal shower too. Keep that in mind when you're volunteering. And when you accept somebody's offer of help.
Michele offered to give a shower for her childhood girlfriend who is having her first baby. Because Michele lives hours away from the guest of honor, they're going to have the party at the home of the mommy-to-be. But she doesn't have to do anything. Michele plans to arrive a couple of days ahead and clean the entire house before and after the event so the preggers guest of honor doesn't have to deal with it or overstress herself.
When Michele asked her friend for the guest list to send the adorable giraffe invitations she'd ordered (it's a boy!), her friend INFORMED her that another friend was going to co-host the event and she was handling the invitations.
Because the baby shower was going to be at the guest of honor's house, Michele didn't feel like she could argue about it, and the guest of honor presented it as a fait accompli. It was a done deal and, apparently, the other friend would be really hurt if her offer to "help" wasn't accepted.
Michele was seriously put out, but trying to be a good sport and supportive friend, she went along with it and contacted her future partner-in-crime. They chatted about the plans and Michele told her everything she'd already planned, ordered, and purchased, and the other woman was on board with everything. She offered to take care of sending the invitations (which Michele had already had made) and bring the cake. Safe enough, Michele thought. She was wrong.
After spending hours creating adorable wedding favors, hunting used bookstores for specific selections for a baby-shower game, shopping ahead at Costco for the beverage supplies, and buying pretty much everything necessary to make an elegant but fun jungle-themed bridal shower, Michele was pumped. She even stopped worrying about the cake.
Until she called her co-hostess a couple of weeks prior to the shower to check in and was informed that she had changed theme of the cake to The Minions. No seriously. And just to class it up even more, she was doing an ice cream cake - a total mess when you're trying to have an elegant tea party. She also proudly announced that she'd purchased a whole bunch of Minion décor to contribute to the jungle. It was clear she was clueless about the concept of having a décor theme actually make sense.
Look, a Minions theme is perfectly fine if that's what you've planned - it's fun and the décor and favors should match the concept. I've seen adorable cupcakes made using Twinkies - but they're a theme in their own right. Adding The Minions to sweet décor of giraffes and elephants will just look weird. It's like having a SpongeBob SquarePants theme and deciding to decorate the room with Princess Bride. It simply doesn't work together. Anybody can see that, right? Apparently, this woman couldn't.
How did Michele handle the change of plans foisted on her? Better than I would have. She simply told the girl she already had the décor covered (as if Minion garlands hadn't been mentioned) and everything else was already taken care of. And then she hung up the phone and came up with a plan for appropriately-themed cupcakes to put on the party table as well.
She did ask her co-hostess to help with the cleaning and prep, figuring if she had time to hunt down Minions napkins she could help clean a bathroom. But she was wrong. The other woman pled "too busy" and Michele did all the prep work
She managed to hide as much of The Minions décor as she possibly could - the garlands did not get put up and were mysteriously missing a the last minute - and she created an appetizing cupcake display that drew the eye away from the mushy melting mess that had to be served in the kitchen rather than in the dining room, where pictures were being taken. The baby shower was a success and Michele graciously shared the kudos with her co-hostess. But she was on a rant when I talked to her about it afterwards. She did not have fun executing this event, although she was happy the new mommy was happy.
There's nothing wrong with two friends co-hosting a bridal shower or baby shower together. In fact, it's a great way to have fun planning and share the expense. But trying to plan with a complete stranger who was foisted on you by a well-meaning guest of honor is a complete and total nightmare.
One solution is to offer to throw your own shower if you have a place to do it. Most brides have more than one bridal shower, although the same guests should not being invited to both of them (excluding the moms and the bridal party, of course).
Showers really aren't meant to be huge events - if you have 50 people you must invite, then you really need two or three different showers. There's plenty of fun to be had by all and no reason you need more than 10 to 15 guests at any one shower. It's flat-out hard to play party games with a huge group, and it takes FOREVER to open the gifts at a large shower. I'd rather attend a small bridal or baby shower and actually get to visit with the guest of honor than make small talk with a large group of strangers and sit through two hours of gift opening.
It's almost always okay to decline someone's offer to co-host a special event. Michele wishes she had pushed back when she was informed she had a partner. If you agree to plan something with someone you do not know, make sure you agree on the ground rules, theme, and how you're going to split the expenses BEFORE you actually start planning together. It doesn't have to be a nightmare.