My cousin is getting married in a few months, and her sister has announced plans to throw her a personal shower "for just the ladies of the family." The back story is it is a family of women - 6 aunts, 4 granddaughters, and a sassy yet passive-aggressive matriarch, my grandmother. My mother and aunts are split down the middle after an argument that began over a year ago, and at the moment their relationship is about as good as it will probably ever be - everyone is civil or ignores each other as works best for their respective roles in the hierarchy. I am very close to the cousin who is getting married, as well as her sister (the one planning the shower), but our mothers are on opposite sides of the family split. So far we have managed to rise above that.
Anyway, my cousin-the-bride has already had a shower, attended primarily by her aunts and cousins, as well as the bridesmaids. So this second shower would have pretty much the same guest list, minus 5 or 6 people. My grandmother thinks it is extravagant and unnecessary to throw a second shower for a 29-year-old who already owns a house and has a very nice career, and (apparently) said as much to the mother of the bride. However, knowing my gran, she probably didn't out and out say that. I do know that she told her daughter that she didn't have anything to give the bride, and the reply was simply, "Oh, I can run out and get something for you to give her." My mother and two other aunts and the remaining cousin (not the bride's sister) aren't too keen on attending a shower as a group since everyone is BARELY talking to each other, and since this family is the type to not actually be honest and upfront, they are all quietly making plans to be busy on the day of the shower (but are all planning in sending gifts anyway). The best part of this whole situation is that most people consider the mother of the bride to be the instigator of all the unrelated family drama that created this rift in the first place.
So here's the recap - no one wants to hang out at a party with each other, 90% of the guest list thinks it's tacky to ask them to provide another gift, and at this point I'm the only person prepared to show up for this shindig.
At this point, I'm worried that instead of the shower being cancelled, as most of my family is hoping, that the date will simply be moved. Whether it is cancelled or not, since no one has the balls to tell the bride, her sister, or her mother what they really think, it seems that the drama is probably going to erupt again. I'm also worried that in a way, the sisters are being punished for the feelings most people feel toward their mother, though I'm also not keen on going to another awkward-as-fuck shower.
I'm in a difficult position... do I say something to the cousin who is planning the shower? Suggest that she just have a cousin outing, maybe dinner or drinks? I already suggested that it might be more fun if the guest list was expanded, since both cousins acknowledged the fact that "it might get a big awkward" (their solution was to invite our other cousin's newborn baby to distract everyone from the tension... what?) but apparently the bride only wants family. Do I try to convince my grandmother to talk to the bride or her sister? Should I try to convince everyone to buck up and attend? Do I keep out of it completely and just wait to see what happens, as my husband suggested? My other cousin is happily staying out of it, but she's not close to the bride. It doesn't help that I'm usually painfully candid and I'm trying to learn to shut my trap once in a while.
So Glad I Don't Have A Sister
Butt right on in there and tell [the bride, her sister, WHOEVER] that the shower's gonna be a fiasco.
Clearly, you cousins should all go out for drinks instead and bitch about your crazy mothers.
Photo of Masha Tyelna by Tim Walker for I.D. Magazine, November 2007 via PAPERFASHION + GREY/BLACK/MATTER