Who pays for bridal luncheon?

My fiancé and I will be having a very small wedding ceremony (30 guests) followed by a larger reception (100 guests). I have told anyone who asks that I do not want a Bridal Shower because only those who are invited to the actual ceremony should be invited to the Bridal Shower. I have one friend who continually offered to have a party for me. I, against my best judgment, relented. I asked her to call this party a Bridal Luncheon and I asked her to refrain from the typical Bridal Shower games. She asked me for a list of about 15 guests. I gave her the list. She consulted with me and my mother about various aspects of the luncheon. Everything seemed ok until yesterday. My friend called my mother if there is any way that we could pare the list down to 8 guests. My mother said “Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem.” She then asked my mother how much money she was planning on contributing. She told her that she didn’t think it was fair that she should have to pay for everything. My mother was dumbfounded. She managed to hold her tongue and told my friend to let her know how much she needed and she would send her a check. Well, I was furious! I am 42 years old. My mother is not responsible for me in any way, shape or form. Additionally, my mother is on a fixed income. As a matter of fact, I end up giving my mother spending money on a monthly basis. I did not want this party in the first place. I relented because I was trying to be nice. I told my mother that I would contact my friend and tell her to cancel the plans for the luncheon. I left a very polite message with my friend telling her that I think it would be best to cancel the luncheon. I offered to reimburse her for any expenses (invitations, stamps, etc.).

Did my mother or I commit a faux pas? Should we have offered to contribute to the luncheon? I feel badly that feelings may have been hurt, but I didn’t know what else to do. Did I do anything wrong? If my mother or I did anything wrong, I will gladly do anything to remedy this. I feel as if no matter what I do, it is going to be wrong.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Very Polite,

You did nothing wrong. You tried to help her understand what is socially acceptable and what is not. She insisted and then wanted someone else to pay for it. Mothers do not host the shower. Plus, we never offer to host and then expect others to pay for the party–no matter what type of party it is. So, your friend needs a bit of help. But, you have a very good understanding about what is correct and fair.

Best wishes,