Stifle Those Comments, Mom
Pretend you're hosting a party. It can be a birthday party, a cocktail party, a dinner party — choose an event. You've booked a restaurant, you've chosen a menu, perhaps you've even researched some icebreaker games. Your plans are working out well until you receive a call from one of your invited guests who tells you that you're doing it all wrong. The location stinks, you should be feeding the guests more than finger foods and cake, and don't even get her going on the topic of the games (she thinks they're tasteless). What would you do? Give her a piece of your mind? Disinvite her?
Now pretend that your daughter's friends or in-laws are planning a pre-wedding party for her and you're displeased with the location, the menu, and the activities. What are you going to do now? The right answer: You're going to show up and be a gracious guest.
It's wrong for an invited guest (you, in this instance) to criticize a party. It's worse than wrong — it's rude and crass (two words that should never be associated with the MOB). Bottom line: If you're planning a party, you're free to go in any direction you want with it — just remember that every other hostess holds that same privilege. It would be bad enough for the bride to complain about a party that's given in her honor — it's ten times worse for you to stick your nose into the matter, proclaiming that your little girl deserves better.
If your inquiries and comments are your way of saying, “I want to help,” try to find a better way to phrase it — such as coming right out and offering to be of assistance to the party planner. If she needs your help, she'll call on you — and if she doesn't, you'll just have to take your seat along with all of the other guests. Even though you are the MOB, you can't force a hostess to accept your help.
Being the MOB doesn't mean you're allowed to criticize with immunity. Even though you may be very unhappy with the way another hostess handled your daughter's engagement party or shower, hold your tongue. There's no way you can chastise a hostess and come away looking like a decent human.
The bride's attendants are traditionally expected to host a shower for her. If the wedding is only months away and there's been no mention of a party, go ahead and give them a little nudge — or plan it yourself. (Though etiquette states that the bride's mom should not host her shower, it's more common these days for people to toss etiquette and do what's easiest and most convenient.) If the bridesmaids do have everything under control, you may be asked to provide them with a guest list.
Should the bride's friends invite you to her bachelorette party, you may want to think twice about attending — depending on how you feel about wild behavior. Most bachelorettes plan on a lot of drinking, references to the male anatomy, and/or a male stripper or two. If this sounds like your idea of a good time, count yourself in. If not, skip it.