Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette
Showered With Love (and Gifts)
In the last installment, we discussed the gift-giving etiquette surrounding engagement parties. This week, we’re delving into the far more common tradition of bridal or couple showers. By the very nature of the name – “shower” – gifts are expected. However, the expectations regarding these gifts, how they’re requested and who gives what and when is a little more nuanced.
Hand It to the Host
Bridal showers are typically hosted by the maid or matron of honor and are held in the months or weeks before the wedding. However, showers can really be thrown by anyone (except the bride and groom, of course), including relatives or co-workers. The recent trend toward couple showers broadens the acceptability of having a shower thrown by anyone – including groomsmen!
If you decide to throw a party for the bride or the couple, make it easy for your guests. Include information about registries on the invitation. And, while it’s not part of your duties, it doesn’t hurt to encourage the bride and groom to register for items across a variety of price points. Since showers are thrown to help the happy couple stock up on items for the home they’ll soon be – or are – sharing, gifts like kitchen appliances or linens are fairly common.
However, if the registry is sparse or nonexistent, or the couple’s circumstances are such that they don’t need household items, use the shower as an opportunity to get creative. Throw a shower with a theme that relates specifically to the bride or the couple. For instance, if she loves to cook, ask guests to put together a gift built around a favorite meal and to share their recipes as well.
Lastly, it’s understood that hosting the party is a gift in itself. If you’re co-hosting with others and the costs associated with the party are split evenly, consider going in together on a pricier gift, like a grill or vacuum cleaner.
Showing Up for the Shower
As a guest to the shower, the first rule regarding gifts is to give what you can afford. Remember, a gift is just that – it’s not an entrance fee or a measurement of your feelings. If money is tight, it’s perfectly reasonable to make a gesture with a handmade or sentimental gift or card. Well-thought-out family heirlooms are also acceptable and often very treasured. If you can’t find anything on the registry that appeals to you or your wallet, it’s okay to choose your own gift.
The conventional price range for shower gifts is between $25 and $75 and is based on your financial situation and your relationship to the bride or couple. If you’re planning to attend the wedding as well, it’s perfectly reasonable to budget for your shower and wedding gifts and give accordingly.
The same goes for attending multiple showers for the same bride or couple, as is expected for members of the wedding party. If you’re a bridesmaid, a personal attendant or serving in some other official capacity, the rules are a bit different for you. We’ve got an entire installation of this series coming up so stay tuned for the how, why and what regarding gifting as a member of the wedding party.
It’s time to let loose and celebrate! For the next installment, we’ll discuss bachelorette or hen parties. While still fairly new, there are rules regarding this festivity, gifts for the event and how to plan for a fun (and frisky!) party.