Bridal shower gift etiquette
If the shower has a theme, your gift should complement it
Generally, your invitation will indicate whether the shower has a specific theme. Elle Shapiro, an expert wedding guest and founder of Survive Wedding Season, says, “If the invitation says ‘kitchen theme’ then go for something appropriate like a hardcover cookbook or a sassy apron. If the invitation emphasizes that the party will be a lingerie shower then go with a nightie or baby doll lingerie.”
To play it safe, stick to the couple’s registry
If a theme hasn’t been established, experts like Carol Rosen, CSEP, of Party Designs by Carol, recommend giving the bride a gift from her registry. “It really is a kindness to give the couple what they have asked for; these are the items they have chosen as a couple to begin their married lives,” she explains.
Give a gift that won’t offend or embarrass anyone at the shower
Although the bride may be the kind of gal who loves a fun, scandalous gift, steer clear of giving her anything sexual in nature at the shower. “If you need convincing, just remember that the bride’s mother is most likely going to be present! Save the sexual gifts for the bachelorette party or a ladies’ night out,” says Steve Kemble, America’s sassiest lifestyle guru.
Don’t be afraid to shop beyond the registry
Depending on your relationship to the bride and groom, you may not feel that giving a kitchen appliance or bath towels is special enough. If that’s the case, Rosen recommends giving the couple something that suits their interests or treats them during their honeymoon.
Honeymoon-related gifts she suggests include travel items that make packing easier and the flight more enjoyable, or gift certificates to the hotel or resort where the couple will be staying. You can also arrange for the bride and groom to enjoy an activity, such as ziplining or a couple’s massage, during their trip.
In regard to interest-related gifts, Rosen says, “If they are into wine, give them a wine tasting class. For the couple who has it all, give a donation to their favorite charity. For the couple who is into animals, adopt an animal at the zoo in their name or do something special at an animal shelter in their area.”
Consider your relationship to the couple and spend within your budget
If you’re having trouble deciding on the appropriate amount of money to spend on a gift, don’t sweat it. The type of gift you give and how much you spend generally depends on your relationship to the bride and groom.
According to Mary Dann, of Wedding and Party Coordinators, “If you are part of the family, or even a close family friend, then $75 to$125 per invited guest would be the suggested dollar amount. If you are a co-worker or just outside the inner circle, you may want to spend between $40 and $75 per invited guest.”
Of course, there are always exceptions to these guidelines. Rosen says, “The simple rule is, give what you can afford. The bottom line is, everyone should bring something.”