Bridal showers are a fun way to spoil the bride before she gets hitched. Every person attending a bridal shower should bring a gift, but it can be difficult to decide on what type of gift to offer. From traditional to unconventional, there are plenty of gift options available for every type of bride.
Gift Ideas From the Bridal Registry
Most brides register at one or more stores for household items that they need. If you're not particularly close to the bride or if you're stumped on what the bride might need, abiding by the registry is the best way to go. Using a registry to select a gift for a bride is the best way to avoid giving her a duplicate gift as someone else, or gifting her something she already has or won't use.
Items commonly found on registries often include traditional gifts like linens, but also items that go beyond the basics. Couples today are registering for a variety of items that might include board games, yard tools, hobby items from camping gear to digital camera accessories, or even technology like home sound systems. Just because you're picking from the registry doesn't mean you're limited to buying matching towels.
Shop and Ship Online
Most wedding registries are available online, so you never have to leave the comfort of your home to purchase the gift. If you're purchasing a gift and you aren't attending the shower, you can have the store ship the items directly to the bride.
Honeymoon Registry Gifts
Some brides opt to use a Honeymoon Registry, where each person can give money toward a honeymoon fund online rather than purchase a tangible gift. You can choose to still give a gift for the shower and give money toward the honeymoon as a wedding gift, but if the bride chooses to solely use a honeymoon registry, it's acceptable to give money for both the shower and the wedding gifts.
Shower Gifts for Brides Without Registries
Some brides choose not to register at all, and some guests prefer to give something more personal. There are many different options to choose from if using the registry is not an option.
Traditional Bridal Shower Gifts
Staples for any bride include items that she will need to create and run a household. Utilitarian gifts for the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom are prevalent on most brides' registries. Classic gift ideas can include:
- Kitchenware - Dinnerware, glassware, measuring cups, cookbooks, cutlery, toasting flutes
- Small appliances - Toaster, stand mixer, blender, coffee pot
- Linens - Kitchen towels, bath towels, bedding (sheets and comforters), shower curtains, rugs
Personalization puts an extra special touch on shower gifts. Many items can be custom made to reflect the names of the bride and groom.
- Monogrammed towels for the bathroom
- Cutting board with their shared last name
- "Mrs." bridal gown hanger for the wedding day photos
- Wine glasses that are customized with the couple's wedding date
- Picture frame with their shared last name to put a wedding photo in
- Anniversary journal so they can keep track of the journey of their romance for years to come
Some brides have specific theme parties for their bridal shower. Most bridesmaids will make it clear on the invitation what kind of shower will be held and whether or not you should bring a gift that adheres to the theme.
- If it's specifically a lingerie shower, giving lingerie, a robe, or romantic candles can be great gifts.
- For a travel themed shower, luggage or passport covers are great options.
- If it's a coed shower, known as a Jack-and-Jill shower, bring gifts that both the bride and groom will be able to use, such as wine or a gift card, and shy away from lingerie items or gifts that are solely for the bride.
- For shower themes dealing with recipes or the kitchen, bring your favorite recipe on an index card along with a kitchen item that you think they'll love to use.
Whatever the theme may be, don't feel like you have to stick to it if it isn't indicated to do so on the invitation.
Date Night Gifts
Any bride can attest that wedding planning is a stressful and expensive time. Giving a gift that the bride and her fiancé can use as a day of relaxation and fun may be a great option to let the two of them unwind and enjoy their engagement.
Considering the bride and groom's taste, some date ideas include:
- A gift certificate for a couple's spa day
- Gift card to the bride and groom's favorite restaurant with movie tickets
- Tickets to a museum or art show
- Tickets to a wine tasting event
- Registration for a couple's cooking class
- Pair matching sports team shirts with tickets to a game
Modern and Unique Gifts
Maybe the bride and groom are anything but average, and you'd like to give them a gift as unique as they are. If you can find an item that suits their personality, it can make for a special gift that goes against the grain.
- For couples or those who enjoy nature, a plant terrarium is a nice home décor option.
- A Nest Smart Technology fire alarm or thermostat is a great choice for tech-savvy couples.
- Rainbow chopsticks from MoMA are a fun gift for quirky couples who love a vareity of cuisines.
- Give a record player to hipster couples who love old time rock and roll.
- Select an anniversary wine trio in a custom wood box for celebrating special years together - or even the honeymoon!
Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette
Certain standards should be followed by anyone who is planning on attending a bridal shower.
Include a Gift Receipt
All gifts given to the bride should be given a gift receipt. Regular receipts are seen as tacky because it shows how much you spent on the gift. A gift receipt hides the amount you spent while allowing the bride to return a duplicate gift or exchange something she doesn't need without putting her in the awkward position of asking you for a receipt.
How Much to Spend
How much you spend on a bridal shower gift depends entirely on your relationship with the bride. Parents and grandparents of the bride typically give gifts that are the most valuable on the list, such as a complete pots and pans set, or fine china. Etiquette expert Cheryl Siedel states that friends with a limited budget should spend $30-$50, friends and relatives typically spend $50-$75, while close friends and close relatives usually spend $50-$100 or more.
Splitting a Gift
It is perfectly acceptable to go in on a shower gift (or many small gifts) with friends or co-workers. If multiple people are pitching in, a large number of small gifts or one large item on the bride's registry should be purchased.
If the bride is being thrown more than one shower and you get invited to more than one, Emily Post states that you only have to bring a gift to the first shower that you attend. If you feel strange coming empty-handed, you can opt to only attend one shower, or bring a smaller token, such as a candle or flowers, to the second shower.
Cash Isn't Always King
Giving cash at a bridal shower is seen as gauche. If you prefer giving cash to actual gifts, save that for the actual wedding day.
Keep it Appropriate
If you aren't sure if sexy lingerie is an appropriate gift for the type of wedding shower the bride is having, err on the side of caution and skip it. Save the risque gifts for the bachelorette party.
Give From the Heart
Whether or not you choose to use a bridal registry is a personal choice, but when shopping for a bridal shower gift, always keep the bride and groom in mind. Giving a gift that you think they'll enjoy for years to come is a great way to get them started on their new journey together.