Here's How Much to Spend on Bridal Shower Gifts (Plus 5 More Shower Gift Tips)
What's a prewedding shower without the amazing gifts? Whether the guest of honor chooses to open their goodies at the shower or wait to unwrap everything in private, you obviously want your gift to be thoughtful, personal and memorable. So, where to start? Here's what to spend, as well as how and where to find an awesome bridal shower gift they'll love.
1. How Much to Spend on a Bridal Shower Gift
The general guideline here is simply to give what you can afford—no matter what the occasion. But to give you something more concrete, in bridal shower land, anything from $25 to $75 is perfectly acceptable. That said, you're welcome either to spend more than that, or, on the flip side, gift something lovingly homemade (a crocheted afghan or photo album of your glory days as besties) or a family heirloom (artwork from her grandparents' home). When it comes to making a decision, your own budget and relationship with the bride will help you choose whether to gift her a set of cute coffee mugs or a cutting-edge espresso maker.
2. Yes, You Should Give a Shower and Wedding Gift
Bringing a gift to the shower doesn't actually constitute a "get-out-of-gift-free" pass for the wedding. (That said, if you want to give the couple a gift at the shower, but not at the wedding, that's your prerogative, and you're technically not in the wrong for doing so.) If your budget doesn't allow for two big gifts, no sweat. The easiest solution is to split your gift-giving budget between the shower and the wedding rather than overextending your finances to buy two full-scale gifts.
3. Take Advantage of Their Registry
The couple made a wedding registry for a reason—use it. Buying something from their registry might seem like the easy way out, but honestly that's kind of the point (to make everyone's lives easier!). But this doesn't mean you can't choose a shower gift that isn't on the registry, especially if you know they'll love it. Try relating your shower gift to your wedding gift: hand-painted chopsticks with rice bowls can precede a wok, while a weekender bag can hint that you've also contributed to their honeymoon cash fund. Another option? Chip in with other friends or wedding party members to get something really special: ballet tickets, expensive sheets, a luxe spa treatment or new bikes. If you're unfamiliar with the guest of honor's tastes, ask the host for some pointers.
In terms of a theme, the shower invitations should clue you in to gift requests. For a couple shower, stick with registry items both partners are looking forward to, like an espresso maker, new luggage or a wine delivery subscription. Attending a ladies-only bridal tea? Now's your chance to go crazy with gorgeous lingerie or sexy honeymoon bathing suits. You may be going to a themed shower, like a stock the bar party, where all gifts fall under that specific category (for a stock the bar shower, think: barware, nice booze or mixology books).
4. Be Wary of (Potentially) Inappropriate Gifts
When among friends, you can't go wrong, right? Um, not always. You'll find sexy lingerie at most bridal showers, which can provide some serious laughs. But be careful not to confuse the bridal shower with the bachelorette party, especially if some of the bride's more conservative or younger relatives will be there. But listen, showers don't have to be all good, clean fun (trust us, we know how shower conversation tends to take a turn). Just save the super-raunchy stuff for your night out.
5. Bridal Shower Traditions and Superstitions
Feeling superstitious? There's tons of fun, old-school lore surrounding showers—although you're more than welcome to ignore it and make your own. For example, it's considered good luck if the first gift opened is the first gift the bride uses. And the maid of honor can gather all the ribbons from the bride's gifts to create a ribbon "bouquet" the bride then carries down the aisle during the ceremony rehearsal.
6. How to Package Your Gift
If no one specifies otherwise, bring your shower gift wrapped and ready to open. A few exceptions: if the bride or host asks you not to wrap your gift to avoid belaboring the opening process, or if you've already bought your gift off their registry and had it shipped to their requested address. (Note for brides: If you've been getting shower gifts delivered to you, no need to lug them to the shower—unless you want to show them off!).
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