All Your Wedding & Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette Questions, Answered

Including how much to spend on a gift.
Naoimh O'Hare - The Knot Associate Commerce Editor
Naoimh O'Hare
Naoimh O'Hare - The Knot Associate Commerce Editor
Naoimh O'Hare
Associate Commerce Editor
  • Naoimh writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in shoppable roundups from gift guides to wedding fashion
  • Before working on editorial content, Naoimh wrote storefront descriptions for some of The Knot Worldwide's many wedding vendors
  • Naoimh studied creative writing at the National University of Ireland, Galway
Updated Apr 24, 2024

If you're one to stress over wedding gift etiquette soon after the save-the-date arrives, take a deep breath, friend. In addition to the ins and outs of wedding gift giving, we've also compiled all the bridal shower gift etiquette guests need to know. And we're here to walk you through it.

Typically, gifts are expected at a bridal shower (unless the invitation states otherwise), so it's a good idea to brush up on these helpful tips ahead of time. Below, find the answers to common FAQs—including how much to spend on a bridal shower gift, if it's appropriate to gift cash at a wedding shower and who the present is actually for.

Bridal shower gift etiquette FAQ:

How much should you spend on a bridal shower gift?

On average, guests spend between $50 and $75 on a bridal shower gift. This spending range stems from the 20-20-60 rule, suggesting that 60% of your total gift budget should go towards a wedding present, with the remaining 40% split evenly between pre-wedding events like the bridal shower, engagement party or bach party. If you're only invited to the shower and wedding, it's suggested to divide your budget by 30-70. Considering that the average wedding gift in 2023 was $150*, reverse calculation brings us to a budget of $50 to $75. So, if you're pondering whether $100 is enough for a bridal shower gift, the answer is a definite yes.

While having a specific spending range serves as a helpful starting point, it's important to remember that the amount spent on a bridal shower gift doesn't determine the strength of your relationship with the soon-to-be-weds. Simply give what you can comfortably afford. It's truly the thought that counts.

Can you give cash for a bridal shower gift?

When considering a bridal shower gift, giving cash instead of a physical item is generally acceptable. Before settling on this option though, it's important to determine if it aligns with the couple's preferences. Check if their wedding registry includes a cash fund; if so, sending a monetary gift online simplifies the process for both of you.

Another money gift idea for a bridal shower is gift cards. Review their registry to see if they've listed any preferred stores. This can guide you in selecting a bridal shower gift card they'd appreciate. Their registry may provide further inspiration, too: If they've registered for sports or adventure gear, for instance, they may appreciate a gift card from a relevant retailer like REI.

The appropriate amount of money to give as a bridal shower gift is the same as the amount you would spend on a tangible present: $50–$75. Give the couple what you can comfortably afford within that range. If your budget doesn't quite stretch to the $50 mark, that's okay. Consider gifting a budget-friendly item from the couple's registry or a small, sentimental token instead of cash.

Do you have to wrap your bridal shower gift?

Curious about what all the fuss is with bags, bows and wrapping paper? Let's unwrap the etiquette of how to dress up your bridal shower gift before the party.

How do you wrap a bridal shower gift?

If no one specifies otherwise, bring your shower gift wrapped and ready to open. If the bride wants to follow tradition, use a ribbon to complete your gift wrap. It's customary for the maid of honor to collect the ribbons from each gift to create a bouquet for the bride to use during the ceremony rehearsal.

A few exceptions to the rule: if the couple or host asks you not to wrap your gift (or to use clear gift wrap) 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.


How do you wrap a gift card for a bridal shower?

The best way to wrap a gift card or cash for a bridal shower is in a card. Even if you choose to use the couple's online cash fund to send money, you should still bring a card to the bridal shower. You can find great stationery in-person and at online retailers like Etsy, Amazon and Zazzle. As for what to write in a bridal shower card, express your heartfelt congratulations and offer your well wishes for the bride-to-be or the couple's future. You could also share a special memory or sentiment to make the card extra memorable.

What is an appropriate bridal shower gift?

Anything from the couple's wedding registry—which they likely set up before the shower—is an appropriate present. Typically, guests will bring smaller home items like a pair of coffee mugs or a throw blanket, wedding luxuries like a special getting-ready 'fit or cake-cutting set, or travel essentials they can use on their honeymoon. Think of items the couple probably wants to use sooner rather than later.

You might choose to stray from the registry if there's nothing that suits your budget or you want to pick something extra special or sentimental for the bride- or groom-to-be. The only thing to keep in mind is that certain items may not be appropriate for certain types of showers. For example, sexy underwear or toys for the bedroom are welcome at a lingerie shower, but maybe not at a tea party shower with younger or more conservative relatives. Showers don't have to be all good, clean fun—just take cue from the theme and guest list (and maybe save the super-raunchy stuff for the bach party).

Do you send a gift if not attending the bridal shower?

Sending your regrets is never easy, which is why some choose to send a gift in their absence. The gesture is not required though. A couple's wedding season often includes multiple gift-giving opportunities, so you'll be able to make up for your absence on another occasion, like the bach party if you're invited, or the wedding itself.

Are bridal shower gifts for the bride only?

If you're attending a couples or co-ed shower, it's good wedding shower gift etiquette to choose something that both of the lovebirds can enjoy. In fact, many guests choose to buy a present for both members of the happy couple at traditional bridal showers, too. The easiest way to know your gift will delight them both? You guessed it: Choose something from the couple's registry.

Of course, it's not unacceptable to pick up something just for the bride at a traditional shower. Depending on your relationship, you might feel especially close to the bride-to-be and want to spoil her a little. Wedding-related items are always a hit, like a diamond-cleaning kit, honeymoon lingerie, a ring dish, bridal pajamas or pre-wedding pampering essentials.

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