Your Wedding Shower Gift Etiquette Questions, Answered

Yep, that includes how much to spend on a gift.
Naoimh O'Hare - The Knot Associate Commerce Editor
by
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 Aug 17, 2022

There's a lot to take on board as a wedding guest, especially if it's your first time attending one. Wedding gift etiquette is one of the most important things to understand. And if you've been invited to the shower, you have to figure it out twice. Luckily, bridal shower gift etiquette is easy to get your head around—especially when 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 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.

How much should you spend on a wedding shower gift?

Generally, guests spend $50–$75 on a gift for the bridal shower. Use this as a ballpark range while setting your overall wedding gift budget, but know that it's not a hard and fast rule. The general guideline here is to simply give what you can afford—no matter the occasion. At the end of the day, the amount you spend on a bridal shower gift isn't a reflection of your relationship with the soonlyweds. Whether you contribute $20 or $100, really it's the thought that counts. Having a concrete range is just a helpful starting point if you're not sure how much is appropriate to spend.

What is an appropriate wedding shower gift?

Anything from the couple's wedding registry—which they likely set up before the shower—is an appropriate present. Smaller items are a popular choice, like a cake stand, set of coffee mugs or throw blanket. But, larger items like appliances can be a good option too, especially if it's something the couple could use sooner rather than later. If you know they're dying to try that new coffee machine ASAP, surprise them at the shower.

You might choose to shop off 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 a cue from the theme and guest list (and maybe save the super-raunchy stuff for the bach party).

Can you give cash or gift cards as wedding shower gifts?

It's always acceptable to give a cash gift or gift card in lieu of something tangible, but before you do, try to figure out if that's something the couple wants. Does their wedding registry include a cash fund? If so, sending a monetary gift through their registry is the easiest way to give cash. Similarly for gift cards, check if their wedding wish list features any already. That way, you can see which stores they'd most appreciate a gift card for. You can also use their registry as inspiration. If the nearlyweds have registered for lots of sporting or adventure gear, they'll likely enjoy a REI gift card, for example. You might also hear that the couple would prefer monetary gifts through word of mouth. If that's the case, it's still totally up to you whether to give them cash, a gift card or a physical present.

How much money should you give for a wedding shower?

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 as much as 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.

Are bridal shower gifts just for the bride?

If you're attending a couples or coed 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 with 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 prewedding pampering essentials.

Do you have to buy a wedding shower gift if you can't attend?

Sending your regrets is never easy, which is why it's a nice idea to send a gift in your absence. While it's not compulsory to buy a present if you can't attend the shower, the gesture will remind the couple that you're still super happy for them and excited about the nuptials. Plus, you'll likely feel pretty good about it too. Regardless of whether or not you choose to send a present, do make sure to mail a card or thoughtful handwritten note letting the couple know that you're looking forward to celebrating with them on the wedding day. (Psst, if you're stuck, we've got some helpful suggestions for what to write in a wedding shower card.)

When should you give your wedding shower gift?

Gifts bought through the couple's registry will be shipped to their home, so you don't have to worry about wrapping it or taking it with you on the day. If you're shopping off registry, you should plan to take your present with you to the wedding shower where the couple may or may not be planning to open their gifts in front of guests.

How should you wrap your wedding 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.

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