What Is Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette?

by M.H. Dyer

Traditionally, a bridal shower is an opportunity for the bride's friends and family to gather together and shower the bride with everything she needs to set up a household with her new husband. Today, a shower is still a fun event that a bride remembers fondly for many years. However, gift-giving is a bit more complicated.

Registry

A registry makes gift selection easier and ensures that your gift is something the bride truly wants or needs. However, gifts outside the registry are always appropriate, especially for close friends or family members who want to provide an extra-special gift. For example, a gift certificate at the bride's favorite store allows the bride to purchase a special gift of her choice. Other welcome beyond-the-registry gifts include a certificate for a special event or a dinner out at the couple's chosen honeymoon destination.

Themes

Often a bridal shower invitation indicates a theme such as a kitchen shower, barbecue shower, garden party or a wine-tasting. In this case, shop accordingly. Don't buy the bride a toaster or a set of kitchen towels if the bridal shower theme is lingerie. A gift registry isn't always helpful for a theme shower.

Avoid Offense

A bridal shower isn't the time to surprise the bride with a scandalous or risqué gift that causes her embarrassment when she opens the gift in front of her mother, grandmother, or future in-laws. Save sexy gifts for an appropriate occasion such as a best girlfriend's party or bachelorette party.

Budgeting

Every wedding shower guest should bring a gift, including guests who intend to provide a gift at the wedding. As a general rule, close friends and family members spend more on gifts than a casual friend or co-worker. However, gift-giving should never be cause for stress. If you are on a tight budget, give only what you can afford. If the gifts suggested on a gift registry are beyond your means, bring a suitable gift within your budget.

Multiple Showers

Multiple showers are commonplace and many brides are showered in different geographical locations or circumstances, such as a shower at the home of a close friend and another with co-workers. No guest should be invited to more than one shower. In the event that a guest attends more than one shower, a gift is expected at only one.

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

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