Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette
When a wedding is on the way, being aware of bridal shower gift etiquette is one of the most gracious things you can do for the bride-to-be, so that her special pre-wedding party is a memorable event.
A bridal shower is for the bride alone, and your actions and intentions should reflect that when it comes to giving gifts and moral support.
To Gift Or Not:
If you receive an invitation to the bridal shower, you should definitely either send or bring a gift, even if you are planning to bring a gift to the wedding itself. Wedding shower etiquette doesn't specifically require you to match your shower gift to your wedding present, but many people use the opportunity to coordinate their gifts. For example, presenting the bride-to-be with a coffee service at the shower, then following up with a coffeemaker at the wedding. It's an extra way to thoughtfully see to the couple's future household needs, but not required by gift giving etiquette.
It is absolutely appropriate to consult with the couple's bridal registry for gift ideas for both the wedding itself and the bridal shower. Gift registries ensure that guests can determine the most appropriate choices according to the bride's tastes and future household plans.
How Much Is Too Much:
In all cases, appropriate gift etiquette is to give what you can afford. Usually something in the range of $20-$75 is appropriate value for a bridal shower gift.
For the Ladies:
Bridal showers are traditionally for the ladies, even though some couples have recently taken to hosting couples showers (but this is a relatively new thing and couples-oriented wedding shower etiquette won't be covered here). A bridal shower is an opportunity for the bride to bond with her bridesmaids, girlfriends, and female relatives.
In traditional terms, a bridal shower was a time for the bride's female friends and family to help assemble her dowry, as well as many of the things she'd need to create a household of her own. Bridal shower gift etiquette still follows those guidelines, even in these modern times where brides-to-be are already well-equipped with households of their own.
Many bridal showers are built around a theme related to the bride or her soon-to-be household. Popular themes include kitchen showers, bed-and-bath showers, and for the more adventurous, lingerie showers. Your gift giving etiquette should follow the lead of the party planners.
Towels, soaps, bath item dispensers, and bath rugs can all be found in a range of prices. Linens, throws, and pillow shams/duvets are also very appropriate.
Kitchenware comes in a wide array of of price ranges from a simple set of spatulas to a computer-controlled Cuisinart. Barware, place settings, and small appliances round out the top suggestions.
There's no better way to outfit a bride's trousseau than with a lingerie bridal shower, but it's easy to cross the line beyond appropriate gift etiquette. A good rule of thumb is to remember that the bride's mother or grandmother will likely be seeing this gift--so save the adult, gag, and racy gifts for the bachelorette party. If you are not close to the bride, feel free to steer clear of intimate items--the lingerie theme doesn't consign you to the frilly things department. How about a spa basket, to soothe pre-wedding jitters and frazzled nerves, or a little gift certificate's worth of pampering at the stylist?
The most important thing to remember about bridal shower gift etiquette is, of course, that it's about the bride. Something with a feminine touch, to celebrate her happy event, and a heartfelt-gesture from you, is sure to please, no matter what.
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