You’ve been to the engagement party and the wedding is on the calendar, but now you’ve been invited to attend your friend’s bridal shower — and honestly, it’s all starting to get a little bit confusing. With all of the wedding festivities, it can be difficult to know what to do when, and where you’re expected to show up with a gift in hand.
Let us clear up some of that confusion for you by answering some of the most puzzling bridal shower gift questions…and even providing a few ideas if you’re still on the hunt for the perfect gift!
If I’m buying a wedding gift, do I still need to buy a shower gift?
Yes. Wedding gifts and shower gifts are not interchangeable, so if you attend a wedding shower, you are expected to bring a gift for the couple. You can select gifts that relate to each other for the shower and the wedding, but be sure to split them between both events rather than giving them all at once.
How much should I spend on a shower gift?
Don’t panic — expectations are fairly low for bridal shower gifts. There is no set amount that you should spend, but wedding shower gifts are traditionally smaller than the gifts given for the wedding itself. Consider your budget and the gift you plan to give for the wedding and choose your shower present accordingly.
SEE MORE: How to Pick Your Wedding Colors
Should I still send a gift if I can’t make it?
Not necessarily. Unlike receiving a wedding invitation, receiving a bridal shower invitation doesn’t come with the expectation of a gift. However, if you are close to the bride and are unable to attend, sending a gift for her to open in your absence will be a sweet and welcome surprise.
Do I buy from the registry?
You aren’t expected to stick to the registry, but if you don’t know the bride well and want to be sure your gift is something she will love, the registry is a great place to start.
If I do buy from the registry, which gifts should I choose?
Traditionally, wedding showers were meant to prepare the bride for her new role as “wife.” Wedding showers have grown and changed a lot since they began, but the custom of buying household items has stuck around. The bridal shower is the perfect opportunity to stock the kitchen cabinets, decorate the living room and make the bed. It’s also a great time to buy the sweet, small gifts that make a house a home, such as picture frames, vases and throw pillows.
If I decide not to buy from the registry, what should I buy?
If you want to go off-registry and surprise the bride, here are a few things she will love to pieces:
Facial, massage or pedicure
Wedding planning is a crazy stressful process, so you definitely can’t go wrong with a gift that will pamper the bride!
Travel guides for the honeymoon
If you know where the husband-and-wife-to-be are planning to go on their honeymoon, give them a honeymoon travel kit filled with guides and bag tags themed around their destination.
Engagement commemorative gift
Especially if the couple didn’t have an engagement party, the shower is a perfect chance to give the bride a gift commemorating her engagement. An image of the night sky on the day she got engaged or a framed photo from the engagement are gifts that often get missed in the wedding buzz but are ones that the bride will truly cherish.
If the bride has expressed interest in getting fit for the big day, a gym membership or gift certificate for workout classes is a great gift for the shower. Consider gyms and studios with special wedding packages to keep it on theme! Just to be safe, this is probably a gift best reserved for close friends and family, and best given only if she has said she has plans to hit the gym.
Date night gift basket
One of the most difficult aspects of wedding planning for the couple is making time to set the to-do lists aside and just spend quality time together. Build them a gift basket of wine, a movie and everything they need for a pasta dinner to remind them to take time away for themselves as the wedding draws near!