What Is Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette?

by William McCoy

The process of buying the right bridal shower gift isn't tricky, but several variables must be considered, including what to buy and what not to buy, how much to spend, and how to budget between the shower gift and the wedding gift.

Shopping and Wrapping

It's proper etiquette to attend the shower with a present unless you're instructed otherwise. A simple approach is to buy something off the gift registry; typically, the registry is filled with items the bride-to-be can use around the home. In couples' showers, it's appropriate to buy a gift both people may enjoy. It's also proper etiquette to wrap your gift carefully. The knot website recommends you adorn the present with ribbons and fake flowers -- ideally in the bride-to-be's favorite colors. Always include a bridal shower card so there isn't any confusion about who gave the gift.

How Much to Spend

The amount of money you choose to invest in the bridal shower gift depends on factors such as your relationship with the bride-to-be and your budget. The knot recommends spending between $25 and $75 for the gift but stresses you make your decision based on what you can afford. If you're best friends with the bride-to-be, it's appropriate to spend on the higher end of the suggested range. A useful approach to take if you're on a budget, however, is to give a gift that has sentimental value rather than a high monetary value.

Shower Gift vs. Wedding Gift

Many people face the etiquette dilemma about buying gifts for the bridal shower and the wedding itself. The knot warns that contributing a shower gift doesn't mean you shouldn't buy a wedding gift; people getting married typically expect wedding gifts. A safe approach is to determine how much money you wish to spend on gifts for the couple, then split that budget between a shower gift and a wedding gift.

What Not to Buy

Although some bridal shower attendees might opt to give racy gifts such as lingerie, it's best to keep your gift tasteful. Shower attendees typically range in age from young women to the bride-to-be's grandmothers, and giving an inappropriate gift may make the recipient feel awkward. Part of the fun of a bridal shower is the public opening of each gift and sharing it with those in the room; keep this idea in mind as you shop, and reserve off-color gifts for the bachelorette party.

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About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.