Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette

A summary of Bridal shower gift etiquette, a subset of Miss Manners Wedding Etiquette. Read here for a little history, traditions, expections of the elegant bridal showers. Read more about Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette, sending a wedding gift etiquette, bridal shower etiquette, etiquette

The History and Tradition Of Gift Giving

old vintage cupboard with country wear

The foundation of the bridal shower was built around the notion of helping the future newlywed to set up a new home with her new husband. To help and celebrate the joyous occasions, guests brought household gifts to the traditionally all women party.

According to "The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day , the tradition of the bridal shower dates back at least 300 years when a wealthy dutch girl fell in love with a good-hearted but poor miller. Since his daughter would not be properly be provided for, her father refused to let them marry. Friends and neighbours wanted to see the love match succeed so they gave her gifts to set up her household.

The bridal shower is usually held two to three months for the wedding. It is a party thrown for you, in your honour where you'll be showered with gifts to set up your new home. Traditionally female guests will prepare and provide food and drinks, and play party games. Also in some instances, there'll be an opening gift ceremony.

Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette

Bridal shower gift etiquette - learning what is appropriate to give, receive and all the business of bridal showers and gift-giving today.

bridal shower gift

In general, if you are the bride, you should not have the attitude of expecting gifts but is more than grateful when a gift is bestowed on you.

If you are the host or a guest, you give the best gift that you can, making the effort to give a thoughtful and useful gift, graciously including the 'returns and exchanges' gift slip and give it with not strings attached, no expectations of a thank you note.

Also, kindly look away and pretend you have not noticed if she indeed has exchanged it for something else more useful or some much needed cash.

Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette

Bridal Shower Gift Giving Today

In society today, thankfully there are a good few of those genuinely embarrassed at the idea of inviting close friends to a celebration that centers around giving gifts to her.

Though most people do not object receiving presents however, this tradition has been reduced to sometimes a burden to both the giver to the recipient.

As registries are common place, the recipient feels the dread of going to shop for the sake of shopping. And on the other hand, the giver struggles with using no creativity of getting her a present, especially if the latter loves to shop.

list of items in a registry

And in some cases, as Miss Manners would describe, "greed on one hand and laziness on the other."

It has deteriorated into the mechanical transfer of money or selection of an item from the recipients shopping list. - Miss Manners Wedding Etiquette

Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette

The Use of Registries & Attitudes Towards Gifts

As said earlier, some people do not object to receiving presents and have even gone so far to think about how best to please themselves.

"They want to do everything connected with giving the presents except of course paying for them."- Miss Manners Wedding Etiquette

Some have even gone overboard by selecting expensive presents listing them in their upscale, uptown registry.

We should all remember that while the bride is indeed shelling a bomb on her wedding on her guests, they too have to spend a considerable sum attending the wedding.

There are the expenses going to your wedding, buying a good wedding gift, and before that buying you a present for your bridal shower and engagement party. How many gifts must one person give in order to see you get married?

While it is true not all household presents are appropriate, what you could do is slip in the return and exchange card discretely.

Brides should let guests be generous on their own accord, and feel that way, rather than simply picking what is the cheapest thing or what they can most afford on your own, self-picked list.

Also presents are not supposed to be compensations for the amounts spent on food and drink.

So should I stick to the registry?

If you have been given one (they usually arrive in the mail with the bridal shower invitation), you should. Don't forget to include a personal message sending your best wishes.

Can I Buy Something That Is Not Registered?

In general, I don't think anyone can say gift giving should be dictated by the recipient.

You are free to give what you think its appropriate in good taste. Registries are for those people who do not know the bride well, do not have time, or simply have no creativity or particular insight to what will satisfy the bride as a good gift.

You could consider, if unfortunately you have discovered that you can't afford anything listed there. But try to ensure that your non-registered gift is thoughtful.

Or maybe a Cosmopolitan or two instead?

Continue reading bridal shower gift etiquette page two.

You might be interested in:

Gift Etiquette
Engagement Party Etiquette
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Bridal shower gift etiquette, sending a wedding gift etiquette, bridal shower etiquette, etiquette for bridal showers, bridal shower invitation etiquette, engagement party gift etiquette, sending a wedding gift etiquette, wedding gift etiquette


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