The main purpose of wedding showers is to celebrate the happy couple by bringing them gifts. You’ve received the invite for your friend or family member’s wedding shower and aren’t sure how to go about deciding on the correct wedding gift etiquette. Or, you know exactly what you want to gift, but now you see a registry with nothing that speaks to you. Maybe you’ve been invited to multiple events and don’t have the budget for a gift at each occasion. Here’s your guide to wedding shower gift etiquette to answer all those questions, and then some.
Most brides will share a link to a gift registry or make some mention of wedding gift etiquette for the event. However, some cultures deem it rude to demand gifts of guests, as their presence and good wishes alone should suffice. If this is the case, ask around to confirm what the best practices are.
Check in with the wedding party or maid of honor, who sent you the invitation, to understand any cultural or religious norms that must be factored into your decision to give a certain item. Some communities favor gifting in cash than in kind, so don’t commit any faux pas unknowingly.
Chances are that if you’re invited to the wedding shower then you’re also on the wedding guest list, which means that you’ll have to give a gift on both occasions. The rule of thumb is that a smaller, more modest gift is presented at the wedding shower, while a larger, more expensive gift is presented at the wedding, depending on your budget.
Ideally, your gift for the wedding shower should be one from of the items listed in the wedding registry. If you are close to the bride, then a personalized gift not on the couple’s registry is acceptable. And, if the gifts on the registry are already purchased by the time you see it, then a cash gift is acceptable.
In the rare event that a registry is not provided, you have the opportunity to get creative in choosing a wedding shower gift that is appropriate for the bride and/or the couple. Per wedding shower gift etiquette, this can be toward their new home, honeymoon funds, or an experience to be enjoyed by the bride and/or the couple.
If you’re part of the wedding party or are organizing the wedding shower, then a gift is still expected. If you’re unsure of the financial commitment, then discuss the possibility of shouldering the cost for a personalized wedding gift with the family or close friends of the bride.
If there are big ticket items on the couple’s registry that you’d like to give, then sharing in the costs with a group of people who can contribute a similar amount is acceptable. Don’t forget, have everyone’s name mentioned on the card so that the bride is aware that this is a joint effort.
Unless you’re a member of the wedding party, you’re not going to be invited to multiple wedding showers. As a member of the wedding party, you’re only expected to give a gift at the first shower. Attending additional showers with no gifts is acceptable, but you might want to bring a note or some flowers as a token to present to the bride.
Most wedding showers have a gift opening activity, so unless otherwise specified, you’re expected to bring along your gift to the event. If it’s a particularly large wedding gift or an experience that you’re gifting, then having that shipped/sent ahead and bringing an event-appropriate note card mentioning that to the celebration is best.
Most wedding showers will have some time during the event when gifts are opened in front of all shower guests. This is a traditional activity that may or may not be part of the shower you attend. On any occasion, asking that your gift not be opened among shower guests is not an acceptable request.
This isn’t the bachelorette party, so keep in mind that more risqué gifts might not be welcome. Gauge the guest list and theme to decide if your gift is aligned with the event. In some cultures, certain colors or objects might hold superstitious connotations. Again, any time that you feel that you may not be well-informed to make a decision, check in with the organizers of the shower.
The wedding shower is intended to celebrate the bride ahead of her wedding, and this guide on gift etiquette will have you putting your best foot forward as her guest. Put thought into your gift for her and help make this a memorable event for yourself, too.