Q: Do I have to open gifts at my bridal shower?

A: 'Fraid not, since receiving gifts—and opening them—is the main focus of a shower. But don't worry: Even the shyest of brides can sail through the gift-wrap spectacle with a little pre-party planning. Figure out a few gracious stock responses that you can use after unwrapping each gift ("Thank you so much—I love it!" or "Oh, wow—how gorgeous!" are good ones); this will prevent you from fumbling for words. Next, recruit a witty friend who can think on her feet to sit beside you, oooh and ahhh where appropriate, and fill in any dead air in the case of an uncomfortable silence. Sharing the spotlight with someone should help you relax and enjoy raking in the loot.

See all questions about engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelor(ette) parties etiquette

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