If your friend or family member is getting ready to walk down the aisle, you may have received an invitation to their bridal shower. A bridal shower is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the bride-to-be as they get ready for their upcoming nuptials. And typically, where there’s a party, there’s also the opportunity to give gifts.
While attending a bridal shower for your BFF or your cousin is certainly a time to party, it can also be confusing for some guests. Do you have to bring a gift if you plan to attend? And how much should you be spending on a bridal shower gift? We consulted relationship etiquette expert Mara Opperman to get all the answers you need.
Meet the Expert
Mara Opperman is a relationship etiquette expert and the founder of I Do Now I Don't.
Read on to find out how much you should be budgeting for a gift, along with other bridal shower gift etiquette and tips to keep in mind.
Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette
First thing’s first, if you’ve received an invitation to a bridal shower, are you required to show up with a gift? In short, yes. Showing up empty-handed would be considered a faux pas. "According to traditional etiquette, you should purchase a gift when attending a bridal shower," says Opperman. "The only time you should not bring something is if the bride-to-be requested no presents."
But what if you received an invitation and you’re unable to attend the shower? This is where the gift-giving options differ. "It is customary to send something still even if you do not attend the shower," says Opperman. "That being said, you are not obligated to send a shower gift." If you’re not able to be there in person, consider sending a handwritten card sharing your well wishes and excitement for the couple or bride-to-be.
Another great option, if you would like to send a little something, is delivering a wrapped gift ahead of time. That way, it can still be opened day-of and you can join in the celebration in spirit.
How Much to Spend on a Bridal Shower Gift
Navigating the options for bridal shower gifts can be tricky, but there are a few tips to help guide you. According to Opperman, bridal shower gifts tend to be less expensive than wedding gifts. "Many people spend around $50 to $75, whereas closer friends and family may spend upwards of $100," she says. "However, the amount you want to spend is up to you."
It’s important to consider that there are no set rules for gift-giving when it comes to bridal shower gifts, and items can certainly range in price. Another important factor to consider? Keep your own budget in mind with your choice of gift. Chances are, you’ll be wrapping up a wedding gift as well, so finding a balance between the two may be helpful. You may choose to give a smaller, less expensive gift for the shower if you’re planning to select a pricier wedding gift from the couple’s registry. Overall, what’s most important is finding something meaningful or useful to celebrate your friend or family member’s upcoming wedding. "The bride-to-be will appreciate anything you give her," adds Opperman.
Bridal Shower Gift Tips
If you’re stuck on what exactly to give as a bridal shower gift, the options certainly range in price point. In addition, some bridal shower gifts may be more personal for the bride as opposed to gifts chosen from a registry.
If the bridal shower has a specific theme (which is often listed on the invitation) it will give you a jumping-off point for your gift. A lingerie shower will offer a fun opportunity to wrap up lingerie or sleepwear, whereas the invitation for a 'Stock the Bar shower may request wine, spirits, and other barware to fill out the couple’s home bar. A spa or self-care-themed shower may be the perfect opportunity to gift a set of luxurious bath bombs or a cozy robe.
If you’re stuck on what to get as a bridal shower gift and how much to spend, ask the host for gift suggestions or a specific store the bride loves as a starting point.
If there’s no theme, then stick to useful items, whether that be for the home, for pampering, or even something for the bride to utilize on their wedding day such as a personalized hanger or makeup bag. And if all else fails, look to the registry. "Most couples set up a wedding registry, which makes it easier as you can choose the gift from there," says Opperman. Remember, it’s there for a reason! Items from the registry such as fine china, glassware, and towels always make great gifts to celebrate the upcoming big day.