Being a bridesmaid can be pricey, no matter how much the bride tries to keep costs down. One expense she can’t control? What you spend on any gifts you buy her and her spouse-to-be. While you could opt to stick with cheaper items so your budget goes a little farther, knowing exactly when you must bring a gift (thereby reducing the number of gifts you have to buy!) means you’ll be able to plan accordingly—and maybe spring for something you know your friend really, really wants. So when do bridesmaids need to bring a gift? Our experts break it down.
Bringing a gift to Every. Single. Event would really take a toll on your wallet, so make sure you’re planning accordingly. Figure out how many pre-wedding events there will be, from the standard engagement party, bridal shower, and wedding to multiple engagement celebrations, an extra coed shower, or even a bridal luncheon. Then check your calendar! If you’re only going to be at one engagement party or live too far away to attend the bridal shower, sending a gift for any celebrations you won’t be at isn’t required.
For the pre-wedding events you will be going to, remember that gifts at an engagement party are definitely not required (or really expected), so that’s one you can cross off your list—though you should bring a sweet congratulatory card for the happy couple! For a more casual event like an engagement party, something like a bottle of wine is a great gesture (that can be budget-friendly!) if you don’t want to show up empty-handed.
Gifting for the bridal shower may depend on the type of event (such as a cooking class, where the hostess requests cookbooks or recipes, or a lingerie shower, where skivvies are de rigueur). For a traditional shower, where kitchen goodies are the norm, you can always lean toward something more affordable, like a set of dishtowels or mixing bowls if you’re hoping to save your cash for a nicer wedding present.
When it comes to the wedding gift, if you’re still short on funds, talk to the other bridesmaids or your mutual friends about going in on a bigger group gift. It’s amazing how much cheaper that fancy coffee machine is when it’s split four ways!