Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates. For her Brides.com column, Jen answers a fellow bridesmaid's burning question: Is your date responsible for bringing a gift?
My mother always told me that you should never show up to a party empty-handed. So I would always plan to bring something to a friend's birthday or housewarming or going-away party. But when I started going to wedding after wedding as a bridesmaid, the concept of gift-giving became very expensive and unclear to me, too. The age old rule of not showing up empty handed still applies, for both you and your date.
Of course your date may not know the bride and groom as well as you do, but they are still coming with you to their party of a lifetime. Your date is still there to dance the night away and stick their fork into a meaty piece of steak and celebrate this remarkable occasion. So have a chat with your date before you decide what kind of gift you would both like to give — whether it's a joint check or something you purchased off the registry. If this bride is a close friend of yours, you may want to give your own gift and have your date bring something smaller or less expensive.