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Bridal Shower Etiquette

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Authored by H. Clare Callow in Pregnancy
Published on 07-05-2009

If you attend a bridal shower, you are generally expected to give a gift. It’s difficult enough choosing an appropriate gift for such an event, but if the bride is in the family way at the time of her bridal shower, choosing something turns into a minefield.

If you don’t know the bride very well, or don’t know what to get, check with the other guests in case there is a gift you can contribute to. They may also have ideas or know some of the gifts the bride has requested.

Price is yet another tricky issue when it comes to bridal shower gift etiquette. Generally, $25 to $75 is an acceptable price range. You will know best the sort of price range your circle of friends is used to – think back on the price of birthday gifts as a guideline. Something home-made is acceptable on occasion, although you will need to use your own judgement on how welcome a home-made gift will be.

The invitation will give you a hint as to the sort of event the bridal shower will be. If the bride has gone to the trouble of having her bridal shower invites printed, she may expect quite formal gifts. She may also have a gift registry, so be sure to ask. If the invitations are hand-written or via email, it may be a more casual event. If the shower is for both bride and groom, you should expend a little more energy on the gift, which should be at around the level of an engagement gift.

If you’ve already provided the couple with a bridal shower gift, you may feel you don’t have to worry about a wedding gift. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how much you like giving presents) you do still need to think up a suitable wedding gift. As more and more brides hold their bridal showers some months before their weddings, you may just have some breathing space. Think about relating your wedding gift to your bridal shower gift, to make your gifts more memorable. For instance, if you chipped in for a wok for the bridal shower, consider getting a chopstick-and-bowl eating set for the wedding.

Remember that a bridal shower isn’t the same as a bachelorette party. While a bachelorette party encourages raunchy behaviour and risqué gifts, a bridal shower is slightly more civilized. A gift of exciting lingerie will liven up a bridal shower and provide a few giggles, but remember to keep the item subtle. It is a good idea to remember that the bride’s mother and mother-in-law will be in the room.

If the bride is pregnant at the time of her shower, check with her friends about getting her a baby gift. Some brides like to combine their bridal and baby showers, but some prefer to enjoy the two as separate occasions and get away from baby talk for a while. As it always has been, pregnancy at the time of marriage can be a sensitive issue, so tread softly.

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