So, you've had the great news that some of your nearest and dearest are getting married and have had your invitation to the bridal shower. Knowing how to choose an appropriate gift can sometimes be a little tricky - how much should you spend and what type of gift should you be looking for? If you're trying to find the perfect bridal shower gift, read on for some tips.
Why do we throw bridal showers?
Bridal showers are thought to have originated from the times when a bride's family were expected to pay a dowry - money or goods that would contribute to the couple's future. Without the promise of a dowry, a wedding could be called off, so if a bride's family were poor and couldn't or wouldn't pay the dowry, the bride's friends would contribute instead to make sure the wedding could go ahead.
Bridal shower gift giving etiquette
You will be expected to bring along a gift to the bridal shower, however small, and if you're also going along to the wedding you should buy a separate wedding gift for the happy couple.
Keep it tasteful!
Remember, this isn't a bachelorette party and there are likely to be wider family members in attendance. There are plenty of horror stories from bridal shower guests who bought what they thought would make incredibly funny bridal shower gifts, only to be mortified at having to hand them over in front of the future bride's mother or grandmother. Make sure you're clear on who'll be due to attend and don't buy anything you'd feel embarrassed handing over in front of the other guests!
Bridal shower themes
Often a theme is set for a bridal shower, so whether it's tea party, spa day, slumber party or cooking themed, you'll be expected to buy your gift with the chosen theme in mind.
More things to consider before buying your bridal shower gift
- What's your budget? You can find fantastic gifts whatever price you can stretch to, so just make sure you set yourself a realistic budget and stick to it. Bridal shower gifts are usually expected to be token gifts, so don't worry if you can't stretch to anything too extravagant - you don't need to go overboard if you can't afford to. If there is something more expensive that you just know the bride would love, you can always ask the other guests if they'd like to contribute and pool your money.
- More and more of today's showers are being held as couples showers, where the bride and groom can both get involved in the fun. Make sure you check whether this will be the case at your shower and buy a suitable joint gift if they are choosing to go co-ed.
Traditional bridal shower gift ideas
Traditionally, bridal shower gifts would reflect the old-fashioned view of women and wives primarily as homemakers, so tended to be items linked to the kitchen ... or bedroom! Although, in our more enlightened times, there are far broader ideas on what makes a good bridal shower gift, items of cookware, kitchenware and lingerie are still popular choices.
If the bride to be will be moving in with her husband for the first time, then homeware could well be a really welcome option, but if she already has cupboards bursting with pots, pans and every kitchen gadget available (I know I do!), then it's worth thinking a bit more about what would really appeal and be appreciated rather than something she already has or will only serve to take up more space.
Lingerie can also still be a popular choice, but as bridal shower gifts are meant for the bride rather than husband's enjoyment, do make sure it's something to her taste and that you check her measurements beforehand so that you can be confident it'll fit well. A voucher or gift card for a fancy lingerie store is a good bet, so that she can treat herself and pick out something she really loves.
Gifts from the wedding registry
If the happy couple have a wedding registry set up, you can certainly buy something from it for the bridal shower, especially if you don't know the bride too well and aren't confident of buying something she'll really like. You can always add a more personal touch by personalising items with engraving or embroidered initials.
Unique, creative and personal bridal shower gifts
I always find the best gifts are the ones with real thought behind them, no matter what the cost. Show that you care with a really personal bridal shower gift. You could put together a beautiful scrapbook full of photos and clippings that hold special memories for you both. If you've got an artistic streak, giving one of your own paintings or photographs makes a wonderful and creative gift, or how about cooking up some treats if you're handy in the kitchen? Preserves, scrumptious cookies or even home-made wines are bound to go down well.
If you're on a tight budget, using your creativity to make or customise something is a brilliant option for an inexpensive bridal shower gift that the bride is sure to appreciate.
5 fun bridal shower gift basket ideas
Making up a gift basket can be a fantastic way to bring together loads of the bride's favourite things. It doesn't matter if you haven't got a lot to spend, you can still put together something that looks impressive and needn't cost a fortune. So, what to put in your gift basket? Picking a suitable theme can be a big help in coming up with gift ideas, so think of the bride's hobbies or interests to make sure you put together something that's personal to her. Here are a few great bridal shower gift basket themes that should provide some inspiration.
Pampering gift basket
Planning a wedding can be a stressful business, so treatments to indulge, relax and beautify are perfect gifts for a tense bride-to-be. If you can afford it, you could include vouchers for a spa day or beauty treatments, otherwise why not get together everything she'd need for a wonderfully relaxing home-spa experience? Face masks, a manicure set, tea lights, aromatherapy oils and perhaps a bath robe.
For the aspiring chef
You could put together a brilliant foodie-themed bridal shower gift basket for the bride who just loves cooking. Fill your basket with kitchen gadgets, recipe books, specalised condiments, an apron and tea towels.
For the foodie
If the bride loves sampling rather than cooking the food (and who could blame her?), you could fill a hamper with her absolute favourite treats. For some real indulgence you could include some bottles of bubbly, smoked salmon and caviar, or for the savoury snacker you could gather together some artisan cheeses, crackers and chutneys along with a few bottles of wine. If she's a junk food lover, you could always put together a really fun midnight-snack gift basket full of those goodies and sweets she just can't get enough of!
Cosmetics gift basket
If the bride enjoys a bit of primping and preening, why not treat her to a selection of fantastic cosmetics from her favourite brand. Include a set of make-up brushes, handy mirror and a stylish cosmetics bag for her to keep it all in.
Newlyweds bridal shower gift basket
If the future bride and groom will be moving into a new home together, you could think about putting together a newlyweds gift basket. You might want to check their wedding gift registry before heading out to shop, as they may have already asked for specific items for their home, but think of those little personal touches that will help to transform their house into home. You could include stylish place mats, candles, towels, picture frames or even pot plants - just remember to think about the bride's taste if you opt for this theme, it's no good just gathering together things that you'd love in your own home if they'll probably never see the light of day in the bride's!
Hopefully I've given you some food for thought if you've been a bit stuck for bridal shower gift ideas. Don't worry too much about cost, you're not expected to spend a fortune on a bridal shower gift, just make it a thoughtful gift and you're bound to make the bride smile.