What to Give & Avoid for Bridal Shower Gifts

The bridal shower is a long held tradition that stems from the antiquated use of the dowry system. Although there are many legends which are told to explain the first bridal showers, most go back to a woman’s friends giving her necessary household items to begin housekeeping because her father is withholding her dowry.

There is also some speculation that the term ‘shower’ stems from the Victorian custom where small tokens were wrapped within a parasol, which was then given to the bride. Once she opened the parasol, she would literally be showered with gifts.

Now, the bridal shower custom has evolved throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. There are still traditional bridal showers, attended only by females, and the most common gifts are housekeeping items. There are also wedding showers where all members of the wedding party and close friends festively celebrate with food, drink, and of course, gift giving.

The question is, what precisely is an appropriate gift to give a bride? Is a toaster just the thing? Is the bridal shower the place to give sexy, fun lingerie…or not? Keep reading to find appropriate bridal shower gift ideas that the couple will adore and also to learn which items to avoid completely.

Recommended Bridal Shower Gift Ideas

There are actually many different types of bridal showers, and knowing which type is being thrown is key to finding the right gift.

For instance, while giving lingerie is fun and sassy, it probably isn’t appropriate to flaunt that particular present in front of the mothers of the bride and groom. On the other hand, it might be just the thing for a shower involving all of the bride’s closest girlfriends.

In the event that the couple has a registry, a gift-giver cannot go wrong. Simply go through the list, choose an item that feels right, and that is within budget for a much appreciated token. If the couple is not registered, no need to panic. There are still many fool-proof fall back options.

For those who are looking to give a traditional gift, china is always a wonderful option. A lovely frame, perhaps for a wedding snapshot, is also well received. Bedding and blankets are nice as long as the appropriate sizing is known.

More contemporary bridal shower treasures might be a ‘of the month club’ gift. These clubs come in a variety of options, such as wine of the month or flower of the month, and are a great way to extend a heartfelt gift over a period of time.

Scented candles, personalized robes, and even theater tickets for fine arts enthusiasts are acceptable. It should also be noted that when the budget is of serious concern, a heartfelt but handmade gift is perfectly acceptable. For instance, a handmade quilt and scrapbook are cherished keepsakes. And of course, money is always welcome.

Avoid Giving These Gifts

While giving is always good, being careful to choose gifts that are both appropriate and tasteful is important. Particularly, this is quite important regarding bridal showers. This is a huge event leading up to one of the grandest events of a woman’s life. The gift should fit the occasion.

It is advised that givers avoid purchasing any type of art. Taste in art varies so widely that unless the giver knows well what the bride finds pleasing, this gift could be a disaster. Furthermore, it could be that the bride and groom have differing artistic tastes altogether.

Lingerie can be quite a fun gift idea, but as stated before, make certain the shower that this is given at is the appropriate venue. If it just so happens that lingerie is appropriate, make certain that correct sizing is purchased. Either a size too small or large, even if bought by mistake, can make a bride feel insulted.

Stay far away from re-gifting. It isn’t unheard of for a bride to be re-gifted with something she herself has given. Also, while a little sass is fun, avoid intensely intimate personal items which can make the bride uncomfortable.

Also, shy away from gifts which may seem just hilarious but that can be anything from insulting to infuriating, such as diet pills or “Cooking for Dummies”.

In Summary

Giving a bridal shower gift is important to both the giver and the receiver. Take the time to ensure an appropriate token is passed on and will be remembered fondly by the bride. Doing so is really a simple endeavor when following the above recommendations.

Image credit Neil Burrows

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