Bridal Showers: Top 7 Gift Etiquette Questions -- Answered!

Your guide to perfect wedding shower etiquette!

Traditionally, bridal showers are about preparing the bride-to-be for her new life as a wife. Here, friends and family join together to equip her with the right tools -- from sexy lingerie to a toaster oven. But as with most traditions, there are etiquette rules for giving wedding shower gifts. (See tips and recommendations for writing Bridal Shower Poems.)

In this excerpt from The Everything Wedding Shower Book by Jennifer Jenkins, you'll find answers to seven of your most frequently asked bridal shower questions. From the host's duties to finding something on the registry, it's all here. Here's to learning the ins and outs of bridal shower etiquette!

Q: Does the hostess traditionally get the bride a gift?

A: It is customary for the hostess to get the bride a gift for the shower, just like everyone else. You might want to coordinate the buying of a major gift, or you might want to give her something small but very nice just from you if the shower is really setting you back financially.

Q: We all want to buy her a big gift. How do we handle that?

A: Does your bride need a refrigerator? A washer and dryer? A kiln for the ceramics she wants to make? Getting a big gift is exciting! You can easily keep this part of the shower a secret from the bride even if the shower isn't.

Here's how to get money from people -- tell them you want to buy Rita and John a washer and dryer. If they know it's a big item, they're liable to put up more than the $20 they were planning on spending on a shower gift. When they hand you the money, hand them a card to sign.

What if you get through all your guests and you're still lower on cash than you can personally make up comfortably? Try calling one or two of the big donors again, or call the groom's mom and dad. If you get through all the guests and you have more than it will cost, buy relevant objects: cookware if it's a stove; a laundry basket, clothespins, detergent if it's a washer and dryer, etc.

Make sure that everyone who sends money has their name on the card, even if you have to write some names yourself.

Next questions:

  • When does she open the gifts and how should we keep track of them?
  • How should I let guests know that they need to bring gifts?
  • What kinds of gifts are appropriate and what should we do if our bride doesn't have a registry?
  • Tips for presenting the group gift and creating a ribbon bouquet


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