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Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette Tips
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Bridal Shower Gift Etiquette Tips

Standard operating procedure dictates that every woman invited to the wedding should also be invited to the bridal shower – including the mothers of the bride and groom.

Now, please, PLEASE note that I wrote “bridal shower", and not “bachelorette party.”

I’ve been to too many bridal showers where I couldn’t tell the difference between the two. If the mothers of the wedding couple are present, bridal showers are NOT the venue for over-partying or “letting it all hang out.” Here’s a simple rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t do it (or wouldn’t want it unwrapped) in front of YOUR mother, then don’t do it (or give something you wouldn’t want unwrapped) in front of anyone else’s!

Here are some other bridal shower gift etiquette tips:

GIFTS SHOULD BE WRAPPED WELL. Giving a clumsily or carelessly packaged gift can make you look as lazy and inconsiderate as giving an overly cheap one. If you’re all thumbs in that department, have the store wrap it, get someone to do it for you, or go to a dollar store and get a colorful (and reusable) shopping bag and a large stick-on ribbon. And don’t forget to indicate that the gift is from you – otherwise, the bride won’t know where to send the thank-you card.

BRIDAL SHOWER GIFTS ARE NOT SUBSTITUTES FOR WEDDING GIFTS. Bridal shower gifts should have the bride in mind; wedding gifts should be for both the bride and groom. Be sure to allocate money – and thought – to each. Or you can tie them together: you could give a set of wine glasses at the bridal shower, and a few bottles of wine as a wedding gift.

NO BLATANTLY INTIMATE GIFTS! Especially not, as I said, if the mother of the bride or groom will be in attendance. Nightgowns, if you must, should be full length and opaque rather than transparent. Skimpier lingerie, and "toys" for grownups in particular, should be sent separately -- and ONLY if there isn’t going to be a bachelorette party.

NO CASH. Nothing says “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” more definitively. If you’re that unable to think of a gift idea, are that short on time, or can’t afford to buy what’s on the bridal registry, get online and get a gift certificate from a prominent online retailer. That way, you can at the very least save the bride a trip to the mall.

Which brings us to the bottom line: How much should you spend? Whatever you can afford -- but keep in mind that bridal shower gift etiquette has more to do with value than price. For example, there are e-books that can help couples ask each other the right questions about love which can be printed, put in a binder, and burned to a CD. In other words, it’s still the thought that counts.


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