Bridal shower gift etiquette has evolved through the years. Just as bridal showers are varied, so are your choice of gifts. There are no "set in stone" rules, but there are some general guidelines.
What you choose to give will often depend on your relation to the bride. Your financial situation will also enter into the decision. The following questions are often asked. The answers to some of them may be helpful to you.
• If the hostess isn't part of the bridal party, is a gift expected?
Presents aren't required from anyone, but our custom assumes that every person will give a wedding shower gift.
• Are guests required to purchase something from the registry?
The stores where the couple are registered, are usually included in the invitation. This gives guests an idea of the couples taste, and items they would like. It can be very helpful in making your decision. However, no one is required to select from this list.
• What is the proper way to ask guests to bring a present related to the theme?
The bridal shower invitation should explain the theme, and politely suggest that guests bring a something that fits in with the theme. Then, it is their choice whether to participate in this idea, or choose something else.
• What is bridal shower gift etiquette concerning money?
It isn't polite to request money. If anyone involved with, or hosting the shower is asked, they may suggest that the couple is trying to save for a new home, etc. Then the guest may decide to give money.
• Can a gift certificate be given?
Certificates are a great idea especially if the couple isn't registered. Look to their needs, likes, or hobbies.
• Can a large item be given by a group, instead of separate gifts?
Yes, this is a great way to give the couple something they might really want, but can't afford. This is one time when it is appropriate to mention money. You can suggest the idea to any that guests you think may like to go in on the gift. Then leave it up to them to say "yes or no".
• Is the bridal shower gift given instead of a wedding gift?
A present is given for both events. In general, the bridal shower gift is less expensive than the wedding gift.
• If invited, what is the bridal shower gift etiquette for children?
Children are often invited to a bridal shower. They may be part of the wedding. No present is required of a child. Often, there is an adult accompanying the child. This adult may choose to include the child's name on the gift the adult is giving. Another option is to let the child give a small item, such as a candle, teaspoons, etc.
• When are the presents opened?
There is no required time. Generally, after the guests have had their meal, or snacks.
• Who keeps track of what is given by the guests?
The hostess should appoint someone, ahead of time. This person writes down the name of the gift, and who gave it.
• What is bridal shower gift etiquette for thank you notes?
Thank You Notes should be sent no later than two weeks after the bridal shower.