Ask the Wedding Maven: Bridal Shower Gifts

by Marta
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Dear Wedding Maven,
I'm invited to my soon-to-be sister-in-law's bridal shower. The invitation says, "Pamper the Bride Shower," and there is no information for a gift registry or anything like that. I am not sure what a "Pamper the Bride Shower" is, but I am guessing based on the invitation that she will receive a lot of spa type gifts.

So here's my question. Would it be inappropriate to give the bride a gift basket full of cheese & wine? I know she loves cheese. That would be my idea of pampering. But I don't know if that is too, well, "cheesy" for a bridal shower gift.

If you can offer any advice I would desperately appreciate it.

Signed,
Not too cheesy

Dear Not too cheesy,
I think you’re probably right that the idea behind the shower is to provide pampering gifts for the bride, as opposed to household gifts for the couple. If there are any grooms reading, no the towels and kitchen items are not HER gifts, they’re gifts for both of you. Your question really brings up the importance of being clear on invitations, and utilizing non-traditional resources like Wedding Pre Party and Websites to get information across.

The original purpose of a bridal shower is to “shower the bride” with gifts, so there’s no harm in being clear about what kind of gifts the bride would like. That being said, it’s still better not to put registry information on the invitation (since presumably the bride wants the person there even if she can’t give a gift), and it’s better not to explicitly ask for cash (because frankly, not everyone can afford the same amount and you don’t want people comparing notes). It’s also a good idea to give guests some wiggle room so that no one feels like they’re being instructed in what gift to buy.

Which brings us to your question (I know, you were wondering when I’d get back to that). If you know that your S-I-L loves wine and cheese, sure, give her a basket of wine and cheese. I would suggest also including a small jar of bath beads, or box of fancy soaps, or something that more obviously ties in to the theme. I would also write a nice, or funny, note explaining how your gift ties into the theme (pamper yourself from the inside out).

The note and the bath beads are just to keep you from feeling like you have to spend the rest of the night explaining “No, I did understand the theme, I just thought, you know, food is more pampering than bath supplies.” This would be especially good if you don’t know the hostess or the other guests that well.

Have fun and good luck

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