Dear Wedding Maven,
I am looking for suggestions for the wording of a bridal shower invitation. I’m the maid of honor, I live in Illinois, but the bride lives in Arizona. We are having her shower in Illinois, when she’s home for a visit, but don’t want her to have to ship the gifts home. Can we ask people to send the gifts to her home in Illinois, but bring a picture?
Long Distance Maid of Honor
Bridal showers are one of the few events in life where the purpose of the event is to give someone a gift. Even so, party guests don’t generally like to be told what to buy and how to deliver it. Especially since having the gift sent to her home may involve shipping charges the guest wouldn’t normally have to pay.
There are a few different ways you could approach this.
1) Have a no-gift shower – Plenty of non-gift giving occasions have been turned into gift-giving events, why not reverse the trend. When people ask about her registry information, or why it’s a non-gift occasion, you can explain the predicament. “What Suzie really wants is to reconnect with everyone, she didn’t want to have to worry about shipping gifs home.” My guess is, guests will choose to send her a gift.
2) Have a “Good Things Come in Small Packages” or “Less is More” or “Minimalist” theme. On a separate sheet of paper from the invitation, include a note saying, “As you know, Suzie has left the Land of Lincoln for a warmer climate. Given the cost of checking luggage these days, we want Suzie to get home with as little luggage as she can, so we’re asking you to bring the smallest gift possible. Special prizes will be awarded for the smallest gift and the most creative take on the theme. You can then carry forward the theme by serving bite-sized brownies, finger sandwiches, etc. If people ask about the theme or for ideas, you can suggest the idea of printing out a picture of a gift sent to her house and packaging the picture in a cute way.
3) Choose a more traditional theme such as Linens or Bath that naturally results in easy-to-pack gifts.
4) Consider joining forces with another bridesmaid and make the shipping of her gifts to her house your shower present.
One thing to keep in mind is that some information is better given in a conversation than in writing. It’s hard to write gift-giving instructions that won’t offend someone, but if you’re talking to someone it’s easy to drop hints or pass on the information.
If you need wedding advice or have a question about wedding related etiquette, traditions, or relationships write the Wedding Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org