When it comes to bridal shower gifts, I am of two minds. If the bride has a ton of stuff on her registry or if I don’t know her particularly well (think office buddies and distant-ish relatives), I’ll go for a registry gift she’s sure to love, skewing towards more feminine, luxury items (kitchen toys or decorative pieces) rather than practical things. If I want to give her a more personal gift, I like to keep things pretty and unique, with a bit of a romantic twist (think something she can wear or use on a date with her husband, like a piece of jewelry or some gorgeous martini glasses).
- Even if you’re getting a wedding gift, you should get a shower gift if you’re invited. That said, don’t spend more than you can afford. The point is to let the bride know that you’re there for her and you love her, not to go broke. If money is tight, try DIY-ing a little something, like body scrub, flavored table salts, vanilla extract, linen water, or reed diffuser (click the links for instructions).
- If the bride is flying to and from the shower, she’ll probably appreciate it if you have her gift shipped directly to her home. If it’ll really bother you to not give her something she can unwrap on the spot, go for something no larger or heavier than a mango.
- If it’s a couples’ shower, be sure to get something that both the bride and groom will love (like the drink dispenser, decanter, or cooking kit, below). If the shower is bride-only, you can get something just for her, like a beautiful leather pouch or piece of jewelry.
- Make sure that someone at the party is taking notes on who gave the bride what (this is usually a task assigned to the MOH or a bridesmaid)
- Something that the bride can use on the honeymoon is always welcome. For my bridal shower, my bridesmaids went for a full-on honeymoon theme, and everyone brought something that I’d be able to use in Thailand, from flip-flops with a bottle opener built into the sole to bikinis to travel guides.
- Don’t go too sexy for the shower gift. If you want to give the bride a pair of sparkle nipple pasties, that’s great (who wouldn’t want a pair of sparkle nipple pasties?!)…but save them for the bachelorette party.
- If you’re worried about what to bring, stick to the registry. It’s always safe, and you can tie in the shower gift to the wedding gift theme (for example, a olive wood chopping board for the shower, and then a set of fancy knives for the wedding).
Some ideas for bridal shower gifts:
Mason Jar Drink Dispenser ($69.00): Mostly because I want one desperately. This is a gift only for a bride who lives locally (big and heavy = bad for plane trips), and best for one who enjoys entertaining (or has a yard).
Jimmy Jane Afterglow Massage Candles ($27.99 for one; $57.99 for a sampler): She can burn the beautiful scents (including Dark Vanilla, Cucumber Water, and Fig Leaf), and then use the wax to moisturize her (or her husband’s) skin. I know I said don’t go too sexy…but I think this is just sexy enough. Hey…it’s just a candle! FYI: the link goes to Eden Fantasys, an adult site (but a very beautiful and discreet one). Through July 25, get 15% off at checkout with code “ramshackle”.
Five-Inch Small Wallet Pouch ($40): There is no woman in the world who wouldn’t love one of these, and they come in tons of beautiful colors (via Etsy).
Unusual barware: I love these Norman Copenhagen Cognac Glasses ($55/set of 2). If you’re only getting two – which is what I would do, since for a stand-alone gift it’s nicer to get two gorgeous glasses than a whole bunch of ordinary ones – go for martini glasses, champagne glasses, or cognac glasses rather than wine glasses (which are best given in bigger sets).
Vintage decanter: Decanters make such an unusual – and welcome – gift: no one has one, everyone sort of wants one. If you can’t find a beautiful vintage version, Kate Spade makes spectacular Mad Men-style decanters (above, the Madison, $150), or for a less pricey version try the Lenox Napa.
Kjaer Weis Compacts ($44-$54): These silver compacts, which contain refillable pods of blush, lip color, or eyeshadow, are definitely luxury items for the bride who has everything…but they’re so, so pretty, like little jewelry boxes. And they’re vanilla-scented. And organic. And Gwyneth loves them, so there’s that.
Gorjana Amore Bracelet ($60): Jewelry is always welcome, and particularly when it’s this beautiful…and occasion-appropriate.
Beautiful photo album: She’ll need something to display the wedding pictures in, and Kolo makes stunning cloth albums in a wide range of colors and sizes (you can even choose the picture for the front for an extra-personal touch).
Destination Dinners Exotic Cooking Kits (approx $25/kit): If you know the bride’s favorite cuisine, this is just awesome. Each kit contains premeasured ingredients, preparation instructions, and a shopping list (for fresh items) to help you make meals from around the globe.
For more gift guides and ideas, click here.