Wedding Planning Guide

bridal shower gift guide

bride to be opening bridal shower gift

Photo: Liz Banfield

Bridal Shower Basics

The bridal shower is an opportunity for female friends and family members to shower the bride with gifts for her married life. It’s traditionally hosted by a close female friend of the bride but these days, family members often host the celebration, too. Bridal showers typically have a theme and the bridal shower invitation will usually offer clues and gift ideas. Co-ed couples’ showers are also a popular trend, with the groom and his friends and family members added to the mix. The shower is typically held one to three months before the wedding date and gifts are usually expected, so if you’re attending one sometime soon, follow our gift guide to help shower the happy couple.

Bridal Shower Gifting Etiquette

Stumped on bridal-shower gift ideas? Follow our gift-giving guide:

1. Bridal shower or couples’ shower? Check the invitation or ask the host whether the party will be celebrating the couple or will be focused on the bride. This way, you’d know to purchase, say, his-and-hers bathrobes if it’s a co-ed celebration instead of lingerie.

2. Spend 20% of your total gift-giving budget or at least $50. Attending a wedding means giving a series of presents, so you’ll want to budget accordingly. Plan to spend 20% on an engagement gift, 20% on a shower gift, and then 60% on the wedding gift. Also consider a handmade gift or going in on a bigger item with a group to save money.

3. Get the couple something from their registry. The simplest thing to do would be to purchase a shower gift from the couple’s registry. To find out which stores they’ve registered at, check the shower invitation or their wedding website; alternatively, opt for one of our gift ideas below (always a hit, we promise!).

4. Stick to a theme. If the shower has a party theme (i.e. kitchen essentials or stock-the-bar), then choose a present that complements the theme. Or, choose a shower gift that works with your engagement and wedding gifts.

Bridal Shower Gift Ideas

When choosing a gift to bring to a shower, let the theme of the event and the recipient’s style be your guide. If it’s a couples’ shower, go for matching sets or an item both can use and enjoy. If it’s a traditional bridal shower with older family members attending, maybe save the sexy sleepwear for the bachelorette party. We’ve put together this list of classic and contemporary bridal shower gifts that are sure to wow.

Classic & Traditional

Set of cooking tools—Stuff an oven mitt with the tools or include a couple’s cookbook to put a fun spin on kitchen essentials.

Bottles of wine—Gift them with several bottles to help celebrate their year of firsts as a married couple: first dinner party, first fight, first New Year’s Eve, etc.

  • Wine rack—For all the wine and champagne they’ll be receiving!
  • Placemats, dinner napkins, cocktail napkins—Just the thing for couples who love to entertain.
  • Framed photo gift—Have a favorite snap of the soon-to-be-newlyweds? Turn it into a work of art and display it at the shower.
  • Vase—Pair it with a beautiful bouquet; they’ll be able to use the vase to create pretty centerpieces of their own in the future.
  • Champagne or wine glasses—Must-haves for every celebration.
  • Throw blanket—Choose a design that matches the shower theme, their wedding colors, or their home’s decor.
  • Robe—Silk or fluffy terry cloth will make getting ready every morning feel luxe.
  • Ring dish—The perfect place for their wedding rings.
  • Luggage—Get the soon-to-be-newlyweds ready for their honeymoon.
  • Monogrammed bedding or towels—An embroidered monogram adds a personal touch to this registry essential.
  • Cheese board—Choose either slate or wood, they’re perfect for entertaining.
  • Personalized hanger—A special way for the bride to store and display her wedding dress.
  • Book set and bookends—Start their library with a set of classics.

Contemporary & Modern

  • Lingerie—A popular gift idea for a little ooh la la at girls-only events.
  • Date ideas—Create a collection of gift cards, movie or show tickets, and/or recipe cards for future date nights.
  • Spa basket—Pamper the bride with spa treatments, bath salts, a candle, and more soothing essentials.
  • Personalized jewelry—The bride can show off her “Mrs.” status, birthstone, or her new initials with a personalized necklace or bracelet.
  • Guidebook to their honeymoon destination—That way they’ll look forward to their honeymoon even more.
  • Tote with beach essentials—Another fun way to get the couple stoked for their after-wedding vacay.
  • Phone accessories—Perhaps some new phone bling to go with her new ring?
  • Personalized tee—Get creative with cheeky his-and-hers graphics or a set for the bride and bridal party.
  • Completely custom art—Her favorite song lyric, quote, Bible passage, or romantic poem makes a beautiful piece of art.
  • Location-inspired art—A map of their home state, honeymoon destination, or favorite city is a meaningful addition to the couple’s art collection.
  • Custom date memento—Commemorate their wedding date with a personalized date-themed art print.
  • Turntable and records—Help them begin their joint record collection.