There are many nuances and unspoken traditions involving bridal showers and weddings. It can be difficult to understand all the intricacies that go into each event and further, how you should act at each event. For instance, the right wedding or bridal shower gift can convey how much the bride and groom mean to you and how important they are to you. Understanding the difference between bridal shower and wedding gifts is hence important to make this gift-giving process proceed smoothly. By noting the differences, you will be able to create an easier process for yourself that will hopefully result in a happy bride and groom!
The Difference Between Bridal Shower and Wedding Gift: Expectation of Gifts and Registry
At both a wedding and bridal shower, if it is not stated that gifts are not required, then gifts are likely expected. One of the main differences between a wedding and bridal shower gift, though, is that wedding presents are oftentimes recorded on a registry. This registry is usually crafted by the bride and groom to help the wedding guests understand the couple’s wants and needs. Additionally, this registry can also help ensure the wedding guests do not buy the couple the same gifts. Thus, for a wedding, if the bride and groom create a registry, it is recommended that you provide them with a gift from that registry.
For a bridal shower, similar rules may apply, however with less stringency. The bride may not create a separate registry for the bridal shower, however, the unspoken rule could still be to purchase an item from that registry. However, if most of the gifts from the registry are taken or if you would like to purchase a specific item or personalized gift for the bride, the bridal shower is a bit more lenient.
At the bridal shower, it is acceptable to give the bride an item that is not on the registry. The bridal shower can be your time to show how much you appreciate the bride specifically or to give her something that she may not necessarily have felt was appropriate in terms of money or price point to include on her registry. For instance, if you know the bride wanted a fancy pair of champagne glasses but didn’t want to place them on her registry because she thought they were too expensive, this could be the time to give her this item.
Additionally, the bridal show can be a time to gift an item that you know the bride will want to use on her wedding day. This gift, again, will likely not show up on the registry but could help the bride.
Type of Gift
Besides the registry, the type of gifts at each event can differ. Some examples of a wedding gift could be a kitchen appliance, such as a KitchenAid mixer, parts of a silverware set, glassware, or even money or a check.
For a bridal shower, one could also purchase these items that are usually pricer, however, some examples of other bridal shower gifts could be a cookbook for the bride, an emergency kit for the day of the wedding, some nice slippers, clothing, robes, etc. Thus, the bridal shower gift can be a bigger gift or a smaller, more “trendy” sort of gift. The gift may even be funny or hold sentimental meaning. Regardless, as mentioned above, you typically have more freedom when selecting a bridal shower gift and can personalize it to be something you think the bride specifically wants instead of just going exclusively off the registry.
Usually, you would spend less money on a bridal shower gift than a wedding gift. If you have a close relationship with the bride, then the price will likely not matter as much. For instance, a bridal shower gift from the mom to the bride or a bridal shower gift from the maid of honor may be more expensive than a gift from a friend with whom the bride is not as close. However, for the most part, bridal shower gifts should usually be less money than a gift you would purchase for the wedding and could be more fun, personalized items.
The price of a bridal shower gift can also depend on how much you are willing to spend. You can create a budget to determine what works best for you but usually, you would want to allocate most of the budget towards the wedding gift and use whatever leftover money is in in your budget for a wedding shower gift.
Timing of Gifts
Another pivotal difference between the wedding and bridal shower gift is that wedding gifts are typically brought or shipped to the bride and groom, however they are not usually opened at the ceremony or reception.
The opposite is true of a bridal shower. Usually, at a bridal shower, the bride will open up gifts and the mother of the bride or maid of honor will keep track of who bought what so that the bride can send thank you notes later. Along with playing bridal shower games, opening gifts is a fun activity at a bridal shower and is sometimes a pivotal part of the party. Thus, when selecting a gift for the bridal shower, keep in mind that it might be opened up in front of everyone. Further, the gift may be passed around for everyone to look at and appreciate.
Thus, upon choosing a bridal shower gift, keep in mind that everyone may look at it and see what you purchased. For instance, if you want to give the bride a personal gift that you only want her to see or that holds value for the two of you, then it might not be best to present it to the bride at the bridal shower. Giving her the gift before the wedding or as a wedding present may be the best option if you want to keep the gift private.
Because opening the gifts is sometimes part of the bridal shower experience, you want to make sure that you can easily transport or have your gift scheduled to arrive at the place of the bridal shower by the day of the shower. Contrarily, the wedding gifts will likely only be seen by the bride and groom. It usually does not matter as much if you have the wedding gift with you at the wedding, as these items can be shipped or gifted to the bride and groom slightly before and slightly after the wedding.
A wedding gift and a bridal shower gift also differ in who they are meant for. For a wedding gift, the gift should suit both people in the relationship, for you are buying the gift for them as a couple. However, if you are close with the bride and want to give her a specific gift, the bridal shower may be the time to give her a gift that is personalized and specific for her. Thus, it can be helpful to focus on the couple as a unit when selecting the wedding gift, however for the bridal shower, you can concentrate a bit more on the bride specifically and what she may want and need.
Gifts are an important part of both a bridal shower and a wedding. Knowing how to choose the right present for each occasion will allow you to relax and concentrate on what these events are truly about: the couple and their love. Hopefully, the differences enumerated above can aid in making the wedding and bridal shower experiences ones of pleasure and excitement instead of anxiety and worry!
Written by Victoria Beuchat