What more does the girl want--wasn't that diamond ring enough? Yes, that's right you're expected to produce numerous gifts throughout this whole being engaged/getting married process. Start saving you money for . . .

ENGAGEMENT GIFTS

You many want to send your friend or the happy couple something right after finding out that they're engaged or wait until the engagement party, if there is going to be one. (Actually, according to etiquette guides, guests should not bring gifts to an engagement party. But since most people don't make a habit of reading etiquette books . . . that doesn't mean gifts aren't expected.) If you sent a gift immediately upon hearing of the engagement and a party then follows, you are not required to bring another gift. Some possible engagement gifts are:

  • A bottle of champagne and glasses.
  • A picnic basket filled with picnic gear.
  • A subscription to bridal magazines.
  • A blank scrapbook to document the engagement year.
  • A wedding planner.
  • A manicure-now that everyone's looking at her hand she'll want to keep those cuticles trimmed.
  • Gift certificates.
  • Wedding planning books.
  • Send flowers.
  • A vase.
  • A donation to a charity that has special meaning for the couple (visit our partner site, MarriedForGood.com, for suggestions).

 

WEDDING GIFTS

Getting What She Wants
Registering is a common procedure where the couple selects the gifts they want from certain stores and the stores keep updated lists of what has been purchased, so there arenít any duplicate gifts. This is probably the only time in one's life when it is acceptable to request a $500 set of knives. Most stores now offer access to a couple's registry and the ability to order gifts on-line or can fax you the gift registry. Of course, you can always go to the store and pick something out in person. Itís easiest to have the gift sent directly to the couple and most stores will even take care of shipping for you.

Keep in mind that people register because they want specific things. (Yes, she really wants those fruit-shaped everyday dishes and the Great Buildings of the World potholders.) It doesn't show a lack of creativity or thought to order a gift from the registry. That being said, some of you may want to branch out and on your own, so here are a few suggestions for the independent gift-giver:

  • Bottle of fine wine from a particular year (the year the couple met, the year of their wedding).
  • Bottle of great champagne.
  • Wine holder with several bottles of wine and notes indicating that they're for 1, 5, 10, 20 year anniversaries.
  • Gift certificate for an activity-hot air ballooning, helicopter ride, weekend at a bed and breakfast, dinner at a great restaurant, theatre tickets, swing dancing classes, etc.
  • A maid (couples always fight about cleaning).
  • Personalized scrapbook about the couple.
  • If you've got talent . . . a special poem or song written for the couple or a painting of/for them.
  • A subscription to the dessert of the month club-keep the treats coming!
  • Pool your resources with some friends and go in on a big screen TV or new stereo-something you can enjoy when you go over to their place.
  • A beautifully framed photograph.
  • Gift certificate to an erotic/adult store. Keep the magic alive.
  • Magazine subscriptions.
  • A picnic basket with a blanket, dishes, and some fancy food/wine.
  • A honeymoon kit: books on the location, things they might need such as sunscreen, travel dictionary.

SHOWER VERSUS WEDDING GIFTS

Frequently, the theme of the bridal shower will dictate your gift (click here for great bridal shower ideas). In any case, it is completely acceptable and probably almost expected that you will give shower gifts, as well as wedding gifts, from the registry unless the theme of the shower prevents it. For example, no one registers for a black leather bra and panty set, however, at a lingerie shower this suddenly becomes an acceptable gift. As with wedding gifts, if you have a great non-registry gift, you should feel free to give it at the shower. The most important thing is that you give a thoughtful gift . . . that's returnable so that she can complete her set of silver after the wedding. Just kidding.

MISCELLANEOUS GIFTS

Sometimes you'll be asked to bring a gift for the wishing well at a shower. These are small inexpensive ($5 - $10) random items, typically small housewares such as a can opener, a spatula, a pizza cutter . . . you know the all stuff that little girls wish and hope for-Mr. Right and a slotted spoon. It's a little-known fact that right after Prince Charming slid the glass slipper on Cinderella's foot, he provided her with a melon-baller and an ice-cream scooper of her very own. Now that's romantic.

But wait! You might just get a present too . . .

GIFTS FOR BRIDESMAIDS

Good news-it's also traditional for the bride to give all of her attendants special presents!

You've flown all the way across the country for her, you're wearing a pink taffeta ball gown for her, you've even agreed to dance with her13-year old cousin at the reception . . . you'll feel appreciated when she presents you with a little something special. You'll almost forget all about that $80 that you shelled out on those uncomfortable dyed-to-match shoes. Things you might get include: a sterling silver key chain, jewelry box, picture frame, jewelry that you can wear to the wedding, a day at a spa, a vase, candle and holder, scrapbook, a purse to use at the wedding (and hopefully beyond), a book, a hair accessory, gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure, bottle of champagne/wine, or luxurious bath products.

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