Bridal shower gift ideas and etiquette

Lilac clippings on a table, some tied onto small brown gift boxes.
Paperless Post BlogWedding > Bridal shower gift ideas and etiquette

The best bridal showers are all about fun, food, and celebrating the bride-to-be with her loved ones. But when you’re invited to attend a bridal shower and are having trouble finding the right gift idea, it’s a little overwhelming. What’s an appropriate bridal shower present? How much should you spend? Is it a gift just for the bride, or are you buying for both of the spouses-to-be? 

If you’ve got a bridal shower coming up and these questions are on your mind, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got all the answers you need regarding bridal shower gift etiquette, so you can lose the gift-giving anxiety and focus on making memories with the bride-to-be. We’ve also put together a list of delightful bridal shower gifts for a range of styles and needs, so you’re sure to find something that’s just right for any bride. 

What is an appropriate bridal shower gift?

Shopping for a personalized bridal shower gift can feel overwhelming, especially if you haven’t attended many showers before and you’re not well-versed in bridal shower gift etiquette. Here are some easy starting points to keep in mind so you can avoid any gift-related faux pas

  • A gift from the couple’s registry:  Traditional gifts for the shower include items for the couple’s home. When in doubt, use the registry as your guide. These are items the couple has already hand-picked, so you really can’t go wrong. If there is a big-ticket item you want to buy, like that stand mixer you know the couple has been eyeing, you and a few friends can go in on it without splurging too much. 
  • Reread the invitation: Does the celebration have a special bridal shower theme, like Stock-the-Bar or a tea party? The theme will give you a hint of the tone of the event, and provide inspiration for your gift selection. Unless the invitation specifically mentions it (like a lingerie party), save any raunchy presents for the bachelorette party.
  • Budget for two gifts: A bridal shower gift can be either just for the bride or for the happy couple, but keep in mind that if you’re invited to both the wedding day and the bridal shower, you’re expected to bring a gift to both events. In that case, it’s nice to make the shower gift something special that focuses on the bride. 

Bridal shower décor and more

Whatever her shower theme, celebrate with unique supplies and decorations.

5 bridal shower gift ideas

With those tips in mind, here are 5 of our favorite bridal shower gifts that fit a variety of shower themes and styles, and newlywed needs.

A bridal shower invitation with pink poppy flowers painted in front of an arch. Right: Several pink taper candles in a table setting with yellow flowers and white dishes, vases, and candle holders.“Watercolor Poppy” by Paperless Post; Petal taper set available in the Paperless Post Party Shop.


1. Elegant taper candle set

Nothing adds warmth and beauty to a table like a high-quality set of taper candles. We like to opt for a matching color in a variety of heights and styles to add visual interest while keeping the color theme cohesive. The bride-to-be is sure to love this taper set, which includes five classic taper styles in your choice of sophisticated colors like parchment, moss, petal, and clay.

Two tortoiseshell candlesticks on a green background. Right: A bridal shower invitation with a pile of deep green leaves.Brass and resin candlesticks and eucalyptus garland available in the Paperless Post Party Shop; “Herrgarde” by Paperless Post.


2. Unique and eye-catching candlesticks

A set of special candlesticks is a perfect bridal shower gift that never goes out of style. These brass and resin candlesticks in tortoiseshell fit any season, and they’re versatile enough to coordinate with any home decor style, from casual to modern. 

You can gift the candlesticks alone and let the bride choose the candles, or add the Taper Set, above, for the perfect finishing touch.

A bridal shower invitation with a pink border and illustrated leaves and pink flowers. Right: Four white cloth napkins with rainbow embroidered edges and colorful acrylic napkin rings.“November Herbarium” by Rifle Paper Co. for Paperless Post; Embroidered napkins and napkin rings available in the Paperless Post Party Shop.


3. Festive napkin set and napkin rings

Any dinner party or date night is elevated by adding substantial cloth napkins and special napkin rings to the place settings, but it’s one of those little things we often skip getting for ourselves. Help the future newlyweds get ready for all those get-togethers they’ll be hosting by gifting them a set of unique napkins and coordinating napkin rings.

We love this set of embroidered napkins in crisp white twill paired with fun, fanciful 70s-inspired napkin rings from Atelier Saucier. The napkin rings are crafted from lustrous lucite in vibrant shades of yellow, pink, orange, and green that complement the rainbow-hued edging on the napkins.

A wine bottle on a woven rattan coaster with small hors d'oeuvres. Right: A bridal shower invitation with photos of tulips, roses, and other flowers growing from the lower left corner.Rattan wine bottle coaster available in the Paperless Post Party Shop; “Prairial” by Putnam & Putnam for Paperless Post.


4. Wine bottle coasters

We all know we should grab a coaster for those sweating cocktail glasses, but an often overlooked necessity for tabletop decor is a coaster for wine glasses or the wine bottles themselves. That bottle of chilled rosé can leave a ring on the table just like any other cold beverage can—not to mention the stain factor of red wine drips. 

Help the future bride protect her dining table while also adding a touch of natural beauty to the place settings with elegant rattan wine bottle coasters from Caspari. Handwoven, durable, and made from fast-growing rattan, they’re reusable and eco-friendly and are perfect for indoor or outdoor use.

A bridal shower invitation with black oversized script and illustrated leaves and berries. Right: A set of acrylic tumbler glasses, some in a box, some stacked in front.“Mountain Greenery” by Paperless Post; Acrylic tumbler set available in the Paperless Post Party Shop.


5. Sparkling tumbler gift set

Durable yet attractive drinkware is a gift item any bridal shower guest can give. It’s ideal for a Stock-the-Bar party, but also suitable for any shower theme. Tumblers are a versatile choice since they’re suitable for wine, cocktails, or non-alcoholic beverages. 

An acrylic tumbler set adds sparkle to any tabletop decor style. Seamlessly crafted and BPA-free, this set combines the look of glass with the strength of acrylic, so they’re safe for either indoor or outdoor gatherings. 

Bridal Shower gift FAQs

In addition to gift ideas, many of us have questions about bridal shower gift-giving etiquette—which is important, considering many showers involve a bit when the bride opens her gifts in front of everyone. Read on for all of our answers so you can RSVP to a bridal shower confidently, and show up with the perfect gift in hand. 

How much should you spend on a bridal shower gift?

Since you’ll most likely be giving the happy couple two gifts—one at the shower and one at the wedding—you don’t need to break the bank on the bridal shower gift. You should plan to spend between $50 and $75 for a gift, though if the bride is a close friend or family member, you may prefer to spend up to $100.

Do you need to send a gift if you can’t attend the shower?

If you’re invited to the shower but can’t make it, it’s not required or expected for you to send a gift (though if you’re a close family member or best friend who’s unable to attend, a gift is especially appreciated). A beautiful hand-written bridal shower card sending your best wishes and congratulations on the upcoming nuptials is perfectly appropriate, with or without a present. 

Is a gift card or cash appropriate?

Giving a cash gift is usually fine at either the shower or the big day, but actual gifts are typically the preference—especially if the bride is opening presents for guests to see. Gift cards are especially suitable for showers, while cash and checks are more common at weddings. The gift table at the wedding will often include a receptacle for cash gifts.

You can also check the wedding registry to see if the couple has set up a link for a cash fund, or indicated if there are stores where they’d like a gift card.

What is a good bridal shower gift card?

A smart way to choose the best gift card option is to take a look at the wedding registry and see if there are particular stores that the couple seems most interested in. A few gift card ideas that are always a hit:

  • Home improvement stores
  • Home goods stores
  • A special upscale restaurant 
  • Outdoor equipment or sporting goods stores for couples who hike, bike, or do other outdoor activities together
  • Massage or spa day

What is the best gift for a bride?

The gift registry is the easiest source for bridal shower gift ideas. But if nothing fits your budget, or you want to go off-registry to find that certain something that’s extra meaningful, here are a few ideas.

  • Check-in with friends, fiancé, or family: Her loved ones may have some suggestions for items she’d really love to get that didn’t make it onto the registry. Brainstorm with them to come up with items she’s been wanting but hasn’t treated herself to.
  • Consider her hobbies and interests: Is she a DIYer who’d love a gift card to Michaels? Maybe she’s a baker who can always use a new set of frosting bags and tips. Does she love to travel? A fabulous new carry-on bag is always useful.
  • Check her social media: A bit of internet sleuthing can reveal a lot about the bride’s style and personality. Lots of pet pics? She might appreciate a gift that includes her pet, like a special photo frame or a gift card to the groomer. Frequent hair and makeup inspo posts? A new set of makeup brushes or a special makeup organizer could be just the ticket.
An online bridal shower brunch invitation with four mimosas and the words “Bridal Brunch Bubbly” animating.“Mimosas Flowing” Flyer by Paperless Post.

Make her bridal shower a sparkling success with Paperless Post

Bridal showers are a time for celebration, and selecting your gift should be part of the fun. Pick something useful and heartfelt, and remember, the bride will appreciate the thought no matter what you give. 

If you’re also the one planning the shower, start by sending out the perfect invitations. With bridal shower invitations from Paperless Post, you can choose from hundreds of beautiful invites from designers like Oscar de la Renta, kate spade new york, and Stephanie Fishwick. You’ll be able to track RSVPs instantly, and even add a customizable registry block to take the guesswork out of gift-giving. Throw in a quick visit to the Paperless Post Party Shop for bridal shower party supplies, and check your decor needs off the list, too. 

Whatever the theme or season of your loved one’s wedding shower, you’ll find the perfect invitations, gifts, decorations, and supplies at Paperless Post.


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