Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of showers, whether it is bridal or baby, I dislike them both. I think it’s the corny games that turn me off the most. At least bridal showers have alcohol though, but since the mother cannot drink while she is pregnant, most baby showers are void of alcohol. Corny games in the absence of alcohol are even more intolerable. However, my attendance at showers isn’t for me, it’s in support of the friend or family member who is getting married or having the baby. So I put on a happy face and attend and participate with enthusiasm.
My husband and I have been averaging attendance at five weddings per year for the last three years. So let’s just say I’ve been to a lot of bridal showers and every single time I am absolutely stumped as to what to purchase for the bride. Last Saturday in the midst of my frustration I thought to myself “Someone should write about this!” and I know that some people have, I googled it, but somehow I didn’t get an article that fully satisfied my needs. So I decided to attempt to fill that gap. Hopefully, the next time I’m invited to a bridal shower I can look back at this article and get some ideas.
Though they’re hard to find when shopping in person in Jamaica, if you have enough time in advance you can order these gifts online. A robe, tote, wine glass, flip flops, apron and any other item with “Bride” or “Mrs” on it is a winner as long as it’s something the bride may actually like or use. Even though it’s a themed item you still want to pick something the bride will actually like.
A variation of this same idea would be to get something Mr and Mrs. Like his and hers aprons or shirts. Friends of mine got Mr and Mrs Manchester United jerseys for their wedding, customized with their last name. I personally like these cocktail glasses.
Jewelry that says Mrs. , or is customized with her new initials, or last name or wedding date is also a lovely idea. I really like this one . Which incidentally I think is also a lovely idea for an anniversary gift in gold wink* wink*.
Gifts for “Playtime”
Stay away from gifts that are too risqué. Remember, the bride and groom’s older female relatives often attend the bridal shower and we don’t want to be causing any heart attacks. When buying gifts for “playtime”, keep it classy. For instance, you could give them massage oil or body paint rather than personal lubricant or lace underwear instead of crotch-less panties.
Perhaps the most purchased bridal shower gift of all time is lingerie. Some bridal shower planners even provide the bride’s size for you so you can buy the right size. I advise against buying lingerie for a bride without knowing her size, especially in Jamaica where there is no such thing as a gift receipt or a cash refund. I also never buy lingerie for someone unless I think I know their style well enough. I don’t think its fun to get the bride something she will never wear.
I don’t buy lingerie that often simply because that’s what most people give and I want to get something different. Besides, who wants to sit and watch the bride open lingerie are lingerie pretending to be enthusiastic about the 20th bra and panty set.
When it comes to “toys” I think they are best kept for the bachelorette party. The only thing you can probably get away with at the shower is a pair of hand cuffs. You could also get them a game to make playtime more interesting. When you get into whips and dildos it becomes unsettling for the bride who is probably feeling embarrassed in front of her mother-in-law.
Gifts for the Honeymoon
If the bride and groom are going on a honeymoon it is a good idea to get her something she could use on that trip. For instance if she’s honeymooning in a beach destination you could give her a swimsuit cover-up, a bikini, flip flops, a beach mat and or bag or you could go all out and give her a beach bag with all the essentials in it.
Another wonderful idea is to get the couple a gift certificate for an activity on their vacation. Perhaps they would want to go zip-lining or swim with the dolphins. One of my favourite gifts that I received at my bridal shower was a cooking class while on my honeymoon in Hawaii.
Gifts for the couple/bride’s personal interests
If you know the bride and groom’s interests then your gift can reflect their loves. A bride who likes wine may like a wine related gift such as a wine tool set or wine tasting class. I’m into baking so cute measuring cups like these and any other kitchen trinkets are right up my alley. If the couple has a favourite restaurant or like to go to the movies together a restaurant voucher or movie tickets may be the perfect gift. I like this gift because it encourages the couple to spend time together; it encourages the togetherness of the marriage.
Brides are often stressed and I don’t know a single woman who wouldn’t appreciate a gift certificate for a mani/pedi or a massage either here at home or while on her honeymoon. A mani/pedi doesn’t cost that much at mani places in Jamaica and so this can be quite a thoughtful yet affordable gift for a bride to receive. You can also put together a gift that allows her to pamper herself at home. Gifts of candles, and bath and body items can turn the bride’s own home into a sanctuary. Items and gift sets from starfish oils make for a great locally made option.
When I was a child I hated receiving books as presents. I would open a package and be sorely disappointed, quite like opening underwear or socks. Now, only a few years later my thoughts on receiving books have changed. If your bride likes to read, this may be a good gift for her too. I like to get her a book that’s related to her personal interests such as a cookbook or wine book. The Newlywed Cookbook is one of my favorites, especially for the bride who has to get used to cooking and meal planning on a daily basis. You can also get her a book about marriage. When giving these, I like to find books that approach the topic from a humourous point of view like this one.
So there you have it, my tips on purchasing bridal shower gifts. Hopefully I’ve helped you even a little bit in coming up with ideas for the next bridal shower you will attend.