Does anyone else feel like spring is shower season? For some reason, the majority of our baby shower and bridal shower invites seem to come at this time of the year. It seems eminently appropriate, a time of new beginnings in nature coinciding with helping someone celebrate and prepare for a new beginning in their life.
Whether the bridal shower you are attending takes the form of an afternoon tea, a brunch, dinner out, or a luncheon, sometimes the trickiest part is settling on just the right gift for your gal pal, your BFF, your sister, cousin or friend. For that reason, we’ve come up with a list of ideas to help folks out, ranging from practical to pampering. Since your wedding gift will be for both the bride and groom, most of these ideas are more bride-centric (but not all!). We hope you find them helpful:
- UNDERWEAR - This one’s not exactly a new idea - we’ve been to several showers where the bride-to-be has been gifted undergarments - but we have a couple of recommendations for you if you’d like to go this route. First up: take your mission seriously. While trashy lingerie might provoke a laugh or two (or - eep - an awkward moment or two, if the future mother-in-law is in attendance!), we’d venture to guess that a set of truly lovely undergarments might not only be more useful in the long run but decidedly more appreciated by your gift recipient. To really treat the bride-to-be, suss out a quality source - we recommend a place like Rigby & Peller where they actually do custom fittings. Or, find a place online like Etsy vendor OnTheInside that does lovely custom lingerie to order. As a final note: do check on return policies. A gift card may well be the way to go here: that way the bride can choose to go sexy if she wants, or perhaps she’ll actually use the gift card to get herself a new sports bra, or a bathrobe. Same goes for custom lingerie - a gift card or gift certificate is often the way to go - that way the bride-to-be can relay her exact measurements for a perfect fit. If you like to give something tangible along with your gift card, may we suggest a bottle of Forever New’s liquid fabric wash, perfect for hand washing any delicates.
WEDDING DRESS HANGER - This one takes a little pre-planning but if you know the bride in question will be choosing her own wedding gown (as opposed to, for example, using her mother’s dress), you may wish to suss out a gorgeous vintage hanger, or order her a special, personalized hanger. Not only will she be able to use it on the day of her wedding, but if she keeps her dress afterwards, it will serve as a nice memento (of you, of your friendship, and of her wedding day) every time she takes the dress out of storage. There are a fair number of hanger makers out there, but you may wish to start by looking at one or more of: Twisted Hangers, BridesmaidHangers or Whiskey & Wedding Bells.
WEDDING BOUQUET PRESERVATION - If the bride-to-be is generally a fan of keepsakes, you may wish to consider giving her the gift of a preserved wedding bouquet. There are several ways a wedding bouquet can be preserved, among them: pressing the whole bouquet, freeze drying, and silica gel drying. Since this can be a pretty personal choice, we suggest presenting the bride with a range of options and letting her choose from among them - or, offer to help her out with another choice if she already had something in mind. Either way, since most brides head off on their honeymoon right after the wedding, chances are she’ll appreciate your help, taking responsibility for the bouquet, making sure it gets to the right folks for preservation, whether by mail, or by dropping it off at a local flower shop. There are a lot of vendors out there and you may well find a great local option. Failing that, here are a few vendors that can be found online that accept shipped orders: Preserve Your Flowers, Queen & i and Pressed Floral Memories.
STERLING SILVER PICTURE FRAME - A simple, silver sterling picture frame is a great gift, wethinks, for several reasons. First up, it’s classy and elegant without committing to a particular style or aesthetic - really, it works in almost any décor scheme. Second, a picture frame will be extremely useful for the bride-to-be as she’s on the verge of doubling (tripling? quadrupling?) her collection of favorite photos. And, third, you can put a photo of yourself (or, yourselves, if it is a group gift) with the bride in the frame to surprise her with at the shower - we recommend telling her it’s to serve as a placeholder until she receives her wedding photos and chooses something to replace it. A win-win all round, no? Places you may wish to start browsing include: Christofle, Tiffany & Co. or Asprey.
SET OF CANDLESTICK HOLDERS - Why do we include candlestick holders on this list? Several reasons. First up, once married, many folks find that they entertain a bit more. If they’d like to host a dinner party, candlesticks can offer a bit of elegant lighting at the table. Second, even if they don’t entertain regularly (or at all), the couple in question will have many more opportunities to sit down together for dinner and what can turn any dinner into something a little bit special? Candlelight. Boom. Date night at home. And, what do you need for candlelight? Candles and candlestick holders. Last but not least, giving a pair of candlestick holders gives you full license to be gushingly sentimental, writing about “pairs,” and the “glow of love,” or “the light of your life” in an accompanying card. In other words, full on permission to be thoroughly mushy, totally cheesy and completely corny. Not sure where to start looking? May we suggest: Simon Pearce, Farmhouse Pottery - or, for something a little less traditional, MöA Design’s industrial copper candle holder.
SPA TIME - Planning a wedding can be stressful - and, of course, every bride would like to be at her best come the big day. A spa excursion can help on both fronts, allowing the bride in question to chillax for a little bit, while also taking in a beauty treatment or two. If she has a favorite spa she likes to patronize, give them a ring or check out their website to find out their gifting options. Failing that, do a bit of Googling to research top notch local spas. Whether you take her yourself or treat her to some solo me-time is up to you!
HOUSE CLEANING - It’s really nice to come home to a freshly cleaned house, no? Treat the bride-to-be to a thorough house cleaning. Whether she uses it in the midst of frenzied wedding planning, or calls in the chip such that she and her new husband return to a spotless home after their honeymoon, chances are this is a gift that will be appreciated no end. If you’re on a tight budget too, this can be a great gift idea as you can do the cleaning yourself - or, get a couple of your (and the bride’s) friends together and you can make quick work of it as a group. Alternately, find a highly rated local cleaner to take care of things!
LOUNGE ACCESS FOR THE HONEYMOON - Know that the bride and groom will be traveling abroad for their honeymoon? Giving them lounge access is a great way to treat them to an extra luxurious experience in transit. The likes of Priority Pass offers access to lounges in many of the world’s most trafficked airports - nevertheless, we do recommend double checking that the bride and groom will be traveling through one or more of them before splashing out. P.s. This makes a great group gift if you want to get several gal pals together to give something special!
JEWELRY BOX OR TRAVEL ROLL - Brides are often given or invest in new jewelry in advance of their wedding - there’s the engagement ring of course, but we’re also talking about the necklace and/or earrings she chooses to wear up the aisle. She may also be the recipient of family heirlooms at this time - be it a bracelet that belonged to her grandmother, a ring that her father gave her mother when she was born, things like that. With that in mind, you may wish to consider giving the bride-to-be a jewelry box so that she can keep her bling organized and easily accessible. Alternately, if you know she already has something along those lines, a travel roll or pouch that she can use for any pieces of jewelry she’d like to take on her honeymoon can make for a great gift. The benefit of a box, a roll, or a pouch? They will be useful in the long term. An eminently practical gift that’s also occasion-appropriate. As to where to look? We’d direct your attention to Pottery Barn which has a sizable selection, in a range of styles and materials, and catering to a variety of budgets. Crate & Barrel also has several options available. We also like the looks of Bey-Berk’s wood and leather offerings, many of which are available over on Amazon.com. Or, if you’d like to splurge (or have several ladies who would like to chip in), a jewelry box or travel roll from either Smythson or T. Anthony could be just the thing!
WINE GLASSES AND BOTTLE OF WINE - If you know the bride-to-be enjoys a glass of wine in the evening, consider giving her a pair of nice wine glasses, like a couple of Riedel’s VINUM glasses - or, splurge on a single one of Zalto’s Denk’Art Universal wine glasses. Pair the glass (or glasses) with a good bottle of wine, and we suspect your gift will be a rousing success. Wedding planning can involve late nights and lots of research - let her know that the wine is to make the whole process that much more enjoyable!
WISHING WALL - A wishing wall can be a lovely way to commemorate either the bridal shower itself, or the wedding. So, what is a wishing wall? Basically, it’s a place for guests to tuck notes of love, appreciation and good wishes for the bride and/or couple to read later. If the bridal shower you are attending is going to be a large affair, it might be fun to set up a wishing wall for guests to contribute to on arrival (side note: if you are not hosting the shower yourself, do check with the hostess in advance to make sure this is ok with her). Then, when the time for opening presents comes around, you can present the wall to the bride. Alternately, give a wall to the bride for her to use whenever she sees fit - at her rehearsal dinner, for example, or at the wedding itself. If you’re not sure where the wall will be used, we suggest giving a “blank” wishing wall - alternately, if you know exactly when it will be used, personalized wishing walls are available.
WEDDING DAY KIT - For the bride-to-be who appreciates all things practical, consider a wedding day kit. What do we mean by that? A tote bag or box containing all the bits and bobs she might need as she gets ready on her big day. Things you might consider including: a steamer for her dress, slippers, waterproof (aka tear-proof) mascara, a small sewing kit, foot cushions and blister padding, hair pins, safety pins, clothing tape, tissues, Band-Aids, breath fresheners, mouthwash, a pair of flats and/or a phone charger. The day might be a couple of months off, but a wedding day kit means about a dozen less things she’ll have to think about as it approaches and it will make her wedding prep a seamless, stress-free experience.
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