The Difference Between a Bridal Shower Gift and a Wedding Gift

What’s the rule for finding a bridal shower gift (and how is it different than the wedding gift)?

Sometimes determining the difference between a shower gift and a wedding gift is confusing. Let’s straighten it out!

Dear Wedding Guru:
“I want to do the right thing. What’s the difference between a wedding shower gift and the wedding gift?” — Perplexed About Presents

Dear Perplexed:
Typically, a shower gift is smaller and simpler. Customs vary from place to place and change over time, so it’s always best to check with the hostess who will know what the norm is in her circle. Today, bridal showers run the gamut from a simple affair, in which an inexpensive modest gift for the couple’s household is appropriate, while others are more over-the-top and require the shower gift to be as expensive as the wedding gift.

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If the host has a theme for the wedding shower, then your gift should be purchased with that in mind. But generally speaking, shower gifts do not have to be extravagant; instead, make it personal! You might, for example, consider putting together a book with family recipes and presenting it (along with a batch of cookies, etc. from the book).

If all else fails, select something from the couple’s registry for the bridal shower, and opt for cash or a check in a card for the actual wedding.

Have a wedding question? Write to me at

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