Gift Registry and Bridal Showers

Customs to Consider for your Gift Registry

Gift giving and receiving can be difficult territory, especially when your desires conflict with traditional wedding and bridal shower etiquette. Some brides find it challenging to compile an appropriate gift registry, since a modern woman has different household needs than brides-to-be of past generations.

Although your wish list should reflect your personality and your requirements, you'll do well to know where you can branch out from convention, what practices are off-limits, and how to get what you need without disrespecting tradition.

Creating a Customary Gift Registry

Gift Registry and Bridal Showers

Fortunately, traditional gift registries are so prevalent, you won't have to look very far to find a store to suit your needs. The hard part is balancing your own preferences, your household needs and the expectations of your guests in one tidy list. A few tips can help you tread carefully while you compile your ideal gift registry:

  • Although many brides register at one department store, there's nothing wrong with choosing two or three to provide a wider range of options for your generous guests. Stick to accessible stores with sizeable household departments, and mix in smaller appliances with big ticket items. It's rude and unfair to assume everyone will be able or willing to spend a great deal on your wedding gift, so include a range of price points, too.
  • Traditionally, the gift registry includes items necessary for a new household. If you already have most of those things, you might be tempted to focus on electronics, personal items or accessories for your hobbies, which could come off as selfish and extraneous. Even if your home is well-stocked, include a few items that appeal to traditional sentiment, like kitchenware or bedroom linens. This is a fantastic opportunity to upgrade!
  • Don't mention your registry on your wedding invitation or save-the-date card, but do feel free to tell people if they ask or let your family and bridesmaids spread the word. They can help out with other communication, too: while it's neither customary nor polite to ask your guests for cash, family member can gently inform your guests of your preference when the topic comes up.

Although times have changed, some people will never be comfortable handing out cash as a wedding gift, so you may want to have a small registry as well. This way, if you do get gifts, at least you can get the items you like.

Bridal Shower Etiquette for the Bride

Custom dictates that the bridal shower is hosted by an indirect relation: a bridesmaid, a future in-law, or a friend of the bride's mother are traditional hostess choices. Your mother or sister would likely throw a beautiful party tailored to your tastes, but this might seem like your family is fishing for gifts on your behalf. However, members of your immediate family can certainly guide the shower hostess with some of your favorite themes, food and gift registry information.

Although the bride should never be responsible for her own bridal shower, there are some decisions and challenges that may fall on her shoulders. One such decision is who to invite and who to leave out. If you were not able to squeeze every friend and relation into your wedding guest list, that's fine. Just be sure not to request to have them at your shower, as that can lead to awkward or even resentful sentiments.

A Flawless Finish to a Formal Event

Etiquette plays a big role not only for the sake of tradition, but also for the sake of everyone involved. Think about how your actions or inactions might be interpreted, and adjust accordingly. Wedding planning is tricky business that can eat up a lot of your time, but that's no excuse for neglecting social graces. Send out thank you cards promptly, within 6 weeks of the event, and be sure each card is thoughtful and specific. This is one tradition that goes for all types of weddings; a considerate, hand written message will always be worth more to a guest than a phone call or email.