36 answers

Must We Give 2 Gifts; Shower and Wedding Gifts ?

So, I didn't know the gift giving etiquette. I went to a friend's shower and gave her an expensive gift from my husband and I, off of her wedding registry. That gift was a gift for the couple, not a girly gift or kitchen gift. Then someone told us we have to give them another gift because that's the etiquette. Now, do we have to buy another big gift off her registry to give her for the wedding (something that rivals the cost of the shower gift) ? Can we just buy something small that would've been more appropriate for her shower ? I have already gotten a Thank You card for the shower gift. The card attached to the shower gift had all my family's names (husband, me + 2 kids) on it (she knows us all). I really don't want to spend another chunk of money due to my gaffe. My husband wants to give her a chunk of cash and be done with it and I don't really want to do that. Help !

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to all who replied. We spent $200 on the shower gift and I'm really not wanting to fork out another $200+ for the wedding gift or cash. The wedding was low cost but beautiful. We only ate beans and mashed potatoes but still had a great time. I only mentioned low cost because a few here have said to spend as much as you were fed and that wouldn't have applied very well in this situation. She was a rather close friend but not as close in recent years. In respect for the closeness we used to have, I drove over an hour (2.5 hours round trip) to her shower where I knew nobody save for her mom and her. So, after pondering all the responses, I've decided to make something personal for her, something that would mean more than something picked off the shelf; perhaps a personalized blanket or house sign with their last name on it (good idea, Betty!). I definitely remember and treasure the thoughtful handmade gifts I've gotten in the past more than the store-bought ones (I certainly don't remember who bought what now) and I know she's the kind of person who will appreciate the same.

Etiquette appears to be pretty casual these days and up for interpretation, it seems. I've read that one is supposed to send the wedding gift ahead of the event so the couple don't have to worry about lugging big gifts home on that day but I still saw quite a few gifts there, and some guests in tees and shorts as well. According to 'etiquette', we can give a gift up to a year after the wedding, so I'm starting on mine now. Definitely will cost me more time than picking off the shelf.

Thanks to everyone for being so kind as to take the time to give me your thoughts !

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Update over a month later:
Well, I got her a blanket and embroidered some personalized items and names meaningful to them on it. It was very nicely done, if I may say so myself. Definitely cost me more time than if I'd gotten something from a store. It's been 1.5 months and no thank you card for this 2nd gift. I suppose I should just stick with my head and not what etiquette tells me next time. Well, a learning lesson.

Featured Answers

Yes, etiquette says you give a gift (money is acceptable) for any shower for the bride or couple and then another for the wedding. You should make the wedding gift comparable to the shower gift if not better. Again money is a very acceptable gift for the wedding.

1 mom found this helpful

If I am invited to the shower then I always give two gifts (one for the shower and one for the wedding). I have always understood that to be the proper thing to do. I usually give a smaller gift for the shower and a bigger gift (usually money) for the wedding. However, since you gave them a big gift for the shower I do not see anything wrong with giving a smaller gift for the wedding.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I really hate when I make a big mistake and then have to figure out what to do next. You have my sympathy!
What do you mean by chunk? Anything more than $20.00 would be a chunk from my life style right now.
Something smaller would be fine at this point. I would put all of the names on this card as well. If you can find something small on the registry in that range fine, if not then get something else.
A nice photo album with a nice frame to hold wedding pictures would be a nice gift and probably could be done in the $20.00 price range, unless you noted she had all ready gotten one.
If she doesn't all ready have a nice family Bible and they are of the Christian religion would be good too. One they can list wedding, birthdays, etc. in the front. They can be found almost anywhere, Borders, Waldens, etc.
Yes, you can go a lot cheaper for the wedding since you all ready gave her the biggest gift from your family all ready.
P. R

2 moms found this helpful

Yes... I was always taught that the shower was where you gave her things like.... Pj's....things for her wedding night ( classy things) You know the more personal type of things you would not want her to open in front of guests at her wedding. Because opening a box of victoria secret clothing could be quite embarrassing in front of your pastor or boss etc.... and the wedding were gifts for the two of them to share their lives together ( from the registry) Money would be fine too......I thought she was your friend? i guess I look at it like this, if she is your friend why would you be questioning this

1 mom found this helpful

Dear Jen,
I would tell your friend the truth. You bought her an expensive gift thinking it was for both the shower and a wedding gift. I think she will understand.

L. M.

1 mom found this helpful

I would imagine that she was very happy with the shower gift and realizes that it cost quite a bit of money. I personally think the whole shower/wedding expenses have gotten completely out of control.... also considering most marriages don't last.
You could chalk this one up to inexperience and give them an appropriate cash amount... I would think a nice gift card of $25 would be plenty.
I have been to showers where the younger adults spend a minimal amount due to their cash flow/ and then there are extravagant gifts! The happy couple should be grateful for any and all gifts.

1 mom found this helpful

You should probably get some sort of gift for the wedding. Whenever I was invited to both a shower and a wedding, I always got a gift for both events. Quite honestly, I don't think she's "keeping score" as to how much you've spent at one event versus the other, so just make sure you give her something for the wedding.

People often get caught up in the sentimental emotions of gift-giving for the wedding when really, I'm pretty sure the bride would be just as happy if you got one or a few of the 'small ticket' items off the registry. After all, don't most people register for things they need and want? It's on the list for a reason! Did the couple register for a washcloth/hand towel/bath towel set? How about getting them a few of their kitchen gadgets and putting them in a ceramic crock? Those $25 salt and pepper shakers might look tacky to you - but they registered for them, so obviously they want them! Finally, cash is always welcomed. Personally, we used the cash we received to purchase the rest of the registry items we did not get and put the rest in savings.

A rule of thumb that I always use is to give a wedding gift that would equal the approximate amount of the 'reception cost' per couple. After all, the families are shelling out a lot of money for the party I'm about to attend. For this reason, I usually give a wedding gift at least around the $50 price point (higher if we know the couple really well). I know not everyone follows this rule of thumb or agrees with this, but that is what I do.

1 mom found this helpful

You should have given a smaller gift for the shower, but since you didn't, you can give money or another gift of your choosing. You do not have to stick with the registry since you used it for the shower. I cannot afford expensive gifts, so I buy things that are on clearance sale at times that I feel they could really use or need. I have been known to tell them that I want to wait until after the wedding and they get settled to see what they may need if I don't want to give them just money. With money, they can fill in what they didn't get and may need. My Mother always says that green (money) is always in style and appropriate. I have a weddng shower and wedding to attend soon and my finances are not very good right now. I work for a retailer and we have some very nice things that are on clearance that would be perfect for a shower or wedding gift. NO one has to know or has the right to know what you paid for anything you give. I know some people who prefer to give a big gift for the shower so they have some idea of what they have when they set up their home. They then give money or a smaller gift for the wedding. Most anything is the right thing to do anymore. Etiquette is so different than it use to be. You can almost do what ever you feel is right for you at the time. You would be surprised at the people who do give money at the wedding. They can use it for their honeymoon or for the house.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, etiquette says you give a gift (money is acceptable) for any shower for the bride or couple and then another for the wedding. You should make the wedding gift comparable to the shower gift if not better. Again money is a very acceptable gift for the wedding.

1 mom found this helpful

Usually people give a small personal gift for the bride during the shower and then a bigger gift for the couple for the wedding. Since you bought the bigger gift for the shower then I would either get her something small or nothing at all. I had some relatives at my wedding that just gave me a set of inexpensive wine glasses or a candle and that was fine with me. You might want to get them a picture frame. They will have a ton of wedding pictures and I was always short on picture frames.

1 mom found this helpful

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