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 !

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

I would give a small gift.

1 mom found this helpful

I would go with your husband's idea...cash! I know that was by far the most useful gift that my husband and I received at our wedding and it is what we give at any wedding we attend. Also make sure it is cash or if you are going to give a check do not make it out to the couple b/c if they don't have a bank account with both of their names on it it gets sticky...so I would just write one or the other.

1 mom found this helpful

Cash is awesome! esp after a wedding! We loved getting that! it helps out ALOT@ and i agree with the small and personal gift for shower and bigger gift for the wedding. hey you goofed, so what! it happens!

Gift cards are nice, and you could do a favorite resturant for them or somewhere like walmart or sears or somewhere hey could shop together...

Or I agree with the photobook and a personal message inside from you would be awesome. I love the personal touch! or maybe write a marriage or something equal to it poem inside it on a nic paper and put it inside the first page and a beautiful frame or 2 for a fave picture of theirs orto ut around!

Or another cool thing..a sign with their Names or just Last Name to disply on the house!!

1 mom found this helpful

Typically, you should figure out what you want to spend in total on the couple and split it between the shower gift and the wedding gift. For a shower, get them a relatively inexpenseive gift. For the wedding, either give them a check (NO CASH!) or another more expensive gift for the remainder of the amount you want to spend on the couple.

At this point, I would find a small inexpensive gift that you would've given her for the shower. Don't worry about the registry, even a nice picture frame or a pretty little vase.

1 mom found this helpful

A gift is a gift. You are not obligated to anything. I think a small gift is fine, maybe a decorative candle or wallhanging for their house. If you remember your own wedding and shower, you were resentful of any of your gifts, right? So, I'm sure they will be happy whatever you give them.

1 mom found this helpful

Unfortunately, yes, the etiquette is that you give gifts for ALL the events that you attend. That being said, you can always RSVP no to the wedding and "get out" of giving a gift (or writing a check) that way. They way it was always explained to me, you give an okay gift for the shower (not amazing and over the top, unless it's your best friend, sister, etc.), and then give a nicer gift for the wedding (with the rule of thumb being that you spend about as much on the gift as you guess the family is spending to feed you and any other guests you're bringing--ie if it's just your husband with you, one amount, another if it's you and all your kids). Another thing you might consider (in lieu of spending lots of money) is to do something special for the couple for their wedding gift--have a blanket made for them with personalization, Offer to have one of their big wedding pictures framed for them, etc. GOOD LUCK!

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

I have recently found myself in a similar situation and asked myself the same question. I ultimately gave a small gift but nice gift from their registry for the shower and another small gift for the wedding. I'm not an etiquette expert but I think that you would be okay not to give another gift if you have already given an expensive one. If I was the one getting married I certainly would not expect a second present from someone who has already spent a lot of money on a gift! If that doesn't feel comfortable to you, you could give them a second smaller gift, a gift certificate or cash. Put in a well written, thoughtful card and that makes any present a great one! When I got married, a co-worker gave me a simple picture frame but also included a beautiful poem about marriage inside the card. I'm sure that she didn't spend a lot of money on it but it was one of the gifts that I remember the best!

1 mom found this helpful

If you attend a shower then you get the couple a shower gift, and also if you attend the wedding you should get them a gift. One big gift does not count for the shower and wedding. You give them a gift that you can afford and it depends on how close you are to them. If you attend the wedding, you get them a wedding gift too!

Personally, if I am invited to the bridal shower I give my gift then and don't purchase one for the wedding too.

There is no set rule to subscribe to. You do what your budget dictates. Trust me - you did more than most people by attending the shower. Also, if your husband wants to give cash then get a card and put in there whatever amount he wants. At our wedding the cash was well appreciated as we took it on our honeymoon and it allowed us to purchase quality reminders or even have an extra special excursion we didn't have in our budget before.

Regardless, no one has the right to spend your money. It just probably feels awkward going to the wedding empty handed. I doubt the bride and groom will spend as much time worrying about this as you do. :) Enjoy their day with them.

I have seen it done both ways. It is up to the person. Most people will give at one or the other but not both. Most of the gifts given at the wedding are given by those who did not attend the shower. I think what you have done is completely appropriate.

I personally would do the one gift. When we got married we invited some to the wedding that was not at the shower and the ones at the shower we told not to get us anything else. No need to get 2 if he wants to give them money give like 40 or whatever. Cash ALWAYS comes in good. We got groceries with ours since we did not live together before we got married and the honeymoon was paid for already.Cash will do good. I am sure they will appreciate it.

I agree that this gift giving is out of control. But here is a thought that is kind of on the cheap side but looks really nice. You could go to some place like Old Time Pottery and get them some cheap chamgpane glasses, picninc basket,etc. and then get them some sparkling apple juice and gift that as their gift. We had someone do that for us and it was a really nice gift. You don't have to go off their registry for the wedding gift. The registry is just a guide for the guest to know or get ideas for what their needs are. Now my brother and his wife got stuff that were not on the registry and it turned out things were duplicated and they had no recipts so if you do decide to get them something just make sure you give them a gift reciept so that if something is duplicated.

I saw you were going to make her something. I LOVED the Christmas tree skirt and ornaments a relative made for us. A nice idea if she celebrates Christmas:)

I was told when I got married (a year ago), the bride/groom shouldn't expect ANY gifts - gift giving is totally optional.

NO!!! One gift from your family should be plenty. Why has everyone gotten sooo greedy??!

Hi Jenn

I understand what your friend is saying about the etiquette issue..usually a smaller gift then bigger.

However, my husband's Godmother gave us an awesome expensive gift off of our registry at the shower for both the shower and the wedding gift. She just had his mom tell us she intended it for both. You have kids, budgets are tight...if they don't understand now, they may some day. It was good that you put your whole family on the card. That helps clarify. Anyway, hope this helps! God bless!

I sell Pampered Chef and we do alot of Wedding Showers i will give u my web address so if you would like you can go on and buy without going to a show i always have a open show under my gaughters name (Jamie Edgar) if you have any questions feel free to call me ###-###-#### My name is T. McGuire

If I were you I would pick something expensive off the registry and wait until you can buy it on sale for a big discount. That way it looks like you spent a lot of money when you really didn't :)

I have no idea where the two gifts idea came from. As far as I know, only one gift is necessary. Some people get really hung up on the gift ordeal and you just do what you can. This is actually a celebration of their wedding...and a fullfillment of their wants and needs.

Just go to the wedding and enjoy it. Don't let other people make you feel guilty.

Usually I give a smaller gift for the shower and another for the wedding....HOWEVER, you only should give what you can with best wishes for them.....for people who are close I do NOT like to give registry gifts as I think they are impersonal, and I like to give a gift that will remind them of me when they see it or use it, so I try to be more creative there.
In my opinion, gift-giving has gotten WAY out of hand in many respects, and so I recommend using common sense and not going overboard.

Your gift at the shower was clear; it was the gift your family gave them in celebration of their wedding. I wouldn't do another thing.

Hey, Jenn --

I'm totally into giving gifts, but I am also the queen of thrift. My gift-giving philosophy begins with "know thy recipient" and ends with "give from the heart." NOBODY should be telling you how many gifts to give, in what amount, or by what specific description. Did you wish them well? Did you give from your heart? Yep. OK, then feel good about that. You don't owe anybody or any custom any deference. Etiquette is far more hollow than a heart-felt intention... and what does a new marriage need more than heart-felt intention that it succeed and flourish? A new Kitchen Aid mixer isn't gonna get the job done.

Personally, I have NEVER spent that much $$ on a gift for anybody aside from my immediate family - parents, grandparents, daughter, husband. So, I think you are exceedingly generous, in my book. Remember, it's the thought that counts :)!

Take care,

When I got married we got the most expensive gifts at our shower from family and friends. Some of those same people were at the wedding too. But most of our presents at the wedding were from people who didn't come to one of the showers or some close family/friends that gave us money at the wedding.

One gift no matter the cost is appropriate. It should matter what you spend but that you care enough to be there for the young couple. You do what fits for you and don't feel obligated because someone else said it was proper.

Hope this helps. God Bless

Jenn, personally I was always told that if you attended the shower and brought a gift, then you are not required to purchase a gift for the wedding as well. Good luck.

Hi Jenn!

Since you went to the shower and already purchased a gift, I don't think you need to do another gift. However, I believe most people put cash in the cards.

I have a wedding coming up in July and I am making a scrapbook, taking pictures at the wedding, and then putting those pictures in the album. I will also be putting cash or a gift card from their registry store in the card. My family said they usually put cash in the cards (even after purchasing a gift for the shower) with the idea that it was basically paying for their meal. It made sense to me when I thought of it like that!

Most people get a small gift (around $20 or less) for the shower gift, then something bigger like you did for the wedding. I think it would be perfectly fine to get her something small for her wedding gift. I'm sure she was extremely surprised by what you gave her for her shower and won't be thinking you'll do something of equal or bigger size this time. :)

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