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Do I Have to Bring a Gift to Every Prewedding Event?

Ask a Savvy Bride: Do I Have to Bring a Gift to Every Event?

Attending a wedding and all the festivities that lead up to the big day can stir up many etiquette questions. Check out this question below, answered by a very savvy bride, and weigh in with your two cents. You can also submit your questions in our Ask Savvy group.

Dear Savvy,

I'm a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding this Summer. Her engagement party was last month (where I brought a nice gift off her registry) and I just received invitations for two bridal showers as well as a lingerie party during her bachelorette. Without sounding cheap, is it necessary for me, who will be attending all of the events, to bring a gift for every occasion?

Economical Elise

To see what a savvy bride has to say about this, keep reading after the jump.

Savvy bride says:

This is a great question and I can guarantee you're not the only one who has asked it. I don't like to going empty handed to a party thrown in someone's honor — giving and receiving gifts is a tradition at prewedding events — but if you're invited to multiple events for the same wedding, I think it's perfectly acceptable to bring something small (a cookbook, a spatula, a pot holder, or a bottle of champagne, for example) to each one. Most brides-to-be have an array of price points on their registries for this exact reason, so don't feel obligated to break the bank each and every time.


If you can't afford it, make a gesture and offer to help out in some way, such as cooking a dish or driving someone home. If all the revelry is still too much on your wallet, I think it's OK to politely decline an event or two. We all know that weddings can be expensive, even when you're a guest, so just do what you can. That's all any bride can ask of you.

Ask anything budget-, etiquette-, or planning-related — well, almost anything — by posting your questions in the Ask Savvy group, and I'll find the right expert to help you out.

leilani-s leilani-s 7 years
Give what you can afford and don't feel guilty. If the bride is a good friend, she will love and appreciate your gift and your effort. If she is the greedy type, the heck with her.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Sorry, but I think it IS tacky to be invited to multiple showers -- it is requesting that you buy at least two gifts (plus a wedding gift). If you are the BM, that's another story. And honestly, I'd rather NOT be invited to showers than be invited... I'm getting a little tired of them at this point ! And I think requiring someone to buy: an engagement gift a shower gift ANOTHER shower gift a bachelorette gift (plus the costs of going out) AND a wedding gift isn't fair -- but that's JMO - YMMV.
hibiscus96818 hibiscus96818 7 years
For the last wedding I was a bridesmaid in there were 3 pre-wedding events - the bridal shower, the lingerie party, and the bachlorette party. I only bought gifts for 2 of the events - the bridal shower and the lingerie party. It seemed like overkill to also take gifts to the bachlorette party and the wedding at that point since I had already given the bride-to-be sexy lingerie and something from the bridal registry.
Happsmjc Happsmjc 7 years
Out of choice I never show up empty handed, bridesmaid or not. I love love buying gifts for people. Set a budget for yourself and buy smaller gifts and spread them out throughout the event instead of one bigger gift. Also split gifts with other friends or bridesmaids, talk to all the bridesmaids and see if you can get a big gift together for one of the showers. Especially for the bachelorette party. I know I usually go to Victoria's Secret and get something on sale and split the cost, it ends up being next to nothing--but I try and get something that reminds me of them and I know they will love. Or another cute thing that is super cute thing that is less than $15 is a lingerie hanger from etsy, you can definitely save money there. And, most if not all brides have more than one shower, sometimes more than two. All sides of the families want to show their support, and as a bridesmaid you should be there. It's not tacky to get invited to all, I would think it would be tacky to not be invited to all.
weffie weffie 7 years
I'm sure if you explained your concern to the bride she'd understand... When my bestie got married I was a poor student so she wasn't offended that I couldn't get extravagant gifts for every lead-up event. I gave her a couple of (cheaper) personal girly gifts at her shower but saved most of my money for a great wedding present, it seemed more worthwhile and meaningful than a bunch of small things and they both agreed.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
Too many events requiring gifts these days. I don't think a gift or your presence should be required at each party.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
Bachelorette parties SHOULD NOT require gifts! AND getting an invite for TWO SHOWERS is tacky, tacky, TACKY. I'm not anti multipe showers, but they should be for different groups of people. DO NOT feel obliged to give a gift for both showers. This bride is having FOUR gift giving parties PRIOR to the wedding --- it's not fair for anyone (on a budget or not) to be expected to give a gift at each.
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
The number of events a couple has leading up to the wedding is ridiculous. I don't see the purpose of an engagement party, bridal shower (x2), AND bachlorette party, that's just overkill. I would not expect gifts for all of them, that could break someones bank. 3-5 gifts plus bridesmaid dress, shoes, hair (or outfit if you're just a guest and don't have anything), travel costs, taking a day off, etc, that's asking a lot. For me: Bridal Shower & Wedding, that's it.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 7 years
I totally feel like Carrie Bradshaw when it comes to this. If I don't ever end up getting married, what do I get? Bupkis? It's totally unfair and I have opted out of events for this very reason. The amount of money spent on friends' weddings can get out of hand and I'm not seeing any return on investment!
skigurl skigurl 7 years
i agree, it would be awkward to arrive without a gift, but you can certainly tone down the gifts to be small tokens at each subsequent party...i think the bride would understand...i know i would understand if you were in my wedding party!!! i think your being present, your helping out, your standing by my side, and your being reliable is the greatest gift you can give, so don't worry about going totally overboard every time
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