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You Asked: Do I Have to Buy a Gift For Every Party?

Dear Sugar,

I'm a bridesmaid this Summer in the wedding of one of my closest friends. She comes from a a very traditional Southern family, and she is having a ton of parties to celebrate her upcoming nuptials. Since I'm in her wedding party, I'm invited to all of them. I'd love to attend them all if I can, but buying a gift for all these parties is really going to break my bank. Is it tacky as a bridesmaid not to bring a present to every occasion? — Broke Brook

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear Broke Brook,

I've said it once and I'll say it again — being in a wedding is expensive, and there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to bridesmaid etiquette. When a bride asks you to be a part of her special day, she's asking you to do her a big favor, so my advice to you is to attend what you can, but try not to feel obligated to make an appearance at every party, let alone bring a gift to each one. When you factor in travel costs, dress costs, hair and makeup costs, and buying engagement party and shower gifts, it's no wonder being a bridesmaid can make your bank account feel depleted.

If you do decide to attend every event and you don't want to come empty-handed, buy something less expensive off the couple's registry, such as kitchen towels, a cookbook, or that great wooden spoon they've had their eyes on. If you don't mind coming empty-handed, I'm pretty certain your bride will just be honored to have you there. Now if this specific wedding is one of many this Spring, try to make it to at least one of her events. Since you're a part of her wedding day, chances are you're one of her closest friends so hopefully she'll be understanding about your time and budget constraints.

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Join The Conversation
MrsJigglesworth MrsJigglesworth 9 years
Personally, I would take smaller gifts to each.
humblebee24 humblebee24 9 years
I will be going to two showers for my friend's wedding, I'm one of the four bridesmaids. I had another idea for the bride that I welcome your comments on. It's a small way to show the bride how much we care and help alleviate some of the stress a bride can experience in the final days leading up to her wedding day, bringing a big smile to her face. I'm going to all the wedding guests postcards addressed to the bride. Inside the envelope I send to them (with the postcard inside) I'll write a short note from "the bridesmaids" asking them to shower the bride and groom with love the week of the wedding. They can write their own personalized note on the postcard and mail it to the bride about 2 weeks before the wedding. Then, the soon-to-be mr. and mrs. will be treated to a mailbox full of good wishes, motherly advice and girly prose galore as they head into marital bliss. Let me know what you think of this idea and if you have any recommended places that I go look at for cards/postcards! Thanks.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I would decide what you'd like to give as a gift and then decide which party is the most appropriate to give this gift at. You might want to speak with other bridesmaids and go all in on one of the bigger gifts or just see if they think it would work if you all gave your gift at a certain party. That way you won't feel bad if you only give at one party if all the other maids are doing the same thing.
Kkkkkkkkkkk Kkkkkkkkkkk 9 years
I'm stunned at this! Bridal showers aren't done here in any case, but I can't believe some people have multiple showers, and that people would bring a gift to that and then another gift to the wedding?? That's nuts! I'm sure your friend is not expecting multiple gifts from you. I'm with Karlotta... when we got engaged we genuinely couldn't believe that family members gave us gifts, we weren't expecting it at all. So then when we had an engagement party we decided we didn't want our friends thinking that if they came to the party they'd have to get us something so we put "We don't want your presents, just your presence!" on the invites... since we'll be getting married abroad and people will have to travel we'll give a similar message for the actual wedding, phrased a little more formally perhaps!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
emalove, I've never heard of a Jack 'n Jill party... what is it?
mlen mlen 9 years
omg how many showers?! geez! my friends all had one each. that is it! my one friend got married 8 hours away and her shower was 8 hours a away and she didn't even invite us to it cause she didn't want us to give her gifts lol she just wanted us to come to the wedding instead! (we threw her our own mini shower with gifts though). i can't imagine more than one shower!
karlotta karlotta 9 years
All this made me so nauseated, I'm going to bed.
karlotta karlotta 9 years
Screw all that. When has getting married become the fast track to bleeding your friends dry in order to get a mountain of gifts? Wow. I'm so flabbergasted. When I get married, the invitation will say two things: 1. Please wear whatever you want. Jeans and tuxedos equally accepted. 2. The only gift I want is your drunken presence. Anybody looks at you weird because you aren't shelling out money for their wedding is just a greedy bad friend. In my book.
emalove emalove 9 years
My best friend is getting married in July and having a bridal shower in May. She and her fiance are also having a Jack n' Jill party in June. I only plan on bringing a gift to the shower...I'll probably just bring some booze and offer to make some food for the Jack n' Jill. I don't think it's necessary or proper etiquette to bring a gift to every party.
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 9 years
If you're closer to ant particular ones, you could consider making something personal like a video for them or a collage of pictures -- so it's meaningful but still cost-efficient.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
Give her a multi-part gift or a set of something, and give her each part of it at each party.
petite42 petite42 9 years
I agree with everyone else. However, if you still want to do something inexpensive, get creative: 1) Decide what you're giving her for a wedding present (something unusual, unique, NOT from the registry), then at each shower, take a pretty, small box and put a clue inside it. The clue can be handwritten or a photo ripped from a magazine, or whatever. Build up her anticipation, guessing about what your wedding gift might be. 2) Similar idea, but instead of clues, make the boxes contents each contain a tip about how to have a successful marriage. These could be quotes from other married couples you both know, famous married couples (alive and dead), humorous tips from the past (1950s, victorian era). For example, when I got married the first time, at my bridal shower, my SIL wrapped up a polaroid photo of my brother scrubbing out the toilet, and wrote a funny note explaining that this was the key to marital bliss - a man willing to do housework!! 3) For each party, video tape an interview with one of her family members, talking about their own marriages. Or videotape her friends talking about how they knew when she was in love and had met "the one." 4) Offer that your present to her will be to take photos at each party and at the wedding. Then upload the photos to a place like kodakgallery, and then after the parties and the wedding is all said and done, compile the photos into a professional-looking, bound album (they have some really nice ones at that site). 5) Tell her your gift to her is that you are going to write out all the thank-you note envelopes and get them stamped. Offer to be the scribe at the party, keeping a list of all the gifts rec'd and from whom. Then after the party, fill out the envelopes, attach a post-it note that lists person and gift. Then all she needs to do is add a personal note and mail them! What bride would not want that?????
julieulie julieulie 9 years
No! You don't have to bring a gift to all the showers, especially if you have to travel. And if you don't live nearby, you don't need to feel obligated to attend everything! I have yet to have any party/showers at which all my bridesmaids were present -- they're just too spread out. My MOH and one of my bridesmaids have brought gifts for each party they have attended, but things on the smaller side. My other bridesmaids have just graced me with their presence -- and that is more than enough! My former college roommate, who moved far, far away (to Arkansas) flew in as a surprise to one of the showers, and just having her show up was the best gift I've received thus far, BY FAR!
lizzylu49 lizzylu49 9 years
Pink, I'm the same way. I truly get joy from buying gifts, so I usually buy something for each wedding event/party for my friends. All of this gift-giving is kind of overboard. Its tough because I have a few sets of people who all want to throw me a shower, plus I already had an engagement party. I'm going to ask my mom to let everyone know that one shower is sufficient (thank you)! Over the past week, I've decided that I'm going to include a "no gifts" message on the shower invitations. How many gifts do I really need, plus people are spending a fortune just to go to the wedding! A true friend would love to have people attend regardless of whether or not they bring a gift, but I understand that it would be awkward to come without one, particularly when the bride usually opens the gifts in front of everyone.
remedios remedios 9 years
Who would even notice other than the bride? Do you check out people on the way in to showers to make sure they have something in hand and if not, follow them around to make sure they eventually bring out an envelope? Of course not! Since you're in the wedding, you're obviously somewhat close, so just tell her that you're really excited to come to all these events, but that instead of bringing small gifts to each one, you're going to bring your main gift to one and not the others. Don't stress over stuff like this. Have fun, don't make it more difficult than it needs to be.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I do not think I know enought people to have 8-10 showers. I guess if I included my Mom's HUGE extended family but half of them I do not know. I would just stick to the small gift idea.
sass317 sass317 9 years
The thing about it is that almost any gift you would get her is probably coming from their wedding registry right?(unless its a lingerie shower)- which really makes it a wedding gift. people only expect one wedding gift, no matter what other name they might give it (engagement gift, shower gift). My parents threw an engagement party for my and my husband and I was really surprised when people showed up with gifts. Our moms had insisted that we start our registry before the party "in case" someone wanted to get us something as soon as they heard we were getting married, but I wasnt expecting any gifts at the party at all. I made sure that my maid of honor knew that even though I was inviting her to every party that she was in NO way expected to bring a gift to them- she was the 'maid geographically closest- everyone else was scattered all over the country. I was just happy she could be there. Dont do more than you would expect from them if you were getting married.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
im a sucker for buying gifts and not just one or two sometimes three or four, i alwways feel obligated too, and the sad thing the gifts are expensive my fiance gets so mad oh well, thats why we work he gets mad when i tell him that, and im getting married next june so we will see what gifts we get
KEG KEG 9 years
Maybe I'm a bad friend, but I just don't go to all the showers! I'm in grad school (and poor!) and my friends are all getting married (also southern). It is crazy how many showers they have! I have been in 2 weddings in the past 2 years that had 8-10 showers. The other 3 weddings I was in have had at least 5 showers. I usually go to 1 or 2 showers and the one that I host/co-host.
smp7328 smp7328 9 years
I agree with kikidawn. I personally think she would be happy if you were at all the parties even if you didn't bring a gift to every one of them.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
on kikidawn's note, you can also say casually to her "i dont have to bring you a present to every party do i? i can't think of that many gift ideas" or "for your present, can i just bring the wine so we can get tipsy" or something, jokingly. she'll probably say "of course not! i just want you there!"
skigurl skigurl 9 years
i don't think you have to bring a "gift" to every party. i'd say, be creative. make a card or buy a really nice card at a fancy paper store, with a very sentimental note. make a CD, or like dear said, buy something useful like a spoon or something inexpensive that they can use, and just attach it with a card and bring it as a gesture. or, bring a bouquet of helium balloons, or a nice champagne for them to have after the wedding. gifts don't have to break the bank. obviously you are close with this person, so i am sure she doesn't expect from you something huge at every gathering. rather, she probably views you as more of a "host" or "helper" at these gatherings, as you are part of her big day. so as such, bring something as a token, not something expensive.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
Great advice Dear. I agree - don't feel obligated to take a gift to every party. You are doing plenty by just being there (plus you are in the wedding!). Just talk to her if you feel uncomfortable about not bringing a gift to every party. I really hope she isn't a 'bridezilla' and is understanding. (I would imagine (and hope) most people would be!)
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