An invite to a bridal/ couple shower and wedding is not uncommon during the wedding season, especially if you are good friends or related to the couple. But attending these events takes time as well as money, and also makes you wonder about the cost of a shower and wedding gift.
Weddings are expensive, but seems like a couple getting married is not the only one feeling the holes in their pockets getting wider, it’s the bridal party as well.
According to the 2017 survey by The Knot an average guest can spend close to $118 on gifts and the hotel, clothes, travel can cost almost $900. And you are not the average guest this time around, you are the special guest who attends more than just the BIG wedding!
Is A Shower And A Wedding Gift Important?
Attending a wedding and shower, plus spending money on dress, shoes, makeup etc seems a lot but to answer the big question.
Yes, you should give a shower and a wedding gift. A gift is not mandatory but it is customary.
Chances are you already knew that answer in the back of your mind. But if you are now wondering how much you should give and how to manage your budget. Read on..
Budget For A Shower And A Wedding Gift
Take a look at your wedding gift budget. Try to divide it into a shower and a wedding gift. Keeping the smaller portion of the budget for the shower rather than the wedding gift.
If you are wondering about the wedding budget, here is how much you should ideally give at a wedding.
This is going to affect that big gift you were planning to buy for the wedding but most gift registries have affordable gifts as well. It is also okay to buy something off the registry. I would also suggest you read When Is It Appropriate To Give An Off-Registry Wedding Gift.
It is better to give something less expensive than nothing at all on important occasions.
As a guest, you can courteously decline the invite to the shower. But as a bridesmaid, you can’t get away from the bridesmaid responsibilities to host a shower and be present at the wedding.
Share The Gift Expense
You can’t escape spending money but if you are really in a pinch – attending more weddings than just one as a bridesmaid or close relative. Here are some savvy tips.
Ask Friends To Pool Money For The Shower Gift
Planning a shower for the bride/ couple takes a lot of planning, effort, and money. If you can host the shower at someone’s place, that’s superb. If you can’t, the only option left is a restaurant or a party space. The latter is not cheap!
Depending on where you are it can be somewhat expensive, like in NYC! It’s a cost in itself depending on the number of people attending the shower.
Add to that food and drinks and you can end up spending anywhere between $500-$700 easily on the bridal/ couple shower alone. And not to forget our main topic – the gift!
Which brings me to sharing is caring.
You can always consider pooling in money with other bridesmaids instead of going alone at it. This way you can gift something substantial to the bride/ couple. For instance like a spa package or even a household appliance that you know the bride/ couple has been eyeing.
Check With Other Attendees If They Would Like To Pool Money As Well.
Since you have the list of all the people attending the shower do not hesitate to reach out to them to check if they would like to pool money for the gift. Remember they are almost in the same boat as you wondering if they need to buy the shower and a wedding gift, and what to buy.
Goes without saying- the more people that pool in the better gift you can make out of it like gifting the couple a vacation package (you can find affordable vacation packages on every travel site like Expedia and even deal sites like Groupon etc).
Prepare Food or Drinks Instead For The Shower
If you cannot manage to get other bridesmaids on board to pool money for the gift. Don’t fret!
Propose helping with the food instead. Food is a big part of any party. Even showers need good food and drinks.
If you are good at baking try to make cupcakes, snacks etc that won’t hurt your pocket and it will also go to show that you decided to put in time and energy into making the shower a success. Everyone appreciates handmade things better than the store-bought goodies.
If you are not the one blessed with baking skills- ask your mom/ friend/ neighbor/ dog walker whoever you know can bake for help!
Help The Couple Make ‘Thank You’ Gifts
There are a lot of ways to show your love for the couple- gifts are one and then there is also something else that’s called “help”. You can always ask if they need help with their wedding preparations. For instance, help them make ‘thank you’ gifts.
Most couples are so overwhelmed with the wedding preparations that they wish for helping hands all the time. Something tells me they will appreciate your genuine help as much as they would a gift.
And lastly. No matter how bitter this sounds, here is a practical suggestion if you are super tight on budget.
~Reconsider Being The Bridesmaid~
As I said earlier, if you are a guest invited to the shower and the wedding- you can always decline the invitation to any of the events. But if you are the bridesmaid, there is no denying the fact that you will attend both the events and likely spend more time and money than just a regular guest.
If at the moment budget issues sound a bit overwhelming than reconsider being the bridesmaid. It is not worth stressing yourself over.
Speak to the bride and let her know. It is not wrong to-be frank with the bride about it.
Let her know that you are happy for her and appreciate being asked to be the bridesmaid but you can’t afford the expenses at the moment.
Most brides will understand. However, I am sure in this world there are brides that will probably not be too happy to hear that.
A bride might not be in the frame of mind to think about other people’s budget issue of just a few hundred dollars when she herself is fighting the fire on her own wedding planning budget spending thousands of dollars. So what do you do?
A difficult bride is not really an anomaly. But it is better to talk about the issue sooner than later.
The above solution was not the easiest to hear or digest, I hear you! But if your case does not demand drastic action than you can just skip this.
I hope the above ideas have helped you figure out a simple solution and most likely you will not have to resort to the practical solution I listed above. This one is really for the drastic situations which sometimes are quite possible. And if you are truly in a drastic situation, there is no shame in declining to be a bridesmaid.
A couple spends a lot of money on their wedding for the sole reason that their guest can also have a memorable day along with them. Days like these create memories to cherish. As a bridesmaid/ maid of honor or a special guest, you are inevitably a big part of their wedding journey as well.
Your creativity at managing the budget is going to help you enjoy the wedding just as much as the couple would, without feeling guilty about how much cash you have burnt on the wedding already!