Ask Marco: What to Buy for a Bridal Shower Gift?

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I recently received the following question from a reader:

“A very dear friend of mine’s daughter is getting married. She’s 35 and has lived on her own. Her bridal shower is in a couple of weeks. What is an appropriate gift at this stage in her life and how much is okay to spend? I’ve already sent the wedding gift, which is practical and generous. Oh and by the way, she doesn’t drink alcohol. I appreciate any recommendations you have.”

Gifts for every stage of a wedding are always a challenge, so I thought this question would be helpful to share with other Marco Style readers. Also readers, feel free to share your opinions and ideas in the comments! Here’s the Marco Style take.

The engagement party, the bridal shower, the actual wedding: let’s face it weddings can get expensive. If it’s a dear friend’s daughter who is getting married, I’m sure you are happy for her, but that doesn’t mean every occasion needs to break the bank. I would suggest spending around $40-$60 on your gift with a little wiggle room above or below based on the actual items you choose. Lucky for you, reader, I am 34, have lived alone for my entire adult life, and have bought plenty of bridal gifts for friends in similar situations. Since you went practical for the wedding gift, I’d suggest having some fun with the shower gift. Don’t worry about something she “needs.” Instead, look for something that will enhance the time leading up to the wedding, her wedding day prep, or her honeymoon. Here are some ideas.

L.L.Bean Tote Bag

The classic L.L.Bean tote bag can be used as a carry on bag or pool bag during the honeymoon and for years to come with its classic design and durable manufacturing. There are a variety of styles you can choose from; however I prefer the Boat and Tote, Zip-Top ($35-$50 plus monogramming fees based on the size you choose) because I like having a closure in case the bride does want to use the bag as a carry on for the honeymoon. If you want to get the bag for her, have it monogrammed with her new initials. In the past, I also chose the Boat and Tote, Open-Top ($25-40 plus monogramming fees based on the size you choose) for a friend who regularly went boating and got “The XYZs” featuring her new last name embroidered on it instead of her new initials, thinking she and her husband could use it as a tote on boating excursions they take together. The advantage of no zipper is the bag can more easily hold bulky items like beach towels.

L.L.Bean tote bags are perfect bridal gifts

Tasteful Lingerie

If you feel comfortable purchasing pretty lingerie for the bride, I think this is always a good idea. You don’t have to get something see through or trashy, just a pretty, silk nightgown and maybe a coordinating robe. In my opinion, it’s fun for a new bride to have new things to wear to bed throughout the honeymoon and early weeks of her marriage, so there’s no need to worry about duplicating. This is also a great option because sometimes you can find some beautiful pieces at T.J. Maxx or on sale at Macy’s or Dillard’s, etc., and make it look like you spent much more than you did. For example, this In Bloom Chiffon nightgown is $41.99 on and is guaranteed to elicit “oohs” and “aahs” when the bride pulls it out of the bag at the shower.


A tasteful nightgown is an elegant bridal shower gift

Another much-coveted lingerie option is the Hanky Panky bridal collection. You may not feel comfortable gifting the baby blue “I Do” thong ($31, sponsored link), but the “Bride” hipster lace panties ($39, sponsored link) and a white lacy chemise are so pretty and delicate.


Monogrammed Passport Cover

If the couple is traveling internationally for their honeymoon, this is a classic gift. This one from Leatherology is available in 13 shades and costs $40. Choose a fun color like Kelly Green or Teal and spring for the $15 gold monogramming with her new initials.

A monogrammed passport holder in a fun shade is a perfect gift for a bridal shower.Monogrammed Cosmetic Bags

Another similar option I’ve gifted numerous times is some sort of cosmetic bag with the bride’s new initials. She can use it on her wedding day and on the honeymoon. My new favorite spot for monogrammed items is Mark & Graham. You could choose one size or both of these Canvas with Leather Cosmetics Bags ($25-$35, don’t forget to enter your email address for a 15% first-purchase discount).

Here Comes the Bride Set

This set by Philosophy ($32, sponsored link) is adorably packaged and includes some great products. The Purity Made Simple Facial Cleanser and Hope in a Jar moisturizer are two of my travel bag go-tos because they are mild and effective. Shampoo, shower gel and body emulsion will all also be perfect for the honeymoon or day of the ceremony.

Spa Gift Certificate

No one ever minds a spa day! If I go in this direction, I usually include a message in the card  with a note like “take a break from wedding planning and pamper yourself!” You can pick any spa that’s convenient to where she lives, but if she’s in Richmond Red Door Spa is always a good choice.

His and Hers Nights Out

I have done this twice and had great success—it works well if you know both the bride and groom and their preferences. Get two $25 ish restaurant gift certificates—one for a restaurant the bride likes and one for the restaurant the groom likes. Include a note about taking a break from wedding planning stress and spending time together really getting to know one another’s tastes in the card.

Gift Certificate for a Cooking Class

Both Mise En Place and Sur La Table offer couple’s cooking classes and these make for a fun date night . If you purchase a certificate for either location, print a schedule and include it with the gift.

Do you have a question for Marco Style? Drop me a line at!

  1. The Bridal emergency kit is another idea. You can put one together for the bride or purchase one online. If you do it yourself fill a beautiful cosmetic bag with items like safety pins, fabric tape, small sewing kit, tissues, etc. You can find ideas and lists online also.
    At one shower I attended I took his and her shower / bath terry towel wraps. I found them at TJ Maxx.

    1. Forgot about the emergency kit. Great idea! Monogrammed towel wraps are nice, too. I once did monogrammed beach towels and an L.L.Bean bag for a more extravagant gift.

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