It’s true, bridesmaids – on top of spending money on your bridesmaid dress, shoes, hair stylist, make-up artist, bridal shower, and bachelorette party, you do have to buy gifts for the happy couple!  But how much do you have to spend?  Can you buy off the registry or are you supposed to get creative?  Can you count a really big shower gift as the wedding gift as well?  I hear these questions from girls all the time, so I am here today to answer all these, and help you stick to your own budget while still making a great impression with your gifts to the bride and groom.

**How much money do I have to spend on a shower and wedding gift?  As a rule of thumb, you will spend more on a wedding gift than on the shower gift.  I would recommend at least $40-$50 on the shower gift, and $100 on the wedding gift.  This depends on your own personal budget, though, so don’t freak out!  If you can’t spend this amount, find someone to go in on a gift with you so that it’s more affordable.  I’ve mentioned this before, but there is nothing wrong with group gifts.  Personally, I love them because the bride and groom get something fabulous, and no one had to break the bank to buy it for them.  My best friends bought my husband and I the Dyson Animal Vacuum when we got married, and I was thrilled.  It’s a $600 vacuum that we never would have bought for ourselves, but they knew how much I needed it (due to my furry beast of a dog), so they all pitched in.  Sentimental, no, but they did plenty of sentimental things for me for my wedding.

**What kind of gift am I supposed to buy for the bridal shower?  Pay attention to the theme of the shower, and that will guide your gift buying.  If you’re in the wedding, you are likely helping to plan the shower so make sure you talk to the bride about this.  If she wants a personal shower, that means fun stuff for the bride…lingerie, pampering products, fun things to take with her on her honeymoon, etc. 

If she wants gifts off her registry – easy.  Buy her gifts off her registry.  Some couples are just starting out and really need all that stuff, so even if it seems boring, know that you’re buying something to help her make a home. 

**Can I buy combination gift for the shower and wedding?    NO!  This makes me think of my poor dad, whose birthday is Christmas day.  He spent his childhood getting those combo gifts, and my mom has always made sure we separate the two events.  So maybe I have a personal bias on this one, but no one ever wants to get a combo gift.  Just don’t do it.

**Should I buy a wedding gift off the registry, or should I get creative?  I think either is fine here.  If you are short on cash, get creative.  For the wedding, the bride and groom are going to receive tons of gifts from their registry, so a few sentimental gifts from their bridal party will be fun for them.  One of my girlfriends had the musical notes from the bride and groom’s first dance printed out, and framed the page with a photo from their first dance.  The photo is still hanging in their house, and is a great reminder of their special day.  If you spend a lot of time with the bride and groom, you could also put together a photo album that tells the story of their relationship, and leave room to add photos of the wedding and honeymoon.

**Do I have to buy a gift for the bachelorette party?  Yes, but just something small and fun.  I’m afraid to give ideas here because most of my bachelorette party experience involves gifts I wouldn’t share with my mother….maybe not appropriate for public reading.  🙂   You know what to do – get online and have fun with this.  Just be respectful of your bride.  If she is very conservative, don’t shop at the dirty stores for her!