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bridal shower - gift etiquette

Bridal Showers Etiquette: Gift Q&A

For some brides, it is better to give than to receive. Here are bride's top questions about the gift-giving process.

Photo: Anita Calero

Q: I'm really shy. Do I have to open presents in front of everyone?

A: Sorry to say it, but yes. When guests take the time to buy you the perfect bridal shower gift, they expect to see you open them (and enjoy your reaction to them!). There are ways to dim the spotlight, though. Enlist your bridesmaids to help speed up the process: They might create an unwrapping assembly line where they tear off tape, remove the wrapping, and open the card -- so all you have to do is open the box, read the card, and show your appreciation. Or consider having an activity during the gift-opening process. Guests could sign a "words of wisdom" book, create a page for your bridal shower scrapbook, or pass around the presents so the focus is on the goods, not you.

Q: Should wedding registry information be mentioned in the invitation?

A: Since the foundation of a bridal shower is to, well, shower the bride with gifts, it's perfectly acceptable to list where the couple is registered, as well as any theme gift ideas (i.e., a "sex in the kitchen" bridal shower where guests bring something for the bedroom and the kitchen).

Q: What do I do if the gift is a bit provocative? Do I still pass it around for everyone to see?

A: If it's a negligee or another piece of lingerie, hold up the item so guests can ooh and aah, but refrain from passing it around. If your invitees have a good idea of who's attending the bridal shower (Grandma, your mother-in-law) they will probably buy something tasteful and appropriate. There's no reason to be embarrassed over beautiful underpinnings. But if someone has gone out on a limb and showered you with, say, "honeymoon essentials," it's probably best to leave everything in the box and share a witty quip, something like, "I'd rather leave this present to everyone’s imagination."

Q: I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to change my name. How do I make sure I don't get any monogrammed gifts?

A: Unless you put out an APB (All Presents Bulletin), which wouldn't be the most couth idea, you don't really have a choice in the matter. But you can try to spread the word. Share this information with your mom, your future mother-in-law, your bridesmaids, and whoever is hosting the bridal shower. Unless your wedding registry details are listed on the invitation, guests will usually ask one of these key people for guidance. At this point, your team can mention that you'd prefer to stay away from monogramming.

See More: The Bridal Shower