Q: I’ve been invited to a friend’s bridal shower but am unable to attend. Do I still need to send a gift? If so, how much should I spend?
A: Yes, send a gift anyway. Believe it or not, it’s the wedding gift that’s not required, although most people do give presents for both the bridal shower and the wedding. As far as the amount to spend, it really depends on your budget and how close you are to the bride. There are no hard-and-fast rules as to what shower gifts should cost, and I’m sure your friend will appreciate whatever you give her. Why don’t you ask if she’s registered and, if so, refer to her gift list? Most brides sign up for a variety of items in all price ranges, so you should be able to find something affordable. If she is not registered, ask her family or bridesmaids if there’s anything in particular she needs for her home. There are a multitude of kitchen and bed and bath products to choose from, as well as decorative gifts like picture frames, serving pieces, vases, candlesticks or photo albums. You also might consider giving her a gift that’s a bit more unusual, such as antique linens or teacups or a decorative vintage mirror.