Wedding Wednesday- 10 (Eco-friendly) Ways to be the Favorite Shower Guest

by - Thursday, September 22, 2016

bridal shower pile of gifts

In one lifetime, most women will go to a LOT of bridal showers. Some will be of women who absolutely own our hearts. Others will be for our boyfriend's cousin's fiance where we will awkwardly sit in the corner. Either way, there will be a registry, and there will be a long chunk of shindig where we watch the bride, groom, or both open gifts.

So, how does bridal showering change when you are trying to be eco-friendly or buy local?

It can be a challenge. The couple gets to make an exact list of what they want, and if it turns out to be full of Made in Elsewhere junk that hurts your heart to buy, you can really feel stuck between compromising your own priorities or being the jerk buying decorative birdhouses.

These are my best ideas of how to be an awesome guest, how to break the mold enough to be interesting, but not so much that you are the one they tell stories about later. You can kick ass at bridal showering and stay eco-friendly! Here's how:

1. Pair the Personal with the Practical- Something small and personal makes for the most memorable gifts. One of our friends gave us a little stone with our faces painted on as a wedding gift. It is still one of my favorites. I also received two quilts and a blanket that I love and continue to be in use at our house. If you know the wedding colors or something they might need for the wedding, you could go that route. We received some things that were thoughtful, but not that useful (a lot of decorative platters) and some that were practical but not personal, but if you can combine registry desires with a personalized theme or something you made yourself, you can really nail the gift.

2. Forget Adulting, Put in for the Honeymoon- Looking at the registry and having trouble finding an eco-friendly option? Ugh, that smarts. The couple may be equally happy to accept money OR if you want to go big, ask after their honeymoon and put money specifically toward that. Wedding showers are especially all about practicality, and that can become a drag, so see if you can't invest in a cool memory for them on their trip.

There are registries specific for honeymoon funds, but even if they don't have one, I bet they will love the help. I know one of my friends skipped out on the activity she most wanted to do, because it was too expensive. In retrospect, I wish I could have skipped the wedding/shower gift and put money in for that. Stuff is just stuff, but making new and amazing memories can fuel a marriage.

3. Come Prepared to Have Fun- You want to give your bride a gift? Have a great time. The hosts can only prepare so much- once you get to a party, the fun of the shindig depends on all of the guests. Time to play silly games? Go into it with Olympic intensity to make it awesome. Small talking with the bride's crazy relatives? Lean in, my friend. Don't sit in the corner, only hang out with your people, or worst of all, let someone else be uncomfortable or alone.

At a wedding, in my expert opinion, you are contractually obligated to start the bride and groom's marriage off with a full dance floor and happy faces. Do the shower version of that.

4. Write a Good Note- Showers can be overwhelming events where the bride or groom doesn't get the time they hope for with each guest (I know I felt that way). No matter what you decide to gift, a thoughtful note and some encouragement might be the best gift you can give. Write something personal and genuine, and you could very well make his or her day when they can really go through things without an audience.

5. Skip the Lingerie- No one wants to open something seedy with all of their aunts watching. Maybe someone does, but if you aren't sure that is that bride, just skip it. If you want to do something romantic, buy some gift certificates to local restaurants and invest in some date nights. Seriously, underwear gifts are way more weird than clever.

6. Go in Together for One Gift- Don't hate- collaborate! You may not have the.budget for a really fabulous gift, but you could go in with other guests to go big. We get into this idea that more gifts= better gifts, but there is something to be said for a gift they may not be able to afford themselves. They can go buy a kitchen clock themselves, but a new set of knives might be way out of reach. Not to mention, this gesture might save them from the long, awkward present-opening part of the shindig, which is a lot of pressure.

You can do this two ways- collect money anonymously, and figure out what you an buy with it. Or, pick something first and let people donate with knowledge of the endpoint. Spend less time worrying whether the generosity is equal- it's not a competition.

7. Take Pictures- Ok, maybe this seems silly, but I think one of the best things you can do for a couple on the path to getting married (or having a baby) is to be positive, enthusiastic, and to help document any and all festivities. You get to the other end of things and can feel like it slipped through your fingers, so some pictures from others helps them have a fuller perspective on these days and all of the good stuff happening. It costs you no money, minimal time, and can really be so sweet and thoughtful.

8. Make the Switch or Get out of the Box- Not excited about the registry? You can try to do a switch out using my suggestions on The Eco-Friendly and Made in America Wedding Registry. Don't see anything that speaks to you? What are some other things they will definitely need? What about movie tickets or some other kind of date night? Gift cards for take out places with their menus? A cheese of the month club. Invest in the memories they will make as a couple! Or go a totally different route and cut out a practical concern for them- give them all the quarters they will ever need for laundry with The Simply Co soap and dryer balls. Get them all the tissues they will ever need and a throw blanket for sick days. Get them Amazon Prime or a netflix subscription. By shifting your paradigm to less concrete gifts, you can really come up with something cool.

9. Buy 3 Used Gifts Instead of One New One- This is true for baby showers too- some things on registries (measuring cups, anything glass, kitchen tools) are ALWAYS for sale in consignment and antique stores. Still look at what they want, but get something a little more special and a LOT more cost-effective. You can get 4 kitchen tools at Goodwill for the same cost as one from Bed Bath and Beyond. Way to help them fill up that kitchen AND reduce waste!

10. It's All About Them- Sometimes you know the bride or groom better than others; it is well worth it to keep who they are in mind before you go for it. Maybe they are the kind of people who would LOVE practical gifts like a year's worth of paper towels and toilet paper- think of the drudgery they can skip! Other people would hate it. If you aren't sure, call one of those numbers on the RSVP line and ask them. If it still seems risky, do 60% what they said they want and 40% something a little riskier.

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