Swoon-worthy bridal shower gifts

What to buy for a shower gift can be a tough decision.  If you're a guest, it never hurts to stick to the registry or buy a gift-card to a store that you know that bride and groom will like.  However, if you're a bridesmaid or the mother of the bride or groom, or if the bride is a special friend, you may want to step up your game a bit and give the bride something a little more thoughtful and special.  Here are a few tried and true hits:

* Months of the Year: This takes awhile, but is well worth the effort.  My mother did this for me for my bridal shower and I still hear raves about it (and honestly, am still touched by the gift).  Essentially, you give the bride 12 boxes, one for each month and explain why each gift is appropriate for that month. January can be hot cocoa mix and mugs; February maybe a Chinese cookbook for the Chinese new year; April can be Easter items; June can be BBQ supplies; October can be Halloween; December can be Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa.  You can keep it simple with one gift per month or go further and do a box filled with stuff.

* Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue: This gift is also a lot of fun to give and to receive and is based on the tradition of the bride having something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue on her wedding day.   Some ideas:

-something old: an antique for her home; a family heirloom; a classic book that she loves; an old photo in a lovely frame.

-something new: something off of her registry; a gift that seems totally her style.

-something borrowed: loan her something that you carried on your wedding; give her a cookbook and let her "borrow" recipes from the author - may I suggest Barefoot Contessa? I {love} Ina Garten more than words can say.

-something blue: blue lingerie, a baby blue spatula for her kitchen, a blue kitchen towel.

* Christmas Ornaments: there are kits out there like this one that follow the German tradition of giving a bride a set of ornaments for her Christmas tree, all containing symbols of love, family and marriage. Rather than buy the kits, I prefer to find my own ornaments and substitute certain things if needed.  It is more fun that way, albeit a lot more work.

* Wine Lover's gift: My mother-in-law did this for me and I loved it: she bought a big basket and filled with all sorts of wine themed items: a corkscrew, some cheese plates, a few bottles of wine (ahh, she knows the way to my heart), and some bottle stoppers.

* Cooking Lessons: This is a great one if you know the bride can't cook or loves to cook ... or is anywhere in between!  You can get some cooking lessons for her and her fiance and then pick up a whisk and bowl and tie them all together.  How fun is that?

* Early Honeymoon: Most couples are delaying their departure for the honeymoon until two days after the wedding.  You could buy a night's stay in a really luxe hotel room for them to spend the night before they leave on their honeymoon - just be sure to pick a hotel that has easy access to the airport.  It's a great way to kick off the honeymoon.

* Honeymoon-themed gift: Find out where the bride and groom are honeymooning and base your gift around that.  If they're headed to Hawaii, get beach accessories for them: towels, sunscreen, flip-flops, magazines & books for the flight; if they're going to Europe, get some Euros, a handful of travel books, maybe some wine from the countries to which they're traveling.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for thinking outside the (gift) box. haha.  What is your favorite creative gift to give?

See you swoon,

{photo courtesy of Country Living}

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