Gift card shower?

Djc12March 10, 2005

My daughter and boyfriend are getting married. They've been together for several years, and have a home together. A friend is having a shower for her, and wants to have a gift card shower. I attended a gift card shower last year. I thought the idea of a gift card shower was fine, but would like the opinions of others.

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I am a MOB too. The idea of a shower is to shower the bride with gifts to set up a new household. I have to admit that I would be offended to be invited to a shower requesting me to bring a certain gift. I truly believe the gift itself is up to the giver and should never be dictated. A theme shower like a kitchen shower, or linen shower is one thing, but to dictate what the gift is is in inappropriate to me. Maybe they could register for some of the things they would otherwise purchase with the gift cards and then guests could always ask where they are registered.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 12:19PM
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I wouldn't be offended. But then I don't offend easily. But I wouldn't like it, and I might stay home.

Because it wouldn't be any fun!

The "entertainment" is the opening of the gifts, and the vicarious thrill of seeing what she gets. And the fun of talking about how she'll use these things in her new home, etc.

Also, a gift card isn't much fun to buy. Gift cards are sure great timesavers when you're stumped for ideas, but I don't enjoy giving them--there's no shopping, thinking, anticipating.

The only time I liked giving one was when my friend's microwave broke just before she moved, and I wanted to replace it. So I gave her a gift card and wrote "Target has microwaves!" See? Even then, the gift card was really a specific present. She wasn't OBLIGATED, of course, but I did the "shopping" anyway.

I think other people will react like either Nanaof2, or me. I'd encourage your daughter to register, and then encourage the friend to have some other theme. If people ask her what to get, she can say, "they're registered here, or a gift card is always useful and flexible."

I don't see much difference between
1) buying sheets from their registry at Target
2) buying them a gift card to Target that they use for sheets

Except that, I as the guest don't get to have very much fun!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 3:24PM
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I agree with the two previous posts. I probably wouldn't attend if I thought that the sole purpose of the shower was to see how much the bride could get in the way of gift cards to specific stores. As mentioned, the purpose of a shower is to shower the bride with gifts - gifts of the guests' choosing. If she doesn't need anything, or prefers to choose her own items, then perhaps she doesn't really need a shower.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 9:34PM
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I also would not like a gift card shower....there is so many other things that could be the south years ago they would do a "pounding shower"....guest were ask to bring a pound of daughter had a shower like this and it was alot of fun....many brought baskets full of a pound of sugar,floor, was cans of was toilt paper and paper towels. Just a suggestion....Nora

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 9:06AM
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I would not attend--to me, that's not a shower, it's a money collection party. Cash or cash equivalents are different from gifts. Giving someone a gift you choose and think they will enjoy is one thing (even if it's off a registry list). Being directed to come to a function for the purpose of giving cash or cash equivalents is not only not fun (as Talley Sue said), is not a shower, IMHO.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 9:36AM
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So far it's still unanimous. I would not like to receive an invitation like this, and I would find it in poor taste. Too much like an "invitation" to give someone cash, and totally defeats the idea and fun of a shower. Talley Sue and Nanaof2 really summed it up nicely.

I have never been invited to a "pounding" shower, but I think it sounds like a lot of fun, both for a couple who is starting out from scratch -- they do need things like flour and toilet paper! -- and like djc12's daughter and boyfriend, who set up house together years ago and presumably have all the basics. It would be fun to see how creative people got with the "pound" theme -- a pound of stationery? A pound of DVDs? A hammer?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2005 at 9:27PM
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All of you guys have some valid points. Maybe you can help me out with some suggestions. I currently live in Louisiana, but am moving to Hawaii immediately after my wedding. My fiance is in the Navy and has gotten stationed there. The Navy will move all of his stuff but only a small portion of mine. For several reasons, we cannot have the wedding shower until AFTER his stuff is scheduled to be shipped, so a gift card shower is a good option. Since my guests will be missing out on the fun of gift opening, what are some things that I could do to make the shower enjoyable and appealing to them?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Ashley, this was discussed at length in the post "Shower for an Out of Town Bride" further down the page. It might help you to look at it for some ideas. One suggestion is to let guests know you will be moving interstate after the wedding and their common sense will tell them that a gift of a suitable size for shipping is better, or they can have the gift shipped to your new address and you open a picture of it, or similar. It doesn't have to be all gift cards (which are not terribly fun to watch brides open).

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 10:30AM
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Pardon my bluntness, but shouldn't the shower be about the happiness of the bride, not the happiness of the guests at her shower? I think a gift card shower is a splendid (and sometimes necessary) idea, particularly when people have no way of transporting a truckload of items from the shower location to their home state. I am all about tradition, but I think it far from "bad taste" to throw a gift card shower. And in my humble opinion, anyone who would be offended by such an invitation is obviously more concerned with her own happiness that that of the couple.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 12:05PM
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"shouldn't the shower be about the happiness of the bride, not the happiness of the guests at her shower?"

So would it be okay to invite people to a bridal shower and then only serve food to and provide a chair for the bride? Why not then just skip the party and "invite" people to send the bride gift cards or checks, so she doesn't even have to come into town? After all, it's all about HER convenience, right?

Sorry, I disagree. Of course the happiness of the guest of honor is important -- the main point of the shower.

But a shower is still a party. With guests -- in fact, "paying" guests, as they have bought a present. And a host of any party, including a shower, has a responsibility to consider the feelings, preferences, comfort, and tastes of all their guests, not solely those of the guest of honor.

Besides, note that hardly anyone used the word "offended." We just said that a gift card shower strikes many of us as too close to an invitation to give cash to be in great taste, and also that it would be very boring for the guests.

And of course you are free to disagree; if you like gift card showers, fine. But there is no need to insult those who feel differently from you by accusing them of being "obviously more concerned with [their] own happiness than that of the couple." That is neither polite nor accurate. People can adore the couple and want their happiness to the point of being willing to donate a kidney -- that doesn't mean that they don't get bored watching someone open a stack of envelopes or enjoy feeling like they are being shaken down. I certainly care about the happiness of my son and his fiancee. But I would not be very proud of or impressed with them if they considered themselves not just the most important, but the ONLY important people involved with their wedding.

There are lots of ways to solve the problem of a shower for a bride who has to travel by air. Telling the guests that their pleasure is to be sacrificed to increase the efficiency of the bride's maximum haul is not a good one.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 4:25PM
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Wow. I am a professional wedding coordinator and it's extremely in fashion right now to do a gift card shower! Most couples already have homes established or are combining two already established homes and therefore do not need most household items. When a bride asks my opinion about wording, I suggest making it sound like a party in honor of the couple (usually it's a couples shower) and at the bottom put that they are registered at Target and Home Depot (for example). Then I tell the bride to just register for gift cards on the registry. That way the guests either can take a hint that they don't need anything, and if the guests would like to get something, they can get a gift card or feel free to buy whatever they want for the couple. C'est en vogue.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 10:30AM
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I believe you that gift card showers are fashionable now -- at least where you live; I've never been invited to one. And things do indeed change.

Still, as a professional coordinator, you might share with your clients what posters on this and many other strings and boards have said -- as you see, the vast majority of them don't like gift card showers much or at all. Even if we are not proportionately representative of society in general, it's likely that many of their guests, even in communities where this is "fashionable," feel the same way. Remember, just because people are too polite to complain to their hosts doesn't mean that they don't dislike it.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 12:38PM
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um, wow. some of y'all aren't very creative. a gift card shower isn't just about acquiring money. i've been to quite a few and my favorite was one where the invite came with suggestions about how NOT to make it a money-grub fest (not in those words, obviously). guests were instructed to by gift cards to create an experience, i.e. a movie theater gift card and an ice cream shoppe gift card for a night out experience. or a couples' massage gift card for something romantic. or a wine tasting event gift certificate. she got some very unique gifts that allowed their honeymoon to last beyond their first 7 days after the wedding. for the couple who already has everything they need for everyday life, think outside the box!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 12:36PM
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I was actually looking for wording for a gift card shower for my sister. She lives in CA (California) and we are in PA (Pennsylvania) which are VERY far away. I just wanted to make that clear for all the people who are getting upset bc they are invited to a gift card shower. It would cost us tons of money to get the gifts shipped back to CA and thought it was a great idea. When you go to a shower you buy gifts off a registry (unless you are one of those weirdos who gets the couple things that you feel that they need) so your buying off a suggested list anyway. Isnt there anyone who can help with the wording of the invite? Serious help only. I dont want to hear your whining!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 8:29PM
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Kristy, your post is so charming and polite -- particularly the name-calling ("weirdos") and the delightful coda of "I dont want to hear your whining!" -- that I am sure you will have no trouble coming up with gracious wording without any help from the posters on this board.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 1:03AM
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I an also a wedding coodinator, in the West. Gift card showers are not popular here and this is the first I have heard of them being popular in other areas. People here still like to give gifts and enjoy seeing the bride open them and being able to ooh and ahh over what they receive.

Kristy, if you plan to include any of your sister's friends in CA in the shower, you might want to find out if such things are done in her area.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 10:18PM
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Gift card showers are not popular at all where I am from either, the Northeast. Where are you from Jmitc? I consider them to be in very poor taste. You are telling your guests exactly what to bring as a gift. The guests don't get the pleasure of choosing for themselves what gift to bring. Let's face it...this IS a money grab party pure and simple. Seems like the party would be boring as h@ll also. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:55AM
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I've already given my opinion, so I will just add that I am in the midwest, and I've never seen or heard about a gift card shower here, either.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 1:50PM
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One of my concerns with the idea of a gift card shower is the potential to embarrass guests who don't give as much as others. We give gifts based on our budgets, or we should. To, in effect, put our financial situations out there for examination by people we may not even know can create embarrassment even if it is unintentional. I prefer not to go there.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 8:42PM
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There are so many other ways to handle a bride who has to transport stuff a long ways.

Have a "shoebox shower," and ask the guests to give a gift that will fit in a shoebox. They might have alot of fun with it. (And they might arrange to have the heavy KitchenAid mixer held for the bride to pick up at her local Macy's, or shipped for free to her home)

I also think the hostess can send a follow-up e-mail, or slip a note into the invitation, that says: "Please remember that the bride will have to transport her gifts home. If you decide to give a bulky gift, consider shipping the gift to her ( has free shipping) and present a stand-in at the shower"

But mostly, people will figure it out as long as they know that the bride has to transport gifts.

And if the situation is that the couple has a lot of stuff already, then there is no need for a "general housewares" type of generic shower. If a gathering is desired, it should have a theme to guide guests toward a gift that will truly be useful: a music shower, a recipe/ingredients shower, a honeymoon shower (for guide books, sunscreen, lingerie), a gadgets shower, a book shower, a 'backyard' or plant shower, etc.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:33PM
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I have just received a gift card shower that states drop by from 1 to 3 pm. I will not be attending and I will not send anything by mail. This is so rude to tell me to buy a gift card and just drop it by.
The couple is expecting and a baby shower is already in the planning stages. If it is treated the same way I will ignore it also. After the birth of the baby I will give the grandparents a gift for the baby. I view this the same as being invited to a birthday party and the invitation says bring a gift. I think many couples will be missing out due to this way of having showers. The younger group just seem to be in such a hurry for everything and they don't want to be bothered returning duplicate gifts etc. however; it is MY money and I will spend it as I please!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 12:13PM
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rosajoe, that is really disgusting. I agree, it's nothing more than an "invitation" to fork over money (in the form of gift cards) -- and they aren't even going to entertain you at all. Do they at least give you some refreshment when you drop in? Or do you just drop off the loot and leave?

I wouldn't want to participate, either.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 4:47PM
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OMG! Can people get any more ungracious and tacky?! Here's what I want and here's when to just drop it off. You can't even really call this a "shower".I can not imagine any of my friends or family sending out such an outrageous invitation but if they did I wouldn't even rsvp to it. This really takes the cake for improper invitations. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 5:50PM
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I was given a gift card shower with a twist - the guest each included with their card a picture of thing they most wanted to give me and why. This was a really nice way of putting some thought into a gift that is somewhat seen as not very "thoughtful".

My now husband and I were already established in a home together for a few years and we really didn't need any of the tradtional gifts that would be given at a shower. My invitation just said if you wanted to bring a gift a gift card would be appreciated or you could donate to a particular charity and that nothing was expected of our guests, just to attend and have a good time.

I think attending a party for someone you care about and spending time with them is more important than passing judgement on them and the things they do.

I still have a few gift cards left and I feel very grateful when I can put one to good use and buy something for my family from one of my friends. I always let them know how I used it and plan on using up all my cards next month for a big party I'm throwing all my friends - who thank goodness are nothing like gellchom.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 3:45PM
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Hahaha! Now that last post is very funny. Gellchom is one of the most classy, polite, logical people I've "met" on these forums. I'm sorry for you that your friends are nothing like her - - - but birds of a feather do flock together.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 6:34PM
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Foxxxglove, that was really tacky. The gift card shower may have worked for you, but that doesn't mean some of the guests didn't raise their eyebrows when they received the invitation.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:09PM
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Wow, I've never encountered such narrow minded judgemental people! If Gellchom is the benchmark for classy, polite and logical on these forums then I'll start reading another forum.

The people I have in my life don't "raise their eyebrows", they communicate with me - and if anyone thought my shower was uncomfortable for them they would have told me. More than half of the people invited thanked me for having this type of shower as they had no idea what to get me. You may "raise your eyebrows" at other peoples actions but that doesn't mean everyone is as judgemental as you are.

So go to your "acceptable" parties and sit in judgement on them. I'm sure you won't like the food, or what your hostess is wearing and the little gift she gives you for sharing the day with her won't be right either. Eventually you'll be alone, wondering why no one calls or invites you anywhere.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 3:13PM
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Soooo, foxxxglove, you are using the gift cards that where meant for you as a shower present and you are using them to give a party for friends...and you let the gift card donors know what their gift to you is going towards? Why bother having a picture of what you want? Is there no end to your lack of graciousness or decorum? NancyLouise

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 5:50PM
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Nancy Louise - if my friends and family have no issue with this why do perfect strangers? Some of my gift cards are going to expire so instead of them going waste I thought I would use them to throw a party for my friends and family (who would be the same people who came to my shower) as I don't usually have parties as I can't really afford this type of expense, to say "thanks". I guess I could go out and buy myself something I would really need or use but this seems wasteful and spending time with people I care about seemed to me like a better idea.
I live on a very tight budget and giftcards for everyday use like grocery stores, gas cards, department stores have been a god-send to me. I don't need another lamp, or set of sheets, my kitchen has all the utensils it will hold. I don't need the latest or best of anything and my friends and family know this. The bought me what I would need to make my life eaiser in my first years of marriage when things would be tough. This was the greatest gift they could give me - peace of mind that I would be meeting my bills and getting a good start in life due to the fact that their gift cards would pay for the little day to day things I would need. IF that meant that couldn't watch me open up a set of dishes or a bunch of towels, they really didn't mind.
Maybe you have no issue making ends meet but I don't have a big house, I don't wear the latest fashions, I don't have everything I want, I live fairly basicly and money can be a stuggle for me from time to time.
I'm sorry you all think this is tacky or that my friends and family who had this shower for me really are talking behind my back about how ungracious and tacky I am but you must live in a different world than I do where people care more about the party than what it's truly meant for - helping a new couple get a good start.
I posted the original message as I thought that it was very one-sided and that certain posters were using words to describe this type of party as disgusting and I thought I would try to give another opinion as there are people around who would really appreciate this type of shower.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 4:45PM
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foxxxglove, I am sorry that you were offended.

Please read our posts carefully, though. I think you may be misunderstanding something.

Although it is true that I don't care for gift card showers, I don't think that they are "disgusting" or "tacky," and I never said that I did.

When I used the word "disgusting," it was (quite clearly, I think) in response not to gift card showers, but to the type of "party" that rosajoe described in the immediately preceding post: no party at all, just an "invitation" to drop off gift cards at a certain time.

I am guessing that such an invitation would be a turn-off to you, too, because you care so much about hospitality that you are using your gift cards not to buy yourself necessities, but to give a party for your friends -- even at a time when money is very tight.

As for gift card showers generally, although I am sure you are quite correct that "there are people around who would really appreciate this type of shower," including more than half of your own guests, take it as valuable information when doing future planning that there are also very many who don't.

You may think that they are snobs or judgmental, and maybe you are right, but you can't change how they feel. So if -- and I do mean IF; I'm not saying that you should -- you care how it will look to them, now you have information to use or not as you choose.

In any case, although of course people often disagree here, we do try to avoid ad hominem attacks on other posters. It really adds nothing to the discussion.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 5:27PM
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So Foxxxglove, you admittedly are on a very tight budget. It is a struggle to make ends meet at times,etc. But you are going to have a party because as you put it, to use the gift cards for necessities or something you really need is "wasteful". Do I have that right? Yeah...and you say we here have poor judgement. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 6:36PM
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nancylouise - no you read this correctly - it should say "wouldn't really need" (regarding using the giftcards for the party - I should have proof read more carefully but there seems to be no way to edit on these posts). And no I didn't say you have poor judgement - just that you are judgemental.

Gellchom - my feeling when reading and now re-reading these post is that whenever anyone expressed an opinion other than - "I think it's in poor taste" - the poster seemed to get beat up alittle bit. You yourself went over the top a little bit on one poster when she thought that the bride should be the first consideration at a party and not the guests - (you posted - "So would it be okay to invite people to a bridal shower and then only serve food to and provide a chair for the bride? Why not then just skip the party and "invite" people to send the bride gift cards or checks, so she doesn't even have to come into town? After all, it's all about HER convenience, right? "
Of course the guests are important but the day is for the bride. And I think this exaggeration was really unnecessary.

I'm just about done with this site as I've really been made to feel very unwelcome. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my posts Gellchom - If I misunderstood I am sorry as well.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 4:10PM
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I am hosting a Bridal luncheon for an older bride (2nd marriage). She has requested gift cards since she and her husband are combining two households into one. Some people have told me this is inappropriate. I also need an idea for displaying them. I thought of a basket with flowers and ribbons and stick the gift cards in the basket. It was also suggested a tree with the cards hanging from the tree.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 3:00PM
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I know this thread is old, and presumably the last poster, Marsha, has already held the shower she referred to.

I'm struck by the number of people who give as a reason for a gift card shower (or other gift-directed event) that the bride and groom already have what they need--already have their own household, combining two households, etc.

My reaction is, then why have a shower? Why not have a non-gift event such as a luncheon comprise of the bride's family and close friends?

Sometimes it seems that some people feel that a certain number of gift-giving events are an entitlement that goes with getting married. If the couple doesn't need "shower stuff" then why not another type of celebration to make a fuss over the bride?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 11:05AM
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I know, mary_md7 -- we've all been saying exactly that for years: "Then why have a shower?" There are so many other nice parties you can have to honor a bride and groom.

It seems to me that people have been brainwashed into thinking that they are entitled to have people spend a certain amount on them, and if they don't need or want household items for a wedding or shower, well, then, they should be given the same amount of cash anyway in some other form.

To me, that makes as much sense as, "No, thank you, I will have eaten already before I arrive, so don't set a place for me -- but since you won't have to pay for my meal, can I please have the cash value of what it would have cost or a gift card instead?"

I still haven't been invited to any gift card showers, by the way.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 4:48PM
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Thank you Mary! And I agree with you completely! If they don't need or want more 'stuff' -- and many older successful couples don't -- then don't give them more STUFF!

Don't put a time-crunched bride in the position of having to write 50 warm gracious and personal 'thank you' notes to people who had to fork over cash they may not have been able to easily spare and agonize over what to buy for a bride who doesn't need or want it!

Give the bride and groom a relaxed, happy event with their friends and family there to wish them well and toast their happiness.

That's what EVERYONE in that position should want!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:53AM
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