Tonight, while watching a re-run of How I Met Your Mother (hands down my favorite current show on TV...sorry Lost*, but you need to step it up), I was reminded of the fact that some girls aren't aware of the difference between bridal shower and bachelorette gifts. And by some girls, I mean me, at a good friend's shower about a year ago. (And trust me, seeing as it was about my 15th shower, I should have known better). This episode of HIMYM told the story of how Robin attended Lily's bridal shower. Thinking everyone would be drinking, feeling crazy, and giving risqué gifts, she bought Lily a crazy gift from a "specialty" shop and was horrified to arrive to the party and find herself surrounded by Lily's grandma, mother, friends and cousin...who was about to become a nun. While my own experience wasn't this extreme, I was still embarrassed nonetheless. What did I bring?
For me, the gift was not embarrassing out of context. My friend Julia and I chipped in to buy the bride-to-be a cute--but skimpy--white string bikini that said "just married" across the bottom in sparkly letters. It was perfect for our friend--a girl who was madly in love with her fiance, extremely girly, and just innocent and sweet enough to be able to pull off this type of get-up on the beach and have people react positively. The problem occurred when I thought we were giving this to her at the shower when, in obvious reality, it was her bachelorette gift. Interestingly enough, a string bikini with rhinestones on the butt seems a little out of place when opened up next to a KitchenAid Mixer, cookbooks, and high thread count sheet sets. Luckily, I didn't bring the suit to the shower because I realized my error beforehand, but not luckily, it was so late in the game (think an hour before I had to leave for the event) that I didn't even have time to buy another gift, and in turn, had to explain to the bride why I was empty-handed. Which was almost as awesome as the run-on sentence you just read.
The bottom line is to think of showers as events to help prep the bride as a homemaker and bachelorette parties to help prep the bride for her honeymoon and the bedroom. You're pretty much in the clear if you stick to the bride's registry, but if you want to get creative with your gift (which I am a huge fan of) just ask yourself--would I be comfortable having her open this in front of her grandma (if her grandma was extremely modest)? And if you do happen to arrive at a shower and feel your present is an inappropriate choice, keep your gift and explain what happened to her afterwards. You can send her the bridal shower gift later and give her the lingerie/whip/maid costume at her bachelorette party. The good thing is that most brides-to-be were guests at one time, so they tend to be understanding and gracious about it. It's not the worst thing in the world, and a lot of other cultures combine showers and bachelorette parties, so you can always plead the "I was raised this way!" excuse.
Have you ever brought the wrong kind of gift to a shower or event? Do you think the rules should just be thrown out anyway?
*Lost Sidebar: Does anyone else feel like they're in a dying long-term relationship with Lost? At one point, you were sure this was The One, but now everything the person does annoys you, you're holding out because you have put too much time and effort into it to give up so easily, but part of you is terrified that you wasted all these years to be left with nothing but frustration? Anybody? I may need to take my TV-watching less seriously.