Psychic shopper needed!
March 6, 2009 7:58 AM   Subscribe

[GiftBuyingFilter]: I need gift recommendations, mefites! Bridal shower gift for someone who is into IA, running, modern dance, and is the happiest person I've ever met in a non-bubbly way.

I'm not really sure what to get this girl. I want to get her a personal gift as me and my SO are getting the happy couple a joint wedding gift as well. I really like her but have not a chance to get to know her intimately over the last several years. She lives in a different city than we do and her fiance is a friend of my SO's.

I was pleasantly surprised to be included in her small bachelorette party gathering and would like to give her something cool. But I don't know what that is. I don't plan on making a big deal out of it.

Donation to support her favorite zine? Gift card to Zappos? Gift card to Amazon?

The first one sounds kinda cool...the other two kinda generic.

Is there a really good online store for running stuff? I know she plans on running some 1/2 marathons later this year.

I don't want to ask my SO b/c I'm afraid he'll ask HER SO who will ask her.

IDK, maybe this is silly. I've never been a good gifter!
posted by sio42 to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A gift certificate for a gait analysis at a running store, perhaps? (I'm not a runner myself, but it seems like the kind of thing a runner might not want to splurge on for themselves but would enjoy having done if they weren't paying for it.)
posted by ocherdraco at 8:13 AM on March 6, 2009

Find out if she has an ipod and great running headphones - you could get the ipod+. I have other ideas she registered? Talk to the person organizing the shower/bachelorette party - she'll have ideas too.
posted by barnone at 8:17 AM on March 6, 2009

If there's a way to pledge to donate in support of her half marathons, that would probably be awesome. I have a few co-workers that are doing garage sales to meet the amount they pledged to raise in support of the various marathon causes.
posted by politikitty at 8:19 AM on March 6, 2009

What's IA? Iowa? Not snark.
posted by Airhen at 8:35 AM on March 6, 2009

You said you'd like to get something personal, but honestly I think the best gift for a bridal shower is something off of her registry, if she has one. That way you can be sure it is something she wants. And it IS personal--she and her SO picked that stuff out because, presumably, the liked it! If you really don't want to do that (or if she didn't register) I think the best bet is something that is either small or consumable, like a scarf or ipod, nice bottle of alcohol, gift certificate to a spa or restaurant, or tickets to a dance performance maybe?

I don't think that a donation in a friend's name really counts as a gift. Especially at a bridal shower.
posted by Jemstar at 8:35 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would look to the registry, or possibly this list.
Handmade gifts always feel more personal to me, and this site always has something in my price range.
posted by jmchrist at 8:41 AM on March 6, 2009

Road ID is one of the best running gifts I've ever received-- something I'd never have purchased on my own. Basically, it's away to provide vital data if a runner is discovered injured or unconscious. You can even buy them as gifts so the recipient can personalize them. It's a little on the inexpensive side, but goes a long way in the it's-the-thought-that-counts department. I'd avoid the "interactive" version, though, because requires a yearly fee to remain valuable.

Thankfully, I've never had to really "use" it (i.e., I've yet to get incapacitated while running), but I think of the person who got it for me every time I put it on (or remember that I forgot to).
posted by activitystory at 8:44 AM on March 6, 2009

IA= Information Architecture
That's a guess based on the tags, by the way.

Gift cards are not such a great gift IMHO. They say "I can't think of what to get you, why don't you think of something?"
posted by jonesor at 8:51 AM on March 6, 2009

Bridal shower gifts are generally things that go toward setting up the couple's home or their life together. The things you (and honestly most everyone else thus far except Jemstar) are listing sound more like birthday gifts. iPods and running shoe consultations are not good bridal shower gifts. I say this not to be snarky but because you don't really seem to know.

I second the idea of using her registry for its intended purpose. If you really don't want to buy something on her registry, at least take a look at it so you can get in idea of the kind of thing she wants. It's really hard to nail someone's tastes when you don't even really know them that well.
posted by boomchicka at 8:56 AM on March 6, 2009

Is it a bridal shower or a bachelorette? You've used both terms but they're not really interchangeable. A bridal shower is usually an afternoon, casual get-together with gifts from the registry; a bachelorette is a party with maybe gag gifts and lots of drinking.
posted by pised at 9:10 AM on March 6, 2009

thanks for the replies!

boomchicka - yep, i don't know! i've exactly one friend get married, and she was my best friend who i'd known since i was 12, so i helped plan the wedding and all associated events.

i like the idea of the RoadID. she is pretty petite and runs around a major city, so getting hit by a car or attacked by some weirdo could happen.

i'll see if the person planning the bachelorette party thing knows about her registry. i thought those were just for the wedding gifts, not the bridal shower too.

i didn't want to get towels or a blender, tho.

i will do my best to post back on what i end up doing since i always like to know how questions like turn out!
posted by sio42 at 9:11 AM on March 6, 2009

I second the road ID. Maybe a little, personal GPS gadget from Radio Shack too?
posted by ragtimepiano at 9:50 AM on March 6, 2009

Actually, the bridal shower is where the bride-to-be will receive the bulk of the items on her registry. The majority of "wedding" gifts will be cash in envelopes. That registry is so that all the guests at the wedding shower can ooh and ahh at the lovely china pattern or bathroom linen colors the bride has chosen. So I would suggest sticking to her registry if this gift is for the shower. Save the hobby-appropriate presents for her birthday.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:01 AM on March 6, 2009

If she is registered, get something off the registry. Registries were created explicitly for situations like this, where you'd like to wish her (and the couple) well, but don't know them intimately enough to pick something that she will absolutely, positively, undeniably love. And that she doesn't have. And that she explicitly wants, right now. It's not 'impersonal' to buy her something off the list, it's paying attention to her needs/wants.

One way to be both personal and on target is to base a gift off the registry, and add a little something extra. So if she registered for towels, get those, and a lovely candle (Votivo) or bathrobe. If she registered for mixing bowls from Williams & Sonoma, get those, add in a wisk and silicone double-ended spatula, and your favourite cookbook or apron. Or a few of your favorite recipes. If she registered for a coffee pot, get that, a set of filters, and a pound of artisanal coffee. If she registered for a tea pot, get that, and a mixed set of loose teas. If she wants wine glasses, give those and a nice bottle of wine. If she wants a nice chef knife, include a locally-made cutting board. If she's asking for larger household goods, go in with a friend. Etc.

If you don't know her enough to even have a CLUE about her style, wishes, household needs, or taste, stick to the registry. If she doesn't have one, just get something from W&S so it can be easily returned. I was basing my ipod answer as a fun bachelorette gift - it's not really a shower thing, unless you know her well enough to know that it is :-)

If she's registered at REI or another place, you might have more fun - but there is nothing worse than getting something you already have, don't want, or don't need, and then the burden is on HER to figure out what the hell to do with it.
posted by barnone at 10:31 AM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Is it a bridal shower or bachelorette party? they're different beasts. A bridal shower tends to include the bridal party, the bride's female family (mother/grandmother, aunts, sisters), and female friends of the bride. It's informal, but more sedate than a bachelorette party. It's where the bride receives the gifts on her registry, with which she will furnish her new home. A bachelorette party tends to be the bridal party and close friends of the bride only, and is the place to give her lingerie or fuzzy handcuffs (or a runner's ID or something like that).

N-thing the registry. That's the reason for a bridal registry-- the couple registers the styles and colors and sizes they would like to receive, and people who don't know them well (or even people who do) go to the registry to buy gifts for them. A good registry will have things on it besides kitchen appliances and linens -- one friend of mine registered at Target, and had Wii games on her registry. If you and your SO are getting them a gift from the both of you, that should be presented at the shower. Gifts at the wedding are usually envelopes, or boxes from out-of-town guests. (Oh yeah, pay attention to the registry - we registered everything in silver, gray, and white, and got brown table linens from a relative. WTF?)

Good friends of ours are getting married in May. We've known them for 20+ years, camped with them, partied with them, mourned with them, etc. We got them gifts off their registry.
posted by jlkr at 12:51 PM on March 6, 2009

hee hee - fuzzy handcuffs!!?!?! that's really funny!

my SO and i have gotten them a more traditional gift already for the homemaking, which i guess will be one of the boxes on the "out of towners" table :)

i have discovered they have registered for very little as they do not currently live together and are in the process of deciding which of "their" places to move to (currenlty in diff cities).

anyways - thanks to all for the mini lesson in how this works! i imagine more of the folks will be getting married soon, so this is all still good stuff to know!
posted by sio42 at 1:51 PM on March 6, 2009

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