I need a theme for a non-gift wedding shower
February 22, 2013 2:13 PM   Subscribe

One of my dear friends wants to throw me a wedding shower, but I don't want people to bring me gifts. What could we ask them to bring instead?

It's very kind of her to offer to throw the shower, so I don't want to turn it down, but I also don't want people to buy me gifts. It's my understanding that etiquette demands we only invite people who are also invited to the wedding, so that sounds like they'd be buying me two gifts and that makes me very uncomfortable.

What can we ask people to bring for a non-gift shower? I can only think of a recipe shower and there were a few ideas here. Can you think of anything else?

P.S. I think if I say "no gifts," people might bring one anyway, and also I want them to bring something so we have an activity in the post-lunch "open-the-gifts" time.
posted by erloteiel to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total)
P.S. I think if I say "no gifts," people might bring one anyway, and also I want them to bring something so we have an activity in the post-lunch "open-the-gifts" time.

You don't actually have to do this. It's the most tedious part of showers and I'm always grateful when the honoree opts out.
posted by lalex at 2:17 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Could you ask for something specific like a photograph of the two of you together, or some other meaningful photograph? People who want to make it "gifty" can get a frame and the whole thing, people who just want to not go fancy can enclose a photograph in a card.
posted by jessamyn at 2:18 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Have them bring advice, a favorite quote, or some other kind of favorite brief written thing re: marriage on a notecard (or include a nice blank card in the invitation). Then you can "open" them and read them out at the shower, and save them in a collage.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:18 PM on February 22, 2013 [5 favorites]

I think it would be fun and hilarious if everyone wrote down some marital advice and then placed the advice in a jar. You could then read through it all during the "open-the-gifts" time.
posted by Sassyfras at 2:18 PM on February 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

How about the standard "in lieu of gifts, please bring [thing to donate]!"

And [thing to donate] could be food for the local food bank, gently used clothing or blankets for a shelter, pet food for the humane society, toys for a daycare in a low-income area, etc.
posted by phunniemee at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

Is there something you're into, like the recipe shower if you like to cook? If you like wine, everyone could bring a nice bottle for your cellar (even if cellar is a closet). If you're into gardening, people could bring heirloom seeds. I also like the idea of "advice cards."
posted by shoesietart at 2:24 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is there any way you could call it something other than "a shower"? The whole raison-d'etre of a shower is to, well, shower someone with gifts. I've been invited to a recipes-only shower and it was actually kind of uncomfortable because I felt like it was a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation: if you honor the bride's wishes, then you feel really awkward when half of the people bring something anyway; if you don't honor her wishes, then you feel weird about that. Worst of all is the request to bring something that is intended to be easy or low-cost, but for those of us who aren't crafty, we end up spending $10 or $15 on a card and nice recipe cards anyway.

Anyway. I feel you about not wanting to offend the person who offered to throw you a shower, but I really think that if you don't want to put a lot of (time or money) demands on people who are already attending the wedding and getting you a gift, then you should decline the shower. If you really want to do something, then ask if she'd be willing to throw you a brunch or something where you invite your friends over and celebrate with champagne, never using the word shower.
posted by iminurmefi at 2:29 PM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

How about a Bar shower. That way people will bring consumables and you can host them all at your place in the future where you can all enjoy them.

You've bought enough gifts for others, no need to feel weird about having a shower.

By specifying what you want, you're avoiding getting crap you don't need.

Alcohol is pretty cheap, and even the most cash strapped person can get a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:31 PM on February 22, 2013

I came in to agree with iminurmefi - call it something other than a shower. Also, do you know what your friend has planned? It might feel less awkward if you are out doing an activity and not just sitting around talking around lunch, fun though that is.
posted by florencetnoa at 2:34 PM on February 22, 2013

are you a reader? then BOOK SHOWER. have your guests bring a copy of their favorite book. hardback, paperback, used, new, whatever. doesn't matter if you already have it - if you do, then donate one of your extra copies to a library.

it's interesting, the things you can find out about a person from their favorite book. they're relatively inexpensive - you can probably get a paperback for less than 15 bucks on amazon. they can write an inscription on the inside cover for personalization. and this will probably foster a group discussion when you pull them out.
posted by kerning at 2:52 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

OH, and if you're not a book lover, then champagne brunch. have everyone bring a bottle of champagne. they can go as expensive or as cheap as they want. you provide orange juice and other assorted mixers for champagne cocktails. and you supply some fancy sparkling water for those ladies who don't or can't drink.

everyone gets tipsy on mimosas. i hosted a champagne brunch for my 30th birthday last month and it went splendidly. we went through about 11 bottles of champagne. you can keep the leftovers and use it at your wedding. memail me if you want some ideas for cocktail mixers.
posted by kerning at 2:55 PM on February 22, 2013

Bring an item of clothing to be donated to Dress For Success or Prom Dress Exchange? Or something to donate to a women's shelter or animal shelter or food bank? If people get into it and feel motivated to bring something nice it can preserve the "Show and tell" aspect of the event that you want to keep. Plus, bringing some aspect of charity to a splurge-fest like a wedding is always nice.
posted by bleep at 3:07 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

BTW my Prom Dress Exchange link goes to a specific event in Denver but these take place all over the US; you would just have to find one near you, perhaps by contacting a local high school.
posted by bleep at 3:09 PM on February 22, 2013

I think recipe exchanges are nice! Really the best recipes come from loved ones.
posted by radioamy at 3:10 PM on February 22, 2013

My sister-in-law's shower was a ravioli-making party, and it was the best thing ever - we made them with the intention of packing their freezer with food for the wedding week/coming back from honeymoon time, and had so much fun.

So: could you make the shower more activity-oriented? That way people have some direction, it's outside the norm enough that people will actually not bring gifts, and it's totally useful and fun.
posted by punchtothehead at 4:11 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Along the same lines as bringing advice...you could ask for suggestions to heat your sex life up after you're no longer newlyweds...I think that could be pretty hilarious and you never know perhaps intersting or helpful.
posted by gypseefire at 5:47 PM on February 22, 2013

I know someone who had a "brooch shower" and then used them all to make a brooch bouquet for the wedding.
posted by tamitang at 10:12 PM on February 22, 2013

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