Gifts and Those Who Give Them

Putting the Rustic in the Bridal Shower

I think that there are a lot of moments that you wish you would have done something else. But when we go with our gut instinct the end result is often one that we are happy with. For me the moment came when I gave a simple rustic gift.

My friend’s daughter was going to get married. And as with all traditional weddings you need to have a bridal shower.

Every bridal shower has the purpose of giving a gift to the bride and there we sat. One gift was opened and everybody Ooh’d, and Ahh’d. It was hell for more than just myself I suppose. The woman next to me leaned over and said: “mine’s coming up next, I gave them money, you can always use that. What did you give them?”

I grimaced.

While her statement was true, it sort of ruined the point of the whole bridal shower. And I was brought up to give something useful, money was perceived as tacky in my family, and it never would have crossed my mother’s mind to use it as a gift replacement. Especially not when it came to a bridal shower. Please don’t misunderstand me, my mother was an extremely generous woman in her own way. She always put a lot of thought into the gifts that she gave, and she knew from experience how important it was in cases like a bridal shower. But she took her environment into account, too.

I was brought up in a rural community, and if you have ever been to Georgia you’ll know that there are plenty of them to be had. The rustic upbringing I enjoyed was one that I could have only wished for the woman sitting next to me.

When the woman’s small little box was passed to the bride to be the woman sitting next to me scooted to the edge of her seat. As the ribbon was undone and the paper was removed from the box I half expected the gift giver to jump from her chair in anticipation. When the box was finally opened and the bundle of bills were removed she looked at them with an air of excitement and that glint that you often see in a child’s eye when they receive money from a relative. I just had to shudder. This was not a gift in my opinion.

After she profusely thanked the gift giver the ceremony moved forward.

A Rustic Bridal Shower

A bridal shower is a something that isn’t about giving frivolous gifts. A bridal shower is about helping a young couple settle into their new life as man and wife. That means that the gifts should be useful, offering a practical solution to a common problem that newly weds face. That doesn’t mean that the gifts can’t be charming or fun, but half of the gifts that I saw that day were better suited for another day.

When you attend a bridal shower in the country it naturally takes on a rustic quality that provides it with a charming backdrop that allows you to feel at ease.

Today this style of bridal shower takes the rustic look one step further and tries to sculpt a setting that tends to take on an artificial quality.

This is further highlighted by the more modern trend to enjoy the bridal shower as a couple. And couples showers often take on a more down to earth, relaxed nature than typical. That is why you will see people batting words around like, couples shower, BBQ shower, or however else you want to say it. They all have the same thing at heart. They want to include the significant other, allowing them to join in with the celebration. And that often means taking it back a notch, making it less formal and in my opinion more fun. There are many ways to do this and none of them feel overly formal. Most in fact take on a more grill party feel that promises burger, beer, and fun. This is and over itself is not inherently a bridal shower. But it is a common one for couples showers.

Don’t get me wrong, a rustic bridal shower can acknowledge the fact and build on it, but that means that it also respects it.

And in all fairness the bridal shower that I attended did this exceptionally well. By offering the guests a familiar setting with accentuated rustic decor the whole event took on a life of its own.

When my gift landed in the woman’s lap that was seated in the middle of the room she commented on the weight.

She shifted it back and forth playfully for a moment until she tore into the wrapping paper. I was tense, after all, my gift was fit for a bridal shower, it was thoughtful and embraced the rustic nature of the day. But it just didn’t fit with the rest of the gifts.

I held my breath, afraid that I was maybe getting old fashioned.

When I glanced back up up she was holding the gift in her hands, speechless. I couldn’t tell if this was a good sign or a bad one. When she did speak I knew that it had been the right decision.

She was thrilled.

My sisters and I had been to an exhibit of local artisans when I saw it. It was a beautifully finished spice rack, complete with herbs and spices grown right here in the area. It was the perfect rustic gift for the bridal shower. And any good barbecue needs to have the right spices. They are what make any good BBQ something special.

I can’t help but say that I was more than pleased when she jumped up and hugged me. It was more than I had expected.

When I sat back down the woman sitting next to me crossed her arms and turned slightly away. She grumbled a few times and then quited down. It wasn’t until the gift opening ceremony was finished that she spoke to me again.

I has just collected a few nuts onto my plate when I noticed her standing next to me. After I placed another spoonful of nuts onto my plate I stepped to the side to give her space. I didn’t think that she wanted any nuts but I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. As I turned back to the shower I heard her say, “two hundred dollars and not even an acknowledgement.” She reached down a scooped a couple of nuts up with her hand and pushed them into her mouth. “They’ll probably just spend it on useless stuff.”

I had the desire to say something. Something like: “you were acknowledged plenty, and you’re right they probably will.” But I let it go. It was clear that that was not the complaint here. She was angry that I had received a hug for my gift and her bridal shower gift, well we’ll call it that, didn’t get the same attention.

The bridal shower invitation with its nice rustic finish had clearly stated that it was to be a stock the kitchen shower. That meant that gifts with a kitchen theme were called for.

Had the woman paid attention to the invitation she would have spent less and got more attention. I only spend about a hundred and fifty on the spice rack. And while that is a pricey gift for me, I was so happy that I had the chance to find it. There are plenty of opportunities for you to give a rustic gift, Georgia’s artists are always busy creating something new and original and if you keep your eyes open you can find gifts for just about every occasion. Bridal showers are no exception to this rule.

Is there a moral to this story?


Maybe it is pay attention when you receive your next bridal shower invitation in the mail. Or it might be, don’t put too many expectations on the effect your gift will have. I know that this is something that I learned from the afternoon, and I hope that the woman that sat next to me learned as well.

My older sister asked me how my gift went over.

She had loved the spice rack too, and had I not decided to buy it she probably would be making use of it in her kitchen as we speak.

I didn’t tell her everything, just that it had made a one of a kind rustic bridal shower gift. And that it would be getting many years of use. She was glad to hear that it had been a hit. And to be honest, so was I. Because no matter how common it becomes, I will never be able to accept money as a gift. And when you are invited to a bridal shower, no matter where it is held, the gift should be useful and creative at the same time.