Question: I know that it’s customary to send a gift if you’re invited to a wedding that you can’t attend—but what about a bridal shower? Is it expected to that you’ll send a shower gift to the bride if you can’t make her party?
Answer: There can indeed be a lot of confusion around this subject because wedding-gift etiquette differs from shower-gift etiquette, says Philadelphia wedding planner Rebecca Richman.
Traditional etiquette dictates that you don't have to send a gift to the bride if you can't attend the bridal shower. "However," she says, "if the bride herself is a close friend or family member, you may want to consider sending a gift, but that would depend on your relationship with the bride."
Another reason this can get confusing is because again, unlike with a wedding invitation, it is absolutely acceptable to include registry information on your shower invitation, as in the case of this particular event, it is very much a gift party, she says. "The bridal shower is thrown in celebration of the upcoming nuptials, and you are essentially preparing the bride and groom with gifts for their new home and life together."
When it comes to your wedding, however, it would be impolite to include registry information on your invitations. "You are inviting guests to witness an important moment in your life, and that should be your focus," she says, "not the potential gift they may bring to congratulate you."
It's best to put your registry information on a wedding website, if you have one—otherwise, word of mouth always gets the job done.