In this post, you get a step-by-step guide to putting together what may possibly be the best shower gift ever. Funny, personal, memorable, and extremely useful.
Last week, my niece was married to her sweetheart of over 8 years. It was a private immediate family only affair. The next day, however, they had a wedding brunch in which all of their local family was invited to attend. Since I had missed the bridal showers, I put together a gift for them. After giving the gift and having it be a HUGE hit, my family insisted that I share it. So that’s what this post is all about.
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Bridal Showers & Registries
Decades ago, the overwhelming majority of brides and grooms were living in their family home right up until the day or their nuptials. For this reason, they were starting their own lives together with none of the essentials. That’s why bridal showers were so important. Every little bit that was given to the couple was a significant help to set up a home.
Today, the overwhelming majority of brides and grooms DON’T live with their parents when they say “I do!”. They’ve been on their own or (in a lot of cases) living together for some time and they already have the essentials needed for everyday life.
As a result, now wedding registries have become a wish list of all the material things that are really cool to have but not necessarily a must-have. Honestly, I bet there are very few couples who can say who gave them what off of their registry just a few months after they opened the gift and (hopefully) sent a thank you note.
That’s why I love personally meaningful gifts.
(Note: From a quick poll, a lot of young people disagree with me on this note but the older folks asked are in full agreement.)
Going OFF THE REGISTRY isn’t trendy or safe but it’s so much more FUN!
At a bridal shower I went to last year, the bride received a teacup and saucer. Just a single one. A very old one at that. It had been part of a set that was used at the Adirondack summer cabin where their extended family lived every summer during the brides entire upbringing. The bride was brought to tears and, I guarantee, will remember that gift and who gave it for her entire life.
That’s what inspires me! If you’re like me then you’ll love this gift and can copy it often with alterations to fit you, the couple, and the circumstances. Make it personal. Make it funny and naughty and also meaningful.
This is actually how this gift started! I make bags. I LOVE making bags. People NEVER tire of having bags or receiving bags. Bags personalized rank even HIGHER!
I started this entire concept by wanting to give the newlyweds really nice toiletry bags.
I constructed an XL zipper pouch with their initials (her’s newly acquired) adorning each bag. A female and male version.
But just a cosmetic/toiletry bag alone is a pretty boring, albeit practical, gift. So I took the bag concept and decided to fill it with little bits of wisdom I’ve acquired through 22 years of marriage, 2 1/2 years of divorce proceedings, and going on 4 years of a much healthier relationship.
The marriage survival kit
Part 1: The contents
The Marriage Survival Kit has six parts unless you choose to add more. These components are important to keep a marriage happy and healthy for years. Sure, there are more such as loyalty, trust, security, etc. If your budget allows, add them!
Here is a quicky list and description of the six parts of the Marriage Survival Kit. As the couple opens each part of the gift, refer to these explanations to lead into their unwrapping.
Thinking about what is good for your spouse as much, and sometimes more, than you do for yourself. Nobody else in the world may do this but a spouse needs to each and every day.
In the beginning, romantic gestures are easy and exciting. Anyone in a marriage for a while knows well that they become less and less a part of a relationship. This is BAD. Romance is so important and the effort to keep it alive in a marriage is DEFINITELY worth it.
Oh man, the hot and heavy attraction that makes a couple want to burst in the beginning cools off as the pressures and realities of life start to weigh-in. Careers, finances, children, friends, and more all do their part to pull a couple apart.
A spouse is the ONE person an individual is intimate with both physically and emotionally. Keeping this part of a marriage sacred is not just a physical component but it is the glue that holds the couple together when everything else may be going the wrong way.
The cute little quirk that was so endearing in the beginning ironically can become crazy annoying as years go by. None of us are perfect and the patience it takes to live with someone (especially as they get older) takes WORK! Do the time. Put the work in and remember that each of us has parts of our personality and habits that others can do without!
Just because the ring is on, doesn’t mean that it’s time to let your personal hygiene, appearance, and emotional/physical well-being go on permanent vacation.
Dress for a date more days than not.
Workout to stay healthy and strong.
Get help when feeling out of sorts.
To offer the best of one’s self to their spouse, a partner needs to be in their best possible shape. Sure there will be ups and downs. It’s life. Yet a consistent effort to stay healthy and happy will go a long way in keeping a marriage strong and vibrant.
(If you can think of a better name for this, let me know!)
As time goes by, everyone changes. We grow and evolve through our experiences.
For a couple to grow together (vs. growing apart) they need to share these experiences. This doesn’t just mean vacations, although that’s good too! It means, doing things to be a better couple. Understanding that marriage often isn’t a natural fit automatically. It takes A LOT of work and effort.
If only one person puts the effort in then it will show in the marriage. Cracks develop opening up the marriage for potential problems.
Together, however, the marriage gets better every day, week, month and year when effort is made to love each other more. To understand each other better. To have even more faith in the strength of the bond exponentially as the marriage progresses.
part 2: the offerings
As the “guts” of the bridal shower gift, your job is to find a mix of gifts to represent each of the six (or more) components listed above. The mix needs to include (to a degree that matches the couple’s personalities) funny, sentimental, naughty, sincere, useful and appealing.
The expense of each will vary significantly and can go up or down based on your budget.
Get creative and have fun pulling this together. Here are some suggestions to start thinking.
the bridal shower gift packaging
Not one for leaving good enough alone (you too! great … kindred spirits), simply wrapping these kits up wasn’t good enough. I decided to create monogrammed tote bags to use as repurposable gift wrapping.
Inside the zipper pouch, each component gets wrapped and labeled. If you want to use the exact labels shown in the picture, you can download them below. To print use Avery 22817 2″ Round Label Sheets.
These bags are from my online store and are customizable in a lot of ways. For this gift, I used the same monogram that I put on the zipper pouch, creating a theme!
As an extra touch, an eyelet in the top ribbon is great to close the bag and hide its contents until the opening.
A quick “Marriage Survival Kit” tag tied with the bow almost completes the packaging. Almost because matching monogram vegan sugar cookies (they’re both very health conscious) arrived for an appearance too.
All ready to go!
the bridal shower
Since the guests at the shower may be of all ages and sensitivities, be careful who is around if you’re including naughty goodies in the Marriage Survival Kit.
You may want to ask the host if there are any people who may be offended as that can ruin a party and make the guest-of-honor feel bad. If so, see if you can arrange tactfully to have those people in another room when you give your gift.
When presenting the gift, try to have the couple open each component together. That will make it more fun. Be sure to add a little (brief) explanation for each category and then just have FUN!
bridal gift service
Do you agree that this may be the best bridal gift ever? That’s awesome!
Here’s the thing, this might be a little too OVER-THE-TOP for you to put together yourself. If so, no worries. Let me know and I’ll take care of the entire process and then send it to you or to the couple in your name.
Reach out to me and let me know what you want to include and the rest will be taken care of for you! Awesome on so many levels!
That’s if for now! Remember to see each new day as an opportunity to live creatively!