Popular Bridal Shower Gift Wrapping Requests, Explained

Wrapped, unwrapped, or clear-wrapped gifts—what does it all mean?

Photo: Dan Dalton

At a traditional bridal shower, the bride-to-be's closest friends and family show up to the celebration with goodies in tow, ready to welcome the guest of honor into newlywed life. Some brides will request gifts from a registry, while others will pick a particular bridal shower theme that influences the gift choices. In addition to gift specifications, some bridal shower invitations will also include wrapping instructions. The three most common requests are for gifts to be wrapped, unwrapped, and wrapped in clear. Of course, no guest wants to misinterpret the directions, so we're breaking down the difference between each request, and explaining why a bride may choose each one.


Wrapped Gifts

For most bridal showers, guests wrap their gifts in pretty packaging to be opened at the shower. This customary gift exchange works well for brides looking to follow tradition, and generally will not require instructions on the invitations. If you want to open wrapped gifts at your shower, keep in mind that opening each one takes time. Most showers have anywhere from 15 to 40 guests in attendance, which equals 15 to 40 gifts. Between passing out presents, opening them, and thanking each guest, brides often spend about half of the shower opening presents. While some brides may like this idea, others prefer having more time for socializing and games-in which case, she should consider one of the following options.

Unwrapped Gifts

Bridal showers used to revolve around opening gifts, but many modern brides would rather socialize with guests. In order to optimize your time, consider requesting unwrapped gifts. In this case, the bride can either receive gifts in front of her guests (a bridesmaid will hand each present to her, the bride will acknowledge the goodies, and thank her guests), or gifts can be arranged on a table where everyone can admire the presents (each should be labeled with the gift-giver's name). Either option cuts down on time spent looking at gifts, which will allow the bride plenty of opportunities to chat with her guests.

Wrapped in Clear

Some bridal shower invitations may request gifts "wrapped in clear," which typically means covering the present in cellophane. Most brides request clear gift packaging for the same reasons that brides request unwrapped presents: to save time. So why opt for clear packaging instead of unwrapped gifts? Some brides still enjoy the thrill of opening gifts, and the see-through covering allows her to wait until she's home with her fiancé (since everyone at the party can see the presents through the packaging). Other brides may find that clear-wrapped gifts are better for transport-carrying a cellophane-covered basket of picture frames beats carrying an armful of loose frames any day.

Requesting gifts wrapped in clear has a downside, however. Guests may be wary to bring you anything too personal (like a sentimental scrapbook) or racy (like a lingerie set), since the present will be on full display for parents and grandparents to see.

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