We can’t say for certain, but we’re willing to bet that your soon-to-be-married bestie—who, by the way, is probably in the midst of making some intensely stressful wedding decisions at this very moment—would probably prefer a shower gift she can eat, drink or zen out to over some fancy new lingerie. Nothing against lingerie, of course, she’d probably love that, too, but the best shower gifts are the ones that say, “I get you. You are tired of talking about chair covers and how to bustle your dress.” From candles that smell like cities to baskets full of liquor, we’re here to help you find some awesomely thoughtful shower gifts that go far beyond the standard.
1. A Nostalgia-Inducing Candle
Whether it’s the location where the couple plans to tie the knot or the one where they met for the first time, place candles do an amazing job of arousing the memory and making you feel super-sentimental. There are actually state-scented candles from Homesick Candles for all of the fifty nifty, so you’ll definitely find one that takes you back to a special place and time. Candles also have the unique power of helping you settle into a state of happy relaxation, which is a much-needed mindset among the engaged.
2. Personalized Stationery for the Bride
Personalized stationery is one of those timeless gifts that is traditional yet easy to modernize, depending on the design and messaging you choose. Be sure that you know the exact spelling and name preferences of the bride-to-be (in other words, don’t assume she’ll be taking her husband’s name or keeping her own). Choose a package complete with personalized note cards and envelopes that can be used for all sorts of future correspondence.
3. A Day at the Spa to Ease the Stress of Planning
Chances are, the guest of honor is knee-deep in stressful wedding planning, from fielding inquiries from nosy family members to mulling over linens and signature drinks. The thing she needs right now is a massage and a manicure, preferably somewhere with no cell service. Hook her up with a whole day’s worth of services to ensure that she fully sinks into a state of bliss.
4. A Piece of Heirloom Kitchenware
She may not yet have a collection of colorfully enameled Le Creuset bakeware or original Pyrex glass dishes, but if she’s into cooking and baking in any form, it won’t be long before she hops on this train. The thing about heirloom and vintage cookware is that it lasts forever, so it will stay with her for a lifetime of weeknight dinners, special occasions and parties. Choose one heirloom piece and make it a good one! Buying things slowly, piece by piece, is the smartest approach here.
5. A Self-Care Gift Basket
If you know that the stress of the wedding has taken a toll on the mental health of the bride-to-be, consider equipping her with a goodie bag of self-care staples that will help her sink into a state of grateful bliss at home. Luxe face masks, fancy bath bombs, sweetly aromatic candles and a membership to a meditation app are some solid basket-stuffers.
6. A Cocktail-Themed Gift Basket
You’ve probably seen those clever year of firsts baskets featuring wine for every milestone—first fight, first house, first baby, etc.—but this is the version for the bride-to-be who prefers margaritas over merlots. Start with a bottle of top-shelf liquor and fill the basket to the brim with mix-ins, glasses, garnishes, bar tools and other accoutrements that will help her create next-level cocktails as she plans.
7. Sweets That are Shamelessly Extra
There is no better time to finally order those insanely intricate (and insanely expensive) custom chocolates and baked goods you’ve seen on Instagram. (We see you, Milk Bar.) Check out the next-level custom chocolates made by Maggie Louise Confections or the edible masterpieces by David Chow for some seriously mind-blowing chocolate creations that any recipient would flip slash drool over.
8. A Unique Subscription Box
Another great way to help your stressed-out pal stop and enjoy the little things in life is to surprise her with a gift box that will delight her month after month. Whether she’s into tea, craft beer, wine, beauty products, snacks or nail polish, there’s a monthly subscription box made for her. There are even subscription boxes specifically for brides!
9. A Pre-Planned Date Night
Give her a gift that helps her reconnect with her partner before she ties the knot, like an elaborate date night you planned yourself for her and her future spouse. How about a fancy dinner at that really nice restaurant she wouldn’t otherwise pick? Top it off with a gift card to the best bakery or ice cream shop in town and you’ve got yourself a points-winning present. Concert or play tickets are always a thoughtful option for a mini getaway, too.
10. The Silkiest Silk or Satin PJs You Can Find
A good gift is one that’s at least partially indulgent, and if she’s the type of person who would fully enjoy a pair of fancy pajamas but who would never actually pay for something to sleep in, you’ve found your winner. This is also a sweet way to subtly honor the lingerie tradition if you aren’t super keen on going full-on cheeky.
Lingerie Is Not Dead (If You Don’t Want It To Be)
If you still want to surprise the bride-to-be with oodles of revealing lace, satin and mesh, there will be ample opportunity along the way. The bachelorette party is one of the best times to give the sexy stuff because you don’t have to worry about embarrassing anyone in front of grandma or that one conservative aunt on the guest list. Designate the bridal shower as the time to help the guest of honor remember to take a moment to sit back, relax and breathe as she’s planning the biggest day of her life.