Wediquette Wednesday: Do I have to open gifts at my bridal showers?

Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)

Question: I’m getting married in a few months and we have a lot of showers coming up. I’ve always disliked the tradition of opening shower gifts during the party. It’s awkward for me as a guest, so I can only imagine how awkward it would be as the person opening the presents. It’s not that I’m ungrateful, I just really dislike this aspect of a shower. Furthermore all of the showers we are having are casual, and some are co-ed. Do I have to open gifts at my bridal showers? 

Answer: It seems you aren’t alone in this situation. According to a survey by the wedding site Zola, 75 percent of the respondents said they didn’t want to open presents in front of people at their showers. The trend toward more casual showers and, as you mentioned, co-ed showers, has helped change the tide of a tradition that, frankly, a lot of people from couples to guests would like to see go away. How many times can everyone feign surprise and delight over yet another gift card or set of tea towels? All of that to say, it’s fine to skip opening the gifts during the event, but don’t skip thank you notes. In fact, it might be even more crucial to stay on top of those thank yous, especially for the older relatives who are used to that being part of the festivities. 

Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email

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