Monday, May 16, 2011

unwrapping an etiquette enigma

Today's post requires me to tread lightly on a subject that I have long pondered since the post-graduate days of invitations to wedding showers and baby showers began.


As I searched this morning for a baby shower invitation for my best friend, I was reminded of the many occasions where the mail was delivered to my home and shortly after came the excitement of being invited to a party!  Then the astonishment of this request at the bottom of the invitation...
"unwrapped gifts please"

My point of view on this comes from two places.
  1. I thoroughly enjoy wrapping gifts.  It is a creative element that I feel goes hand-in-hand with the gift you are giving.  With so many options for stylish wrapping paper, ribbons, tags, cards, and those cute little Chinese lunch-box gift packages, who wouldn't?!?
  2. I feel that if I am bringing a gift to a shower, I should be in charge of making the decision on how I would like my present to be presented.
With a little research, I found a great explanation on this subject and why it is against proper etiquette to include this request.

(post from

Bridal Shower & Baby Shower Gift Wrapping

Monday, January 25th, 2010

In modern times, the main purpose for hosting a baby shower or bridal shower is to celebrate the bride or mommy-to-be and shower them with gifts that they will need for the next chapter of their lives. Many customers have been asking lately about the etiquette behind asking your guests to wrap or not wrap gifts. Many brides/mothers feel that they would rather spend quality time visiting with guests, dining, playing games etc. rather than focusing on material items and others do this from the GREEN perspective.

The straight across answer to this dilema is that it is against proper etiquette to ask your guests to bring an unwrapped gift to a shower – period. It is often considered tacky or that the honoree is unappreciative for the gifts presented and does not want to take the time to open each gift. While in most cases this is not the truth, asking guests to bring an unwrapped present does not give off a good vibe. From the GREEN perspective, we can see how many brides/mothers may feel it important to ‘save a tree’. This has become more accepted but still goes against traditional etiquette.
The bottom line is that most guest truly enjoy watching you open their gift, as well as other guests’ gifts, at the bridal shower or baby shower. Everyone gets a chance to see what the new baby or your new house will have and it can be a very fun bonding experience. Remember that a shower is not only a reflection of the host but also the honoree.
I’m not one that always sticks with traditional etiquette, but in this case, we suggest allowing your guests to bring wrapped gifts.

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