The Gift of . . . Doing Something

From a flight in a glider plane to a food tour of Washington, the best shower gift may be one you can't wrap.

This balloon will give your pal a wild ride. Image courtesy of Excitations.

Last night, while chatting with a woman at the Sweet Charity sugar-and-chocolate fashion show, we hit the topic of bridal-shower gifts. “It’s impossible!” she exclaimed, telling the story of her most creative gift giving: having everyone buy a bottle of wine so the bride and groom could start their own cellar.

If you’re stumped about what to bring to your next shower, check out three other won’t-get-pushed-to-the-back-of-the-closet gifts.

Buy a Balloon Ride
Give your pal captain’s rights to a sailboat for a year or a closet overhaul with a personal shopper through Excitations, a Sterling-based company that sells dozens of “experience gifts” in the Washington area. Some, like a glider-pilot lesson ($125), are adventurous; others, like a private Scotch tasting ($300), are low-key; and many, like a sunset trail ride for two ($170), are designed to share with someone (perhaps a soon-to-be-husband?). Similar activities exist in 11 other major metropolitan areas: “We had a couple honeymooning in Napa Valley, so a friend bought them a romantic hot-air-balloon ride there,” says Excitations cofounder Nancy Lamberton. Gifts come on descriptive cards in white folders tied with red ribbons, tucked inside a pretty red box. Browse and buy at

Make Washington New Again
The Washington Walkabout Card ($40) lets one person take five walking adventures from tour company Washington Walks. The tours may take your friend and her fiancé (you better give two cards!) places they’ve been before—the Moveable Feast food tour hits spots like Ben’s Chili Bowl and Cowgirl Creamery, while Memorials by Moonlight goes up and down the Mall—but they’ll learn facts and figures they never knew about each spot. Most walks last two hours. For more information, visit

Pamper Your Pal
It may seem cliché, but who doesn’t love a day at the spa? Check out the best local day spas here, then buy a gift certificate, tie a bow around it, and make your friend an even more glowing bride-to-be.


Have ideas for other unique bridal shower or wedding gifts? Share them in the comments section. 

More>> Bridal Party Blog | Wedding Guide | Wedding Vendor Search