Long after the wedding is over, when you reflect back on the experience–the days and months surrounding the event itself–the most vivid and exciting memories you’ll have will revolve around the people who made it all come together so beautifully. While you may not recall exactly which gowns made it into the dressing room with you on that final wedding dress shopping trip, you’ll always remember your sister’s reaction when you came out in “the one.”
Perhaps it was when your parents and your soon-to-be in-laws got together to craft that perfect honeymoon you two just couldn’t afford. Maybe it was watching your nearest and dearest friends sit tirelessly by your side into the wee hours, helping you design those gorgeous DIY lanterns you just had had to have hanging above your reception. Or maybe it was when your coworker’s daughter agreed to do a ceremony reading despite her debilitating fear of public speaking.
Whatever the moment that distinctly marks an individual’s significant contribution to your day, there is sure to be a handful of people who will come to mind as being largely responsible for the happiness surrounding your glorious celebration. While it’s customary to give gifts to certain individuals–like bridesmaids and groomsmen–other gift recipients may include the wedding shower host, both sets of parents, and the wedding officiant.
There’s nothing stopping you from gifting any participant you want to specifically thank for their support or addition, and gifts can come in any form, and at any price point that works with your budget.
Traditionally, brides handled the gifts for flower girls and bridesmaids while grooms were responsible for the groomsmen, ring bearer, and any ushers. However, as with virtually all aspects of the modern day wedding, no responsibility or tradition is an absolute–the bride and groom can gift their wedding party and attendants together, the groom may gift the flower girls, and so on.
While the rehearsal dinner is commonly when the couple gifts special participants, you can do it at virtually any time that seems appropriate to you. Are you and your soon-to-be spouse taking your future in-laws out for lunch next week? Are you hosting a bridesmaids’ tea the morning of the wedding? Any moment can be the perfect one to surprise your recipients with something truly special.
But what to give? Often, all of the bridesmaids or groomsmen receive the same gift, sometimes with the maid of honor and the best man receiving something similar but slightly more luxurious, or perhaps alongside a little something extra. However, as not all styles are the same, you can opt, instead, for more personalized gifts by offering variants on a certain theme or item, playing to either their tastes or yours.
Accessories and accents for attendees to wear on the big day are always popular gift options. From cufflinks to wraps and ties to earrings, wearable items are a great way to thank your wedding party with items they can reach for again and again.
For example, consider handing out pashminas and scarves that blend perfectly into your color theme when the evening turns a little crisp, or cuff links and jewelry depicting dice, royal flushes, or any other gambling-inspired motif that can highlight your Casino Royale theme. Customize these items to offer even a deeper level of personalization. Perhaps tie clips engraved with groomsmen’s initials, necklaces displaying bridesmaids’ names or nicknames in cursive, or monogrammed clutches.
Another way to express your appreciation for friends and family’s presence and support is by treating them to certain aspects of the celebration. Whether you pay for their tuxedo rentals, their hair or makeup, or even take care of their travel expenses if they’re coming in from out of town, they’re sure to appreciate you saving them a step in the preparation process.
Experience-based gifts can help you express your gratitude while creating joyous and long-lasting memories. If you and your recipients are all centrally located, consider taking your wedding party to a local sports event, out for a day at the spa, or treating them to dinner at their favorite restaurant. An outing can give you all a chance to get together and catch up on non-wedding events.
However, if you’re separated by cities, states, or even countries, gift certificates for similar, local activities they can enjoy on their own time are equally thoughtful.
You should also accompany each gift with a personalized note. It can be as formal or as intimate as you’d like, so long as you don’t depend on an unsigned, generic card. You’ll want to express to each recipient just what it is that has made his or her contribution, friendship, and support so very special. These notes offer a wonderfully personal touch recipients are sure to cherish.
And if you find you’re totally at a loss as to what to gift your attendants, pair these notes with something equally special, like a framed photo that includes the two of you–maybe a picture from the wedding or even a shot from your past.
However you choose to honor special attendees, ensure they know just how truly wonderful they are with unique gifts that speak to their tastes or to your shared experiences. With just a little thought, you’re sure to find the perfect something for everyone.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.