Recently, the mother-in-law of one of my dear friends and bridesmaids asked me where I got the bags I had monogrammed for bridesmaids gifts. This question got me thinking about bridesmaids gifts in general and I thought it'd be a fun topic to bring to the lovingkind!
Having received many bridesmaids gifts over the years and having given them once, I recognize it is a special opportunity to honor your friends, but it's not an entirely easy process. First of all, choosing a similar or identical gift to fit the taste of multiple people can be challenging. Secondly, depending how many bridesmaids you have, even an affordable gift can become pricey when multiplied several times.
To help, I'm going to offer a few things to consider as you decide the best way to honor your bridesmaids. I'll also share the choices I made for my own wedding. But, before we get to that, let me remind you that your gift to your bridesmaids does not have to be elaborate or expensive; rather, it is a token of love and appreciation to thank them for the investment they are making into your wedding and your marriage. You may choose to get one gift or a few, and your budget and number of bridesmaids will certainly help you determine what is best. My hope is that these tips will help you navigate the road to giving bridesmaids gifts they will love and that are sincerely from your heart.
1. A gift that has purpose on the wedding day.
A great place to start is to think about something your bridesmaids will find useful on the day of your wedding. This could be jewelry to wear with their dress, a tote to carry around their belongings for the day, comfortable flip flops to change into for dancing at the reception, a cute water bottle to make sure they stay hydrated, a shirt or robe to wear while getting ready, or a special nail color to coordinate with their bridesmaids dress.
I have been in a few weddings where I received a tote bag as a gift and I loved it. I found it so useful the day of the wedding to carry around all the unexpected things I ended up with throughout the day. Because of this, I knew I wanted to get bags for my bridesmaids and I was thrilled when I found adorable canvas totes at Pottery Barn for a great price. To make them "wedding ready," my mom helped me find a woman in our hometown to monogram them in the most perfect wedding day lavender!
2. A gift that has purpose after the wedding day.
You might not feel a connection to anything that is useful the day of the wedding, so getting your bridesmaids something they can use in their everyday lives is also a fun option! A few ideas include a journal, a book, jewelry, a spa gift card, bath and body products, stationery, or a coin purse.
I love jewelry and I wanted to give a special piece to my bridesmaids. However, I quickly realized I couldn't afford the kind of jewelry I envisioned for their dresses so I opted for a piece that would work in their everyday collection. I chose the sweetest little bracelet from Stella & Dot. It is called the Love Bracelet and is packaged with a card that says, "the richness of life is in love." I chose this because I adored the idea of them having a piece of jewelry they could wear regularly that reminded them of our friendship and how rich and good love is.
3. A gift that is personalized.
One of the best ways to create a gift that your bridesmaids will instantly love is to personalize it! In the South, we personalize anything and everything with a monogram, but you can also personalize gifts by color, scent, or style. Personalizing a gift is a special touch that shows the recipient you notice them and appreciate them for who they are as an individual.
One of the things I was most excited about on my wedding day was the time at the salon getting ready with my friends. Putting time and attention into this part of the day, I knew I wanted to give them a shirt they could wear that would be easy, comfortable and adorable in photos to boot!
My mom, mother-in-law-to-be, and sister-in-law-to-be would also be at the salon with us so I wanted to make sure they were included in the group too!
4. A budget that works.
Once you get going, bridesmaids gifts can be so fun, and if you're anything like me you might be tempted to start picking out more than you can really afford. The best thing to do is the same thing you did for your wedding: set a budget. Once you allocate how much you can spend, you will be able to enjoy the process of choosing gifts without harboring any stress about the expense. Also, once you set a total budget, you can figure out how much it breaks out for each bridesmaid. From there you can decide if you want to invest in one large gift for each girl or if you prefer to give multiple, smaller gifts.
I knew early on there were a few items I hoped to give starting with a small gift when I asked them to be bridesmaids. Because of this, I set a budget at the beginning of our engagement and as I picked up items throughout, I was able to track my spending. This truly made it easy and fun for me to purchase gifts and focus on the heart of what I was doing since the finances were already settled.
5. A gift that is significant to the location or time of year.
You may find that you are getting married in a special place, whether it be your hometown or a destination wedding, or a special time of year that inspires your gift. This has endless interpretations depending on the special feature you want to highlight. Some items to consider are locally made food like jelly or jam, or locally made gifts like bags, jewelry, scarves or a piece of art. If you're getting married in December choose a special Christmas tree ornament, if you're getting married at the beach give a personalized beach towel, or if your getting married in Louisiana give them a fleur-de-lis coaster set (one of my favorite gifts from a Louisiana wedding welcome basket!).
My mom also wanted to give a gift to my bridesmaids. She knows most of my friends well, and it was really special to see her honor them and appreciate them with a thoughtful gift.
She picked out the starfish ring pictured above by Premeir Designs, to be a symbol of St. Simons Island where we got married. I love the elegant simplicity of these pieces that give a subtle nod to our destination nuptials. She also selected these lovely silvery gray pashminas for the girls to use in the case of a chill at our outdoor November reception. She chose the perfect gifts as my bridesmaids looked beautiful in their rings and made great use of their pashminas throughout the evening!
At the end of the day, be confident that you know your friends well and will select just the right gift to make them feel loved and appreciated. With a little thought, attention and planning, you will create the opportunity to bless them with a heartfelt gift to honor your friendship and celebrate sharing your special wedding season together.