creating a wedding registry: part 1

I’m so grateful we got to create a wedding registry and even more grateful for friends and family who blessed us with thoughtful, beautiful and useful gifts. From my favorite cake stand to our practical microwave splatter shield, I love knowing people who care for us helped us establish our home.

 Just after we said "I do!"  Photo by  Sarah DeShaw

Just after we said "I do!" 
Photo by Sarah DeShaw

Planning a wedding can be challenging, throw in selecting items that have the possibility to be part of your home forever, and it can be downright overwhelming. When we were engaged, I kept coming back to the memory of when my mom gave me a hand mixer in college. It was one of three she received as a wedding gift in the 70's and it was unopened. That's a long time for a mixer to be hanging around, so I was feeling the pressure to make some really good registry selections!

Now that we're a couple years into marriage, I love my hand mixer, but I'm comfortable knowing I may buy a new one someday and that is ok. Simply put, registering for wedding gifts is important and worth doing well, but it is not permanent or irreversible. It's not worth panicking or arguing over, however, if you do both, trust that you are not alone. 

Registering for gifts is not something you do every day, and while it can be fun, it's not as easy as it looks! Hopefully these tips will make it a touch easier for you.
Get your registry guns ready, friends, here are my best tips for registering from the heart!

1. If you don’t use an item (or even know what it is) before getting married, chances are you won’t use it after you're married.

It’s taken two and half years of marriage for me to start feeling comfortable in the kitchen—I still avoid touching raw meat, just for perspective. But, for some reason, I had the false impression that the bulk of a wedding registry should be focused on kitchen tools. So, I proceeded to fill our registry with kitchen items I suppose I thought some "magical marriage dust" would teach me how to use. With our combined kitchen experience adding up to very little, even trying to choose the items we wanted from the never-ending selection proved difficult.

Instead of walking into registering trying to meet some false expectation of what you think you need or "should" register for, take the time to talk about what is important to you in building a home and create your registry around that. Whether it’s cooking, entertaining, relaxing, being outside, hosting overnight guests, or a combination, let your values for your home guide the items on your registry.


Tip: A friend of mine told me that after creating their initial registry, she often edited it online, and I think this is so smart! Registering can be daunting, but the option to update and change things online helps take some of the pressure off because you can fine-tune your choices along the way.


 The first wedding gift we received was this beautiful cake stand. I found it in  Macy's  and "begged" Woody to register for it. Of course he said yes even if he didn't totally understand the value of a beautiful cake stand. He now loves eating homemade cookies that are often kept in it, and it is one of my favorite pieces in our home! Photo by  Rachel Coffey

The first wedding gift we received was this beautiful cake stand. I found it in Macy's and "begged" Woody to register for it. Of course he said yes even if he didn't totally understand the value of a beautiful cake stand. He now loves eating homemade cookies that are often kept in it, and it is one of my favorite pieces in our home!
Photo by Rachel Coffey

2. You don’t need to determine your “forever” home style before you get married.

As ridiculous as this seems to me now, part of me honestly thought we needed to determine our “forever” home style when registering. From linens to décor, I was focused on defining our style as a couple, but as an almost three-year-old wife, I see how unnecessary and unrealistic that effort was. I now appreciate how our style has developed in the first few years of marriage, and expect it to continue to develop throughout the course of our life together. 

If you’re feeling pressured to pick out the perfect “forever” items, let go. Pick what you love now and enjoy every bit of it. Then, as your life develops and grows, be open to transitioning pieces to a different use in your home. People give you wedding gifts to help you build a home as newlyweds, not for you to be committed to the same style your whole life long.


Tip: Many stores offer a registry completion discount. This allows you to buy remaining items on your registry at a discounted price after you're married. This is especially great if you want to complete sets of things like plates, mugs, towels, and sheets, or purchase more expensive items that you may not have received as wedding gifts.


 We chose  Restoration Hardware  to register for bed and bath linens because it was the place where we found our personal styles collided; we both loved this store. We have been so happy with the quality of everything we received from RH and enjoy these pieces so much! Photo by  Jacob Blount

We chose Restoration Hardware to register for bed and bath linens because it was the place where we found our personal styles collided; we both loved this store. We have been so happy with the quality of everything we received from RH and enjoy these pieces so much!
Photo by Jacob Blount

3. Keep it simple and intentional.

I found it easy to get carried away when registering; they put that little gun in my hand and it felt like I could have anything I wanted in the store! While you certainly could register for everything in the store, that does not help you create a purposeful home. Being intentional about the items you love and that help establish a home reflective of you as a couple is much more valuable than binge-registering for lots of stuff.

Gift-givers love the guidance registries provide, so it helps everyone when you are intentional with the registry you assemble. Depending on your circumstances and wedding timeline, you may get everything on your wedding registry or you may only get a portion of the things you’ve selected. Either way, if you register for items that have value and purpose for you as a couple, the more pleased you will be with the collection of gifts you receive. Ultimately, you want to have pieces that will help build your home, not just fill it.


Tip: You can register for gift cards! If you’re unsure of where you’ll be living when you get married, are planning to move, or just don’t know what all you will need yet, gift cards to your favorite places can be a great option. Some people will choose to give a gift card regardless, but registering for them lets people know they are something you specifically would like to receive. Then, you can use your gift cards in your first few months of marriage as you get settled in, along with that registry completion discount too!


Most of all, the best tip for registering from the heart is to keep it all in perspective. Registering is valuable, important, and fun, but at the end of the day, it is just about things and not nearly as important as the marriage you are building.

What questions or advice do you have about wedding registries?

New love + Valentine Cards available in the TLK Shop!

I have always loved greeting cards. They combine two of my favorite thingswords and illustrations. In fact, as a little girl, I used to create cards for my parents on the regular and even started my own card "business" drawing custom cards for all my parents' friends (think: Lemonade StandHallmark edition). 

I don't know what it is, but there is something about those sweet pieces of folded paper and their messages of love, thoughtfulness and celebration that I just adore. Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that when I set out to create products for The LovingKind, a card collection was the obvious starting point. 

The TLK Shop had a great launch at Christmastime, and with the my favorite holiday, Valentine's Day, right around the corner, I knew the next opportunity was to release some designs I had been dreaming up for a while. Some of these ideas have been sketched out in my sketchbook since before the launch of The LovingKind, and I am jumping-off-my-seat excited to finally get to share them with you!!

 Complete Collection

Complete Collection

I hope you love these cards as much as I do, and more importantly, I hope they inspire you and help you show the important people in your life that they are loved. From a classic "Happy Valentine's Day!" greeting to a playful "Love is the Jam" card, this collection is created to make you smile and to make celebrating those you love easy and enjoyable.

Each card is created from my hand drawn illustrations and hand lettering. My dear friend, Michelle of Parapalla Design Shoppe, helped me get my illustrations turned digital to be printed for you! And, I couldn't be happier with them! The illustrations just come to life printed on 110lb smooth ultra white paper and paired with a colorful, coordinating envelope. All they need is your personal message of love and celebration and a stamp to make someone's day!

And, these cards aren't just for Valentine's Day. If you ask me, every day is a reason to celebrate love and the people you care about, so choose your favorites and use these cards throughout the year! They're perfect for saying "I love you" to your sweetheart, "Congratulations" to a newly engaged friend or bride and groom, "Happy Anniversary" to a couple you love and admire, or just "You're awesome" to a good friend.

Whether you pick up one card, a few, a collection, or just browse through them, I hope they bring so much love and cheer into your life and relationships!

As always, thank you for visiting, for reading, and for being The LovingKind!

giving gifts from the heart

I really love to give gifts. I enjoy the thrill of selecting the perfect item by finding a creative solution for celebrating someone in an authentic and personal way. It’s not about the price, the brand or anything superficial. Rather, it’s about knowing someone and celebrating them in a way that says, “I know you. I pay attention to you. I care about the details of your life.”

gift giving the lovingkind

In light of this, I have realized I am a high maintenance gift giver. It just makes me cringe to give a gift “placeholder” that feels insincere. You know what I’m talking about, the I-couldn’t-find-what-I-really-wanted-to-get-you-and-thought-would-serve-as-a-heartfelt-celebration-for-this-moment-so-I-got-you-this gift. Y’all, I just can’t do it! If I am giving a gift, I want to feel inspired and connected to it. Most importantly, I want to be confident it will bring a genuine smile and warm heart to the one I'm giving it to.

gift giving the lovingkind
 Gift packaging adds so much to a gift! I found these adorable bags and tissue paper at Target and couldn't believe how perfectly they coordinated with The LovingKind! They also work nicely with my "So this is Love" cards!

Gift packaging adds so much to a gift! I found these adorable bags and tissue paper at Target and couldn't believe how perfectly they coordinated with The LovingKind! They also work nicely with my "So this is Love" cards!

This outlook is a blessing and a challenge. It’s great when I am successful finding just the right gift, but when I don’t feel inspired or a gift isn’t coming together how I want, it’s agonizing. It’s at this point one might suggest getting the best thing I can find because after all, it’s the thought that counts. But that is just it! It is the thought that counts, so if I get a gift that I don’t think much of, then not only is the item not a good fit, but the accompanying thought is lacking too! See my predicament?! Because of this, I've come up with some solutions I'm excited to share with you!


Wherever you find yourself on the gift-giving spectrum, I hope to meet you on your journey today with some tips and ideas! First, I’ll share my own recent holiday gift solution followed by eight tips for becoming one of the most thoughtful and successful gift givers your friends and family have ever known!

Flashback to Valentine's weekend with the Woodcocks

This year, for Valentine’s Day, I was a bit troubled to find myself on February 13 with little-to-no inspiration for Woody’s Valentine’s gift. In fact, not only was I not inspired, but honestly, with a February 14 launch of The Lovingkind, I had spent so much time focusing on the launch that I’d hardly given his gift much thought. Well, no blog is as important as celebrating my true love, so I swiftly shifted my focus and determined myself to get him a Valentine’s gift that was special, thoughtful, and still within what I like to call our “newlywed budget.”


Valentine's gift solution

I was able to find all but one gift at Target and kept the entire collection under $100!

 Our sweet collection of Valentine gifts for each other this year.

Our sweet collection of Valentine gifts for each other this year.

1. Little goodies

I accompany many of the gifts I give with small, extra treats—it’s so fun and inexpensive I can’t resist! Candy at Valentine’s Day is an expected yet favorite treat so I picked up little heart shaped boxes full of two of Woody's favorite candies. Also, Woody often borrows my Eos lip balm so I was delighted to find one for him in his favorite shade—orange!

 Eos Tangerine Lip Balm at  evolutionofsmooth.com

Eos Tangerine Lip Balm at evolutionofsmooth.com

2. Personalized print

My dear friend Michelle who collaborated with me to design The Lovingkind has a fabulous little design shoppe called Parapalla. She has a “famous couples” design and she created one for me and Woody! My husband loves when I add little touches to our home so I knew he would appreciate this thoughtful and personalized addition to our downtown loft. I got a great quality 8x10 print done on semi-gloss paper at Staples for $1.19! What a deal! Then, I picked up a frame at Target to make the perfect presentation of this piece of art.

3. Practical yet romantic item

Woody and I have talked for months about getting our phones out of the bedroom. The bedroom is meant to be a peaceful, personal place for rest and intimacy and having a cell phone flashing, buzzing, ringing and notifying you constantly does not help promote any of that. But, as many people do, we use our phones as alarms, so they have stayed despite their interfering ways. In order to finally rid us of phones in the bedroom, I bought Woody an alarm clock for Valentine’s Day! I found a simple, sleek design from Phillips that does not have lots of bells and whistles making it just as distracting as a phone. It simply serves as an alarm clock. I was so proud to find this gift and to reach one of our 2014 goals for our home and our marriage—phones out of the bedroom! What may not seem like a romantic gift, is, in fact, all about inspiring romance!

Woody responded to each gift just as I had hoped and I could tell he felt truly loved, which is what matters most. While I'll admit this collection of gifts is a bit random, what made them special is the thoughtfulness that tied them together to feel personal and intentionally selected for him.


Meaningful gift-giving is something we can all do. It takes more effort, but if you’re going to invest time and money into a gift, why not do it in a way that you and the recipient will enjoy?! Here are my tips for finding gifts that will truly celebrate the ones you love.


 Gift giving tips

 

1. Consider Conversation

Think about recent conversations you’ve had together. Have there been any recurring themes come up? Do they keep mentioning anything in particular? If someone talks about something a lot, that means they are thinking about it even more. Thinking about what they have been thinking about is a sure way to have a successful gift-buying adventure.

2. Think Hobbies and Interests

What are their hobbies? Finding something they already love and supporting them with supplies, books, or inspiration to help them along their journey is a perfect way to encourage their interests and make them feel loved. For example, Woody loves to golf, so for his birthday I got him a private golf lesson at one of his favorite courses!

3. Rely on Favorites

What are their favorites? Are there things they love to eat, do, wear, listen to, or watch that you could turn into a gift? Use these triggers to get your mind going: candy, dinner, concert, clothing, brand, experience, subscription, music.

4. Pay attention

Pay attention when you are with them. Whether watching television, shopping, traveling, or being out and about, chances are they will see something they like and comment on it. Having your eyes and ears perked up for the little things they point out along the way helps you to not only give them something they want, but to say, “I am paying attention to you.” One of my favorite examples is by the groom of a recent wedding we attended who needed a wedding-day gift for his bride. He remembered a beautiful perfume she pointed out while they were in Paris, searched it out, and gave her a bottle of this special scent to wear for their wedding day and beyond.

5. Innovate

Think for them! What a great gift in and of itself to be innovative and buy something that will benefit them and they don’t even know it! These are harder to come by, but keep your eyes out for new items that are relevant to them and could add value to their lives even if it’s something they don’t know they need or want!

6. Share

Share what you love. If you love something, it’s possible that they will too. People will trust products or experiences given to them with an endorsement from you! What are your favorite products or brands that you could share with them?

7. Experience

Think about experiences. Gifts most often come in a tangible form, but experiences make amazing gifts too. Whether it’s seeing a concert or a play, traveling to a new place, or checking out a restaurant you’ve never tried before, experiencing something with someone is a wonderful gift and creates a special memory.

8. Speak their Love Language

Consider their Love Language. The way a person receives love can also impact they way they receive gifts. For instance, if their love language is “quality time” then spending a day together and taking them to dinner would be an incredible gift. If their love language is “acts of service” then doing an out-of-the-ordinary act of service like washing their car, planting new flowers, or making their favorite room of the house white-glove clean would blow them away. If their love language is “words of affirmation” then don’t ever give them a gift without a card to accompany it!


Most importantly...

Remember it is not money or status that is most impressive in a gift. It doesn’t take someone special to drop hundreds of dollars on a nice item, but it does take someone special to give a gift that is personalized to one's interests, hopes, passions and personality. So often in my own experience, the journey someone went through to get me a gift that was “just right” meant even more to me than the item itself. It takes someone close to you to give you something that says “I really know you,” and that is the best gift any of us could receive. It’s the thought—the real, intentional thought that does indeed count the most.

What are your favorite gifts to give or tips that make thoughtful gift giving fun for you?

The Love Journal

There comes a point during engagement, where you start to wonder if your wedding vows will sound something like this:


I take you, my wedding, to be my fabulously celebrated party.

I promise to love you, to plan for you, and to think about you every moment of every day.

I will be yours to have and to hold, for bigger and for better, for expensive and expensiver, in sunshine and in it better not rain.

I vow to cherish and obsess over you all the days of my engagement.


We laugh because this is so true! It can be easy as soon as that sparkly ring slips onto your fully-capable-planning finger, to shift your focus from the man you're marrying to the event where you'll be marrying him.

 fabulous love captured by  Sarah DeShaw Photography

fabulous love captured by Sarah DeShaw Photography

And, come on girls, we come by it honestly, right? When you find fabulous love, don’t you want to celebrate it fabulously?! Many of us have thought and been told all our lives that your wedding day is supposed to be the day of your dreams. The truth of the matter is, a wedding day is only one day—albeit one very special and important day—of many spent with one even more special and important man. It's your marriage to this man that makes your wedding day matter.

What troubles me is that many brides, myself included, all too often miss the sweet treasures found in the days, weeks, and months leading up to the wedding day, blinded by the singular goal of achieving the perfect wedding. The journey gets overlooked for the destination. But just like a marriage, a wedding is built, and there is so much goodness to savor and cherish in the building—if you will but take time to notice it!

During my own engagement, I wanted to remember our engagement season in a special way and be able to share it with Woody. I love to write and keep a journal (I wrote 18 pages the night we got engaged—yes, I’m serious), but during engagement there is hardly time to write novella-length journal entries, so I thought of something else.

LaSuer Woodcock Wedding-04 Preparation-0090.jpg

Each day of our engagement, I would write one thing I loved about Woody or that I loved doing with him. I would number them and collect them all in a journal and give it to him on our wedding day. What started as a memory-keeper and gift for my groom, ended up encouraging my heart during engagement more than I ever expected.


A few excerpts from the love journal I gave Woody...


#4

3.17.12

 I love your determination on the golf course. I love how you include me in your game with confidence that I have half a clue what is going on.

 

#18

3.31.12

I love that you came with me for Lucy’s prom. You make what is important to me important to you.

IMG_0691.JPG

#114

7.5.12

I love exploring the streets of San Fransisco with you and knowing that I get to spend my whole life exploring with you.

wedding registry_the Lovingkind

#119

7.10.12

I love registering on Wedding Tuesday with you!

 Pictured in San Francisco, three months after Woody's proposal, I was still very excited to wear his ring!

Pictured in San Francisco, three months after Woody's proposal, I was still very excited to wear his ring!

#121

7.12.12

I love wearing the diamond ring you gave me.

Mattye and Woody the lovingkind

#177

9.8.12

I love how being at Melissa and Dustin's wedding today made us both so excited for our own. I loved afterward when you told me how watching them made you so ready to be the one getting married. Even as I write this, my heart is about to beat out of my chest at the thought of marrying you!!!


I intended for each day to only be a sentence or two, but as I got deeper into this journey, sometimes I had more to share.


#169

8.31.12

I love when I have a very real moment of realization that we are about to become husband and wife. Sometimes the magnitude is incomprehensible and overwhelmingly joyful. It's like I just have this moment and it hits me in a fresh way, and I am overcome at the thought that I get to marry you, my best friend, the best person I've ever known, my true partner and love of a lifetime. I get to put on a beautiful, white dress and tell you vows and exchange rings. I am about to do something that, frankly, is one of the most exciting things I can imagine this side of heaven, because I'm marrying you. Because you asked me to spend my life with you. Thank you. And yes, forever yes.

#227

10.28.12

I love looking at you in a whole new light because I know you're soon to become my husband. I appreciate the man you are, the decisions you make and the way you lead us even more now. I feel ready, so excited, and anxious to become your wife! As we talked about in the car on the way to church, we're tired of dating—we're ready to be married!



This simple endeavor not only created a one-of-a-kind memory and gift for my husband on our wedding day, but it also served as a way to help me stay calm and focused on what’s important during our engagement. After a few weeks, writing these entries formed into a habit, and quickly turned into one of my favorite parts of each day.

LaSuer Woodcock Wedding-04 Preparation-0105.jpg
LaSuer Woodcock Wedding-04 Preparation-0109.jpg
LaSuer Woodcock Wedding-04 Preparation-0060.jpg

Whether wedding plans were falling into place or falling apart, every night I got to fall asleep focused on our love, and I found great peace in that. Even the wedding-planning days of disagreements and stress had something good and true worth focusing on in them, and this journal gave me a way to do exactly that. No matter what happened each day, good or bad, I ended it focusing on gratitude and true love, the very thing that would make our wedding matter.

LaSuer Woodcock Wedding-04 Preparation-0111.jpg
Wedding Ceremony the Lovingkind

#233

11.3.12 Wedding Day! 

Our final day to be engaged...

I love you.

And today, I promise to love everything you've been, everything you are, and everything you will be all the days of my life. 

Love, 

Your Fiancé, Mattye



Looking back now,  just under two years later, I am so thankful for these recorded memories. It's a fun chronicle to be able to read and remember all the little and big moments we shared in our nearly eight-month engagement. More importantly, it allowed me to share my love for Woody in a fresh and personal way. Giving him the journal was an intimate expression of giving him my heart.


It's not about saying things perfectly, it's about savoring, remembering, and appreciating the love that makes your wedding day significant.


I encourage you to try this! Even if you’re not a writer, all you need to do is write one sentence a day about something you love about your fiancé or a reason you’re grateful for him. It's not about saying things perfectly, it's about savoring, remembering, and appreciating the love that makes your wedding day significant.

Wherever you are in your engagement, try it for 10 days and see if it doesn’t make a difference! If you’re already married, this is also a great way to love your husband and cherish the good things found within your marriage daily. Create a love journal for your husband for Valentine’s Day, your anniversary or just because!

Start here! What is one thing you love about your fiancé or your husband today?

Wedding photos by Sarah DeShaw

selecting heartfelt bridesmaids gifts

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.

LaSuer Woodcock Wedding-01 Bridesmaids luncheon-0046.jpg

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.

bridesmaid gift the lovingkind

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.

My choice

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!

 Stella & Dot  Love Bracelet  from the "Friendship Ties" collection

Stella & Dot Love Bracelet from the "Friendship Ties" collection

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.

My choice

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.

 I love the look on my precious mom's face in this moment when I gave her the monogrammed shirt I had made for her.

I love the look on my precious mom's face in this moment when I gave her the monogrammed shirt I had made for her.

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.

My choice

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!

bridesmaid gift the lovingkind
LaSuer Woodcock Wedding-01 Bridesmaids luncheon-0050.jpg

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.

my choice

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.

 I love how clean and beautiful the shirts looked on all my sweet friends!

I love how clean and beautiful the shirts looked on all my sweet friends!

bridesmaid monogrammed shirt the lovingkind
 Isn't Deneb, my darling mother-in-law, adorable in her lavender "D" monogram?

Isn't Deneb, my darling mother-in-law, adorable in her lavender "D" monogram?

 Of course, I wanted to match too! I had looked at different robe, wrap, and shirt options to give my bridesmaids, but this shirt sealed the deal on the monogrammed white oxfords. It is actually an old shirt of Woody's (an authentic "boyfriend shirt!") with a soft lavender plaid. It is also made by Billy Reid who is the same designer that created Woody's made-to-measure wedding suit. Once I found this piece I knew it'd be the perfect compliment to the white oxfords I had considered for my bridesmaids.

Of course, I wanted to match too! I had looked at different robe, wrap, and shirt options to give my bridesmaids, but this shirt sealed the deal on the monogrammed white oxfords. It is actually an old shirt of Woody's (an authentic "boyfriend shirt!") with a soft lavender plaid. It is also made by Billy Reid who is the same designer that created Woody's made-to-measure wedding suit. Once I found this piece I knew it'd be the perfect compliment to the white oxfords I had considered for my bridesmaids.

 Starfish ring by  Premeir Designs

Starfish ring by Premeir Designs

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 choice

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!

 This is my dear sister, Lucy, looking precious in her pashmina as she gave her maid of honor speech at the reception.

This is my dear sister, Lucy, looking precious in her pashmina as she gave her maid of honor speech at the reception.

 If you look closely, you can see my mom wrapped up in her very own pashmina in lovely wedding lavender!

If you look closely, you can see my mom wrapped up in her very own pashmina in lovely wedding lavender!

 And for a little game of "Where's the pashmina?" take a look at the husband of a bridesmaid who turned it into a scarf!

And for a little game of "Where's the pashmina?" take a look at the husband of a bridesmaid who turned it into a scarf!

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.

 all photography in this post by  Sarah DeShaw Photography

all photography in this post by Sarah DeShaw Photography

What gift did you give your bridesmaids or what is one of your favorite bridesmaids gifts you've ever received?