We can all agree, there’s a lot that goes into planning a wedding. Not only that, but there’s a lot that goes into pulling a wedding off. While wedding vendors are without a doubt a huge reason for the success of any hitching, it’s undeniable that friends and family also play an extraordinary part.
They’re the ones who provide one last look-over before walking down the aisle, checking for any out of place hairs or leafy-green vegetables nestled perfectly in between your teeth. They’re the ones who somehow manage to find a fan at the venue because you’re sweating to death from both heat and wedding-day jitters. They’re also the ones who throw the elaborate wedding showers, and bachelor and bachelorette parties, and willingly agree to wear whatever you select for them as their wedding day attire. Bottom line: The folks in your wedding party are a big deal and deserve something special for their assistance and presence for your wedding festivities.
Before you randomly start buying wedding party gifts, here are seven tips to help you in the gift-buying and giving process:
- Determine your budget. Gift prices vary, so figure out what you’re willing to spend, or what you can afford per person. You also will want to decide if this includes both groomsmen and bridesmaids or only groomsmen. According to several online wedding forums, you should spend anywhere from $50 to $150 on a gift per person.
- Decide on identical or unique gifts. Sure, getting everyone the same gift is easier than buying individual ones, but that may not be your style or their style. Take inventory of everyone’s preferences and make the call. If budget is a concern, you also will want to take that into consideration. More often than not, it’s possible to get a price break on the same items when you buy them in bulk.
- Make a list of gift ideas. The options for wedding party gifts are endless. If you’re not sure where to even begin, here are some timeless ideas and a few trendier ones for groomsmen:
- Bottle of booze
- Decanter set with lowball glasses
- Shaving set
- Tie bar
- Toiletry bag
If you’d rather not give a physical gift, there’s always the gift of experience. Tickets to a sporting event, concert or other event make a wonderful present, but they definitely require additional planning and coordination. If you’re not up for doing this, avoid the hassle altogether and go with a physical object.
- Pick your priorities. Everyone is unique. What may be the first concern for someone else, may not make the slightest difference to you. With that said, think about what’s important to you when it comes to selecting your bridal party gifts. Maybe it’s cost savings, or maybe it’s finding the perfect, customizable gift. Once you’ve settled on what these are, use these priorities as your shopping guidelines before making a purchase. For example, if time matters the most (since you’re likely busy with other aspects of wedding planning), rule out in-person shopping and buy online.
- Purchase your gifts. Do this sooner, rather than later. You don’t want it to slip your mind during all the wedding planning hoopla.
- Select a time to give your gifts. Before making a split decision about this, you will want to think about a couple of things. If you’re giving the bridal party something they’re supposed to wear for the wedding, it’s probably in your best interest to wait until the big day and give it to them prior to the ceremony. Yes, of course, you can give it to them at the rehearsal dinner; however, there’s always the risk of someone losing the gift or leaving it behind somewhere. If you’re giving your wedding party anything else, though, feel free to hand it out at the rehearsal dinner, or another special occasion like a wedding party luncheon.
- Say thank you. No gift is complete without a thank you note of some sort—don’t forget that. Yes, getting and giving a gift is important, but so are words. Your friends are contributing their time and money to honor and show support both you and your fiance. In your notes, be genuine and tell the wedding party how much you appreciate them. You also will want to add some personal touches about what they did and what it meant to you and your fiance. If writing is not one of your strengths, no worries. You only need to pull together a few sentences. If you find yourself in need of some writing tips, do an online search for some examples.
As Henry David Thoreau said, “Friends…they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.” Think of this while you’re shopping for your friends. They’re standing beside you during a memorable time in your life. Your gifts and thank you cards should reflect your utmost gratitude.
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