Who Gets Them?
- Bridal Party. The groom is responsible for gifts for the groomsmen; the bride is responsible for gifts to her bridesmaids. The bridal party serves as your emotional support. They'll help you plan, make those centerpieces, lick dozens of envelopes for you... Giving them a gift in return is a small price to pay for their help.
- Parents. They'll be helping you, whether it's financially, mentally, emotionally, etc. It's tradition to give them a gift. Plus they raised you! Thank them for that!
- Financial sponsors. If someone else such as another relative or friend helped you out, you need to thank them too.
- Bride to groom, groom to bride. I'll admit, this one seems a little strange to me, but think about it. He's supported you through all your bridezilla moments. You've supported him even though he probably didn't help you plan as much as you would have liked.
What to Get Them
Don't get them something with the bride and groom's name and wedding date engraved on it or anything that says "bridesmaid."
Do get them:
- Robes for getting ready: This bride sifted through thrift shops to find unique silk robes for her girls. It makes for great photo opportunities and it's something that will be used again and again. Or you can get your girls matching robes, have their names monogrammed on them... That gets expensive, so be careful. We're on a budget here!
- Jewelry: Don't get them something that perfectly coordinates with their bridesmaid dress and that dress only. Get them something others will compliment and envy. My bridesmaid Nichole has a boutique that sells adorable jewelry. When you catch a sale, it's pretty cheap! These earrings are just $24!
- Pay for their mani/pedi, hair and makeup, or chip in for their hotel: This is something they'll really appreciate. Being a bridesmaid can be expensive! This will be more expensive for you, but it will save them cash and spare them the pain of acting pleased with another gift.
- Celebrate their individuality: Perhaps you can get them each something different besides a one size fits all gift. If one's a foodie, maybe she's been eyeing a new whisk. If one's a bookworm, give her a book she's been dying to read.
Don't get them something generic like a gift basket. They raised you, put some more effort into it!
Do get them:
- A Personalized album or photo: Once you've gotten all of your wedding photos, create an album and write letters to them inside the cover thanking them. It's something they'll love to look at again and again. You can also pick your favorite picture and place it in a really nice frame for them to hang on the wall.
- A night out: Treat them to a nice dinner, just the two of them.
- Spend the day doing something special: Take your mom with you to a spa day. Maybe your dad loves hiking. Spend some time just the two of you or do something all together, expenses on you.
If you don't know them that well, getting them something personal isn't completely necessary. If you do know them well, personal is always best.
- Thank you letter: I know you don't think it will amount to much in comparison to the money they gave you, but it will show them just how appreciative you are. Maybe you can offer to cook a nice meal for them sometime!
- Gift basket: I am so not a fan of them because of the lack of personalization (and often people don't use the stuff in them anyway), but for a family member you don't know too well, it can work. If they love wine, get them a nice bottle and put some assorted cheeses and crackers in there. Try to make it personal by catering to their interests.
- Letters: Again? Really? Look again. Notice the s? From now on until your wedding day, write him a letter. It doesn't have to be long. For example, each day you can write a reason why you love him. Put it in a nice box and give them all to him on the day of your wedding. Once you are married he can take his time looking through the notes. Romantic right? This can come in handy after your first fight or your first night away from him.
- Boudoir photos: This is for the braver girls out there. Recently these have become a trend. For those of you who aren't familiar, these are simply teaser photos for your groom to see just before the wedding of you in lingerie. No, they are not revealing. It's not porn ladies, be classy. After the wedding, some people create a small canvas and hang it up in the master bath or bedroom. Or you can simply put the photos in an album that he'll keep in his night stand.