Gifts for Bridesmaids

I’m on the hunt for gifts for my bridesmaids. Is it necessary that they all receive different (“personal”) gifts, or would it be OK to give them all the same one? I saw a lovely bracelet that would go very well with the dresses and thought this would be a nice thank you gift. Would I do something more for my maid of honor?

I think it’s much better to go with personal gifts that these ladies (who are, after all spending a lot of time, energy and moola to make your big day special) will actually use and enjoy for years to come. I’ve received the standard jewelry to go with the dress, and I can honestly say it’s been out of my jewelry box exactly twice since the wedding. I wore it once, just to say that I had indeed worn it again if the bride in question asked, and I took the heart-shaped pendant and tied it into a bundle of charms that were in my wedding bouquet.

I’ll never wear the thing, because it’s not all suited to my tastes or the type of clothes I wear. And I can’t get rid of it, because the bride might ask about it, and then what would I say? “Oh, I gave that gaudy-ass thing to Goodwill”? “Oh, I must have lost it somewhere. Damn the bad luck”? Really, I’d prefer she just wrote me a note and saved herself $40.

Once, as a bridesmaid, we all got little boxes. Inside the boxes were two things - a necklace with a “cage” pendant, and a can. In the can was a DEAD OYSTER, which contained a pearl. And a little spatula to help you poke the pearl out of the DECEASED MOLLUSC. Which I guess symbolized our friendship.

Oh, and the color of your pearl told your fortune, or something.

And we had to oyster-wrestle in our nice rehearsal-dinner clothes.

This, I do not reccommend.

See, this is why blanket thank-you gifts aren’t such a great idea. Some people love Wish Pearls (I wear mine a lot, it goes with just about everything I own), other people look at them and see a dead mollusc. Some people love having a rhinestone-studded heart pendant, others look at it and see a miniature disco ball hanging around their neck.

We had my two sisters and his sister, my brother-in-law and our friend Jasper (Coldfire). We got the girls small, sterling silver stud earrings and the guys we got sterling silver money clips engraved with their initials. We tried to pick out things that weren’t specific to a certain dress (we didn’t have traditional bridesmaids dresses and tuxes, anyway) and that would be useful, but if anyone didn’t care for their gift, well, that’s their prerogative and our feelings wouldn’t be hurt. We were just grateful that they were a part of our celebration.

I bought wooden hinged boxes (lined with velvet) with a glass panel in the lid, for putting in a photo or something. Then I cross-stitched monogram initials on cloth for each of them, and inserted them into the lid of each box. From their reactions, at least, they loved the gift, and it was a “flexible” gift in that they can use it for anything smallish - jewelry, little odds-and-ends, stationery, etc.

A friend of mine got her bridesmaids monogrammed silver pendants; on the back was engraved a reference to a different Bible verse for each girl. I thought it was a nice idea because even though the necklaces looked the same (and I think were worn with the bridesmaid gowns) they were also uniquely personal and it was obvious that the bride put a lot of though into them.

If you get them different things someone is bound to get all pissed off because you spent $5 more on Bridesmaid A’s gift than you did Bridesmaids B, C, and D.

Nightingale has a great idea. If you’re not into Bible verses how about a really cool quote that reminds you of that particular person?

My take: buying something with the intent of having it worn on the wedding day (something which “goes with” the dresses) is, well, not a polite idea.

The attendants gifts should be honest tokens which symbolize the couple’s appreciation for the attendants’ roles in the wedding day, not a trinket which is meant to enhance the uniformity of the attendants’ appearance at the wedding, without a thought about how it corresponds with each person’s taste or personality.

As in CCL’s example, if you’ve never seen someone wearing a rhinestone encrusted anything, why would you give them a rhinestone encrusted something as a “gift of thanks”?? That kind of thing is another fine example of the self-serving and closeminded behavior that plagues altogether too many brides and grooms and causes people to send submissions to sites like Etiquette Hell. You know how they say “it’s the thought that counts?” What kind of thought is there behind “Well, we don’t know if you wear sterling silver and we weren’t sure if you have pierced ears, but, um, here are some earrings, and it’d be really keen if you would wear them to the ceremony, then you’ll all match! Teehee!”

Set a budget, then set out to buy things that you might buy for these friends for any occasion which necessitated a gift. If you wouldn’t give it to them for their birthday or for Christmas/Hanukah/Yule, don’t buy it for them now. If you can find something which would honestly appeal to every single one of the attendants without question, then get them all the same thing. If you can’t, then don’t. A gift that’s personal is a gift that’s meaningful.

Having never been a bridesmaid (or a bride) before, I wonder what sort of gawdy and/or tacky pieces of jewelry people have received as a thank you gift to elicit some of these responses. I appreciate your thoughts. I was looking at a simple pearl bracelet that could be worn on the day of if they wanted to, or not. I honestly don’t care. FWIW, they all did a double-take when I told them they could wear whatever style of dress they wanted, so they are not cookie-cutter bridesmaids. Then they asked about shoes and I told them “Whatever is comfortable and goes with the dress.”

J. Lo bought the latest “Jellybags” at $8K a pop.

It also always irritates me that almost every wedding I’ve been in the guys have gotten nifty engraved flasks full of liquor, and what do I get? My dress, gee thanks, or a dead mollusc.

But I see nothing at all wrong with getting them all the same thing. I was planning on all of us going to the spa and getting massages and such for my bridesmaids’ gifts, if I ever get married.

When I was a bridesmaid, the bride got some small framed pieces of art. Each was different, and the art was relevant to each of the 3 of us. I really liked that. gift, and I think fondly of the bride whenever I look at the picture.