Wedding party gifts that don’t suck

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I'm looking for wedding party gifts that don't suck.

All I see for the girls are the same old monogrammed purses and mirrored compacts and for the guys all I see is pocket watches, flasks, and pens.

How much use can you possibly get out of this stuff, besides a pen, but why spend $20–$100 on a freaking pen!

What would you suggest for gifts for the wedding party? –Katie

We've all been on the receiving end of some intriguing gifts — my favorite was an engraved monogrammed sterling-silver toothpick case. Yes, with toothpicks in it. What — are you trying to tell me I have something in my teeth? We're friends, girl, you can just *tell* me.

purse.jpgFor the Offbeat Bride, you're looking for something meaningful, not just easy to purchase in a set of 6. The gifts you list don't ring true because they have nothing to do with the relationships between you and your bridal party. You've asked these people to stand with you as your closest community; a great way to dream up authentic gifts is to think with care about how you or your affianced knows each person — a funny joke you've shared, an interest that brought you together, a memory only your siblings know — and go from there. (If we learned anything from Lloyd Dobler, you don't give someone a pen!)

Much ink has been spilled on wedding party gift-giving — they don't all have to be the same, keep the gifts equal in ‘value', etc. etc. But nothing says your gift has to be an object! What about:

  • Concert/symphony/sports season tickets
  • Travel gift cards on JetBlue or Southwest (or another airline that flies where you live)
  • A cheese, wine, or coffee club for your foodie friends (first rule of cheese club: no one talks about cheese club!)
  • Or a local spa or massage package to thank them for getting you through the stresses of your big day.

(One note from personal experience: if you go the massage route, would recommend *not* having it be the same day as the wedding. Nothing was more surreal four hours before my sister and I gave my mom away than to have a tiny woman named Suzy swinging from a bar on the ceiling using her toes as crazy shiatsu tenderizers. I am not exaggerating. As we were leaving, the woman says: “you've released a lot of toxins — try to avoid stress for the next 24 hours…” great, now you tell us.)

Ahem. Where was I? The beauty of “useful” gifts is that you never have to dust them, and they work for both men and women so you might even be able to take care of all your gift-purchasing at once after all.

But what about some more just, well, FUN gifts? We've got some of those too…

bridal party gifts
Golden Girls Squad Goals shirt from Alison Wunderland Acc
unexpected wedding party gifts
Mischief Managed Shirts from Bells and Balloons
wedding party gifts
Personalised Best Man Cufflinks from Clouds and Currents
unexpected wedding party gifts
Super Bride – Comic Book Pin from Colour Me Fun
bridal party gifts
Wedding party boxer briefs from Shop Rosebud Designs
bridal party gifts
Custom Leather Flask from
RSVP handcrafted
unexpected wedding party gifts
Rainbow Suspenders and Bow Tie set from Sweet Looks Collection
alternative bridal party gifts
Barbuzzo Lab Shots (Set of 4)
bridal party gifts
Friend Necklaces from GLDNx Layered And Long
bridal party gifts
Bridesman Gift from The Shabby Wick

As with all gifts, the risk you run is that your taste is not necessarily someone else's, and they may end up with one more item to freecycle or donate to the Cinderella Foundation (google to find your local organization that accepts dresses for underprivileged teens). If all else fails, please do encourage your ladies to share and pass on the gift of that gorgeous aqua tulle ball gown!

Finally: don't worry too much! Your friends and family in your bridal party aren't in it for a gift (or, lord knows, a new dress or suit). They're at your wedding for the love of sharing this step with you. The gift is just a little (groan: bad wedding pun) icing on the cake. The best ones have a little joy and laughter in them, and are given with love. Happy gifting!

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Comments on Wedding party gifts that don’t suck

  1. Excellent! Thanks for the post Ariel and Jennifer… I’ve just bought my big sister’s present off the back of it! We’ve bought the rest of the bridal party… from the best man to the flower girl… these super lovely bicycle bells, but my older sister is the only one who doesn’t ride a bike. I thought it would be mean to get her a useless gift! I’ve just bought from Etsy the lovely hand mirror that says ‘If only you knew how beautiful you really are’ which is just PERFECT for her, is within the bell budget, and is also the right size for the gift box! Awesome :o)


  2. I wanted to throw in a plug for an unusual bridesmaid gift I chose for my upcoming wedding, which I’m really happy with. Paloma’s Nest (also on etsy- what an awesome resource!)
    will personalize these lovely handmade bowls and plates with whatever type you want, so that each bridesmaid can have something special to her specifically, and they’ve been really lovely to deal with, helping me to add gorgeous custom wooden gift boxes, somehow magically anticipating the addition of a new bridesmaid by making a spare ‘just in case’, and just overall giving me an amazing customer experience. 🙂

  3. ooh – i’m buying exactly the same bowls from Paloma’s nest on Etsy! i LOVE that they can all be personalised for my BMs.

  4. We went the super lazy route: we bought each of our bridesmaids gifts on our honeymoon. Basically, as we traveled (roadtrip from Key West to Savannah), we stopped and shopped for everyone. It took the hassle out of thinking about it pre-wedding, and I think made it a little more individual, if a little less wedding-y.


    Seriously. I cannot stress this enough. One BM (heheh) likes movies, so get her a Blockbuster card. One likes music, so get her a Best Buy card. One has a coffee addition, so get her a Starbucks card. One likes all three, so get her a Border’s card.

  6. For my maid of honor (at the time 17), I bought a cloth box and small matching photo album a year before the wedding. Then I spent the year filling it up with small things I knew she’d like. When I gave it to her I explained that each item represents when I was thinking of her. Then after the wedding I filled up the matching album with pictures of her and us. It was about $100 to do, but I only had one attendant, so it was easy to personalize it.

  7. Those Muchacha K clutches are AMAZING! Some are reversible, and they also have jewelry rolls and other really unique, handmade gifts. GLORIOUS!

  8. For my wedding last September, we bought the bridesmaids their dresses and the groomsmen their suits. Sometimes that stuff can be pricey and I hate that it’s “tradition” that they are supposed to buy that stuff themselves! Even better, I made sure the dresses were super cute so they would wear them again. You can never have enough little black dresses, and this one had some memories behind it 🙂

  9. I wish the brides in weddings I was in gave me something useful like a multi-tool, or “Leatherman.” They come in great colors, like orange and pink and hot red!

  10. I was in a wedding where we got a cute gift bag full of all different cute little things. It included the jewelry to wear in the wedding, which I thought was really nice. Each one was a little different based on our personalities.

    But honestly the most useful thing in the gift bag was a bunch of funky cards and stationary. She had mixed and matched different styles. You wouldn’t think this would be super awesome, but as like the only stationary and cards I own, whenever I have to write a thank you letter — which isn’t often, but happens occasionally – I’m wicked psyched to have this little store of stuff to choose from.

    I don’t remember what else was in the bag, but those were the things I found super useful and still use.

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