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.
For 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…
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!