A very good friend of mine (and bride-to-be) recently asked me who she is supposed to buy gifts for – evidently the knot thinks everyone! This is an aspect of the wedding for which she hadn’t budgeted. I thought if she had this question, you may too.
Bridal Party – everyone in your bridal party should get a gift. This would be the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, and ring bearer. Personally I like to tailor my gifts to each person – our bridal party all received gift cards but we bought them for each person specifically taking into consideration their individual tastes. I also made everyone necklaces and earrings (well for my ladies anyway) that they could wear for the wedding if they wanted – but I didn’t insist on it. Your gift should not be something specifically for your wedding – because then it is really a gift for you.
House Party – this would be your ushers, readers, etc. Any friend or family member “working” your wedding. Their gift is more of a token thank you as you probably have not asked that much of them time- or money-wise. A small framed engagement photo or the book from which you chose your reading would be excellent gift ideas – or a heartfelt, hand-written thank you.
Professional friends or family members helping you out – for instance a very good friend of mine made our wedding cake as a gift to us…and we gave her a thank you gift in return. If your cousin is a professional photographer shooting your wedding at great discount (or especially if free) then be sure to thank him or her appropriately. Consider the value of their service, and how much money they saved you, when choosing a gift. And I would start with a value of at least 10% of that.
Parents – if you have an exceptionally close relationship with your parents, or if they have paid a significant amount of your wedding expenses, a gift would be lovely but is likely not expected. A frame with the promise of a wedding photo is something any parent would treasure and won’t break your bank.
Your intended – tradition has it the bride and groom exchange gifts, usually before the ceremony. The Maid (or Matron) of Honor will present the gift to the groom and the Best Man to the bride (assuming they aren’t seeing each other before hand). Jewelry is a common gift – cuff links or a watch for him; a necklace, earrings, or bracelet for her. I find more couples forgoing this due to budget restraints and strongly suggest discussing this before your wedding. Especially because most grooms will not know this is expected of them.
Remember these gifts are intended as a thank you to the people who mean the most to you in your life. They have played an important role in the best day of your life – and they may have spent a lot of money to do it. Keep that in mind when choosing a gift.