WEDDING GIFT GUIDE

Dos, Don’ts and Recommendations….

DOs

Do buy from the wedding registry.  The coupled registered for things that they wanted.  Go ahead and buy them!  It will be exciting if the couple has you over and you see your gift in their home.

Do know that cash/money always works.  It’s just tacky to ask for it.  But no bride or groom is going to be offended by a gift that folds in cash or check form.

Do buy a gift (from the registry) that’s commensurate with your relationship to the couple.  If it’s a cousin you’re only seen once since you were three – go with a set of towels.  If it’s your college roommate, do better.

william-sonoma-dream-registry-sweepstakes

DON’Ts

Don’t go broke.  I’ve seen some crazy expensive items on wedding registries.  This is when writing a check really works.

Don’t make a donation to a charity unless they ask for it.  It’s a great idea and I actually love it, but charities are personal.  So stay away from it unless you have the inside track on their philanthropic activities.

Don’t get mad if you don’t get a thank you.  Don’t get me wrong, it irks me too.  But don’t let it ruin your relationship.  This lack of manners is their problem, not yours.  You’ve done your job by giving a great gift.

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GUIDE TO BRIDESMAID GIFTS

A Great Bridesmaid Gift is the Least that abridesmaid-clipart-Meg_614Wed_04 Grateful Bride Can Do…

I’ve been a bridesmaid a few times and while it is an honor – it’s also a pretty thankless job.  Mostly because the bride needs you and nothing is about you!  So keeping that in mind, gifting a great bridesmaid gift (often at the rehearsal dinner) is a great way to say thank you.

Here’s are some tips…

Make It Useful

The best bridesmaid gifts tend to be ones that can be used on the day of the wedding, especially since the bridal party may not have the time (or the finances) to take care of some of those things themselves.

Ideas: Purses/Clutches; Pashminas/Wraps; Makeup for Wedding Touchups

Share An Experience

You don’t always have to give a physical gift.  I have appreciated it when the bride paid for the pre-wedding mani/pedi or picked up the price of the makeup artist.  A pre-wedding spa day or massage is a nice thought too (although a little pricey).  But it could go along way to soothing bridal party nerves and anxiety and help everyone remember exactly why they’re supporting the bride.

Say Yes (and pay for) the Dress!

My aunt had a destination wedding and she didn’t do bridesmaid gifts.  But she did pay for our dresses (and a whole lot of other things actually – she was the BEST bride).  It’s a little pricey (again) but if you have a small bridal party, making this kind of gesture takes a lot of stress off of the bridesmaids and eliminates (IMO) the need for other gifts.

A Photo Finish

If money is a little tight, invest a little time in DIY and unearth a great picture of the two of you. Frame it up and put in a gift bag with a gift card to the bridesmaid’s favorite coffee shop.

The Worse the Bride, the Better the Gift

If you have turned into bridezilla at anytime during the wedding planning season, caused your bridesmaids anxiety to the point of hives and sleepless nights, called anyone out of their name, or taxed them worse than the Feds – go all out!  They didn’t ask for great gifts, but they darn well deserve it and you know it.  So handle your biz Miss Bride!

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PERSONALIZED BRIDAL ROBES

Gift Perfection…
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If you’re looking for a go-to bridal gift look no further.  I’ve found that most brides don’t buy this item until the the last minute (or don’t actually get around to it) – making this a great gift.

It’s especially good for brides having destination weddings where they may not have all the comforts and conveniences of home near and dear.

Personalized Brides has some of the best options available (color and fabric) and even does sets that include slippers.

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BRIDAL SHOWERS: GIFT-GIVING PARTIES

A Party thimagesat’s All About the Gifts*

Background (per Wikipedia): A bridal shower is a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding. This custom originated in the 1890s.  *Note:  Showers are explicitly a gift-giving occasion, so everyone who attends the shower is expected to bring a small gift.

Gift Themes

Lingerie.  Since most showers are girls-only events (although some exceptions do exist) it’s the perfect time to give a slightly more intimate gift to the bride-to-be. My recommendation: don’t got too trashy – the bride’s family may be in attendance – and depending on the family it could be embarrassing for the bride or the women in her family (or both).

Travel Accessories.  Hopefully the bride is planning a honeymoon or some type of post-nuptials trip.  Gifting a leather travel jewelry case or passport holder could be just the trick – especially if you’re not comfortable buying more intimate gifts.  In addition, items like this can often be customized with the bride’s new last name.  For ideas try Gigi New York or Leatherology.  I also love Bag All, which offers travel organizer sets.  Classy, but not stuffy.

Wedding Accessories.  Cake serving sets and toasting flutes are my go-to gifts when I know that the shower is co-ed.  I recommend personalizing these sets with the wedding scripture (if there is one) or the couple’s names.  Things Remembered has great options.

Wedding Gifts.  If all else fails, buy off of the bridal registry.  You cannot go wrong!

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BE MY BRIDESMAID

Probably the second-most important “ask” in wedding planning…

shoppingAlthough “Will You Marry Me” is probably the most important ask, the second most important
is “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?”  

It’s an honor to be asked and included in a wedding, no doubt.  But the ladies being asked are also committing considerable time, energy, and finances to the wedding task – signing up to plan showers and events, handle a bride’s often mercurial moods, and stand in the gap when the wedding planner just won’t do.

So before you put them to work, fete them a little.

“Be My Bridesmaid” Cards

I love the perfect simplicity of these cards.  The ones I’ve found use pretty images and poetic (and humorous) words to engage a new bridal party.  Here are some of my favorite sites:

  1. MarryGrams – great cards, great thoughts, in wedding colors.
  2. Zazzle – colorful and customizable cards.
  3. Wedding Chicks – free, printable cards that you can customize and print yourself

The Knot and Martha Stewart Weddings also have their favorite sites.  Check them out!

“Be My Bridesmaid” Gifts

I admit that gifts may be a little over-the-top, but if you plan to be an over-the-top bride, start sowing those good seeds now!  When you call up that bridesmaid at 3 a.m. with a wedding crisis, she needs to have a tangible reminder that you are more than the monster bride interrupting her REM cycle!

  1. Etsy – like all things Etsy – unique and customizable (candles to jewelry)
  2. Not on the High Street – offers both cards and gifts (small and appropriate)

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CLARISONIC FOR ENGAGED GIRLS

The Best Gift for a Bridal Glow…MTMxMTA1OTY4MzU5NTEyNTQy

If your best girl is planning a big wedding, gift her a new Clarisonic.  Countless sites (especially the comment sections) recommend that brides start getting facials early – months before the wedding – to get a little help with that perfect bridal glow.

So by gifting her a Clarisonic, you’re giving her a daily facial and investing in her bridal beauty.

Shopping Suggestions

  1. The Clarisonic Site.  The home of Clarisonic – allows you to choose from all of their facial devices including the Mia, SMART profile, and Plus.  Brushes are also available on the site and so are gift sets.
  2. QVC (Shopping Network).  QVC offers an entire collection of Clarisonic products including some funky gift sets in great patterns.  In addition, the prices are often slashed by about 10 percent due to ongoing sales (every little bit counts).
  3. Retailers.  Local retailers like Sephora and Ulta both offer Clarisonic offerings – typically in it’s own section of the store.  This is helpful if you’re running short on time and don’t have it to waste on shipping.

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GIFTS FOR ENGAGED GIRLS

Because if your girls (or guys) don’t get excited for you, who will?proposal-silhouette-clip-art-1012833

Engagements are a very special time in a girl’s life (or woman, if you prefer).  It means that she’s about to cast off her single girl swag and take a serious step in the marriage direction.  BUT, before she gets there, make her remaining days as a single gal a time to remember.

Start by celebrating with the right gift.  Here are my thoughts…

A Simple Congratulatory Card (and a Manicure)

If nothing else, putting a “Congratulations” card in the mail with a little note saying how happy you are for her will do the trick.  She’ll know that you’re thinking of her and wish her well.  If you want to go the extra mile, plop down $20 for a manicure and put a gift certificate in the card.  After all she has to keep that new ring bed pretty!

Send Flowers

I can’t take credit for this idea.  When my sister was in high school one of her teachers got engaged and the students sent that teacher flowers.  I thought that it was a beautiful sentiment and it really is.  So log onto FTD or Proflowers and send that bouquet.

“Bridal” Accessories

Phone Case

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Phone cases are reminders that the new bride-to-be can carry around with her every day.  My favorites come from Zazzle and Etsy, where you can customize it in her wedding colors (if she’s picked them) and her soon-to-be married name.

Passport Cover

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For traveling brides, this passport cover fits the bill.  The one shown comes from Kate Spade (a great brand for bridal stuff), but other sites have them too including Target and Zazzle.  Etsy never disappoints either and Amazon has everything!

Necklace

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Kate Spade makes a fun “Bride Emoji” necklace.

A Wedding Binder

Even if she hires a wedding planner, a bride still wants to be in charge of her own ceremony.  Gift her a binder/planner to get her started.  Even if she eventually finds a binder that that fits her planning style better being gifted one by you will renew her excitement that she’s actually planning her dream wedding.

The Knot makes a very highly rated one available on Amazon.  You can get the binder customized (sans inserts) from Zazzle (I swear they don’t pay me).  Laura Drayton Creative on Etsy also makes a five-star planner (with inserts and checklists galore).

A Subscription to Martha Stewart Weddings

I hate to show bias, but this magazine is the gold standard of weddings.  I buy it just for great ideas and the beautiful layouts and ads (and I’ve never planned a wedding). 

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