Gifts for wedding helpers?
October 13, 2015 1:41 PM   Subscribe

We need to get gifts for the wonderful team of people who are helping us get married. Please advise.

Helpers are a mix of genders and cultures. Tend toward queer, progressive, quirky but no one thing can be said about all of them. Few are drinkers, none are hard drinkers. A few key people need special gifts, the rest we are thinking something we can get a case of and share out. Obvious choice would be like a fancy bottle of olive oil but trying to think of other options.

For the special gifts for the people who are going above and beyond with helping, obviously will try to pick something unique to them, but even categories of gift ideas would be helpful. Restaurant gift certificates?
posted by latkes to Human Relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We did a couple different things and people seemed to genuinely like them. We tried to avoid cheap breakable things or putting our names on the items. We tended to err on the side of DIY and sentimentality, but that seemed to be appreciated by the folks involved.

1. My friends who were in the wedding party received a handmade sculpey bowl and relevant gift cards (itunes, pedicure, coffee, etc). The bowls weren't difficult to make and I made impressions in the clay with lace from my veil and our wedding rings.
2. My husband's friends were all given engraved items. Did you know you can get just about anything engraved? The objects related to everyone's professions: knife (chef), spatula (cook), guitar slide (musician) and desk nameplate (teacher). The text was a few lines commemorating their friendship (appropriate quote, inside joke, etc).
3. Everyone who came to our rehearsal dinner received homemade lavender sugar and rosemary sea salt in reuseable containers.
4. For vendors or "friendors" who went above and beyond, we included gift certificates for a local fancy ice cream place.
posted by annaramma at 2:02 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've gotten everything from a sincere "thank you" (for providing music; was a pleasure to do anyway) to a gold watch (undeserved and overwhelming; I just showed up in the required dress), to bath stuff (which was appreciated). I think it's really up to you! I've never expected anything, though, and I doubt your nearest and dearest will. I think a bottle of fancy olive oil would be great. Hard to go wrong with fancy foodstuff of any kind.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:03 PM on October 13, 2015

Do you have a rough idea of how much you are looking to spend?

Although I always appreciate the sentiment of a thank you gift, the only bridesmaid gifts I've actually kept/not shoved in the bottom of a closet have been jewelry, even though I'm not much of a jewelry wearer. It's not expensive jewelry, but depending on how big of a bottle of olive oil you're thinking it might be unreasonable to find anything nice for the price you have in mind. And I don't know what percentage of your people are jewelry-wearers (although, as I say, I'm actually not a jewelry-wearer and I like my jewelry just fine). So, seriously, consider jewelry! Surely you know at least one person who needs a silver unicorn ring.

Short short version: I think consumable or small is the way to go.
posted by mskyle at 2:25 PM on October 13, 2015

I gave all my helpers a monogrammed (with their own initials) L.L. Bean duffle bag. I got them on sale, 15 years ago. Every single one of them RAVES about how awesome they are and still use them to this day. I'll see posts on Facebook or Twitter saying they just packed for such and such trip and used the duffle bag that OrangeDisk gave them. Not one of them has stopped using them. It's crazy.

So that's my suggestion -- something practical, durable and useful.
posted by OrangeDisk at 2:39 PM on October 13, 2015 [9 favorites]

I've gotten a monogrammed LL Bean item for helping with a friend's multiple wedding events spanning two continents. I got the extra large tote in a unique color that Bean was producing that year. As did several other friends in their own colors. We were all very happy with this gift.
posted by rdnnyc at 3:42 PM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I ALSO got the LL Bean tote as a bridesmaid, and I loved it, and still use it.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 4:30 PM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

The tote/duffel bag sounds great, I would love to get something like that!

Along those lines, a monogrammed picnic blanket or blankie for snuggling on the sofa would be nice. Non-cluttery and useful as well as sentimental.
posted by kitten magic at 4:46 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

We did engraved photo frames with a picture of us and the helper put into it. It went over well.

However, I'm now very jealous of the LL Bean tote idea. ;)
posted by heathrowga at 5:46 PM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Some of these are pretty nice. I like the wooden labyrinth game or the dessert and baking salts, but the taco socks and the bird vase are pretty nifty too.

I also visited a glassblowing studio a few weeks ago -- many of the beautiful things in the shop would have made great gifts. Christmas ornaments, vases, drinking glasses, swirly paperweights, etc.
posted by Ostara at 7:27 PM on October 13, 2015

Also consider Lands' End for tote bags. Watch for their sales. I like to have fun with monograms and personalize with a word that means something to the friend. YMMV would make a fun monogram on a tote.
If budget allows, a group spa day could be really fun. One of my local spas allows full use of the steam showers, pools etc with purchase of a $40 pedi. It would be really fun to go there with a group.
Finally, I like to give coffee. A ceramic mug made by a local potter combined with locally roasted beans or a cafe gift card.
posted by areaperson at 6:14 AM on October 14, 2015

I'm a huge booster of this daily journal, which offers space for roughly 1-2 sentences per day over the course of five years. It's less a journal and more a day-to-day chronicle of life, and it's arranged such that you're able to see what you were doing on a particular date, 1, 2, 3, or 4 years ago to the day. I find it a simple and powerful way to reflect on the ways my life has (and hasn't) changed, and how simultaneously long and short a year can be.

This may not be for everyone; you know your audience best!
posted by duffell at 7:05 AM on October 15, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks folks! Interesting that everyone gives duffel bags - that's a pretty good gift! But we ended up with honey/olives/other consumables plus some gift certificates for some specific folks.

Thanks so much!
posted by latkes at 2:05 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

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