Ideas for awesome gifts for our bridesmaids and groomsmen?
July 7, 2008 2:55 PM   Subscribe

My fiancee and I are getting married in a month. We have kind of an embarrassingly large bridal party but we love them and want to give them cool presents! We're on a budget (we could probably spend up to $40 per attendant). We are open to creative ideas. Wedding is in San Francisco, and many attendants will be flying in from distant places.
posted by Tren to Society & Culture (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Our groomsmen all seemed to really like the personalized drink coasters we gave them. YMMV, especialyl if your friends don't drink.
posted by chrisamiller at 3:10 PM on July 7, 2008

Some friends of mine created beautiful personalised painted crockery to thank family and friends at a local pottery like this. If you go for small pieces (mugs, egg cups, cups & saucers) they should be easy to take home in luggage.

Congratulations on the wedding!
posted by ceri richard at 3:22 PM on July 7, 2008

For my sister's wedding, the bridesmaids all got the necklace/earrings they wore for the wedding and the groomsmen all got pocket knives... may have been personalized... can't remember. For the other sister it was jewelry and astronaut pens... the ones that write upside-down, etc....

For a recent friend's wedding, the groomsmen all got glass beer mugs with their names etched in ... possibly also the date. The bridesmaids all got champaign flutes with their names etched...

Does your wedding have a theme, or do you and your fiancee have a really predominant hobby? Maybe you know all of your wedding party from a specific time/place in your lives?

For example: If you're all big fans of rock climbing, personalized carabiner clips with the date/names could be neat.

Something useful is generally better than something to be displayed... Keep in mind that although you may only be getting married once in a lifetime, that saying, "always a bridesmaid, never a bride," didn't come along on it's own....
posted by Kimothy at 3:22 PM on July 7, 2008

Just in case the pottery idea appeals, here's a San Francisco example, Terra Mia:

"We have a flat rate of studio time which is $10.OO per person. It is good for unlimited time that day."

I guess that the pottery pieces are on top of that but I'm sure it would be within budget (and negotiable for larger quantities?) - and so much fun if you have a free day before the wedding!

You can even try your hand at making designs online!
posted by ceri richard at 3:36 PM on July 7, 2008

It might partly depend on your age; are your friends still in the need-stuff part of their lives, or do they already have plenty?

As a professional organizer, I see people struggle deciding what to do with things they got as gifts but really have no use for - so I tend to be hesitant in recommending anything that might become clutter.

Since these are people who are near and dear to you, how about selecting individual gifts for each one - something you know will be cherished by the person?

And I also highly recommend a hand-written letter to each person, telling him or her how much it meant to you to have him/her as part of your wedding party. Again, this would be a different letter for each person.
posted by jeri at 3:53 PM on July 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

Thanks for all the ideas so far!

Jeri, I couldn't agree more about the potential clutter issue. We want to give gifts that are useful, or at least highly enjoyable. I love the idea of selecting individual gifts for each person, but I'm concerned that we don't have enough time to dedicate to that project. We are both working more than full time right now, pretty much up until the wedding. And ok, I'll just admit it: there are eight bridesmaids and eight groomsmen!
posted by Tren at 4:01 PM on July 7, 2008

I just finished being the maid-of-honor in my best friend's wedding. The bridal party all got these beautiful silver bracelets that matched the whole color scheme and everybody's dresses. The bride had one as well, and we all wore them for the wedding/reception. They weren't too expensive at all - just perfect given our subtle tastes and what we were wearing.

Even if we didn't like them, they'd be small and easily put away, and hence wouldn't be adding to any clutter, etc.
posted by cgg at 4:04 PM on July 7, 2008

A large piece of cheese.
posted by luriete at 4:12 PM on July 7, 2008

I got all the groomsmen leatherman tools, they loved it and still tell me they use the all the time years later. They were around that price (40$). Allowed me to get the best man a slightly nicer one in the same style and everyone can use an extra one if they have one already.

I have so much personalized crap that I never use from previous weddings that just gets thrown away after 2 or 3 moves.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 4:22 PM on July 7, 2008

Are your groomsmen wearing tuxedos with french cuff shirts? If so, you could get them cufflinks. I think these cufflinks made from old watches on Etsy are particularly cool and not that expensive. There's tons of other designs for under $40.
posted by junesix at 4:24 PM on July 7, 2008

Just to throw out there that as a bridesmaid, I'd probably love a Leatherman, too. Their pocket tools come in a bunch of colors and I know that the Micra is offered on REI for less than $30.
posted by amanda at 5:00 PM on July 7, 2008

My husband was in a wedding party where all the groomsmen got flasks with their names etched on them.
posted by at 5:08 PM on July 7, 2008

One of my friends gave out lovely silk/cashmere shawls to the bridesmaids. They went with the dresses, so we could put them on if we got cold, and make great scarves in winter or cover-ups in planes, overly air-conditioned offices, etc. I remember she got them on eBay relatively cheap, so it's definitely within your budget - and if you wanted to get fancy, you could always get them monogrammed.
posted by Mr Bunnsy at 5:11 PM on July 7, 2008

I do a lot of wedding favors. Apparently, soap and aromatherapy spritzers are popular because you can make them all look fairly similar, but still customize each one. Plus, if you use a studio that does a lot of private labeling, it's really no big deal to design custom labels, even for each person. (It costs a little more, because of the time factor, but probably not much more than 20-40 to the job total.)

You don't really have a lot of time for having someone else make handmade baskets for you, just because picking containers/colors/scents/shapes, etc can be time consuming.

However, if you use a local artisan, and pick up some fabu baskets/bowls/etc., at World Market or Pier One or something, you're probably well within the timeline to get it done. If you want to do something like that, metamail me an email address that I can share, and I'd be happy to put the word out on the Soapmaker's Guild and have a local artist contact you.
posted by dejah420 at 5:42 PM on July 7, 2008

a deck of personalized playing cards
posted by maulik at 6:15 PM on July 7, 2008

get your bridesmaids flip-flops to match their dresses for the reception.

it would be funny to get them a little book on things to do with a bridesmaid's dress after a wedding.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:22 PM on July 7, 2008

As a thank you to the women that put my baby shower together I had some rings handmade by an Etsy artist.
Big hit.
But I know I'd dig a Leatherman Juice if I were a bridesmaid.
posted by beccaj at 6:30 PM on July 7, 2008

This artist has some cool stuff you could personalize.
posted by beccaj at 6:34 PM on July 7, 2008

Can you take a leatherman on a plane these days? Cause if you can I would imagine them being a perfect gift for MANY weddings in San Francisco these days.

*makes note*
posted by answergrape at 7:11 PM on July 7, 2008

How about some really neat little (wooden?) boxes with chocolates or whatever and a photo sized piece of (thank-you) card in the bottom. They can keep or ditch whatever they please - easily. The piece of card can stay with the box or slip into a photo album. The box is useful but they can ditch it without guilt if they stash the card somewhere. Or the chocolates could be an easy method to ditch the lot of it. They know who you are, that they were there, why and that you were pleased they came.

Btw I would not like a glass :) it wouldn't match anything (give me two and I'd be happy though) and on top of that - I don't drink. Plus I'd be disappointed if one day someone was using it and it got smashed. (Even if I only ever had one but if it left me with one.. I would be real irritated!)

I like the pocketknife idea. Doesn't get much more useful than that now does it?
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 12:26 AM on July 8, 2008

We had an Hawaiian themed wedding. My kids walked with me, so there were no bridesmaids. All of the groomsmen got decent matching shirts that complemented my dress and the groom's shirt. Hardly any of them live near each other, so that wasn't a bother. Also, the shirts were nice enough for business casual in their respective areas. They all also got some sort of black nut lei, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

Our budget was very tight, but it all went over really well.

When my hubby was best man at his best friend's wedding a few years ago, he received a set of lovely shot glasses in a lined box, and they were engraved with Skaal, Cheers, Prost, etc. He also received a T-shirt that the bride had painted with a stenciled "Best Man" and embellishments. I still love borrowing that T-shirt, especially after he's worn it. ;)

Happy wishes for your wedding!
posted by lilywing13 at 12:28 AM on July 8, 2008

Can you take a leatherman on a plane these days?

Well there is always the option of getting the 'knifeless Fuse' Leatherman. It replaces the knife with a file, although my guess is that some overzealous TSA agent might still try and take it away, especially since it has scissors and screwdriver heads in it as well.

I actually recently got this as a groomsman gift, but haven't tried taking it on a plane with me, so no first hand reports.
posted by langeNU at 6:32 AM on July 8, 2008

When we got married our wedding party came from all over the States. I went to a vintage store and found those old 1940s travel postcard sets (the ones that look hand colored and fold out) from each of the states or cities they came from. Each cost me under $5 and they were personal. Everyone got a big kick out of them.

I'm not suggesting you do this but pointing out that sometimes a good gift can be found that is worth a lot more in its intrinsic value than its monetary one. Go forth and have a good time figuring out what works for you.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 8:50 AM on July 8, 2008

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