Finding a good bridesmaid's gift without coming off as cheesy is often a daunting task. If you search the term “bridesmaids gift ideas” on Pinterest or Google, you will discover an endless amount of the same monogrammed totes and robes, matching jewelry and shoes, fabric clutches and customized flip flops.
All these items definitely make great wedding photo props, but a quick search on any wedding planning forum will reveal that most bridesmaids are not very excited about the above-mentioned presents. This is because they are only relevant to the wedding day, people rarely use them, and it looks like there is no thought behind them.
So, what can make a good gift then? All bridesmaids’ opinions you find online seem to agree with the following:
- It is easier if you think of the bridesmaid’s gift as a birthday or Christmas gift. This means that it should be tailored to each girl's personal interests. Getting everyone the exact same thing may come off as thoughtless.
- Avoid anything that has to do with the wedding and it is going to be used for one day. A good gift should show appreciation for their friendship. If it is a “part of their uniform”, it is a gift for yourself.
The appropriate amount depends on everyone’s budget. However, it seems reasonable if the cost of the gift reflects, in some way, the extravagance of the bridesmaid’s dress (which is usually paid for by the bridesmaid). A bride may not look very appreciative of her friends if she does not consider budget when choosing their dresses, but the budget gets 'squeezed' when it comes to choosing their gifts.
Bridesmaids’ dresses have a reputation for being worn only once and are rarely mentioned without some sort of complaint appended. They can be a financial bummer for many, and since they usually are “part of the uniform”, every girl will be thrilled to get those expensive ruffles as a gift.
If your wedding budget is limited, and you need to sell a vital organ on the black market in order to pay for them, then shop online. One fantastic option is to get your girls the so-called “transformer” dresses – multi-wrap dresses that can be worn in so many ways. They are perfect for bridesmaids, because they look similar but different at the same time. Each of the girls can choose a style to wear which compliments her figure. Transformer dresses are also very reasonably priced and come in many sizes and colors.
Professional Makeup and Hair
Paying for the bridesmaids’ professional hair and makeup is another generous gesture that everyone would appreciate.
Custom Gift Sets
As it was pointed out in the beginning: think of the bridesmaids’ gifts as birthday or Christmas gifts. Since all girls would have different hobbies and interests, consider making them custom gift sets. If one likes cooking – get her a set of clever cooking gadgets that she would love to use. If another one is into nail polishes – get her a set from the latest collection of one of the top brands. Prepare different gifts according to their interests, but spend approximately the same amount of money on each person.
Tickets for an Event
A bride can treat her friends to an event that they all love - an upcoming play, concert, sporting event, or show. This can be a great way to catch up with out-of-state bridesmaids, and something fun to look forward to after the big day.
Good Skin Care Tools
A good skin care tool is something every girl can use, even the not so girly one. For example, facial cleansing brushes would make fantastic presents for bridesmaids, because they are not only a skin care game-changers, but you can also find them in various price ranges. The ones made form silicone are a good choice, because they don’t need replacement heads. Plus, they are more popular than ever. Some good brands to consider are SOLO Mio (great quality and inexpensive) and FOREO Luna (great quality, but more expensive).
Designer Wallets and Makeup Bags
Some of the most popular gifts for bridesmaids are custom made clutches that match their dresses. As it was mentioned above, anything that is intended for use on the day of the wedding is not really a gift. A good alternative to that is a designer wristlet, wallet, or makeup bag. Getting each maid a brand name they prefer will show that you know and appreciate them for who they are.
Inexpensive flip flops, decorated with ribbons and flowers that match the wedding theme, are another popular bridesmaid’s gift, intended to be used at the reception. While the thought behind it is nice, a practical gift that can be used even after the wedding, is probably a better bet. For instance, a pair of foldable ballet flats will be cherished long after the big day. They can be stashed in a purse and are perfect for traveling, after a night on the town or for commuting after work. Some will argue that flip flops can also be used after the wedding. The thing is: everyone has a pair or two of those already, but not everyone has a pair of foldable shoes.
Robes make very practical gifts, because they are perfect for wearing while you brew your morning coffee, put on makeup, lounging after a bath or around the pool. We have all seen the cute matching robes with embroidered names or monograms in the "getting-ready" wedding photos. They look great on pictures, but chances are all bridesmaids won’t like the same thing, so only few of them will ever want to wear these robes again. And even fewer will want to walk around their house in a robe that says “Bridesmaid”. So, if you don’t want the robes to get thrown in a drawer and never be seen again, it is better to opt for either neutral colors, or the maid’s favorite colors. Skip the embroidered names and titles and keep the monograms discreet.
There is an argument that gift cards are impersonal, but if a gift card reflects the bridesmaid’s interests and lifestyle, it can be a nice, considerate gesture. For example, a generic restaurant gift card is about as exciting as getting socks for Christmas, but a gift card to her favorite clothing or on-line store can be a great treat. Pair it with a sweet “thank you” note to make the gift even more personal.
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Here is a list of generic bridesmaid’s gifts that are very popular, but will not appeal to the vast majority of women.
We are not talking about timeless pieces that are always in style and can be worn both, during and after the wedding. We are talking about cheap jewelry, matching jewelry, and the type of jewelry that only helps complete the bride’s vision for the wedding. Very few people will consider these good gifts.
Traditional monograms are very common trend in bridesmaid’s gifts. So common that they seem almost overused to the point of cliché now. Just do a quick search on Pinterest and you will see them everywhere.
Anything that says “Bridesmaid”
We know, these are extremely popular and are intended for use the day of the wedding, but they make bad gifts. Why would anyone want to use anything that says “Bridesmaid” in their day-to-day life?
Bridesmaid "Survival Kit"
Many brides like to get their bridal parties the so-called “survival kits” as “thank you” gifts. These are usually small bags filled with items like tissues, hairspray, anti-bacterial lotion, band-aids, Tylenol, etc. Lovely in theory, but no one wants toiletries and Tylenol for their birthday or Christmas. Plus, every girl would already carry those in her purse if she needs them.
You have probably seen the cute-looking totes, personalized with the bridesmaids’ names or initials, and filled with flip flops, snacks, and basic necessities. Have you ever seen someone actually walking around the city with their name emblazoned on their bag for all the world to see? Probably not. Then, why spend money on something that people will hardly use, just because everybody does it?
A lot of brides give clothes hangers with the bridesmaids’ names on them as part of their gifts. They make great photo props, but are terrible idea for gifts. Imagine someone saying to you: “Happy birthday, friend, I got you a gift!” You open it up and it is a clothes hanger. Would you be jumping up and down for joy?
Customized Wine Glass
A single, personalized wine glass that does not match anything will eventually end up at the back of the cupboard gathering dust, or at the Goodwill.
If a girl needs to carry a flask of booze around, she should seek help, not get one as a gift. And assuming that all of your bridesmaids are heavy drinkers or alcoholics is kind of insulting.
Dollar store picture frames
These are just lame and boring, even when personalized.