Is It Really Necessary to Buy Gifts for Your Wedding Party?
Wedding party gifts are gifts that the bride and groom purchase (or make) for their wedding party. They’re a way of saying “thank you” for all the time, effort, and hard work that your wedding party has put in to your wedding.
Not only will they all have their important roles on the big day, but many of them will have helped you organise your wedding. They may have even spent a lot of their own money on you – for example, it’s the Maid of Honour’s job to plan and pay for the hen night. That’s something worth showing your appreciation for!
But is it really necessary to buy gifts for your wedding party? What about if you’re low on funds, or you don’t know what to buy them? This guide will answer these all-important questions, as well as explaining who to buy for and when to give your gifts out.
Do You Have to Get Your Wedding Party Gifts?
Let’s answer this question right off the bat. Are wedding party gifts absolutely essential for every single wedding (like thank-you cards)? Or are they more of an optional gesture (like wedding favours)?
Most people, including us, consider wedding party gifts non-compulsory. Nobody will think poorly of you if you don’t buy them. However, they are a nice gesture, and one that’s usually deeply appreciated. After all, your wedding party will have done a lot to help you out in the lead up to your big day, and they deserve to be thanked in some way.
That doesn’t mean to say that you need to spend a lot of money. As the old saying goes, it’s the thought that counts. A small and affordable gift, or even a homemade one, would be appreciated just as much as an expensive one.
And if you really can’t afford gifts – or you feel that your wedding party hasn’t helped you out enough to warrant them – a simple thank you card is perfectly acceptable.
When Do You Give Wedding Party Gifts?
If you choose to get gifts for your wedding party, you may wonder: when should I give them out? There’s no strict rule here; you can give your wedding party their gifts whenever you want to. But in case you need some ideas, here are the most common times for handing out wedding party gifts.
• The wedding rehearsal dinner. This comes straight from American tradition, and is by far the most popular time for handing out wedding party gifts in the States. Of course, rehearsal dinners aren’t a common tradition in the U.K.
• The hen night or stag night. This is a great option if you want to give your gifts before the wedding, but you’re not having a rehearsal dinner. For example, if you’re giving your Maid of Honour a necklace that you’d like her to wear during the ceremony.
• The morning of the wedding, as you’re all getting ready together.
• During the wedding toasts and speeches. If your party don’t need their gifts before the big day, you could give them out during the thank-you speeches at the wedding breakfast.
If you prefer, you could even wait until after the wedding is over. Organise a post-wedding celebratory brunch or day out, and distribute the presents then.
Who Do You Buy Gifts for at Your Wedding?
Anyone whom you feel has helped you out a lot with your wedding should receive a wedding party gift. Traditionally, that would be:
• The mother of the bride. She typically helps the bride choose her dress, create the guest list, and offers a lot of practical assistance (such as transporting the wedding gifts home).
• The father of the bride. He would usually fund most of the wedding, as well as walk the bride down the aisle, make a speech, and dance the father-daughter dance.
• The maid of honour. She’s the bride’s right-hand girl, and will pay for the hen party, carry the bride’s things on the day, and make a speech herself.
• The bridesmaids. While they don’t have quite as many responsibilities, your bridesmaids will probably run several errands for you and help set up the wedding venue.
• The best man. The male equivalent of the maid of honour, he organises the stag do and gives a speech, as well as being there for the groom whenever needed.
Depending on your preference, though, you may also wish to give gifts to your ushers, flower girl(s) and page boy or ring bearer. And don’t forget the mother and father of the groom – especially if they’ve contributed financially or shouldered any wedding-planning-related duties.
How Much Should You Spend on Wedding Party Gifts?
As with every other aspect of wedding spending, the key here is not to spend more than you can afford. In other words, don’t be tempted to borrow money or go into your overdraft purely to buy wedding party gifts! The thought that you put into the gift is a million times more important than its cash value.
Hopefully, you and your partner will already have organised a wedding budget, and left some margin for things like wedding favours and wedding party gifts. If not, now’s the time to take another look at your finances and see what you can afford to spare.
If you have a lot of disposable income and no money troubles, feel free to be as extravagant as you’d like – some couples spend as much as £150 on each wedding party gift. But if you can only afford £20-30 per person or thereabouts, that’s fine too.
You’ll want to spend a little more if your wedding party have sunk a lot of their own money into your wedding – particularly your parents, if they’ve paid for the whole thing.
Reusable or Consumable Gifts?
So, what should you buy for your wedding party? You have two main options here: consumable gifts (gifts that are designed to be eaten or used up in some way) or reusable gifts (that your loved ones can keep and display, or use again and again).
Reusable gifts are the most popular, because they don’t have a limited lifespan. For example: a personalised pair of cufflinks, an engraved hip flask, or a framed photograph. For female wedding party members, jewellery is a popular choice.
However, the downside to these sorts of presents is that there’s a risk they can come off as a bit too ‘novelty’, and that the recipient won’t want to use them again. Consumable gifts, while short-lived, can still say “I care about you” just as well. For example:
• A box of fancy cheeses and chutneys
• Bath bombs
• Aftershave /perfume
• A bottle of wine or champagne
The choice is yours. Most importantly, try to tailor your gift to the recipient’s personality and interests. Show them that you know them inside out!
Homemade Wedding Party Gifts (DIY Option)
Are you a creative or crafty type of person? Homemade or DIY wedding party gifts can be just as loved and appreciated as bought ones. In fact, most people would consider the love and time it takes to make a homemade gift a lot more special than simply buying something. (And it can save you a lot of money, too!)
Depending on where your skills and talents lie, there are so many options. You could knit, crochet, or embroider something for each of your wedding party. If you’re a dab hand at metalwork, a home-made necklace or bracelet would be fantastic. Or how about buying some inexpensive wine glasses, and personalising each one with glass paint or permanent markers?
Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Party Gifts
Not every bride or groom likes the idea of buying traditional wedding party gifts. If you’re a minimalist or an eco-warrior, you might prefer the idea of gifting an ‘experience’ rather than a ‘thing’. Or, if you simply don’t want the hassle of trying to choose gifts for everyone, gift cards may be more appropriate. If budgeting is your issue, a handwritten and heartfelt thank you card is a money-saving option.
Do you value fun experiences and memory-making more than ‘things’? If so, it might be more up your street to invite your wedding party out for some fun, rather than giving them a physical gift.
For example, you could invite your parents around for dinner and treat them to a home-cooked meal to say thank you. Your groom could take his groomsmen out for a post-wedding night on the town. And for the bridesmaids and Maid of Honour, perhaps they’d like a spa day treat?
Perhaps you’d like to buy gifts for your wedding party, but you don’t know what to get them. If so, let them choose for themselves! There’s no point buying something if you don’t know whether they’ll like it or want to use it. By giving gift cards, you’re still showing your appreciation for all their help, but letting them decide what to spend the money on.
Opt for a multi-store voucher such as Love2Shop, or pick out specific shops for each wedding party member. Your best man, for example, might appreciate a gift card for MenKind or Game. The Body Shop or Marks and Spencer might better suit the Mother of the Bride!
Finally, if you simply don’t have any spare cash to spend on your wedding party (or the time/skill required to make your own gifts), just send everyone a heartfelt thank-you card. Nobody will be upset at not receiving a present – they’re in your wedding party because they love you and want to support you, not for their own gain!
Wedding thank you cards are the perfect way to convey your gratitude to everyone who’s helped you out with your big day. A wide range of styles and designs are available from Bride and Groom Direct.