There's a new trend in wedding planning that, as a perpetual bridesmaid, I love!  It's the idea that you should get your bridesmaids (and groomsmen...) gifts for participating and helping out with your wedding.  I've seen gifts that range from cheap and tacky to way too incredibly thoughtful and personal so I was thinking, what are some guidelines for picking out the perfect bridesmaid gift?

1.)  Make it useful.  At the bridesmaid luncheon the day before the wedding, my fellow bridesmaids and I were each given matching crystal necklaces that the bride's mother had brought with her from South Africa.  Not only was in very thoughtful, but we all had matching necklaces to wear with our dresses for the wedding the next day!  Another idea would be matching shawls or purses to use during the big day.  It makes for great pictures and happy bridesmaids!

2.) Make it personal.  The internet is a beautiful thing.  You can customize literally anything and it isn't even very expensive.  Two of my favorites are a cutting board I received from a very culinary bride with my last name and initial burned into the wood, and a wine bottle that reads "Will You Be My Maid of Honor" with my name, the bride's name, and the date of the wedding printed on it (how can you ever drink that!?!  I've decided that it's just art and displayed it as such).  It doesn't have to be initials or monograms, it could simply be a gift that demonstrates your knowledge of that bridesmaid, or a gift that signifies something special you both share. It's a great way to show you appreciate them and all they do for you.

3.) Have the gift go with the theme.  I've been to several fun theme weddings and having gifts that go along with the theme just seems right!  I would just be careful not to go overboard.  At a nerdy themed wedding not everyone is going to understand why you gave out roses and blue phone booths that make fun noises.  Making sure your bridesmaids understand your theme is a big part of planning your big day.  If you're thinking about a theme wedding, run it by your wedding planner who will know exactly how to incorporate your theme without going too crazy.  Even if you don't have a theme, your gifts can go along with your wedding colors, or something that is unique about the location.  At a destination wedding in New Orleans we were all given fun touristy trinkets like key chains, shot glasses, and post cards!  It was cheeky and fun for everyone!

Whatever you decide, make sure you don't stress too much about the details.  Your big day is going to take a lot of planning, so if you spend too much time picking out the amazing bridesmaid gifts something is bound to get left behind.  Hiring a wedding planner to take care of everything else will, of course, free you up to focus on fun little things like this, which is why I always recommend finding a good one and starting from there.  Let me know what kind of gifts you got for your bridesmaids!

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