If you Google that question, you’re going to come up with a slew of articles touting all the great gifts you can give your bridesmaids, but beware – many of the gifts on those lists are part of affiliate advertising programs, and are there to generate a revenue stream and provide attractive content, not because bridesmaids everywhere are demanding them. So we here at NoVa Wedding Style would like to offer you this article completely lacking in attractive content, but full of honest answers instead.
First, remember that your bridesmaids understand it’s the thought that counts, and they aren’t going to be angry at you for giving them a gift they can’t use. But…they aren’t going to use it. It doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate your gift. However, we know how much you want to give something they’ll really love. And since most NoVa brides we talked to are spending between $100-$200 per bridesmaid (with the MOH being on the higher end), you might as well get something they’ll like. So here goes.
What Bridesmaids Definitely Don’t Want:
Bridesmaids are nearly unanimous in how much they can’t use anything that has the word “bridesmaid” on it or is in any other way specific to your wedding. This includes monogrammed apparel (unless it’s monogrammed with only the bridesmaid’s name), wine glasses with the date on them, jewelry in your wedding colors, and anything else that is wedding-specific.
I mean, what am I supposed to do with a single wine glass that doesn’t match all the other ones on my shelf? I feel bad, but I just put it in the back of the cupboard and haven’t used it since.-Felicia
They also generally don’t want things that fall into the impersonal “gifts for her” category. This includes fluffy baskets full of favor-like items, a single wine glass that won’t match the set they have at home, soaps and candles and compact mirrors (unless those are things they normally use), jewelry or other products that aren’t at all their style. Bridesmaids say they just don’t have a use for most of these items, and they’ll end up sitting in the back of a closet.
I live in a tiny apartment – please don’t give me any more clutter!-Savannah
So What DO Bridesmaids Want?
Pay for Something
What they’d enjoy the most is for the bride to pay for their hair and makeup, or pay for the shoes, or pay for the dress, or pay for the lodging or the travel, or whatever other expenses they are incurring to be a part of your day. The average bridesmaid spends $1,000 on a wedding, so anything you can do to reduce that will be appreciated.
If paying for one of more of those items isn’t possible, or you still want to give some kind of gift in addition to that, here are some favorites:
(but not with bridesmaid written on them). Fancy PJ’s are definitely a luxury, and most bridesmaids enjoy getting them. That works out nicely if you are planning some fabulous getting-ready photos with everyone in their matching outfits.
So long as it doesn’t reference your wedding, other types of apparel are also appreciated. Casual clothing that everyone wears, like T-shirts, hoodies, and flannel shirts, top the list of favorite apparel gifts.
My sister-in-law gave us all matching flannel shirts that we wore for the photos. It’s just a simple shirt, but it ended up being my favorite. I throw it on like a jacket all the time.-Dion
As long as it isn’t in wedding colors, jewelry that can be worn again is appreciated. Earrings and bracelets are favorites. Just be sure that it isn’t a style they would never wear – and it’s fine to give different gifts to different bridesmaids.
A clutch that they can carry at the wedding (but that could be carried at any wedding, not just yours) is a much-enjoyed and used gift. Likewise, tote bags and makeup bags are popular.
She gave me a Kate Spade wallet. I carry it everywhere.-Jaz
Not everyone loves coffee or tea, but those who do, enjoy a good mug, so this can be a good choice for a less expensive gift, or part of a gift basket.
Everyone likes getting their favorite beverage, whether it’s wine or champagne or something else. If you know what your bridesmaids like to drink, you can safely assume they’ll enjoy getting a bottle of it, or a mini-bottle as part of a gift basket.
I got a mini bottle of my favorite champagne, and I thought it was so sweet that she remembered what I like to drink.-Amber
Trendy makeup in colors that fit a range of skin colors is something many bridesmaids enjoy getting.
Something you’d get her for her birthday
You don’t have to get all your bridesmaids the same thing. Shopping for gifts as if it were a birthday means giving something to each that you know she will like. It doesn’t have to be related to your wedding, or to weddings at all.
Something very personal
Whether it’s a note telling her how much she means to you, or a framed photo of the two of you, bridesmaids are there for you, not the gift, so a gift from the heart is certain to make her smile long after your wedding day.
She gave me one of those little folding book frames with a photo of us as kids one side and at her bachelorette party on the other. I teared up.-Chris
*Cover photo by Mdree Photography