Bridesmaid Gift Giving Etiquette
Wedding trends always come and go (but it is probably doubtful anyone is hoping that puffy sleeves and floppy hats make a return). However, some traditions are fairly resilient, such as a having bridesmaids. These three to five ladies do far more than stand beside the couple at the altar on their big day. Bridesmaids often lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on or some even function as the day-of coordinator. Unfortunately, with this honor and responsibility often comes a hefty price tag.
These days, members of the bridal party can expect to spend $1,500 to $1,800. These costs cover everything from attire and day-of beautification to airfare and hotel stays, all elements of today’s wedding festivities. Of course, these expenses can vary wildly depending on location or levels of formality but if you say yes to the bride (and the candy-colored dress, shoes and destination she picks out), you’re going to need to start budgeting for gifts as well.
Your name is probably on the invitation list for every shower, party or get-together thrown for the couple. While not every gathering will involve gifts, you undoubtedly won’t be showing up empty-handed to every one of them.
When putting together a “bridesmaid budget,” plan to purchase a shower gift and a wedding gift. If gifts are expected or encouraged at other events, like an engagement party or multiple showers, a heartfelt, handwritten note or small gift (a picture frame, an ornament or a fun piece of barware) are all great ways to express your happiness without blowing your budget.
If you are concerned about costs (and even if you’re not), one idea to consider is splitting the cost of a big-ticket item with others in the wedding party. Some couples put higher-cost items on their registry for this reason alone. If the registry has been picked over, a gift card to a local attraction or restaurant is a nice gesture as well.
What you spend on the wedding gift depends on how much you’ve already spent getting to, and ready for, your friend or family member’s wedding. Use your best judgment and, no matter what, you should give the bride and groom a card. This helps prevent any confusion about whether or not a gift is in the mail. Not only that, but it’s also a great opportunity to share well wishes and express your delight about being included in their big day.