Friday, October 17, 2008

Q & A: Gifts from the groom to the bride, parents, bestman and ushers

As a groom, you will likely have the pleasure of receiving many gifts. Just as pleasant is the presentation of gifts to the people you wish to acknowledge at this important time in your life.

We offer here some suggestions for gifts. Please choose from the following recipients:

The bride

Possibly the oldest wedding-gift tradition, still followed by many couples, is that of the bride and groom giving gifts to each other. These gifts should reflect your commitment, and therefore be something that will last a long time. Items that can be engraved with the entwined initials of the bride and groom and/or the wedding date are especially appealing. However, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money; sometimes a heartfelt message can be delivered in the form of a sentimental, homemade token.

  • a picture frame for her office desk
  • a pledge or poem you've written yourself and framed, or written in a beautiful greeting card, or inscribed in the front of a special book
  • rubber stamps of both your initials and a collection of eco-friendly writing paper
  • a beautiful figurine (which might do double duty as the topper for the wedding cake)
  • a locket holding your engagement portrait
  • personalized stationery
  • a jewelry box
  • a tree seedling
  • a dress watch or piece if jewelry (e.g., a gold bangle) engraved with your wedding date
  • a specialty desk clock
  • a pearl necklace or earrings (pearls are a traditional gift for the bride)

The bestman and ushers

  • a crystal pen holder
  • an engraved, silverplated pen
  • a silverplated, stainless-steel, or pewter beer stein
  • a boxed set of two crystal brandy snifters
  • a silver or stainless-steel money clip
  • a silverplated letter opener
  • a silver key chain
  • an engraved, silverplated business-card case
  • a silverplated or stainless-steel coaster set
  • a silverplated corkscrew
  • a silverplated or crystal sculpted paperweight
  • a stainless-steel shaving set
  • a pocketknife
  • a silver letter-opener
  • a picture frame
  • a desk clock
  • a personalized coffee-mug or baseball cap
  • a monogrammed address book
  • silk boxer-shorts or a vest

Tradition dictates that the help given by the best man and ushers be acknowledged with gifts. These should be chosen to reflect the style of your wedding day. Though it is simpler to give all the groomsmen identical gifts, the modern groom is not bound to this rule. However, if gifts are chosen to reflect your attendants' individual interests or tastes, the value of each gift should be the same. Choose with care, keeping in mind that these mementos will be cherished for a long time. Monograms add a personal touch and enhance sentimental value.

The gift for the best man is often different from the ushers', to reflect his larger contribution to the wedding planning and the special role he plays on the day.

Though your time will be at a premium as your wedding day grows closer, do take the time to put some thought into how you will present your gifts. A thank-you gift that has been wrapped with care shows how much you value the recipient's friendship and support. Enclose a card with a short note mentioning the role the recipient is playing in your wedding and anything they did during your wedding preparations that especially touched you.

There are two occasions when presenting your attendants with their gifts is timely and thoughtful. The first is to host a party for your attendants. Whether a casual get-together at home or a formal luncheon or dinner at a restaurant, this event provides an intimate moment for you to address your sentiments and thanks to your attendants only. The other option is to choose a moment during the rehearsal dinner to present your gifts. This allows you and your fiancée to make a joint speech or toast in which you share your thanks to your attendants with your family and close friends.

Your parents

A modern trend is to give gifts to your parents. One popular option is a gift that symbolizes the ties that bind you to them even as you start your own family. Your grandparents', your parents', and your own wedding portraits, all framed together, make a gift that fits this category beautifully.

Other suggestions:

  • your engagement or wedding portrait in a silver picture frame engraved with the wedding date
  • a bouquet of flowers, perhaps an arrangement that echoes the colors and style of the bride's bouquet, to be delivered to your parents' home the morning after the wedding
  • an engravable silver tray
  • silver or crystal candlesticks
  • a figurine
  • a piece of art

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