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Make Note Monday: Great Gift Ideas for Your "I DO" Crew

Post proposal there are a million things for you to consider as you begin the planning process. As a couple you are most likely determining the time of year that you would prefer to get married, what type of venue suits the overall atmosphere that you would like to encompass your big day, and who you will ask to be members of your wedding party. Today I'm going to share some helpful tips with you on who to decide to be in your wedding party, as well as some great gift ideas to ask your wedding party members to share that honor with you and also ideal gifts to thank them on the day of your wedding for being by your side.

Let's be honest, deciding who will be in your wedding party is reminiscent of our myspace top eight days in which you have to rank in order the level of importance each person means to you. This of course may or may not unintentionally offend some people depending on your group dynamic. However, at the end of the day, while it is important to be considerate of other people's feelings it is more important to put your own feelings first when planning your wedding. That said, please take the following pointers into consideration when selecting each member for your wedding party:

  1. First, you and your fiancé should consider how many people each of you would like standing by your side at the alter. The average wedding party size is 5 people on either side, however I have seen as many as 13 people on each side and that is totally okay too! Being popular is a wonderful problem to have! Please keep in mind however, that the more wedding party members that you have then the more money you will be spending on spoiling each one. This is something that you should be factoring into your budget. PRO TIP: You and your fiancé do not need to have the same number of people standing by your sides unless you are adamant on keeping it even. If you are okay with one side being slightly shorter than the other, then you can get away with having uneven numbers by having two members from the side with more people walk out (and in) with one member from the side with less people.

  2. Be discerning when deciding who to ask to be in your wedding party, and what role you ask them to play. Let's be honest, being a Bridesmaid, Maid of Honor, Groomsmen, or Best Man is an honor but it is also a HUGE responsibility and financial obligation. Many wedding party members spend a minimum of $1,000 to be a part of your wedding between all of the festivities leading up to the wedding and everything that they need on the actual wedding day. That being said, choose each person carefully and consider whether or not they are up for the responsibility and financial obligation of being in your wedding. If you are not discerning then you may end up with more unnecessary drama than you need leading up to your wedding day. PRO TIP: Being a Maid or Honor or Best Man is even more responsibility than being a Bridesmaid or Groomsmen. Here is just a quick list of an MOH's duties: assisting the Bride with shopping for the wedding dress, planning and organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party, keeping the bridal party organized and in line, being there for the Bride throughout the planning process and on the day of the wedding every step of the way, being responsible for the rings, bride's bouquet and fluffing the train during the ceremony, and making a memorable toast during the reception. If your BFF is not the most dependable person or is not in a position to take on the responsibility of being your Maid of Honor, then do yourselves a favor and choose someone more suited for the job. It may be a difficult decision and tough conversation to have, but it could potentially save you resentment and even your friendship if they don't live up to your expectations.

  3. Speaking of expectations, you should be honest with your wedding party from the very beginning of what your expectations are of them and what role you would like them to play on your big day. For example, is it important to you that your wedding party members attend your dress shopping and fittings, attend all of the pre-wedding festivities and help you set-up all of your wedding decor on the day of the wedding as well? If so, then you should vocalize these expectations from the very beginning. A lot of hurt feelings can be spared by being honest with yourself and your wedding party as to what your expectations are of them leading up to the wedding and on your big day.

  4. Include brothers and sisters as often as possible. Keep in mind that your significant other's siblings will be a part of your life moving forward whether you are close to them or not. That said, if you are not particularly close to the groom's sister per say and are unsure of whether or not to ask her to be a member of your bridal party then I would suggest having a private conversation with her before announcing and asking your bridal party members. Be sure to let her know that you would love for her to be in your bridal party but that you understand that it is a big commitment and that you are still developing a relationship so if she would not like to participate then it is nothing personal. If she decides not to be a bridesmaid then still invite her to the pre-wedding festivities such as your bridal shower and bachelorette party so that you have the opportunity to get to know each other better and that she still feels involved.

  5. There are no rules on who can and who cannot stand by your side. Don't feel as though you should or have to do anything when it comes to your wedding and who is in your wedding party, it is your wedding day. If you are really close to your brother or sister of the opposite sex and would like them to stand beside you, go for it! If you have incredibly close friends who are members of the opposite sex and you would like them to stand by you then why not? Men can stand with women, and women can stand with men. I've done it countless times! The most important thing when choosing who will be in your wedding party is determining who has been by your side through thick and thin, and who you know will still be there ten years from now. You don't have to talk every single day, or even every week because hey life gets busy, but when you do finally talk and get together again your friendship should invoke the same sense of comfort and fun that it always has.

Alright, now to the fun part - gifts for your girl gang! The gifts that you get for your wedding party should match the level of commitment and financial obligation that they have invested in order to be a part of your special day. As I mentioned earlier, being a part of someones wedding can be a significant financial obligation to members of your wedding party and you should gift them accordingly. For example, if you are planning a destination wedding which requires your wedding party to take even more time away from their work and personal lives, as well as pay for travel and accommodations in a distant location then the gift that you give them on your wedding day to express your gratitude should reflect that. Below I have outlined ideas for great bridesmaids gifts that your girls will actually enjoy:

Wedding Gifts for the Gals

Happy Planning,

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