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Finding the right bridesmaid gifts is always a challenge. How do you pick something for the whole bridal party that also feels special? And is it better to gift something they’ll use on the big day or something they can have as a keepsake? To help you out, we spoke to ten experts — including wedding planners, wedding photographers, and owners of wedding venues — for their recommendations.
For every bridesmaid
Wedding and event planner Melissa McNeeley says one of the brides she’s worked with gifted her bridesmaids these striped cotton pajamas from the Sleep Code. “It was a great photo op, but they are also really comfortable and wash well,” she says, adding that she ended up buying pairs for herself and her assistant.
For a very nice pair at a fraction of the price, J.Crew’s pajamas are discounted now for just $59. (And if you miss this sales event, the PJs are frequently marked down.) These also happen to be some of our favorite pajama sets because the cool cotton material works year-round. Plus, you can monogram each set for $10.
“As a wedding photographer, I can’t tell you how much fun everyone in the bridal party has with these, and how hilarious and special these mini-photos will be to the bride and groom,” Jocelyn Voo, a NYC elopement photographer and owner of Everly Studios, says. “Long live instant-film cameras.”
While you can “never go wrong with gifting a candle,” Autumne West, Nordstrom’s national beauty director, suggests picking one that fits the theme, season, or location of your wedding. Her personal go-tos are a woodsy pine scent for the winter and a citrusy scent for the summer, like this Nest Amalfi candle with notes of lemon, orange, bergamot, and mint.
Amy Shack Egan, founder and CEO of Modern Rebel, says gender-neutral gifts are her go-to, especially since “wedding parties are getting more and more mixed.” One of her favorite gift ideas at the moment is Esther Perel’s storytelling card game, meant to start conversations and form deeper connections between players.
“These drop-resistant frosted-glass water bottles look chic and have timed markings on the side,” says Voo. “That way, they’ll keep bridesmaids on pace for staying hydrated the day before (or the morning after) a big wedding bash.”
“What I always feel are the most special gifts are those that are truly customized,” says Jennifer MacFarlane, founder of Eloping Is Fun. “And not like some wood etching on a wine tag from Etsy.” Instead, she suggests an unforgettable personalized haiku from Lisa Ann Markuson of Ars Poetica.
When I was a bridesmaid this April, the bride gifted each of us a pair of these cozy slippers on the big day (along with thank-you notes and beauty minis). All of the bridesmaids wore them while getting ready, and some even slipped them on later in the reception. I still have mine and use them as house shoes nearly every day.
For the beauty-fan bridesmaid
West says beauty gifts make bridesmaids feel “beautiful and confident as they support you on your wedding day.” She suggests picking out different-color lipsticks for each bridesmaid. While YSL is a splurge, the brand’s lip products are known for being long lasting and nourishing. Plus, you can get the tube engraved (in person at Nordstrom), making it a special stand-alone gift your bridesmaids can use long after the big day.
Voo says one of the brides she photographed took her bridesmaids out for a day of “personalized pampering” in New York. This included custom scents from Olfactory NYC and lip colors at Lip Lab in Soho. If you’re not in the area, you can still gift an at-home scent-building experience on Olfactory’s website.
“If your bridesmaids are choosing to do their own makeup on the wedding day, gift them an eye-shadow palette of the shades you like most,” West says. Huda Beauty’s palettes are “buttery and glide on the eye with maximum impact,” says makeup artist Alexx Mayo. Plus they come in a range of nude colors and are under $50.
“A fun gift to give your girls when you ask them to be your bridesmaid or at your bachelorette party is a makeup bag full of your favorite mini beauty items and must-haves that will come in handy when they get ready with you,” West says. She recommends gifting eye masks for prepping the skin, waterproof mascara, and a cute makeup bag.
For the stylish bridesmaid
McNeeley likes these Sézane tops not only because they’re chic, but because they come in several colors and with complimentary monogramming, so you can fully customize shirts for your entire bridal party. “They’re true to size and have a nice structure to them,” says McNeeley, who owns one herself.
Poolside’s handmade straw totes double as a gift and welcome basket for your bachelorette weekend, says Alexandra Macon, founder and CEO of Over the Moon. Each comes with customizable yarn handles and a matching monogram of up to six letters.
For the bridesmaid who’s a fan of fancy stationary, consider these note cards from Dear Annabell. Each set comes with ten heavyweight cards with gold-ink engraving in the letter of your choice and ten envelopes with different colored linings. Emilie Ghilaga Carlisle, the buying director at Over the Moon, says it’s an “excellent gift for a bridesmaid with exquisite taste.”
Lee likes gifting personalized jewelry because it “never goes out of style.” Instead of a standard nameplate, she recommends a necklace from this Etsy seller that creates customized geometric designs out of the recipient’s name.
Laura Mooney, owner and head of creative of resort-and-wedding venue the Mohicans Treehouse, also suggests personalized jewelry. These bracelets are customizable with up to four initials and come in sterling silver, 18-karat-gold plating, 18-karat-gold vermeil, rose-gold vermeil, and 14-karat solid gold.
Mooney recommends this streamlined jewelry organizer, especially if you’ve also gifted your bridal party necklaces or bracelets. It’s “soft and supple with enough storage for travel,” Mooney says.
For the foodie bridesmaid
“When it comes to gifting any wedding party members, it’s important to think practically, be generous, and make it something you can replicate for a group,” Egan says. Instead of trinkets that likely “get thrown out,” she suggests this box of gelato, complete with nine seasonal flavors.
Katie Elder, owner of Overlook Barn, a destination-wedding venue, says “customization continues to be a major theme in wedding-party gifts.” One popular gift Elder has seen is a customized charcuterie board, similar to these wood and marble ones from Mark & Graham.
For the boozy bridesmaid
Ghilaga Carlisle suggests this set of Champagne flutes “for the maid-of-honor among your bridesmaids who’s probably been mentally preparing the perfect speech for the rehearsal dinner even before you said ‘yes.’” They come in 13 shades or a mix of colors, and happen to be a longtime best seller at Over the Moon.
For a less expensive option, McNeely recommends a set of Champagne coupe glasses. She likes this modern take from Fazeek in a fun green colorway.
Mooney says a bottle of pretty pink Prosecco with a personalized label is a “fun and creative way of celebrating the moment and perfect for the ‘getting-ready room’ on the day of the wedding.”
While Champagne will “always be a standby,” a more interesting trend Voo has noticed is bridal parties taking CBD to “mellow out before the big day.” We recommend these gummies from Magical Grapes, which one cannabis-brand CEO described as “Turkish candy meets sophisticated gummy.”
For the well-traveled bridesmaid
When Voo worked on an international wedding in Ghana, the bride surprised her party with monogrammed luggage tags and passport holders. This set from Leatherology comes with both and is available in a range of 11 colors.
For a highly practical gift, consider a portable charger. Voo says it’s “the best thing I’ve received as a bridesmaid,” because she didn’t have to worry about her phone “running out of juice at the party, no matter how many selfies were taken.”
If you’re having a destination wedding, Jung Lee, event planner and founder of Fête, Jung Lee NY, and Slowdance, recommends gifting one of Assouline’s coffee-table books as a reminder of the wedding. It also makes a good gift even if you’re having your wedding local. Just “choose your bridesmaid’s favorite place to visit or dream vacation city,” Lee says.
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