When you’re getting married, figuring out gifts doesn’t just end at the wedding registry. Gifting your wedding party itself can be a tall order. Do you get them something they can use on the big day or something they can use forever? And how do you make the usually traditional gifts feel thoughtful? So we decided to ask ten experts, some of whom have seen hundreds of weddings — including wedding planners, wedding bloggers, and stylists — for their input and even added a few favorites of our own. (Don’t worry, there are no flasks to be found.)
For the Every(grooms)man
“As nice as slippers are to have, a lot of people just never think to buy their own pairs — which makes them perfect for gifting,” says Allison Davis, owner of events-planning company Davis Row. The shearling lining is moisture wicking and insulating. And the sole has enough traction that you can run outside to take out the trash or get the paper without worrying. “Up the ante a bit with a super plush pair, and know that because they’re LL Bean they’ll last basically forever.”
Bathrobes are a good bet because they can be used the morning of the big day while getting ready — and then every morning after that. This Parachute bathrobe (a favorite of Heather Pearson, co-founder of vegan-nutrition company Dande and the Lion) is made of absorbent Turkish cotton and is as classic as it gets. “If you have a little extra money to spend, consider personalizing the front … or across the back for a bit more edge,” advises Davis.
“I like the idea of getting each groomsman a coffee-table book on their specific interests,” says Melissa McNeeley, founder of Events by Melissa McNeeley. (If you’re having trouble picking one, we have an extensive roundup of last year’s best coffee-table books on topics ranging from photography and art to outdoors and sports.) McNeeley also suggests pairing the book with a “gorgeous” bookmark from leather-goods brand Lucrin Geneva.
Jocelyn Voo, a New York City–based wedding photographer, recommends gifting these “Wes Anderson–esque” city guidebooks if you’re bringing people in from out of town. Each one comes with illustrations of the featured city as well as the “coolest places to eat, drink, shop, and hang out while you’re busy doing last-minute planning.”
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.” She recommends this “effortlessly cool” weekender bag, handmade with waxed canvas and full-grain leather.
“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.
For the boozy groomsman
“Think of this like the Blue Apron of beer that you can gift to your best drinking buds,” says Annie Lee, principal planner at Daughter of Design. If you’ve got a groomsman in your crew who thinks he’s the next big brewmaster, this foolproof kit has everything he needs to get started.
And for the budding mixologist, Lee recommends this nifty cocktail smoking cloche, which can infuse drinks with a smoky flavor. Best for the home bartender who’s already kitted out with basic gear and is looking for something a little bit extra.
McNeeley suggests these handmade whiskey glasses from Tom Dixon. She particularly likes the smoked effect, which is “on the masculine side but still an interesting design,” she says. She recommends pairing them with a small bottle of nice whiskey, like this one from Bond & Lillard.
“Bonus round: Get them these ice-cube molds — the round cube fits right in the groove of the glass,” says McNeeley.
Leah Pence of Another Wild Hare, a boutique wedding-planning and design firm, suggests this craft-cocktail kit filled with homemade syrups and spice bundles for garnishes and muddling. Boxes are seasonal and come complete with a recipe guide. You’ll find orange fennel, rosehip hibiscus, elderberry lavender, and lemon cardamom syrups, as well as star anise and cinnamon, in this bundle’s edition.
For the foodie groomsman
A sous vide machine is a serious culinary tool and a great pick for a groomsman who knows his way around a kitchen. Grub Street editor Alan Systma recommends the Anova for making everything from “perfectly cooked steak” to surprisingly “silky” scrambled eggs.
“For the cook who cares about the Earth,” McNeeley recommends this well-designed and discreet compost bin. It’s pretty enough to display on the counter, making it an easy-to-remember receptacle for banana peels and eggshells. “If I had one of these on my counter, I’d compost more.” In other words, cuff links it ain’t.
For the techie groomsman
Fête co-founder Joshua Brooks suggests this Bose speaker as a can’t-go-wrong gift. Multiple Strategist staffers count themselves as fans, including senior writer Liza Corsillo. Despite its compact size, she says it “manages to fill my two-bedroom apartment with rich, high-quality sound that I’d describe as whatever the opposite of tinny is.”
“Recently I showed up to photograph the getting-ready portion and found the groom and his groomsmen all playing Xbox,” says Jocelyn Voo, an NYC-based wedding photographer. If you’ve got a few childhood friends in your wedding party, why not indulge in some nostalgia with a PlayStation Classic instead. It comes preloaded with 20 games and includes two controllers.
“I just don’t know a guy who doesn’t want to play with one,” says Lee. This quadcopter is a solid entry-level drone that is good for practicing flying basics. It also comes with an HD camera, is VR-headset compatible, and can be controlled through your cell phone.
For the outdoors-y groomsman
Davis notes that gender-neutral gifts are ideal “because sometimes your best people aren’t (all) dudes.” To that end, she recommends gifting S’Well Water Bottles, which “make especially thoughtful gifts for people who travel often” and for those who love to bike, hike, or generally commune with nature.
Over the Moon co-founder Alexandra Macon and AaB Creates event producer Kait Rovny both recommend this “tried-and-true cooler brand.” Rovny says that this backpack version is a gift that groomsmen “would actually want!” The Yeti is definitely a little pricey, but the interior insulation and outer shell are waterproof, leakproof, and mildew resistant.
If Yeti’s cooler is above your price range, Lee recommends going with the brand’s drinkware instead. “I’ve never met a man who doesn’t love all things Yeti,” she says. Plus, you can customize it with a monogram or text for an extra $6.
We included this GoPro in our roundup of gifts for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s recommended by Kevin Mooney, owner and operator of the Mohicans, a treehouse resort specializing in weddings, who says, “Everybody should have a GoPro; it’s fantastic for shooting outdoor videos whether you’re mountain biking or working on a building project. The footage that we have shot with ours is phenomenal.” Voo also suggests gifting it to groomsmen and having them “strap it to your liquor bottle of choice and pass it around during the reception,” she says. “Thank me later for the incredible footage.”
For the stylish groomsman
“This Acne Scarf is a dream. They look really handsome and polished and would be another one of those gifts that get used over and over for years,” says McNeeley. They also come in a variety of colors so you can gift each groomsman a different one for a more personalized touch, she adds.
“The best thing is to give a great-quality watch that you know your groomsmen would be proud to wear (on the wedding day and beyond),” advises professional stylist Donnell Baldwin. He specifically recommends Timex for a budget-friendly but still high-quality option. Spiteri also loves Timex: “Make sure your groomsmen stick to schedule with this signature Timex watch, reissued from the 1960s with an embossed calf-leather strap,” he says, adding, “for any traditionalists out there, this version’s movement is hand-wound by rotating the crown, just like the original Marlin.”
“If your wedding is black tie, it’s hard to go wrong with a nice pair of cuff links,” says Spiteri. These delicate Mulberry cuff links are “gold-plated in a knotted shape for a sentimental touch, but subtle enough to wear to the other five weddings they’ll likely be in this year.”
“Pocket squares are very a simple and quick gifting item that any groom could give to his groomsmen,” says Baldwin. “One great idea I have seen is having them all embroidered beautifully with his groomsman’s initials.” These are made from cotton percale and are a great price point, especially considering they’re customized. “Personalizing a gift with the wedding date, location, or groomsman’s names takes it up a notch,” agrees Katie Elder, owner of Overlook Barn, a destination-wedding venue.
Two of our experts recommended these bow ties from a small company called Brackish. For a twist on the traditional tie, these are made from feathers, each of which “is selected by one of Brackish Bowtie’s artisans, and no two ties are exactly alike,” says Macon. This one is surprisingly modern and versatile with its geometric design. And they arrive in a hand-branded pine gift box for a nice extra touch.
For the well-groomed groomsman
Pair the above with this handsome Dopp kit, featured as our best luxury-leather pick. It’s good-looking but not too precious and made with a water-resistant lining in case of any spills. Plus, it’s customizable, so you could have groomsmen’s initials embossed for an extra-special touch.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.