Who knew getting married would be so complicated? As far as you know, you're supposed to get the tux, show up at the right address on the day of the ceremony, and commit to your one true love in front of your friends and family.
But here you are reading an etiquette guide on giving gifts to your groomsmen. Sure this wedding is starting to get expensive but you also can't ignore the traditions that come along with it. Getting your buddies some gifts as a way of saying thank you for being a part of your wedding party isn't just customary, it's just good manners.
So we'll make this as quick as possible.
The Reasons for Giving Groomsmen Gifts
The costs of the wedding are already starting to get a bit steep. Deposits and reservations and location expenses, you've probably been pinching every penny. Now you're going to need to spend some more cash on your buddies?
The groomsmen gifts are an important component of the day because these are your way of showing gratitude for their participation in your big day. Whether they were actively involved in the planning of the wedding or they offered moral support or simply because they showed up and brought a gift for you and your lovely bride, these guys were there when you needed them most and you want to offer each one a token of your love and appreciation.
These are gifts that your groomsmen will cherish for years to come, a remembrance of the friendship and bond you all shared during this significant event in your life.
Buying Your Groomsmen Gifts
So who exactly should you buy gifts for? This can be a source of confusion for many grooms who may be working on a fixed budget and need to conserve cash as best they can. Let's break it down:
Every male participant in the wedding party gets a gift from you. That includes the groomsmen, the best man, the ring bearer, the fathers of the groom and bride, even the officiant and the ushers. But don't expect to buy everyone the same thing either. The best man should receive something a little more unique and special, after all, he's got a bigger role to play in your big day and so you want to show your gratitude in a different way.
You are permitted to give the rest of your groomsmen the same gift if you so choose, but you'll want to personalize that item to make it a bit more special for each of them.
Just don't give that gift to the dads. You'll want to put some real time and thought into what you're giving the father of your bride and your own father as well. But here's the good news, you don't need to shoulder that responsibility all by yourself. The gifts for the fathers (along with the officiant, the ushers, and the ring bearer) are going to be a joint effort of yourself and your bride. So if you're not sure what to get or where to begin, ask your soon-to-be-wife for her input.
On the other hand, the groomsmen gifts are your responsibility and you want to deliver big time for the guys who had your back from the engagement all the way until your walk down the aisle.
Choosing the Right Gifts
Only you know your groomsmen and only you know what will have some meaningful value to each as a token of your esteem. But there are a few guidelines to consider as you start your search.
For starters, you need to decide if you're getting them all the same thing or each one something different. This may depend on how many groomsmen you have in the wedding party. From there, you can make your choice of gift based on the personality of your buddy or a specific matter of his personal taste.
If you go with the same gift for all, think practical. Will this be something every member of your wedding party will actually use? For instance, you're thinking you might want to get them personalized beer mugs or possibly flasks? But do all of your groomsmen drink beer or alcohol? If one of them does not, then it might be easy enough to get that guy something different. If half of them drink and half of them don't, it may be a good idea to come up with another idea.
If all of your groomsmen drink except for the best man then you may be in luck because you're supposed to get him something different anyway.
A groom who decides to get all of his groomsmen the same gift will need to personalize each item with the recipient's name or initials. If possible, adding a personal note or comment on the gift can go even further to make that item something memorable.
Spending on Groomsmen Gifts
This is an etiquette guide for gift-giving. So, of course, there is going to be some accepted standard as to how much you should spend on the gifts. Your wallet is already on life support and now you've got to buy more stuff! But relax, we've got some good news. The groomsmen gifts won't be crazy expensive, well, unless you're asking them to spend a lot of money to be part of the wedding.
That's right, you don't need to spend tons of dough to get something noteworthy and extraordinary for your groomsmen. It can be contingent upon the amount of money you're asking them to spend on attending your ceremony. So let's say you're having your wedding at a local venue, the groomsmen are putting out cash to rent a tux and that's about it. The gifts can be modest.
But if you're having your wedding in Hawaii, and you don't live anywhere near Hawaii, then your groomsmen are going to be expected to spend a lot more on airfare, accommodations, and that tux. Your spend is going to be tantamount to their spend.
The rule of thumb on what you need to spend on a groomsmen gift is anywhere between 15-25% of what they spent on attending your wedding. If you have three groomsmen, you're going to be spending a lot less than if you have nine groomsmen in the party. Keep that all in mind as you're planning the big day and building a budget accordingly.
Giving the Groomsmen their Gifts
You've figured out what to get, you've spent the proper amount on the gifts, and now all you need to do is give them out. But when is the best or most acceptable time to do that? You think there would be an entire guide to gift-giving etiquette without that information? Here goes...
There isn't really a hard and fast rule tied to the actual giving of the gifts but there are three suggestions you may want to consider: The bachelor party, the rehearsal dinner, or the wedding reception.
Each one has its pros and cons but putting some thought into the where and when you plan to give your gifts can also help you decide what to get the gang. That's because you want to give them a gift they can use during or at that particular event. So if you plan on giving the gifts at the rehearsal dinner, these can be something they plan to use at the wedding. If you want to give the gifts at the reception, these will likely be items they can use in their everyday lives. It's ultimately up to you, but taking this facet of the gift-giving process into account can be very helpful in the long run.
Just remember, the more hectic and crazy the event, the less time you may have to devote to giving these gifts. It may be easier to do it at the bachelor party than the rehearsal dinner when you have instructions to remember or the reception when your attention is being pulled into eighty different directions and you have photos to take and guests to welcome and thank.