I think tote bags are fine, I got one for a wedding I was in over the Summer and I use it. With that being said I wanted to do something different too and all of my BM's are completely different and I couldn't figure out a gift that would work for all of them. So I shopped for them like it was there birthday. I set a price limit of $40 for each girl and then went to the mall and found something for each of them that I knew they would like and use.
I got each of my BM something different b/c they are all very different girls.
MOH: VS bag, lip gloss, wine stopper, notebook, robe and water globe that said "sisters" inside and I engraved her name and MOH on it.
BM1: VS bag, lip gloss, notebook, and tons of picture frames since she's a photo hog.
BM2: VS bag, lip gloss, notebook, and a hello kitty robe since she's an HK nute.
BM3: VS bag, lip gloss, notebook, and a summer bag full of tanning lotions (she love summer)
BM4: A bag from Aeropostle and a blue margarita set (she's not girly)
You know your bridesmaids best; however, when planning your wedding you're always challenged with thinking outside the box but practical thinking works too. Keep in mind that if you are going to have your bridesmaids wear matching jewelry on your wedding day it will be another expense for them...there are some great necklaces that you could purchase and then make it personal by engraving there initial on it. It's very feminine.
Another thought, is having your make-up professionally done. It's so important! It needs to stand out in the pictures and last all day long. This too is a great gift idea for your bridesmaids. It will ensure everyone looks their very best in your pictures and they will appreciate it.
Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
I got all my girls the jewelery thing, but I ordered real fresh water pearls that were colored pink to match their choc brown and pink dresses! Then because they are all staying the night here at my house the night before I found a website with really cheap pj sets and got each one a pair even the flower girls!