Kitchen gadgets, Mrs. trinkets, housewares, gift cards and knickknacks galore—you're certain to receive many gifts throughout your journey to the big day. Those that shine the brightest tend to demonstrate a little extra thought, are a bit out of the box, are perfectly practical, or have a personal touch. While gifts are always exciting to receive, check out what these real brides consider to be the best.
"My uncle came in to town for my bridal shower to spend the day with my dad and the guys at the bar while we girls celebrated nearby. At the end, he came up to give me my gift—and it was my grandmother's charm bracelet. She had passed when I was 14, and I vividly remembered the bracelet. I was emotional all day, but this took the cake. I was so honored to be given the bracelet, and I cherish it." —Erica, 30
"My bridesmaids got us our luggage for my shower, and I always think of them whenever we use them!" —Janine, 30
"The best gift I got didn't come form our wedding itself. It was a gift from my shower—left in the bottom of a bag of cooking utensils, I almost wouldn't have seen it if I wasn't looking closely. There was a note with a little box that said 'I gave this handkerchief to you on your christening, and I saved it. Here's something old for you to have on your wedding day.'" —Christina, 28
"My best friend told me she wanted to give me something I'd love, use, and keep. So, she sent me a link to a page of designer Lauren Merkin clutches, and asked me to pick the one I liked. I've taken the purse to every wedding I've gone to since, and think of her when I do!" —Joy, 37
"Our wedding is next year, so I would have to say that my parents have definitely given us the best gift thus far (which will be hard to top). I wasn't expecting anyone to pay for our wedding; we had developed a pretty intense savings plan with monthly contributions to a joint bank account where we would pay for things. My parents sat us down when we began looking for venues and dropped the most amazing news a newly engaged couple would want to hear. The graciously offered to pay for our venue, which is by far the most expensive aspect of the wedding. Of course we had some strict guidelines and a budget, but this took such a weight off of our shoulders. We are so thankful that now the gifts we receive at our wedding will allow us to save for a down payment on our first house together rather than having to pay off a bunch of wedding debt. Thanks, Mom and Dad!" —Tiffany, 29
"The best gift has to be My KitchenAid stand mixer...it's a workhorse, and I can make everything from baked goods to ice cream and pasta with it. The possibilities are limitless! And six and a half years later, it runs like a charm!" —Jennifer, 38
"My best friend bought me a memory keepsake box with my and my husband's names and the date of our wedding. She gave this to me a few weeks before the wedding, and I used it the day of to hold all of our wedding cards. Now that the wedding is over, I use the box to store all of our memories from the wedding. It was the most thoughtful gift we received, and I know I will be using it forever and will always remember who gave it to me." —Stacy, 28