It's hard to contain your excitement when someone you love is getting married, never mind once they've asked you to be a part of their wedding party. But once the initial elation wears off, the cost of being a bridesmaid or groomsman can add up quickly, from buying a new outfit to traveling for showers and pre-wedding celebrations. Since members of the wedding party are expected to attend as many of these events as possible, the question is: Do bridesmaids and groomsmen need to bring a gift to each event, too? Here's what our experts have to say about what's required — and where you can draw the line.
The number of gifts you should bring is determined by your own wallet. When you're first asked to be a member of the wedding party, get an idea of what will be expected of you. What sorts of events will they be having before the wedding? Will it be just a group shower and a bachelorette weekend, or will there be multiple engagement parties and a bridal luncheon, too? From there, determine what you can contribute. For example, your budget might allow for a gift at the bridal shower and the wedding, but not the engagement party. Or you might bring a bottle of wine to the engagement party, split a gift with other bridesmaids for the bridal shower, then purchase a more significant gift for the wedding itself.
Says wedding and etiquette expert Elaine Swann, "No matter how many gifts you're bringing, don't feel obligated to purchase an extravagant gift that's out of your budget. It's the gesture that really counts, and there's a reason there are less expensive items on your friends' registry. In the event that you aren't bringing a gift to every celebration, be sure to come with a heartfelt card in tow."