We talk so much about asking for and receiving gifts throughout your engagement, but getting married comes with just as many opportunities to give gifts to others, too. From “Be my bridesmaid?” presents for your BFFs to the perfect wedding day gift for your parents and your new spouse, knowing how to give a gift is just as important as knowing how to receive one.
So few people are naturally completely selfless gift-givers—it’s human nature to seek the acknowledgment and appreciation that comes with doing something for someone else. But that doesn’t mean it’s a selfish act! You can absolutely get that warm and fuzzy feeling for yourself while still doing something really kind for a person you care about. In a time of life when a lot of things are about you (you’re half of the happy couple, after all!), these tips will help you find the perfect gift for that special someone else—your recipients will thank you!
Remember Who the Gift is For
Yes, the majority of pre-wedding gifting is wedding-related (we’ve all seen those bridesmaids’ gifts of monogrammed pajamas or the groomsmen’s matching ties), but you can still personalize the gift to be something the recipient will really appreciate. For example, bridesmaids’ dresses can be pricey, so if you know a few of your ‘maids might have a hard time paying the $200+ price tag, consider skipping the matching champagne flutes in favor of covering some of the costs.
You could also pay to put up your wedding party in an Airbnb house for the weekend or pay for things like hair and makeup or transportation. When it comes to your in-laws, you might be tempted to go the traditional route with a frame. It’s a great gift, but make sure to consider their decorating style before you take out your credit card. If your parents are coming in from out of town for your wedding, you might want to skip the tchotchke in favor of treating your dad to a round of golf or setting them up with a delicious dinner before the wedding weekend kicks off.
Consider How Gifts are Exchanged
Many brides cringe at the thought of opening a pile of bridal shower gifts as all of their guests look on, and brides aren’t alone: It’s not uncommon for people to be uncomfortable receiving a gift with a crowd watching! So as you decide how and when you’ll distribute any gifts you’re giving, keep that in mind—and don’t forget the feelings of those who aren’t receiving a gift from you. It’s one thing to give all of your bridesmaids the same or similar presents together when they’re the only ones in the room, and it’s another feeling to distribute those gifts when your friends who didn’t make the cut are there, too. Try to distribute gifts in private to make sure your recipients are comfortable, and to make the exchange a little more personal. The privacy allows you and the recipient to share a connection, and gives you a chance to express your personal gratitude in addition to simply giving a present.
Keep Expectations in Check
As you’re selecting gifts for your loved ones, don’t expect anything in return. The gifts you give shouldn’t come with the expectation that the recipient will spend a similar amount on your wedding gift, for example. Instead, a gift should be given because you’re excited to do something nice for the person you’re giving the gift to, no matter what—just as the gift they choose to give you shouldn’t come with the expectation that they get you a gift in return.
Be Gracious After the Fact
You know not to expect anything in return, so don’t have your feathers ruffled if you don’t get a thank you note, text, or phone call. Of course, if you’re not sure if the gift made it, call to find out. When it comes to gracious giving, phrasing is key. Don’t make the recipient feel guilty for not acknowledging your present. Instead, emphasize that you just wanted to make sure it arrived/is the right size/didn’t get broken in transit, then take the opportunity to express the emotion and meaning behind the gift.