Even though bridesmaid gifts are fun and thoughtful, sometimes brides want to honor their friends with something a little more exciting than a monogrammed bathrobe. Don't waste your time buying basic bridesmaid gifts that will only go to waste! Just like dresses your girls can actually wear again, you want your BFFs to really appreciate and treasure the presents you give them. Whether it's donating your own time to help them out with their kids or sending them on a once in a lifetime experience they won't soon forget, we've got a few ideas up our sleeve to show your appreciation.
1. Pick up the Tab
Instead of gifts, why not help your ladies out with wedding costs? "Opt to pay for their gown, shoes, or even cover hotel expenses," recommend Jennifer Arrreguin and Natasha Burton, event planners and founders of Swoon California. "And if your wedding is at a venue that offers guest rooms, give your bridal party first dibs."
2. Feed Them
Turns out, the way to a woman's heart is through her stomach, too! Make sure your gals are well fed during the wedding weekend, advise Arrreguin and Burton. "Offer room service breakfast the morning of, as well as the morning after your wedding, and stock up on healthy snacks that they (and you) can nosh on while getting ready." You can also have lunch catered if a full meal is able to be served (and works out with timing).
3. Offer up Your Free Babysitting Services
If a bridesmaid is married with kids and has a job, you know she's absolutely swamped while still finding time to help you plan your big day. A fun gift idea is to scheme with her spouse to provide babysitting so the two of them can have a much-needed date night out, suggests seasoned planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques. "Arrive a few hours early so you can keep the kids out of her hair and share a pre-party cocktail with her while she gets ready." Honestly, it's the best gift you can give a mom!
4. Write Them a "Love Letter"
Nothing means more than thoughts straight from the heart, and no, we're not just talking about the standard thank you card. Rather than buying your ladies a piece of jewelry to wear on your big day (which honestly, they may never wear again, warn Arrreguin and Burton), pen them sweet letters that share how much they really mean to you. Reminisce on good times, get sentimental and touch on memories and things that can be cherished for years to come.
5. Treat Them to an Epic Bridesmaids' Brunch
Throwing a bridesmaids' brunch is the perfect way to thank your ladies for being part of your special day, says wedding planner Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events. "There's a lot of time and expense involved in being a bridesmaid, thus, recognizing that in a meaningful way is important." So, set the table, pop some bubbly, mix up those mimosas, break bread, and have your cake—and eat it too!
6. Give the Gift of an Experience
Go big or go home, right? Ditch the standard bridesmaid robes and step up your gifting game with IfOnly, a site that allows you to reward your gals with a one-of-a-kind exclusive experience. Experiences range from lunch with Rachel Zoe and a private tour of her fashion headquarters to a private makeup workshop for a small group at the Bobbi Brown Studio in New York, notes Jessica Janik, Founder of The Invisible Bridesmaid. "You can even meet Cristiano Ronaldo, attend a practice and stay for a La Liga match with Category 1 tickets!" Other awesome ideas include a DIY-illustration party led by a professional artist or a trend forecast and personalized consultation by Vogue alum Emily Holt. The options are literally endless and can be catered toward your bridesmaids' interests.