There are many times that brides wonder to what extent they need to pay for their bridal party, if at all, and what the procedure is for that. Well, that depends on the couple. I’ve known some brides who feel that since they’ve asked the girls to be in their bridal party that they need to pay for everything - the dress, shoes, hair/makeup, travel reservations, etc. I have also known brides who will pay for a portion of the accessories, such as the jewelry and hair/makeup, while the girls pay for the rest. This all depends on budget and each couples opinion on the matter. When it comes time for me to get married, I will pay towards a portion or give the jewelry as their gift.
Wait, we have to give them gifts too?
...yes! But you should WANT to! Just like it is traditional to give the parents of the couple gifts and bride/groom gifts, it is also traditional to give the wedding party gifts as a “Thank you for supporting me on my big day!”. These are special people that are in your life. You asked them to be in your wedding for a reason, and most of the time they are paying for things on their own - Bachelor/Bachelorette parties, wedding gifts to the bride and groom, dresses and tuxedos, hair and makeup, manicures and pedicures, travel arrangements, etc. I know, there are student loans to pay for, car payments, new apartments/houses, kids, or even paying for their own wedding! However, you’ve asked them to be in the wedding party because you love them, and they love you so much that it didn’t matter to them how much they might end up splurging on your big day. You only get married once right?!
Despite the issue of money, there is also a factor of time. The people that are in your wedding party are your right-hand men and women. They are there for you to handle the drama, to encourage you and remind you why you want to marry this wonderful person in your life, to help with ideas and inspiration, to give you that tissue when you see yourself in your dress, to have late night crafting dates, and to have fun with in this wonderful journey of your engagement. Now, don’t you WANT to thank them? I won’t be able to resist gifting and saying “These are my girls! They’re awesome! Thank you!”
So now you're thinking: Okay, well, I have a tight budget, so how much do I have to spend?
Great question! The answer to this varies per couple, of course. As I mentioned earlier, it depends on your budget. One thing to keep in mind is how much the wedding party is contributing. If they’re paying for everything themselves, then it is a good idea to give a more substantial gift. If the wedding party is contributing a decent amount and they receive a small hairpiece or a cheap travel coffee mug, then it might seem like you are ungrateful. Now, I’m not saying that you need to match what they are contributing at all! We all have a budget! But, I am saying to make it special. Somewhere between the ranges of $50-$100 is good for a nice wedding party gift.
Another idea, and this is one that I will most likely do, is instead of giving a gift that they might appreciate but may never use again, give them the gift of lighting the financial load of being in your wedding party. This would be good for when the costs are starting to really add up. Paying for their hair, makeup, dress, travel expenses, etc. are equally as valuable as giving a gift.
If you have decided that you would like to pay for most of the accessories and expenses involved in being in the wedding party, then you don’t need to spend as much on a gift, if you give a gift at all. It’s always nice to receive a small token as a Thank You, though, and this could be a bracelet with their initials, personalized cufflinks, or customized shot glasses for a pre-ceremony toast!
And don’t forget about Mom and Dad! Most of the time, they are contributing a majority of the finances toward your wedding, whether they’re paying for the whole event or not. In addition to finances, they are right there besides you giving input and helping you plan your big day! They have been there for you throughout your entire life and as you start a family of your own it is the perfect opportunity to give them a token of your appreciation. I know, I know, you can never repay them right? I completely agree. But surely, a small token of your appreciation can't hurt.
Okay, I can’t wait to give them the gifts I’ve chosen for my wedding party! When can I give them?!
There is no right or wrong time to give out your gifts! Typically, they are given as close to the wedding date as possible. So this could be at the rehearsal dinner in front of everyone while you give a toast, or privately while everyone is getting ready - it’s up to you!
Remember, there is no set amount, there is no set time, and there is nobody who will judge how much you gave or didn’t give. Don’t worry, you’re wedding party is there to support and love you and, of course, would not have said yes if it were otherwise. If you’re worried about what they might say about your gift then do you really want them in your wedding party to begin with? Just have fun with it and I promise it will all turn out great!