Post # 1
Ok, I have a slightly random issue/question. I don’t have a bridal party (as both my maid of honor and matron of honor dropped out of the wedding) and my parents (particularly my mother) have gone out of their way to be as UNhelpful as possible throughout this process. That said, I am blessed to have had various people–including 3 of my sorority sisters, FI’s cousin and my SIL– step in and offer help. I’m most grateful for the help, but I’m wondering whether I should get them gifts. And if so, what should I get them? and if I get them anything, when do I give it?
I already got meaningful gifts for my sorority sisters (a tank top for the getting ready photos, a pair of sparkly flip flops and heartfelt scrapbooks with photos, clippings and whatnot from our 8 years of friendship). Were I having a traditional wedding, I would have had them as bridesmaids, but I guess you can say they’re the closest thing I have to a bridal party at this point. My sister in law has also been instrumental, offering to alter my dress and help with the cooking for the welcome party and farewell brunch. I’m thinking about giving her the gift I had previously bought for my Maid/Matron of Honor (a fully stocked completely tricked out makeup kit and a bracelet). My FI’s cousin is printing a few things on her home printer for us (seems like a small thing, but it’s a huge help). FI’s aunt is the middle-man for our Destination Wedding shipping needs. Another of my friends offered to take the lead in planning the B-party and so on. I’m very happy to show my appreciation, but am I expected to buy a tangible gift for everyone who has helped us in any way? What about a heartfelt card? Everyone’s already getting a welcome bag with random goodies as well as a favor at the welcome party, rehearsal dinner AND reception.
Also, when do I give out all these cards/presents? I know that’s usually done at the rehearsal dinner, but as I am not getting my parents anything I wonder if it will look awkward/raise eyebrows if all these unrelated people are being honored and my parents are not. And before anyone asks, no, I am not interested in getting “dummy gifts” for my parents just to keep the peace. They have been downright horrible to me and anything I gave them simply would not be from the heart.
Any ideas or advice for me?
Post # 3
Added a poll, in case it helps
Post # 4
I think that taking the effort to say thank you is more important than the actual gifts. A card with a personalised thank you note is a good idea. I don’t think you need to give a physical gift to everyone who helped, but if you are giving gifts to some people and not to others then I would keep the gift giving private so no one gets offended.
Post # 5
@Overjoyed: Is there a time, even if it’s really before the wedding, where you will see these people alone? If there is, I would use that opportunity to give them their gift and thank them for everything.
I think that it wouldn’t be so awkward if you gave the gifts and then verbally thanked your parents at the rehearsal, but since they’ve been ridic and you don’t want to do that, I would just go with the above solution.
Post # 6
I’d rather have a heartfelt card and thought out gift, rather than a gift just to give a gift. And I’d rather a card and maybe taking me out to lunch/dinner/a movie, spending some girlfriend time, to a meaningless gift. Its not the amount that matters, its the value behind it.
Post # 7
@Overjoyed: I helped my sister plan her wedding and she got me an unexpected gift. I don’t think you need to get everyone something, but it is nice to acknowledge how much they have helped you. I would have been happy with a card, but my sister got me a very sweet gift.
I was also a Bridesmaid or Best Man in a very close friend’s wedding and she gave us all a gift bag (it was essentially the same stuff with some personal touches). I think it is standard to give a wedding party or anyone who made a significant contribution.
Post # 8
@Overjoyed: Wow! how nice to have all these people help you out! I think that a card with a heartfelt letter would be well received by most. I would present them after the rehearsal dinner.
Post # 9
I think the whole gift giving thing is out of control, like 100%. If I say I will help with xyz, I am helping out of the goodness of my heart not because I am thinking “oh yeah I’ll be getting a sweet gift out of this”. If someone asks me to be a bm, I say yes because I want to not because I am in giddy anticipation of my present. Next, I hate cards, really how long are we suppose to keep them? To me they are the thing you are forced to read prior to opening a present or if there is no present they are the thing you hope cash is inside of(if it is your b-day or xmas). Personally, I’d rather the bride or groom, when making their speech say “also a huge thank you to jane and sally for helping with the centerpieces, meg and amy I hope your fingers have stopped cramping thank you for the help with the jordan almond packs and kassie thank you so much for your help decorating __ it wouldn’t look this beautiful without you”. That is heartfelt, not an obligatory gift when all you are thinking is seriously I have to spend more money or a msg in a card when you are so busy with the wedding, shower thank you notes (don’t forget the ty notes after the wedding) that you are tapped out. Just my little old opinion
Post # 10
Wow, it’s great that those individuals genuinely want to help you. If you don’t want to do it at the rehersal dinner, privately giving some type of gift/ card will work as well.
Post # 11
@aliciaspinnet: yes, this!
A heartfelt thank you is, to me, so much nicer than “stuff”.
Also, in addition to saying it, writing your thoughts about their helpful friendship in a card is VERY nice. I do mean writing sentiments yourself, not looking for a stupid Hallmark card to express it.
Agree with the PP about the overdone business of gifts.