I did the normal “bridesmaid survival kit” (mini sized lotion, shout wipes, bobby pins, bandaids, 2-pack tylenol, etc.) in cute bags that I picked for each girl, because it felt like I had to do something wedding-y, but their real gifts were:
1) a pearl necklace. I got these for them while I was living in China, and I got them made at one of the largest freshwater pearl markets in the world. I emailed the girls ahead of time, gave them 5 ideas of what kind of set they could get (drop pendant, 3 strand, single strand + bracelet, double length, illusion) and 3 color options for the pearl (white, black or pink). On, and studs or drop for earrings. I included pictures that I got off random websites, haha. Each girl got to customize her own set, so they were in her style. I told them they could wear whatever jewelry they wanted for the wedding, but they banded together “against” me and my too-casual ways (haha) and decided to all wear their pearls on the big day. 🙂
2) gift cards. It may sound impersonal, but 2 out of my 3 girls cried over their gift cards. I did something different for each – which wasn’t easy, considering I don’t live in the same city as any of them! A, who was 6 months pregnant at the time of the wedding, got a gift cert for a spa in her town that specializes in pre-natal massage. K, who was a theater geek in high school and college, got a gift cert to the most popular performance venue in the town where she lives – so she could spend it on concert tickets, theater tickets, ballet, whatever, because this place does it all. F, who (together with her wife) just bought her first house, got a gift cert to Home Depot; I also gave her a pound of her favorite coffee, because when we lived together in college she would go through 12 cups a day, and I know they’re pinching pennies to make ends meet with some unexpected repairs to the house, and she’s likely to deprive herself of something like coffee before letting her wife go without her favorite treats. 🙂
It took quite a bit of research (especially choosing a theater space on the coast opposite me in a fairly small town!), but it was so worth it, because they were all so happy with their gifts. And I know they’ll make use of them, even if they never wear the jewelry again or the bandaids get tossed in a trunk of a car, you know?