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GIFTS WORTH GETTING

Here are great ideas for any girl, whoever she may be.

The Entertainer

  • Tickets to a musical or dinner theater.
  • A movie-night pack: a gift certificate to a local video store, popcorn, and classic movie candy all in a big popcorn bowl.
  • A collection of DVDs centered on a cinematic theme.

The Gourmet

  • A gift certificate to a nearby gourmet shop, bundled with a tin of caviar or foie gras.
  • A French press, with a pound of her favorite gourmet coffee.
  • Assorted jars of homemade jam.
  • A windowsill herb garden set.

The Traveler

  • A flight bag bearing her initials.
  • A gift certificate for an airline ticket.
  • A getaway pack filled with travel-size beauty products, an eye mask, and a travel blanket.

The Free Spirit

  • A gift certificate for an introductory ballroom, salsa, or flamenco dance class.
  • A credit for a few weeks of pottery classes.
  • A pass for 10 yoga classes.

The Intellectual

  • A first edition of her favorite novel.
  • A two-year subscription to her favorite magazine.
  • An expensive and elegant fountain pen.

 
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Bridesmaid Gifts: Shopping Tips & Etiquette

Got bridesmaid gifts on the brain? Good. Here's everything you need to consider before the shop-a-thon begins.

Photo: Allan Zepeda

A thoughtful gift should be both a wedding remembrance and a token of appreciation for your bridesmaids’ time and efforts. With our tips, you’ll be sure to select bridesmaids gifts with the proper care and attention such dear girls deserve.

When To Get Them

Shopping for bridesmaid gifts is one of those tasks that doesn’t have a specific timeline. Of course, it’s better to buy them sooner rather than later -- in general, aim for no later than one to two months prior to the wedding. (The last thing you want to do the week before your wedding is shop for presents -- save procrastinating for Christmas Eve).

In the months leading up to your celebration, keep an eye out for fabulous finds. You might encounter a great off-season sale, stumble across a hot item while compiling your registry, or find something cute when you’re tooling around, say, TheKnot.com. Pick it up and get it out of the way.

What To Spend

There are two things to consider when deciding what you should be shelling out for each maid: What amount will your budget allow? And what are they shelling out for you?

Sometimes the best gifts are those you can’t put in a box. If expenses for your bridal party are running a bit high, consider offering to pay for their wedding-day hair and makeup, for a suite upgrade at the hotel, or for their bridesmai dress.

The first question is obviously the most important -- to that we say spend what you can, remembering that it's really how thoughtful the gift is that counts.

But do ask yourself what you’ve been asking financially of your bridesmaids. If they will be required to shell out an enormous amount of money for things like a plane ticket, hotel room, $500 dress, and $100 pair of shoes (not to mention the bridal shower, your wedding and shower gifts, and more), then a $10 pair of chopsticks might seem a little ungracious. You’re certainly not expected to cover what they’ve spent, but you should be spending enough to say "I appreciate the time, effort, and money you’ve put into this wedding." Something between $75 and $150 should suffice.

Knot Note: The maid/matron of honor typically receives a bit more lavish gift than the other maids, since it’s normally her job to coordinate the shower and the bachelorette party. Consider spending a little extra on her for the extra mile that she goes for you. Also, don't forget about flower girls and junior bridesmaids (you can spend a little less on them).

When to Give

Bridesmaid gifts are often handed out at the rehearsal dinner, when your closest friends and family are together in one place. The idea is that you make a toast in front of everyone thanking your maids, and then present each of them with their gifts. However, many brides distribute gifts at a bridesmaid luncheon or tea on the day of the wedding (or during a similarly private moment with the ladies) -- where you and your girls can have some downtime together in the midst of the wedding madness.

Knot Note: Some brides also give their shower hostess(es) a special thank-you gift (in addition to bridesmaid gifts). Some easy ideas: A handwritten note, dinner out on the town, or a bouquet of flowers.

What to Give

Before jumping in and deciding what to get, there are a few points that you should remember when you’re choosing your bridesmaid gifts.

What works for one person might not work for another and thankfully, you’re not stuck in a one-gift-fits-all situation. Don’t feel as though you have to get everyone the same present. Think about giving each bridesmaid a different gift, but all within the same price range. That way, each girl will know that you took the time to pick out something just for her.

Make sure your gift is timeless and multifunctional. While accessories to be worn for the wedding make lovely gifts, chances are that a jewelry set or a purse that matches your maid dresses won’t get much wear once the wedding is over. It’s okay to opt for something wedding-specific -- choose a gift that’s wearable, or package it with something useful, say wedding jewelry with a beautiful jewelry box or a nice jewelry cleaning machine.

Take the Would I Want It? test. Before picking up something that seems totally adorable, useful, or creative, stop to think if it’s something that you would like to receive. A monogrammed silver yo-yo is sort of cute in theory, but it will surely end up stashed in the back of a drawer for the next 40 years.


-- Joanna Saltz

See More: Your Bridal Party