Appreciating the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Bridesmaids and groomsmen, or as I like to simply call them, attendants, can play an important role in all the work leading up to your wedding.

Because they are people you value, I love the idea of involving them in the ceremony itself. If they are important enough to stand with you, it can be wonderful to engage them in symbolic actions during the ceremony. The Best Woman will often hold a bride’s bouquet when she needs her hands for the ceremony, and the Best Man might holds the rings, but beyond that, isn’t there something more?

They are there for you.

A few ways I have included attendants is to ask them to also say an ‘I do’  to affirm their support of the couple in the journey ahead. Another idea is to have them pass and bless the rings. How about having them make a circle around the couple, to encircle the couple with their love, for the exchange of the rings? I’ve had a few objections to that one because the other guests would not be able to see the actual ring exchange, so clearly it’s not for everyone. But when I have done it, it was truly beautiful.

Instead of having just the Best Man hold both rings, consider having the best person on each side holding ring. Are they a Best Man and Maid or Matron of Honor? Whatever they are, it’s not their gender that’s important, it’s their relationship to the couple.

A best man is exactly that!

Should you give gifts to your attendants? It is already a tradition to do this, as a way to say thank you for their time and effort, but is this necessary? Of course not! Depending on the planning and expense of your entire wedding, and what, if anything, you have asked of your attendants, the gifts should be proportional. A thoughtful gift is always appreciated in almost any circumstance, and it doesn’t have to be about the sticker price.

Did they have to buy expensive clothing and/or pay for a hotel or even plane tickets? Did they help with lots of the work? If so, a nice gift would be appropriate.

It’s helpful to let your entourage know exactly what you would like from them. Don’t leave them confused and without tasks. You chose them because you value their friendship and role in your life, let them help. People like to feel wanted, valued and needed.

You don’t need to come up with a one-size fits all gift. It would be great if you gave matching cufflinks to every groomsmen, but when one is a flannel shirt guy who wouldn’t own a dress shirt in his lifetime, this would actually be a thoughtless gift. Nor would a flask for someone who doesn’t drink be appropriate.

They are there to help!

I readily acknowledge that gifts for men are a bit more difficult than for women.

If they are traveling from out-of-town a welcome basket with great items in it is very useful. Local food items to snack on and bath and body care are always good. Instructions for the weekend, maps can be included. Add a gift certificate for the local spa, golf, gift shop, or for a massage, and you’ve covered the gift-giving aspect completely!

Gift baskets can be left in the hotel room or gifts are more traditionally given out at a rehearsal dinner. Don’t forget a personalized thank you note. Your attendants are also having a big day!


Here's to everyone!

Thank you Lisa Rhinehart – as always – for your beautiful photography!

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