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Thursday, July 5, 2012

She’s Going to be a Bridesmaid…Now What?

If you have children with lots of friends, then there's a good chance that they will be asked, at some point, to stand beside one of their dear friends on their big {wedding!} day. Although it is truly a privilege to be included, one may worry about what kind of financial obligation it may entail. Luckily for us, we have Amy Holley of HolleyWrap, Louisville's Premier Gifting Service, with some great insight into that very topic.

A bridesmaid just asked me if it's expected that she purchase, in addition to the official wedding gift, gifts for the bachelorette party and all 5 wedding showers.
I left her with my point of view on the matter, but felt compelled to consult a few on-line sources for wedding etiquette… none of which answered this question with clarity.  So, I'm going to step out on a limb and do it myself.  
Bridesmaids will be included at all official celebrations where they'll serve as ambassadors to family and guests.  Responsibilities include making everyone feel welcome and helping with those last minute decisions and issues that seem to pop up.  It is truly an honor and a privilege to be so esteemed.

A wedding gift should always be given by members of the wedding party, where it's proper to do so either individually or as a group.  The wedding gift is a symbol of celebration, hope and expectation of the new lives that friends are embarking upon, and should be given in this spirit. The wedding shower is meant to be an intimate, fun, and quirky event that honors the betrothed couple and their new life-to-be.

As with any gifting opportunity, if you have the resources and the desire to purchase gifts, by all means do so.  As a wedding party member, who will be invited to all showers and parties, if it feels right to bring a gift, then enjoy the task.  However, do consider these very personal options: a heart-felt AND hand written letter can mean more to your betrothed friend than anything you could purchase, or, take it from Annie of "Bridesmaids" and 'frame a picture of your friendship' by pulling together meaningful mementos.  Wrap your letter or mementos in a lovely gift box and present it with full confidence that the bride- & groom-to-be will be touched by your true love and thoughtfulness.  

Another blogger states that members of the bridal party should bring a gift to every event… I wholeheartedly disagree.  In many cases the bridal party is asked to pay for dresses/tuxes, shoes, and salon services, and most of us are more than happy to do this - in fact, we're honored and unabashedly thrilled to help celebrate the wedding day of our dear friends.

Hopefully, financial expectations of this nature will be communicated clearly when the request is made, for quite realistically, and I know this is on the low end for most formal weddings, one can easily spend $800 - $1200.  So, being expected to buy gifts for every event that follows is simply misguided. After all, when you're honored with an invitation to be a member of a wedding party, it's not because of your gift buying capacity … it's because the couple wants you to be a major part of the pomp and circumstance on their big day. These sites seem to be excellent sources of information for wedding attendants:
Emily Post
Lastly, Louisville has several independently-owned gift shops, and I always encourage folks to shop locally.
A Perfect 'Louisville' Wedding Gift ...  I recently met a woman at Louisville Stoneware who was picking up a personalized piece that that had been ordered as a wedding gift.  Turns out, the woman was picking up the gift for her daughter, who has relocated to Philly, and still orders pieces from Louisville Stoneware for all friends world-wide when a gift is needed.

I think this is a lovely idea … a truly 'Louisville' gift that reflects the beauty and quality found with our many artisans and craftsmen.  I'll just point out that Louisville Stoneware's coffee mugs and julep cups are very affordable.  Do be sure to consider the shipping expense, though; these pieces are heavy. 


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