Reader participation time

By Mir
April 26, 2007

Folks, I am all wedding-ed out. It’s just t-minus two weeks (from tomorrow) for my own big day, and my brain, my poor wee little burnt brain just cannot think about weddings any more. I cry uncle. Or perhaps, in this case, I cry bride. I’m not sure. Regardless, I need your help.

Danielle wrote in:

Dear Mrs. Wise Wise Beautiful Shopper!

I need your help. We are getting married in June! We are paying for most of it so of course I need to keep cost down, but yet make it nice.

I am having the hardest time finding inexpensive yet good quality gifts for our parents and for the Groomsmen… my girls were easy.

Grooms men – I was thinking a flask like everyone else does… we only have 3 to buy for. Is there any other ideas? They are all young in their 20’s – to early 30’s.

For our parents – I don’t want to do the hanky thing, or photo album… I want something different. Please help!

Seeing as how my wedding is going to be of the “yeah, come to the church and we’ll get hitched, and then we’ll go have some dinner… you know, if you feel like showing up” variety, I am not dealing with these sorts of issues. At my first wedding we gave photo albums to the parents and… I can’t even remember what we gave the groomsmen. A big dose of bad karma, I suppose. Ahem. Anyway, Danielle needs some ideas. If you lovely people come up with some kickin’ ideas, I would be happy to search for deals on said items. Is it a deal? Please don’t make me think any more about weddings right now.


  1. When we got married, the BigDubya got the fellas these — they are kind of like our generation’s swiss army knife. There are a variety of levels ranging from the basic and fairly affordable ($30) to the more sophisticated models ($80+) with a few in between.

    For parents…. they are tougher — my inlaws got my mother and I a set of rosary beeds made from petals taken from my bouquet —

    Congratulations and Good Luck

  2. We gave our groomsmen power tool sets. My hubby has received gift cards to favorite stores, tools, a nice wallet.

  3. For the parents- It’s a little pricey (around $100 I think), but there are ways to turn pictures into blankets. I can’t find a picture, but has them. It’s kind of a novel gift. Maybe if there’s a picture of the whole new family or you as a child or something clever?

  4. My hubby has received a sports watch, his tux paid for, a framed wedding photo of all the guys together, etc as gifts. I cannot remember what we gave our guys. Yikes.

    What about a photo gift from a site like winkflash or shutterfly? They do all sorts of items now (not just mousepads and mugs) and maybe you could put a photo of “the guys” on something cool. It might have to be after the wedding.

  5. We gave our groomsman engraved multi-tools, the kind with a knife & pliers and all in one little handy-dandy folding tool. Like a leatherman, and had them each engraved with their initials. I think they were from a wedding favor place called Cathy’s Concepts? Something like that?

    My husband has also received beer steins (engraved), flasks, and gift cards for being in weddings.

    We gave my dad & father-in-law each one of the tools as well, and gave our Mom’s the same thing as the bridesmaids (a basket of trinkets that including little engraved jewelry boxes, costume bridal jewelry that matched their gowns, etc.)

    We also gave each set of parents nice frames and had a pic enlarged after the wedding to fit in the frames.

    Good luck and congratulations! 🙂

  6. Hmmmm… we didn’t get gifts for our parents.

    And really, I can’t remember what we got for our groomsmen. I think my husband picked out something different for each one. However, he’s received an engraved Leatherman as a groomsmen gift, and really liked that.

    If they’re techy guys, you could do keychain usb drives. Or if they’re golfers, you could do some personalized golf stuff.

  7. If they’re buddies, a set of matching beer mugs might be fun– each of the group keeping one mug.

    We had a great time writing puns with the word “buck” in them for this product:
    as in (forgive me, ye of delicate sensibilities)
    -buck and run
    -buck up and do it
    -the groom’s bucked now

    If they’re not all buddies, I’d avoid the sentimental engraved matching gift stuff, as guys just honestly don’t give a flip about money clips or coffee mugs or flasks or etc.

    Now, a nice gift card for a local brewery or pub… or a certificate for Best Buy or Circuit City or something similarly testosterone-laden– THAT would be appreciated and utilized. For what you’ll spend on the froufrou stuff, they could get something they’d actually been wanting.

    But maybe I’m too practical.

  8. We were kind of boring. We gave the groomsmen engraved cufflinks ( and the parents and bridesmaids got fairly inexpensive (less than $50 each) pearl earrings.

    I i had to do it over again, I probably would have given everyone a nice bottle of wine or champagne instead.

    My husband has so far received:
    * a set of drinking glasses
    * a personalized mini baseball bat (I have no idea why)
    * a silver cigar case
    * a framed picture of the wedding party

  9. For the parents, I confess we did the hanky thing but I embroidered them myself. Easier than it sounds, and my mom still raves about it.

  10. When I was in my sister’s wedding, she got me one of those travel toiletry bags from Land’s End that was personalized with my initials. Then she went to target and got a bunch of those little $1 travel size things. It was one of the best gifts I have ever gotten, because I use it CONSTANTLY and it always makes me think of her and smile.

    Maybe you could do something similar for the guys, especially if they travel a bunch, but maybe leave out the little toiletries? Perhaps they won’t be as excited by little bottles of shampoo as I was.

  11. For my wedding we gave the guys beer mugs with their names engraved on them. My girls got jewelry rolls with their initials embroidered on them and it contained their jewelry for the wedding (

    I got the “mothers” handkerchiefs, but we also gave the parents a fold-open photo frame that had room for a pic on one side and the engraved invitation on the other. I liked it so much, I ordered one for me too. Here it is:

    My hubby has gotten the following gifts over the years:
    Personalized Chef Knife (Groom is a chef)
    Personalized Pocket Knife x 2
    Personalized zippo lighter (the long ones, kinda good for lighting a candle)

    Hope this helps!

  12. We were supposed to buy gifts for our parents? Craaaaappp…

    We did our wedding exceptionally low budget. The guys wore their own black suits, and we bought them their shirts and very spiffy matching ties. It’s something that they’ve been able to use again, and didn’t break the bank for us.

  13. My husband received a nice set of coasters for his desk from one brother and a nice travel bag/shave kit thingy embroidered with his name. There wasn’t anything inside so I imagine it was reasonably priced. These are both useful things that don’t just sit in a drawer somewhere collecting dust.

    We didn’t do presents for our parents. Just many hugs, kisses, and thank yous. Didn’t even know about this hanky thing.

  14. I’m in a wedding in September and I know that the groomsmen are getting tickets to a sporting event that they’re all going to go to together after the honeymoon. They’re quite excited about it!

    If you’re interested in the flasks – I know that Things Remembered engraves them – that might add a little to it!

    I have also heard of cufflinks being given as gifts! 🙂

  15. Lands End/LL Bean totes make great bridemaid gifts. So do clutchs from inexpensive but cute brands like Amici Accessories- look on etsy for custom made deals!
    Reef flip-flops make theme shoes, including a pair with a flask inside…sketchy, but funny.
    You don’t have to give each person the same gift. Pick out gifts within a theme that fit each person’s personality.
    As for the parents, tickets or a bottle of nice wine works great. Also, took towards local(and not-so-local, as the internet is your friend) craftsmen who can make pottery, vases, and throws if you want something more permanent. If you’re creative and somehow have the time, scrapbooks will touch them greatly.

  16. Having been a groomsman a couple of times now, I have two flasks (only need one), a knife I don’t use, but won’t give away and a couple cheesy nick nacks. I love stuff I can use! A leatherman would be PERFECT! I use hankerchiefs too. I would actually love gift cards. They aren’t as personable as a gift, but the guys won’t wonder what they’ll do with it after they say, “hey, cool”.

  17. For my wedding this past Sept we went to and bought Stainless Steel Zippo lighters for each groomsmen with their names engraved on them. Lighters were about $20 each (depending on model), engraving was free and shipping was free.

    A friend of mine got married last year she gave each man in her bridal group a ticket to a MLB game in their area. The guys all went together after the wedding and really liked it.

    Parent gifts were hard but I recommend the engraved picture frame.

  18. For my parents, in-laws and attendants, I gave garden benches. Since my dad and father-in-law were the only groomsmen, and my aunt and sister-in-law were my attendants, it was only four I had to buy. I bought them on sale, and spent about $60 on each.

  19. I did not get my in-laws anything…oops.
    I got my mom the floating Tiffany’s heart pendant.

    My husband got the groomsmen (there were 4) engraved Watermen pens. We got them on sale. They were the fountain tip not the rollerball tip.

  20. We gave our parents picnic baskets full of goodies (including nice wine) and gift cards for the local spa so they could have a date and a relaxing time “on us.” For everyone else we bought candles and holders that matched their specific decor/ tastes and wrote note about each one and how they were a “light” in our life- corny, maybe, but completely heart-felt and appreciated:)

  21. I did no extra gifts, so have no input there. I just want to say best wishes to the lovely Mir. I also got married on May 11 (and on a Friday, too).

  22. HOLD EVERYTHING. We were supposed to get gifts for the parents? Do grandkids count? No wonder my MIL can’t stand me…To think, all this time a photo album would have done the trick…

  23. We were exceptionally cheap, too.

    I just picked out a little gift for my two bridesmaids, I don’t think my husband got anything for the guys.

    We got rosebushes for our parents. Told them, “They turn out just like us. Feed and water them, and they’ll be beautiful…if a little bit thorny.” 😉

  24. My dear friend had a huge wedding two years ago. they gave the entire party, groomsmen and bridesmaids and others, a hooded sweatshirt embroidered with “The Jones party, summer 2005.” It was inexpensive, but not cheap, and very practical.

  25. Things Remembered has a wonderful selection of gifts that can be personalized. There are a variety of prices as well. If not a photo album for a gift, what about the ‘memory/family photo trees’?

  26. My husband didn’t really want to give a useless gift so he took his groomsmen golfing on our wedding day (evening wedding) and they had a great time. They got to just hang out in a casual atmosphere and enjoy each other’s company.

  27. When we got married, I did a gift basket for both sets of parents that included wine, glasses, and other little things that I thought were nice.

    In addition, for my parents, I bought 2 double frames and for my mom, I found a great mother daughter poem for a wedding day and put that in one side and a B&W picture from my pre-bridal sitting in the other. I chose another picture for my dad and found a great poem about always being his little girl, even on my wedding day, and put that in the other side.

    It was five years ago and they still have those out – they really liked them.

  28. Like Kait, we had the groomsmen wear their own black suits and we bought them coordinating (but not matching) ties and tie pins. The bridesmaids got necklaces with charms that I picked to match each one’s personality – my friend the cowgirl got a running horse, my friend the opera singer got a musical note, etc.

    The parents…. they got the joy of knowing their beloved only children had each found someone to love and cherish them forever! LOL, no we didn’t buy them presents and didn’t even think about it!

  29. Ok, this is going to sound very hillbilly, but my husband got his groomsmen BB guns. And I got my bridesmaids pearl earrings and necklaces to wear during the wedding.

    No shotguns at our wedding, no sirree!

  30. Ditto the toiletry case thing for women, but also for men: my husband got his groomsmen masculine leather toiletry cases (and he uses his all the time), and put in some shaving cream etc.

  31. Why would the parents get presents? I guess maybe people do that when the parents pick up the tab, but we paid for our own, so I wouldn’t have even thought of that.

    As far as ideas for the parents (or others), what I’d suggest would be a memory from one of those online photo places (like :

    You could take snapshots of the wedding weekend, leading up to the big day, then a few of the wedding and reception. then upload and order, and they’d probably receive them while you were on your honeymoon!

    I can’t remember what we gave the guys. I’m sure it was either beer related or a leatherman or somesuch.

  32. We gave our guys sets of poker chips- the nice clay ones in a fancy, silver box.

    I did photo albums for the parents- the front page had a letter from both of us, the next two pages had baby pictures of me, the next two had baby pictures of hubby, and the rest was blank- I filled it in with wedding pics later.

  33. Sorry, no groomsman tips, but I wanted to say that you are going to make such a lovely and beautiful bride, Mir. Hope your wedding day is magical! 🙂

  34. Our wedding was very non-traditional. I didn\’t have groomsmen aside from the best man. I think we just paid for his tux rental. If we got him anything else, it must have been fairly forgettable because I sure don\’t remember. Sorry, bro! 🙁

    Everyone is different, but most guys like little quality tools and knives. Of the weddings in which I\’ve been a participant, there are the two gifts I\’ve received that were my favorites (and are pretty much the only ones that I can remember what they were). One was a Buck knife key chain. I carried it around all the time until they started really cracking down on carrying pocket knives into public buildings. The other was a Mini Maglite for being an usher. Get it? I was an usher!

    Like I was saying, most guys like well-made little tools. I like that both of these items are available in different anodized color finishes. It sounds like Leathermans (Leathermen?) are a popular idea right now, and I agree they would be cool. Personally, I\’d skip anything engraved. It just doesn\’t do much for me.

  35. My husband’s BIL gave all his groomsmen jerseys suited to each guy – my hubby got the jersey to his favorite Cardinals player, some got their favorite football player, etc. This can add up, since you’re talking $100 each or so. But it was a huge hit and everyone loved their gift.

    We only had two groomsmen at our beach wedding and they each got something to match their interests – a baseball book for one, and a Home Depot gift card for the other.

    My bridesmaid’s got personalized Land’s End beach bags, and to this day, I see them use them all the time. Otherwise, I’m not usually a fan of the personalized gift, but if it has a use….

    Moral of the story, to me, was to give something that they’ll actually use, as opposed to something that’ll end up in the back of their kitchen cabinet.

    We paid for most, but not all, of our wedding, so I just got each parent a nice picture frame to put our wedding photo in. Nothing over the top.

    And CONGRATS, Mir, all the best of luck – just ask my hubby, the second time is a charm! 😀

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