Part 1: It’s All About The Etiquette
It’s the code of behavior that defines a polite society, makes grandma proud and keeps our world from descending into a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-esque fever dream. Every noteworthy occasion in life has time-honored etiquette that surrounds it, none more so than a wedding.
Amidst all the chaos of planning a perfectpretty good forever memorable wedding day, it’s easy to have some things slip your mind. Like the groomsmen, and more specifically, the etiquette of groomsmen gifts.
According to Wedding Paper Divas, though groomsmen “spend an average of nearly 40 hours helping, advising or supporting the groom, 30% of groomsmen did not receive a thank you gift.”
Look, these guys have been there for you. They have put a lot of time and hard work into helping you get hitched. They are the brave souls willing to stand by your side, creating the illusion that you’re a totally normal, sociable human being. It’s time to show these men the proper gratitude with the simple gesture of a thoughtful gift.
Yes, this is yet another tedious task that you have to add to your endless pre-wedding to-do list, but just relax. With a little foresight and planning, you can save yourself a lot of last-minute shopping stress and have your groomsmen gifts taken care of long before you’re standing at the altar.
Onto the big questions…
SO, WHO EXACTLY GETS A GIFT?
Traditionally, the groom is responsible for gifts for all the male members of the wedding party. This includes the best man, groomsmen, the bride’s father, the groom’s father, the ring bearer, and – if you want to go the extra mile and look really good – the ushers.
WHEN & WHERE SHOULD I GIVE THE GIFTS?
The most common time and place to hand out gifts is at the rehearsal dinner. With the relaxed atmosphere, a nicely lubricated crowd and none of the time pressures that come with the actual wedding day, it’s the perfect chance for both the bride and groom to personally thank each member of the wedding party with gifts. If you find the rehearsal dinner to be an inconvenient time, or if you’re handing out inappropriate presents that would horrify your future in-laws, opt for a more opportune time like the bachelor’s party or even a private, pre-wedding outing.
HOW MUCH DO I ACTUALLY HAVE TO SPEND?
Let’s be honest, the real hidden question here is “what’s the least amount I have to shell out so I don’t look like a cheapskate?” While there are no hard and fast rules for how much to spend on your groomsmen, there are some simple guidelines to follow.
To start with, look at your own wedding budget and pick gifts that reflect accordingly. If you’re doing your wedding on the cheap, there’s no need to splurge on something fancy. But, if your wedding is an opulent, extravagant affair, you probably should step up your gift game.
One school of thought is that your gift should be between 10-25% of the amount your groomsmen have spent taking part in your wedding – with the more money being spent, the lower the percentage used. Figuring that one out requires some time and complex math, so you can always just aim for a gift in $50-$100 range, which is on average, the standard across the country. Just be sure of one thing. Whatever amount you settle on, go ahead and run it by your fiancé first. It’s just good practice for how you’ll be spending the rest of your lives together.
At the end of the day, there’s no need to invest a small fortune in your groomsmen gifts. As much as the price matters, the meaning behind it means that much more. Which leads us into our last question…
WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I GIVE AS A GIFT?
Now that you’ve settled on a ballpark figure to spend, the final challenge that remains is to find the perfect gifts for your groomsmen. Many settle on the matching gift strategy – handing out the same item to each member of the wedding party. It’s convenient and it shows you’re not playing favorites, but it could also scream last-minute desperation.
Instead, select individual gifts that cater towards each of your groomsmen’s personalities. Not only does this show you’ve put some thought into their gifts, making the gesture even more meaningful and memorable, but it leaves everyone with the possibly false impression that you’re an incredibly magnanimous, considerate gentleman.
In part two of our gifting guide, we delve further into individual gifts and reveal our best picks that will have your groomsmen singing your praises into eternity.