Congratulations on your engagement! Okay, that’s about all the time you have for celebration, now that you’ve been shot out of a cannon head first into the mayhem that is wedding prep. But fret not. You’ve got a crew of top-notch groomsmen ready to pitch in at a moment’s notice, right? They’re going to take care of you throughout the process. So take care of them. Follow these poignant pointers on the etiquette of groomsmen gifts.
PUT AN END TO THE UNGIFTED GROOMSMEN EPIDEMIC
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.” And according to us, that means 30% of groomsmen leave the wedding feeling like less of a man. 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.
WHO EXACTLY GETS A GIFT?
Traditionally, the groom is responsible for gifts for all the male members of the wedding party. This means, besides the best man and groomsmen, don’t forget to find gifts for 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.
ONE FOR ALL…OR ALL ENTIRELY DIFFERENT?
Many settle on the matching gift strategy—handing out the same item to each member of the wedding party. And sure, it’s convenient and it shows you’re not playing favorites, but it screams of last-minute desperation. Instead, select individual gifts that cater towards each of your groomsmen’s personalities. Not only does this show you 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.
HOW MUCH DO I ACTUALLY HAVE TO SPEND?
While there are no hard and fast rules for how much to spend on your groomsmen, there are some simple guidelines to follow. Start by looking 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. 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. 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.
OKAY, SO 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. Here are some categories that will help you narrow your focus.
Think etched decanters, custom cufflinks, a monogrammed money clip, a personalized axe, anything that can be engraved. This type of gift is great for your groomsmen who really like their initials on things or who have experienced a lifetime of people swiping their belongings.
Chances are you will have at least a few groomsmen who are patrons of the liquid arts. Whether it’s whiskey, beer or even just beer nuts, there are lots of drinking gifts for men to choose from.
Got a groomsmen who’s coming in from out of town? While he won’t be able to avoid the overcrowded flight with no snacks, you can make things a little easier with a travel-related gift. Try a laptop case, a custom travel bag, some jerky or a sleek shave kit.
Everybody loves meat and grilling and maybe you should just have a grilling wedding? Okay, probably not, but for those groomsmen who know the magical allure of delicious smoked and spiced meats, a grilling gift will do. Go with a selection of sauces, a smoker box or pizza stones for grilled pizza.
Perhaps you and your dad have passed many hours on the water in silence, waiting for a nibble on the line. Maybe you and your best man endlessly work on perfecting your golf swing. The sporty members of your wedding party will dig getting new equipment or barware that shows their team allegiances.
DIY project gifts
Reward the do-it-yourselfer groomsman not only for being in the wedding party, but also for finally ceasing to offer to build a 10-story tree-house wedding venue. Clearly he’s got a lot of energy and ingenuity. Try a pipe-carving tools or a gin-making set.
With a clear groomsmen gifting game plan, there’s one less thing to stress about. And who knows, that perfectly selected gift may even convince the guys to go easy on you when it’s speech time.