On your wedding day, you want your favorite ladies standing alongside you. And your favorite ladies in the world will most likely be thrilled to join you for the occasion.
But those same ladies are also making a huge commitment by giving their time, energy and money to help make your wedding day as special as it can be. They all buy dresses, they all give gifts, and some even have to travel great distances to get to your wedding destination.
Which is why brides give bridesmaid gifts as tokens of appreciation. You may or may not have your bridesmaid gifts picked out already, but there’s also a question of when to give bridesmaid gifts.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the timing of your bridesmaids gifts, as well as some key considerations as you’re planning the timeline for your wedding week.
Do You Actually Need Two Gifts?
Don’t get confused between a traditional bridesmaid gift and a bridesmaid proposal gift that you include when asking your potential bridesmaids to join your wedding party.
We recently wrote about how to ask your bridesmaids to join your wedding party, and many of those ideas include small gifts that you can incorporate into fun ways to “propose” to your bridesmaids.
But the actual bridesmaid gift is different. So, if you’re including a small token when you ask your friends and family members to serve as bridesmaids, you’ll usually need two gifts.
The first you’ll give early on in your engagement when you’re just starting to plan, and the second you’ll give much later. Read on to learn more about when to give bridesmaid gifts — the official ones.
3 Approaches for When to Give Bridesmaid Gifts
As with most things in your wedding planning, like selecting unique wedding favors, you enjoy options as you consider when to give bridesmaid gifts. Just make sure that you save them for the actual week of your wedding. Once that week starts, choose from among 3 different approaches:
- A Few Days Before
For large weddings, attendees often start trickling into town a few days before the big day. You might even have a dinner or bachelorette party planned for the week of your wedding.
In these cases, it’s appropriate to give you bridesmaid gift just a few days before the ceremony. This is an especially good idea if you have a gift that you’d like your bridesmaids to wear or use on the day of the wedding (like bridal jewelry or bridal robes).
Giving bridesmaid gifts a few days before the wedding is also a good fit for destination events when everyone is out of town and spending time together in an exotic location leading up to the big day.
- At the Rehearsal Dinner
The traditional (and perhaps most popular) answer for when to give bridesmaid gifts is at the rehearsal dinner. All of your bridesmaids will be in attendance, and it prevents you from worrying about gifting in the hours leading up to the ceremony. Even if your gift is something you’d like your ladies to use or wear on the actual day, the rehearsal dinner isn’t too late to give it. Once again, personalized bridesmaid robes are usually a great choice.
Most brides choose to give bridesmaid gifts at the end of the rehearsal dinner just before guests depart. This prevents your bridesmaids from having to keep up with their gift all night while they’re toasting the couple and enjoying the evening.
- On the Day Of
In rare cases, brides choose to give bridesmaid gifts on the actual day of the wedding. When the ceremony and reception take place at night, there’s often a bridal brunch or luncheon, and this can be a good time to give gifts.
If you have bridesmaids who are arriving late the night before the wedding or even on the day of the wedding, this also might be a good time to give your gifts. If possible, it’s best to give all your gifts at once. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but some of the sentiment is lost if one or several of your bridesmaids get their gifts long after the majority do.
Other Important Decisions Around Your Bridesmaids
The wedding process is so full of decisions to make that you’ll soon begin to feel overwhelmed by them. Specific to your bridesmaids, you’ll need to answer the following questions:
- How much should you spend on bridesmaid gifts?
- How many bridesmaids will I have?
- Who will my bridesmaids be?
- What dresses will they wear?
- How will I “propose” to my bridesmaids?
- What will I give them as gifts?
- When will I give those gifts?
Hopefully this post provides some helpful tips for answering that last question. As for the others, try to lean on your maid and/or matron of honor. It’s always nice to have a close friend or family member whose voice, wisdom and guidance you can trust when making important decisions about your wedding.
And don’t be afraid to outsource some of these tasks. For example, ask your maid or matron of honor (or even your wedding planner) to pick out a few bridesmaid dress and gift options for you to consider. Just narrowing down the universe of options as you seek to answer some of these questions can be really helpful — and it frees you up to focus on the more important decisions you need to make for your wedding.
Most weddings have a months-long lead-up before the big day. Treat those months like a marathon. If you try to do everything and make every decision on your own, you’ll find yourself exhausted as the actual day draws closer — just when you should be getting excited.
Final Thoughts on When to Give Bridesmaid Gifts
Yes, you enjoy several of options for when to give bridesmaid gifts. Just make sure you don’t give them too early — you want to save gifts for the actual week of the wedding when everyone has arrived in town. And you should also make sure you don’t wait until it’s too late.
The last thing you want to be doing or worrying about in the hours leading up to the ceremony is passing out bridesmaid gifts. A bridal brunch or luncheon is the absolute last opportunity you have to pass out your gifts and let your ladies know how much you appreciate them.