giving with meaning: bridesmaid gifts

Today, I'm excited to share with you the first post in a new series: Giving with Meaning! Finding meaningful gifts is something I truly love to do. However, budgets, timing, and distance often impact how I celebrate those I love. In this new series I'm going to share how I've kept each of those things in mind as I assemble meaningful gifts for my friends and family. You can read more posts from this series here!

Selecting meaningful bridesmaid gifts

I wanted to give my bridesmaids a gift that had purpose on the wedding day. These monogrammed oxford shirts were comfortable and I know some have found ways to wear their shirts after the wedding!

I wanted to give my bridesmaids a gift that had purpose on the wedding day. These monogrammed oxford shirts were comfortable and I know some have found ways to wear their shirts after the wedding!

As I thought about selecting bridesmaid gifts I sought to assemble items that could be used throughout the wedding weekend as well as after it ended. I wanted to select items that reflected some of my favorite things but also were able to be enjoyed by four very different women. Having this chance to celebrate these women was extremely special. They invested their time and money to help Kurt and I start the next chapter in our relationship, so I wanted their gifts to reflect how much I appreciated that investment and how much I appreciate their presence in my life. 

I chose to keep the overall packaging relatively simple so the focus of the gift remained on what was inside the box. Inside each box was a monogrammed gray suede pouch from Mark & Graham. Lots of wedding blogs advocate for including a tote bag in the bridesmaid gifts, but I find that grabbing an event-specific tote bag isn't always my first instinct everyday. And beyond something useful for the wedding day, I wanted to give my bridesmaids something they could use in their everyday life! I thought these suede pouches were a great choice.

Tucked inside each pouch were additional items, including personalized stationery and a pen, a pashmina wrap to use in the chilly fall weather, and a mini "wedding emergency kit." 

These personalized stationery cards from Rifle Paper Co. were my favorite part of the bridesmaid gifts. Each bridesmaid received cards that were created specifically for her, featuring an adorable caricature at the top. 

These mini "wedding emergency kits" were such an easy wedding DIY project. To stretch my budget a little bit further, I purchased the stain remover, deodorant and nail polish remover wipe refill packages from Pinch Provisions. This allowed me to spread the wipes out across the gifts instead of purchasing one set for each.

I also wanted to include a makeup option that would work for all four of the women in my bridal party. As someone who has used fresh products for a long time, I loved how this berry tinted lip balm worked for everyone's skin tone and reflected the berry tones already in our wedding color palette. 

A few band-aids, some clear nail polish and Listerine Pocketpaks rounded out these mini "wedding emergency kits." Tucking everything inside a little muslin bag from the Paper Source kept these items contained and easy to use. 

Each bridesmaid received their monogrammed oxford shirt on one of these personalized wooden hangars from Delovely Details. They made the shirts feel extra special and they looked great for pictures! 

Setting a realistic budget

One area that I try to always remain conscious of when giving gifts is my budget. Selecting bridesmaids gifts was no different! As I considered how I wanted to celebrate these women, I also considered how much I was realistically able to spend. One of the benefits of having an extended engagement was the ability to spread these purchases out over the course of a year. 

Setting this gift budget early in our planning process helped me to be able to start identifying and purchasing items early as well. I chose to join email lists for retailers that offered discount coupon codes and by being strategic I was able to purchase everything I wanted to for each bridesmaid while remaining securely within my budget. 

In addition to budgeting for the actual gift items I wanted to purchase for these women, I also included costs for the wrappings, ribbons and cards I would use to package everything. Because I wanted the outside of the package to look as beautiful as what it held, including those items in my budget helped me to choose those decorative elements intentionally as well. 

Making thoughtful decisions and paying attention to details allowed me the opportunity to confidently make gift choices that I knew would be enjoyed long past our wedding day. As a result, I was able give my bridesmaids something that made them feel so loved, honored and appreciated during our celebration weekend. When it comes to giving meaningful gifts, there's not much more you can ask for! 

I'd love to know - what gifts have you received as a bridesmaid? How did you choose to honor your bridesmaids with gifts during your own wedding? And, how do you feel you succeed or struggle in giving gifts overall? Share your thoughts in the comments!

2016 goals: starting a new season

new series: giving with meaning