Ask the Expert: Who should I buy thank you gifts for?

10 Aug 2017

Confused about who should buy gifts for? Marie Haverly of Isabella Weddings Planning and Consultancy makes it crystal clear

Image: Wedding in a Teacup

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Marie Haverly is our wedding planner-turned-agony-aunt and is back this month to answer another bride's burning question.

Q. My friends keep telling me that I should be buying special gifts for specific people and I’m now confused. Who should I really buy gifts for?

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Weddings are expensive and adding to this expense can be finding the perfect thank you gift for someone special. There are usually many hands that work hard to produce your wedding and of course, it’s only natural to want to thank those helpers in some way. However you don’t have to invest a small fortune in doing so. I think that simply giving a little gift some real thought goes a long way towards showing your appreciation and love for that helpful family member or friend.

You only have to type into Google ‘wedding gifts’ and you are bombarded with a wide range of gifts and perfect presents, some for the wedding couple and some promising unique and quirky gifts for those special bridal party members. My advice here is to avoid the trappings of over-purchasing; people like to help with weddings - after all, it’s a nice thing to help with. If your friends felt you were spending hours (and lots of cash) on finding them the ideal, latest, must-have gift then I am sure they would be a little worried and concerned that so much effort has gone into thanking them for something they happily and willingly offered to help out with.

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So who should you ideally give a thank you gift to?

1. The bridal party

Bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girls and page boys have no doubt gone the extra mile to be supportive before and during your big day, so I feel they deserve a little something. Again, you don’t have to break the bank; try to think about the individual person you are buying for and give them a gift that you know they will enjoy, something unique to them.

2. Parents

It’s traditional to give a small thank you to your parents, as a way to show your appreciation of their support (emotionally and possibly, also financially). Again, something that will show you know them well will always be gratefully received.

3. Anyone who has contributed above and beyond

Perhaps a friend has sewed 175 bunting flags for you or painted 23 wedding signs; these are people that also deserve a little recognition.

4. Each other

This one you can get really special with. Give this gift lots of thought as you will want to remember this special moment for a long time yet.

Remember you don’t have to give these gifts out on the day; some people might feel a little shy being called up to accept a gift in front of a room full of guests, so think about presenting your thankyous before the day, if practical.

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Here are some nice, alternative and winning gift ideas that our own brides have tried and tested with great results.

  • Alcohol, favourite foods, sweet treats – a local cheese that you just know your best man loves will no doubt be a gift that he will adore.
  • Pampering treats – always a winner for many ladies (and guys) especially if you do your research and give a gift that matches their favourite brand or something they covet but don’t often buy for themselves.
  • Candles, soaps, decorational items – always lovely if you know exactly the type of style and design your family member or friend love.
  • Gift vouchers – long gone are the days of boring vouchers; we now have restaurant gift cards, shopping centre cards, online shopping vouchers, cinema gift cards and much more. A cinema gift card and a hand-written voucher offering to babysit will go down a storm with friends who find it hard to get out for an evening, I promise you.
  • A DIY gesture - If your budget is tight why not draw, write or design something yourself? There are lots of inspirational websites out there and if you love getting creative then why not grab yourself a scrap book and print off some fun pictures and memories to make up the most thoughtful gift around.

Last of all, my advice would be to listen to your friends and family, throughout the planning process: do they mention a particular shop they love, a restaurant they adore to visit, a book they must buy soon etc? Buy gifts as you go along and save them for the right moment. Be thoughtful and don’t leave gift buying until a week before or you might find yourself stressing over exactly what to get, when you should be relaxing and looking forward to your big day.

Images: Patryk Stanisz