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Modern Ways to Say ‘Merci’

Your top peeps deserve a great gift. Here are bridesmaid and groomsman thank-yous they’ll truly love

Gone is the era when wedding party thank-you gifts automatically meant sparkly necklaces for the bridesmaids and monogrammed flasks for the guys. Today’s gifts can even be luxe services (think hair and makeup or hot towel shaves) or über-thoughtful gestures (covering their hotel room during your event) rather than an object. But if you like the idea of giving your attendants something they can both have and hold, these expert ideas should get you headed down the right path.

If you’re really at a loss, gift cards have the advantage of letting your friends choose exactly what they want, says Elise Mac Adam, author of “Something New: Wedding Etiquette for Rule Breakers, Traditionalists, and Everyone In Between” (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2008). But they’re also a bit impersonal, so, instead, consider a gift certificate for something more specific, like a series of Pilates or crafting classes or tickets to the theater, a music festival or a major sporting event. In addition, it may help to know that you’re welcome to select different gifts for each individual based on their personality or interests – for example, a first-edition book for the reader or even an amazing pot for the cook.

Another option is to be both thoughtful and, well, a little “self-serving” (i.e. gifts your crew can use during the wedding but that are also useful afterward), “almost like nice souvenirs,” says Mac Adam. For example, wedding planners Susan Cordogan and Darcey Lohman of Chicago-based Big City Bride suggest thanking your guys with matching ties, bow-ties, socks and/or pocket squares, but also think cool hats, scarves, wooden sunglasses (or Ray Bans!) or colorful shoes, which can make for some fun photos. For the ladies, the Big City Bride team recommends matching or personalized jewelry (think statement bracelets and earrings), wraps, a monogrammed Longchamp bag for schlepping around all their wedding weekend needs, or a luxurious monogrammed bathrobe, which will ensure some great group getting ready shots.

If you’re on a tight budget, a nice picture frame with a commemorative photo in it is always a safe choice, says Mac Adam. She also suggests looking to websites that will allow you to use pictures or text to customize everything from coffee mugs and beer glasses to journals, iPhone cases, tote bags, wooden puzzles, guitar picks and more. And don’t forget about subscriptions to favorite magazines, adds Cordogan and Lohman.

If you have a little more to spend, devices like an iPod Nano stocked with your favorite tunes or a fully loaded (many versions have removable USB drives) and monogrammed Swiss army knife are great for both bridesmaids and groomsmen.

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