Every year, over two million couples are married in the US — quite a large number.
While not every party has a large contingent of groomsmen, most grooms have someone stand up with them.
Whether you’re hosting a large, traditional wedding with hundreds of guests or a smaller gathering with only family and close friends, it’s important to recognize some of the traditions associated with groomsmen and their gifts.
In every wedding, the best man and groomsmen have important roles to play. They are there to extend their support to the groom and the soon-to-be couple.
Their duties include helping with some aspects of wedding planning, throwing a bachelor (or couple’s) party, keeping track of the rings on the big day, assisting the groom with getting dressed, ushering guests into the church, and being public witnesses to the pledge of marriage.
Traditions of Groomsmen
Historically on the wedding day itself, groomsmen were not only on hand to dress the groom, but also to be ready to defend him against anyone who might show up to steal his bride. They dressed in the same attire to confuse any evil spirits who might want to put a curse on the couple.
Then after the wedding, the groomsmen would physically place the groom and his new wife (with the help of the bridal attendants) in their honeymoon bed.
Thankfully, that isn’t a tradition that continues.
However, you can see that the relationship between a groom and his groomsmen is significant. Because of this, it’s customary to give gifts to groomsmen as a sign of appreciation and thanks for their support.
The Tradition of Groomsmen Gifts
The idea of groomsmen gifts took off during the mid-20th century when the groom would thank the groomsmen with gifts after the wedding. This became a routine and has been customary ever since.
The only difference is that the current groomsmen gifts are quite different from years ago and typically given prior to the wedding either during the bachelor party, rehearsal dinner or on the morning of the wedding day.
What Are Groomsmen Gifts?
Groomsmen gifts are a way of showing your groomsmen your appreciation for their participation in the ceremony.
After all, you are asking for a big commitment of their time and finances. They’re likely paying for their tux or suit and paying for travel in addition to footing the bill for your bachelor party.
Gifting groomsmen is a sign of showing your admiration for the hard work and efforts put in by the groomsmen. It’s very important that you select your groomsmen gifts with care so they remember them for a lifetime.
The friends and family you select to stand up with you will appreciate this gesture and will be grateful to you for recognizing their contribution to your day.
Ideally, you should present your full wedding party with gifts. This includes the ring bearer and any ushers you invite to participate as well.
Your best man, with his distinctive role in your wedding, likely deserves something a cut above the gifts given to your groomsmen.
The best man has extra responsibilities, such as the sometimes-stressful reception toast, that warrants some added thought and effort.
Gifting groomsmen and your best man with keepsakes is a token of thanks. It’s also an exhibition of the importance of their participation in the occasion.
Why Are Groomsman Gifts Given?
Grooms give gifts as a symbol of appreciation and gratitude because the groomsmen offered to stand with them in support of and in witness to their union.
Initially, wedding attendants gave gifts to the bride before the wedding. They “showered” her with gifts in case she didn’t have enough dowry.
The groom was not a part of this scenario because there was no requirement that he bring anything to the marriage in the way a woman was required to.
Then the bride began to give gifts to her attendants in thanks. This tradition eventually extended to the groomsmen.
When Are Wedding Party Gifts Given?
The ideal time to hand out groomsmen gifts is during the rehearsal dinner which is a great time for couples to recognize their wedding participants.
Everyone is happy and most of the wedding preparation is complete. Just as importantly, you won’t have to worry about keeping track of gifts throughout the wedding day itself.
It’s at this moment that you may choose to give gifts to other wedding participants as well.
This might include parents or anyone who was especially helpful during all of the planning.
Perhaps you had a family member who went above and beyond by making your cake. Or maybe someone helped with decorations, or lent their photography or DJing skills.
You might be wondering “When do I give groomsmen gifts?” if you aren’t planning on a rehearsal dinner.
In this case, it’s acceptable to give the gifts the morning of the ceremony as you and your team prepare to dress up for the wedding.
You may also choose to hand them out at the wedding reception itself. However, keep in mind that your groomsmen may then have trouble keeping track of things for the rest of the night.
“Will You Be My Groomsman?” Gifts
Another recent popular trend that we’ve seen is the practice of “groomsmen proposals.“
In short, that means a groom buys his gifts long in advance of the wedding. Then he uses them to formally ask his best man and groomsmen to be part of his wedding.
The upside with that approach is that groomsmen won’t have to worry about getting their gifts home after the wedding. That’s a big consideration if groomsmen had to fly in and you plan to give a bottle of spirits or a pre-filled flask.
And the other benefit of giving your gifts far ahead of the wedding?
Who Buys the Gifts?
The groom is responsible for buying the groomsmen gifts, though it’s not rare for the best man or family members to assist with choosing them. He also gives a present to his best man as the bride gives presents to her bridesmaids and the maid (or matron) of honor.
Don’t forget your ring bearer! He has one of the most important responsibilities of all – getting your ring to the altar so you can seal the deal.
What Are Typical Gifts for Groomsmen?
Identifying the right groomsmen gifts can be a challenging task. The gifts chosen should reflect your friendship and appreciation for the groomsmen.
You may want to look for the latest gadgets, tools, grooming kits, personalized apparel, and monogrammed items. These are some of the more popular offerings, but you’ll want to select either a gift based on each groomsmen’s personality or a gift that can be applicable to the whole group.
Personalized flasks, wallets, cufflinks, watches, tie-sets, cameras, branded sunglasses, and even holiday packages could be groomsmen gifts, depending on how much you want to spend for your groomsmen.
Some men are excited to receive modern gadgets as gifts. Gadgets such as smartphone accessories, video game systems or accessories, and USB flash drives may be good options, though they’re usually pricey.
Other men are handy guys and appreciate gadgets to help them fix things and tinker. You may want to select gifts like tactical flashlights, knives, screwdriver sets, or anything that will come in handy when something breaks.
For the men in your group who might take longer than your bride to get ready for a night out, grooming tools can be a good choice. A good set of personal grooming tools or a travel kit may be appreciated.
Recently, unique options for military and outdoors enthusiasts have come on the market. These include high-end, badass gifts such as bullet bottle openers, custom shot glasses, bullet cufflinks, ammo cans, and growler sets.
You can make these manly groomsmen gifts extra special with personalized engraving to commemorate your day and friendship.
Another smart option is to think about personalized apparel for the groomsmen. Personalized clothing like t-shirts, jerseys, and caps are good choices, though you will need to consider sizing in your ordering.
Do the Gifts All Have to Be the Same?
There’s no hard and fast rule that says all groomsmen gifts have to be the same. Though, keeping the gifts within a general theme is ideal.
This way, you don’t have to worry about anyone eyeing someone else’s gift and wishing they could switch. Also, you don’t want anyone to feel like their gift wasn’t as thoughtful as someone else’s.
Having theme gifts or groomsmen gift sets makes the process much easier for whoever is doing the shopping. For instance, you can find groomsmen gifts in sets of 5, 6, 10 or more. Additionally, you’re likely to get discounts when ordering multiple units.
Fortunately, there are some gift ideas that are applicable to most men, such as bottle openers or flasks, that you can still personalize to make them unique to each groomsman. This seems to be the favored gifting method for most modern grooms.
How Much Should Your Gifts Cost?
The price of a gift doesn’t necessarily dictate its value. Yeah, it sounds cliched, but it is the thought that counts.
Most groomsmen gifts fall between the $30-$75 range with more money spent on the best man and father of the bride — you can also read this post for further discussion about how much to spend on groomsmen gifts.
That said, one way to make an impression on your wedding day is to give groomsmen gifts that have a hefty price tag. If money isn’t a problem for you, splurge on these groomsmen gifts (then let me know if you happen to need an extra groomsman):
- A bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch for $215.
- A Givenchy wallet for $595.
- Money clips — a 14k solid money clip goes for $400. A Tiffany & Co. money clip can run as high as $3,500.
There is no rulebook that says groomsmen gifts must be expensive. It’s always a good idea, though, to choose groomsmen gifts that are practical, useful, and memorable, as the last thing you want is your friend forgetting your gift in a day or two.
Choose a groomsmen gift they will actually use and is durable. They can think of you whenever they use it for years to come.
When determining your budget, consider how much time and effort your groomsmen are putting into helping you enjoy your special day.
Think about the costs they incur (traveling for a destination wedding, tuxedo or suit costs, and time) as part of being in your wedding party.
Picking the Right Gifts For Your Groomsmen
Shopping for the perfect groomsmen gifts shouldn’t be a problem for you if your groomsmen are your close friends. Even if this is the case, picking the right groomsmen gifts can be a daunting task.
We know you don’t want to have an extra burden to endure while preparing for the big day. But making sure your groomsmen feel appreciated for the role that they played for your wedding should motivate you to get the right groomsmen gifts.
- Think about your relationship with every groomsman and why you chose them to be part of your wedding.
- Take the time to learn how to wrap your groomsmen gifts, have it done professionally, or present them in nice gift boxes.
- When giving your gifts, say thank you, but also mention some specific details about your friendship or what they did to help you celebrate your day.
- Don’t be afraid to get emotional. Sometimes grooms are surprised by how touching the gift-giving process can be for long-time friends. Go with the flow, don’t be embarrassed, and know that the experiences of your big day will only make your friendship stronger.
In choosing the right groomsmen gifts, they should have meaning, practicality and of course creativity. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you have to hand-make your gifts, but making them personal is important.
Groomsmen gifts should not add to your wedding jitters. The idea of giving a gift to your groomsmen should be fun, meaningful, and hassle-free. Make a good selection so that you can take pride in your gift and how it represents your gratitude for their friendship on your most important day.