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North Hills Monthly

Personalization Key to Wedding Party Gifts

Jan 30, 2019 10:18AM ● By Hilary Daninhirsch

Bottlebrush Gallery gifts

Giving gifts to your bridesmaids or groomsmen is a popular way to thank them for being part of your special day. Often, the gifts are given at the rehearsal dinner, at a bridal luncheon, or even at a bachelor or bachelorette party.

According to Jan Osterholm, owner of the gift shop Apropos in Allison Park, one new trend is giving a small gift as a way of asking a friend to be a part of your wedding party.  “For example, they may send a box of doughnuts with the message, ‘I donut want to get married without you,’” said Osterholm.

Other brides have created “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” bridal boxes; inside are personalized messages on everything from candles to cosmetics to wine bottles, or even socks that say, “I Can’t Say I Do Without You.”

For traditional bridal party gifts, many people like to give gifts that are customized.

“Trending now are personalized gifts, such as anything that can be engraved or custom-made to coordinate with the wedding theme or colors,” said Amy McGinley, owner of So Me Artisan Wares and Jeweler's Studio in O’Hara Township.

Carolyn Carson, owner of Berry Vine gifts in Bradford Woods, agreed that personalized items are popular. “I’ve seen all sorts of things, such as personalized T-shirts to wear while getting ready for the big day or at the bachelorette party,” she said. Men, she added, often get monogrammed socks for their groomsmen to wear at the wedding.

Grooms may also give their groomsmen a monogrammed bar item, such as a beer or whiskey glass. “We also have something called the Grand Band—it’s not quite a money clip but a fancy rubber band in stainless or sterling with a place for a monogram,” said Osterholm.

Ashley Lyons, manager of Gifted Hands in McCandless, agreed that people love personalized gifts. “It sets their gift apart from the world of mass-produced items,” she said, adding that her shop has shifted their offerings to include trendy styles that can be customized with a name, favorite quote, etc. “We receive requests for personalized jewelry, robes, tote and cosmetic bags, frames, drinkware, cutting boards, custom-labeled bath/body products, and more.”

Other popular bridesmaids’ gifts, personalized or not, include cosmetic bags, purses or cashmere wraps, said Osterholm.

“For groomsmen, I sell a lot of functional gifts such as locally forged bottle openers, flasks that are engraved and travel bags,” said McGinley, while Osterholm added that desk clocks are also popular for men.

Flip-flops, fuzzy slippers, candles, scarves, compacts, perfume, sweatshirts, and cosmetics are also on the list for bridesmaids’ gifts.

Often gifts for the bridal party are tied in with the wedding festivities. “If they’re coming to me, they usually want something that can be worn on that day, such as jewelry or cuff links,” said McGinley.

“We often have brides reach out to us to schedule an appointment with our jewelry production manager in order to explore custom jewelry options. The guest will often bring swatches of fabric or dresses in order for us to create wedding party jewelry in complementary colors,” added Lyons.

The good thing about gift-giving is that there are price ranges to accommodate virtually every budget. Tonya Edinger, wedding planner and owner of Weddings of Pittsburgh, said that the average spent is about $75 per person in the party.

Some brides and grooms also give gifts or favors to their wedding guests. McGinley said that she has seen brides give out soy candles with custom labels as gifts.

“Wedding favors are a wonderful way for the guests to bring home a souvenir of the special day and serve as a special ‘thank you’ for their attendance. Custom-labeled lip balm, custom-engraved slate coasters, and custom bottle openers are all great items,” said Lyons.

Edinger added that wedding guest favors have included chocolates and homemade wine or beer, reflecting the trend in giving consumable items. “Donating to charities is still big, with a photo frame on each table stating that in lieu of favors, a donation to a charity was made on your behalf,” she said.

The wedding day will be memorable, so brides and grooms like to give memorable, unique gifts. One that stood out for McGinley is when she made custom bridesmaids’ necklaces consisting of four-leaf clover pendants with an emerald accent for a St. Patrick’s Day wedding.

“The most unique and special gift I’ve seen was a gift from a bridal party to the bride and groom. Everyone’s well wishes to the couple were handwritten and then engraved on a silver platter in their penmanship. This can also be done on a high quality wooden cutting board,” McGinley added.

Edinger said that she’s seen specially designed glasses—such as those with bullets, poker chips or dice in them—given as gifts, as well as other bar-themed items like whiskey rocks,  which are long-lasting, granite ‘ice’ cubes that don’t water down drinks.

“The girls like to create their own boxes with stuff they all like; one of the more popular boxes contains a Starbucks’ gift card and merchandise; another popular one is a gift certificate for a mani or pedi, nail polish, or satin robe for pictures in the bridal suite,” she said.

“Usually the members of the bridal party receive the same gift, although sometimes the maid/matron of honor and best man receive a different, more expensive or elaborate gift,” said MJ McCurdy, owner of the Bottlebrush Gallery in Harmony, which carries items made by artisans living within 50 miles of its Harmony location.

 “One party purchased a set of mugs and attached a pierogi ornament to the handle, a nod to their Pittsburgh roots,” said McCurdy of the gift made by artist Breda Grus of Freedom. Insulated mugs, made by Lissa Napora of Harmony, are also popular right now.”

She added that in gifting, there is a trend toward functional art, such as pottery, versus wall art. Another unique option? One bride gave each of her attendants a gift certificate for an art party at the gallery.

While any gift is sure to be appreciated, there’s something truly special about something personalized from the bride and groom.