It used to be that bridesmaids were surrounding a bride on her wedding day to disguise just who the bride was. The feudal system meant that some families forbade their daughters to marry into certain families. But the clever brides got around this by having several maids dressed identical to herself so that no one could tell who the bride was until it was too late.
These days, however, having maids is just a kind of honorary idea but they still help out with little tasks like making sure that she is calm, rearranging her hair or flowers etc. Indeed, they are really only there to take the pressure of the bride on what is probably her biggest day of her life.
Over the past several decades it has become customary to gift these young ladies with something to say 'thank you' for helping out. Years ago, this really didn't happen much but the custom has become firmly bedded into modern day rituals and beware the bride and groom who cut this favored part of the day out! Even groomsmen get some goodies too, that's how important this feature is.
This is supposed to be a gift to each of them that the bride and groom have taken time to choose for themselves. With everything else that has to be organized for the day, it often gets overlooked until the last minute, but it may be better to get this task completed well ahead of time.
One of the main things to consider is how much the bride and groom will spend on these gifts. Agreeing and sticking to a budget is vital since the cost of today's wedding can be horrendous. But getting something cheap is also frowned upon so this little aspect is quite important. Considering that some brides can have up to ten or more maids, all accompanied by groomsmen, then the scope of the problem becomes very clear.
Once the budget has been set, the bride and groom can now settle down to pick and choose what they would like to give their helpers. For bridesmaids gifts in particular, they don't all have to be the same thing. They can be of course, but getting each something different from the other shows that the gift was chosen properly and not grabbed as a job lot.
The gift of jewelry for the bridesmaids' gifts is probably about the favorite thing that anyone could buy. However, there can be a little twist here that will save on time and expense.
Try choosing a pendant, on a silver or gold chain, with a precious or semi precious stone embedded in it. If the maids are well known to the couple, and this shouldn't be too hard to research anyway, make sure that each maid gets her birthstone. This will give them each the same gift but with the added benefit of being completely personal of course.
Another trick to save on precious time is to get them a locket or pendant that can be engraved. Each can have a personal message engraved, the girls' names, or anything else come to that. Again, this gives them all equal gifts but with a personal touch that shows that they are very special on that day.
The chief bridesmaid, or matron of honor if she is a married woman, will get something extra usually. Her gift could be the pendant or engraved piece, just like the bridesmaids' gifts, but with an added matching bracelet or earrings, or both come to that! She has far more responsibility on the day and is normally very close to the couple so it is expected that she will receive more than a normal bridesmaid gift.
If the gift is not to be jewelry, then there is a host of other suitable bridesmaids' gifts on the market. The list is virtually endless and it all comes down to what the bride and groom think is the correct thing to give. There is no right or wrong here so they shouldn't obsess about these smallish items at all. They have far more to be concerned about for the day.
For grown up career girl bridesmaids gifts, these young ladies may appreciate a designer handbag or great piece of carry on luggage for when they travel. Even the groomsmen may like the idea of having a laptop bag, made of exquisite leather, with the monogram of themselves or their family name on the outside. Care should be taken when giving gifts like this to women in particular because strange people may get interested if they have the name of the carrier. It is much better to stick to initials or even a family crest which knocks this problem out completely.
For younger bridesmaid gifts, jewelry is a little bit awkward. They are not yet fully grown so giving chains or bracelets will mean that they will grow out of them in time. Try giving them a delightful jewelry box, with perhaps a small piece of jewelry in, to encourage them to start looking after their jewelry now and in the future. Of course, this could also apply to older bridesmaids' gifts, but perhaps with their initials engraved on.
For very small bridesmaids or flower girls, and even ring bearers, checking what is suitable with the parents is a must. Some gifts may just not be acceptable in their eyes so this is quite important to find out well beforehand. At the very least, these little helpers could get a gift certificate which they can spend at some online store. In this way, Mom and Dad can guide them to the perfect choice and it takes the pressure off the harassed bride and groom.
Whatever is chosen, whether it is expensive or not, the idea is to give something from the heart on that very special day. If this is kept in mind it is highly unlikely that any gift would be considered to be the wrong one.