Hello Southern Brides!
We all know that Southern wedding etiquette is all about tradition. However, the minute twists and turns of tradition can get tricky during wedding planning, so here’s some information to help you navigate two of the trickiest traditions: giving gifts to your guests who come from out of town for your wedding and gifts for the ladies in your wedding party.
Gifts for Guests from Out of Town
Southern hospitality now dictates that the bride and groom provide a guest gift basket or bag for out of town guests to make them feel welcome! The average wedding guests spends around $600 to see brides and grooms say, “I do,” so appreciation in the form of a bag of indulgences is a great way to welcome them to town and provide them with little extras to make their stays more fun and less stressful.
Many couples now find a bag or basket that fits their theme, whether its rustic, nautical, or wedding colors (you get the idea!) and add water bottles, something sweet and salty, Advil/Tylenol, mini champagne bottles and glasses, breath mints, stain remover pens or wipes, and a treat from the local area. (The price of the local gift can give a lot of flexibility in price depending on you pick a food specialty, a local craft, or tickets to a local attraction.) Then absolutely include a wedding or wedding weekend itinerary, directions, and maps of local places to go and to eat. The entire bag is designed to make the guests’ whole experience in your wedding city a happy one!
Gifts for Bridesmaids
Southern tradition still dictates that a bride gift her bridesmaids. However, the whole gifting process can get tricky, so here are some tips to make this part of planning easier.
First, consider making a smaller version of a bridesmaid survival bag like what you make for the out of own guests (many times the bridesmaids will be from another city). Then, consider how much they’re spending on your wedding. Are they paying out for airplane tickets, hotel rooms, transportation and other big-ticket expenses? Additionally, are they paying for the bridesmaid dresses and shoes themselves? If yes, upgrade your gift-giving by buying personalized items that cost a bit more as a way of saying “thank you” for their financial investment in your wedding day.
Next, consider your finances. What can you can reasonably afford? Favor personal items over expensive gifts, as a personal touch will go farther in letting your bridal party know that you appreciate their efforts. There are tons of ideas on the internet and specialty shops, and wedding day dressing room kimonos, men’s shirts, and rompers or personalized items for after the wedding day are always popular! (If you request specific jewelry or shoes for your wedding, you should include those in your gift.)
For All Gifts:
Never wait until the last minute to decide on the gifts! Spare yourself the last-minute stress by keeping your eye out for great deals up to two months before the wedding, and always give yourself time to order, personalize, and put together the gifts as early in the planning process as possible. When your wedding day finally arrives, you’ll be so glad you took care of all these details early!
Remember, gifts for out of town guests and bridal party gift-giving etiquette is demonstrating your appreciation and gratitude for the time, financial investment, and effort of your family and friends!
Magan Ward is a photographer, wife, mom of 3, and educator to fellow photographers. She has an unhealthy obsession with Chick-Fil-A mac and cheese, and has a bit of a love affair with dry shampoo – something she tried to avoid for years until the pandemic of 2020 occurred rendering her dependent upon the waterless revelation that saves her time, something now used to instead apply nutella to waffles for tiny humans.
Putting that Masters in Education to good use, Magan enjoys teaching her fellow photographers and online entrepreneurs the ins and outs of building a business that they love…and occasionally sprinkles in some encouragement for Mamas, because life with littles is just plum hard sometimes.
You can grab her free list of favorite tools for entrepreneurs here.