Attendant’s gifts: Think personal

Written by: Anne Kelly

The church or venue has been secured a year in advance, the officiant has been lined up. The reception location is reserved. The invitations are sent out, dresses are ordered and are altered, the florist is awaiting the final OK, the DJ or band has been scheduled and maybe even practicing, and now?

Now it’s time to put the focus on the very important family and friends who will be the attendants for the ceremony. Beyond the dresses and suits that have been decided upon, the bride and groom usually thank their attendants in a special way for accepting the honor of their participation, with a small gift.

Weddings are expensive. If attendants are traveling from a distance, buying their outfits, perhaps paying for lodging and giving a wedding gift to the happy couple, their commitment to participate may be a drain on their resources. For that reason, some brides and grooms will try to relieve the burden by making their gift to their attendants applicable to the event. Some brides will pay for hair styling and makeup on the big day or add a piece of jewelry or scarf or clutch bag that will complete the outfit. Grooms might offer ties or the price of tuxedo rental or cuff links. The main thing is brides and grooms want their friends or family members to be there enjoying the day no matter what and appreciate their presence at the event.

If a destination wedding is in the wind, or a beach wedding is planned, attendant gifts can be geared for the occasion. The fun can begin with beach bags or totes, towels or robes. The Monogram Goods boutique on Main Street in Harbor Springs, suggests any item, from clothing to jewelry can be personalized for the attendants. Elizabeth Blair Fine Pearls is also located on Main Street in Harbor, if the bride wants to splurge and make a statement.

The Lake House in Charlevoix offers regional gift ideas for consideration. Signature blue and white tiles by Charlevoix artist, Sue Bolt, can be personalized with a theme to order, wedding or regional. The Round Lake Gallery, also in Charlevoix, features bright and whimsical artwork by Edith Pair, another local artist. Her wineglasses can be purchased already painted or the bride might opt to throw a bridal attendant painting party which is offered at the gallery. Edith Pair is the instructor for an evening of snacks and fun. (Bring your own beverages, but glasses and canvases are provided.) Participants may paint either a canvas or two wine glasses.

For the gentlemen, a groomsman’s gift could be useful (i.e. wallets, flasks or money clips), personal (i.e. monogrammed note cards or towels), or part of the outfit (i.e. cuff links, ties, or tuxedo rental). Any country club pro shop might have just the thing for groomsmen who golf.

Petoskey is home to many specialty shops which offer unique gifts for both the bride’s and groom’s attendants. Stop in almost any shop in the Gaslight District and you will find a variety of suggestions. Look at Harbor Wear for sweatshirts or blankets for a casual gift, or Reusch Jewelers for a more sophisticated memoir of the occasion. Grandpa Shorter’s Mercantile, is fun to browse and offers unique gift items. Stop in Cutler’s for anything from Vera Bradley bags to beer making kits.

Whatever you choose and wherever you shop, remember to think personal, think thematic, and think appreciative.

“Gifts tell a story,” said Robin Couzens, a sales associate at Monogram Goods. “They may represent the time the bride and groom have spent together with their friends. They are a way to show gratitude.”

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