Asking your nearest and dearest to be apart of your wedding is almost as exciting as getting engaged, but coming up with how to pop the question can be a real struggle.
I did tons of research, scouring blogs, Pinterest, and Easy for the perfect gift that was thoughtful, unique, functional and yet not too expensive.
Nothing seemed quite good enough. Everything felt cheap or cheesy. How many custom koozies, etched glass decanters, or personalized bottle openers does one truly need?
I mean these are some of the most important people to you, and you want to celebrate them, celebrating you!
Since we were planning a destination wedding (even though we hadn’t finalized a location), we wanted our guests to be something useful for traveling. Something our party could even use when our wedding date finally rolled around.
We asked as many as we could together, all lured to the dimly lit Fox Bar & Cocktail Club in East Nashville under the pretense of grabbing drinks before LeBraun and I headed up to Canada for the winer.
And they all said YES!
As if they didn’t know it was coming. :)
Remember your crew/clan/squad has been by your side through thick and thin. They love you as much as you love them, and they will be over the moon to stand by your side on your wedding day—gift or not gift.
However if you are set on gifting, we wanted to share what we found for our wedding party asks in the hopes it would give you an idea for your own special asks.
You don’t have to handmade them—I just did because I love DIY—but you should always have a card as party of your wedding party ask. Cards are the perfect keepsakes and you can fill them with how much you love each person, how much they mean to you, and why you can’t picture your wedding day without them by your side.
I purchased the blank cards and envelopes in a set at Michaels, with a coupon of course! They always have coupons. Hooray!
LEATHER TRAVEL BAGS
Unless some useless tchotchke has a personal meaning or inside joke between you and your attendants, the main goal of a wedding party “ask gift” would be quality over quantity! Weddings are already expensive so your gift doesn’t have to be expensive, but you don’t want it to be cheaply made either. It’s about finding a balance in quality.
With our focus on finding gifts that represented travel for our destination wedding, we found handmade leather goods on Etsy!
For the ladies we found beautiful distressed brown semi-vegetable tanned leather makeup bags and for the boys we found thick full grain vegetable tanned brown toiletry bags, both on Etsy. We added our wedding party’s initials to their bags since monogramming was included in the price and added a personal touch.
The bags were both quality, handmade items that our attendants would be able to keep for years to come yet stay just a reliable as when they first received them.
The makeup bag was a more gentle leather which lent itself to its slouchy style whereas the toiletry bags were thicker and therefore sturdier which allowed them to keep their rectangular shape.
LeBraun and I loved them so much we ended up ordering some for ourselves with the monograms “Mr” and “Mrs.”
Not a day goes by the LeBraun and I don’t talk about Australia—reminiscing about our favorite places, things we miss, when we can visit again, and ultimately plotting how to live there again soon. :) But some Aussie goodies we keep ordering because they are just too good to go without, like our KeepCups and memobottles.
These products are great because not only are they reusable solutions to daily waste, the companies are dedicated to improving the earth.
For the ladies: Melbourne is one of the great coffee culture cities of the world. Around every corner, an unassuming cafe…down every laneway, people relaxing and enjoying a cup of flavorful cuppa. With people round the world consuming an average of 1.6 cups per day, that adds up to a lot of disposable cup and packaging waste!
KeepCups are reusable hot and/or cold beverage cups produced in standard barista sizes. Research found that the break-even energy requirement to manufacture a reusable cup versus a paper cup over lifetime use was under 15 uses. FIFTEEN USES! It’s a simple adjustment that can make real change in your environment footprint.
For the boys: Based out of Melbourne, we saw our first memobottles at a weekend market in the Docklands. Each bottle may look like a giant flask, but the bottle is designed to fit where other bottles don’t—flatly in your backpack or in your back pocket, etc. Plus every bottle sold provides one person with two months’ access to clean water through water.org.
We instantly loved the idea and ended up purchasing our first two right then and there.
We wanted to include these gifts because they not only remind us of our favorite city, but help promote environmental sustainability. We wanted to spread the love (of the Earth) if you will. :)
Both products are available across the globe now and we hope the movement only continues to spread. Even if you don’t get these for your wedding party, you should snag some for yourself because they rock!
CARRY ON COCKTAIL KITS
Sticking with our travel theme we came across these W&P Carry On Cocktail Kits. Each kit is TSA-compliant and contains the essentials to take your mid-flight cocktails to the next level. No more vodka sodas when you could be sipping on an Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule, Bloody Mary, or margarita.
Depending on the cocktail, kits come with recipe cards, spoons/muddlers, aromatic bitters, and/or cane sugar, all packaged in a convenient tin case.
We thought Carry On Cocktail Kits would be a creative, fun way to spend the 10+ hour days traveling to and from Maui.
Also available through Amazon, West Elm, World Market and more.
MINI BOTTLES OF ALCOHOL
We also included small bottles of alcohol that matched the cocktail kit we picked for each member of our wedding party. These are not necessary as you can’t consume your own alcohol on planes…only purchase it in-flight…but we’d always wanted an excuse to purchase a couple small bottles for fun.
These can be purchased at any bottleshop.
MINI TRAVEL NOTEBOOK
You gotta keep a record of your adventures, am I right? How else are you going to remember the name of that little cafe you stopped at one morning.
If you haven’t figured it out by now I’m a big advocate of handwritten, extensive note taking, and these small (3.5x5-inch) soft cover notebooks are perfect for jotting down names, addresses, memories and more when you’re on the go. For a personal touch I added short, travel-related quotes to each.
ALTERNATIVES TO GIFT GIVING
Being a part of a wedding, as a part of the wedding party, is expensive on its own and often a burden for friends who are budget-conscious.
I just had a friend get engaged and as opposed to having “ask gifts” for the wedding party, her and her fiancé put their budget toward helping their friends with their wedding party-related expenses like the dresses and accessories for the ladies, and suit rentals for the guys.
We thought that was such a smart idea! Although how much you can assist you wedding party with with depend on your budget and the size of the wedding party. Just another idea to throw out there in case it makes sense for your big day.
BUT REMEMBER THIS…
I never know how to wrap my ramblings up. Should I say, “In conclusion?” Haha oh well. Here we go—in conclusion, the key to finding the perfect wedding party “ask gifts” is to focus on quality over quantity and to find something that is thoughtful in representation of your relationship with each attendant and/or represents the theme/location/vibe of you and your fiancé as a couple or the wedding itself.
Now this is the real “in conclusion,” remember at the end of the day it’s not about the gifts or physical goods, but about being surrounded by your nearest and dearest with you through another of life’s milestones.