The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Groomsmen Gifts

by Chris Bajda December 26, 2013

When it comes to the varying components of aligning the perfect wedding experience, groomsmen gifts do offer some room for error. Guys are generally forgiving and will be focusing on the moment, the drinking and the bonding.  When it’s all said and done, pegging the best gift isn’t going to make or break the event.  You pick the wrong appetizer menu, and the grannies and the older crowd may be squabbling for months about it at their weekly pinnacle night.  If you screw up the music, you just may find a large majority of the crowd sitting in their chairs waiting for the night to be over.  The groomsmen gifts aren’t going to be the nucleus on whether the weekend is deemed great.  That said, it’s a cherry on top and something that’s going to be memorable for you and your guys.  And that, my friends, should be important to you.  


All considered, you don’t want to mess this up, but you also don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of time researching and digging around with everything else you have going on.  With all that your entourage is dishing out for expenses, you want to get your groomsmen something awesome and do something that makes them feel like you put some thought into it.  As it comes with guys and shopping, we like simple, affordable, and painless.  


Below we lay out some general strategies as to what to think about, what to stay away from and what we consider some interesting ideas pull that hammer out and hit spike square.  In other words, the good, the bad and the ugly,  a Clint Eastwood like take on groomsmen gift ideas.


The Ugly – Great Ideas, in Theory, But Suck in Reality 


A guy is going to likely have 2 to 3 flasks sitting in a box somewhere in his house.  I’m close to 40 and I have never, ever used a flask in my life.  What’s the point?  Who the heck is transporting booze in tiny metal cans these days?  While it does capture a bit of tradition, it loses all sense of practicality and is maybe the least original and one of the most thoughtless groomsmen gifts out there.  


A pen, really?  You’ll see these listed, but unless your groomsmen are also your grandson, don’t bother with this sterile and utterly boring groomsmen gift.  


Coffee Mugs
Coffee is something your buddy wakes up in the AM with, usually sipping with his wife or on his commute.  You don’t want to associate with that phase of his life.  Stay away from anything java related.  While comforting, it connects with some of the more mundane parts of his life. 


Most guys are trying to minimize what’s dangling from their keys these days, not add bulk to it.  So unless your groomsmen is a janitor, don’t bother with this totally tacky offering.  


The Bad - Could be Decent, Depending on the Guy 


Golf Stuff
The trinkets in this space are endless.  Catch any pro shop during the end of the season sale, and you’ll likely see a dumpster like a container trying to pawn off the wide variety of this stuff at 80% off.  There is some pretty good stuff out there and if your buddy is a total golf nerd, it could work.  Just be particular here or else it’s going to look like something you picked up as a free gift from a hotel you just stayed at.  


Guys love a cool blade; they love shiny metal.  For most of your groomsmen this usually only goes as far as slicing a couple of onions in the kitchen.  We’re not going to get our guys a set of steak knives as a gift (at least I hope not).  We’re not fighting crime, in back alley brawls or in the wild establishing survival.  This isn’t the Al Capone era. The reality is guys just don’t use these things, but for those who you know may, they could make for cool groomsmen gifts.  


Unless your brood is an entourage of Wall Street guys or straight out of the Great Gatsby, these things will become paperweights.  Now there are opportunities to have some fun with these and give your guys a unique way to splash up their suit when they do wear them.  Know your audience, be creative and get something like the Super Hero Cufflinks.  


The Good - Ding, ding, ding 


Group Caricature
It’s different, it incorporates them as original and it can bring them together in a fun creative way via the pen of an artist.  If there is some underlying theme that connects your guys, it becomes even better.  You can’t go wrong with one of these group caricatures, they are one of the best groomsmen gifts out there.  


Cigars are something every guy is intrigued by, so even if they aren’t smokers, it could be the seed to pushing them over their reluctant line.  It's something to gather around, get together over, play cards too.  In short, it instills dude-like behaviors and we like that.  A humidor makes for one a great groomsmen gift, you can't go wrong with it.  


If your guy is anything like me, he’s probably balling his stuff up or jamming it into the corner of a gym locker without any type of organization whatsoever.  This one hits the practicality button hard, and it’s something that most guys could really use.  Grab him a personalized duffle bag that has a cool workout vibe to it and it can make this one of the top groomsmen gifts.  


Anything Specific to Your Groomsmen, Even if Unconventional
Every guy is different, so if it happens that you have a movie geek or beer nerd in your group that might dig the Godfather trilogy or one of those dorky beer making kits, go for it.  You know your buddy as good as anyone, so don’t be tricked into having to over think it with some groomsmen gift idea from the stratosphere.  The bottom line is you know your pals as good as anyone, appeal to their personal tastes and get personalized groomsmen gifts for each of your guys.  


To sum it all up, get your guys a groomsmen gift that is unique and cool.  Spend a little extra time and try to get them something out of the box.  That way you avoid the suspicion that your soon to be wife ordered them for you and you just don’t give a crap.  While you will likely start fading into the marital abyss, you at least want to capture one real moment with your guys and give them the sense that you care about them.


Try and spend between 20-50 bucks if you can.  You can find some affordable groomsmen gifts for under $20, but as mentioned earlier these guys are going to be spending exponentially more on your wedding.  Your best man is going to likely be fronting even a bit more than the rest of your groomsmen, so don’t hesitate to grab his something with a little more awesomeness to it.  Be mindful of who is spending what on your wedding and make sure there is some recognition on the flip back.  


These guys, if they’re real friends, are going to be psyched no matter what you get them because this weekend is about you.  Be smart, keep the bro code in mind and flip them the best groomsmen gifts that show you did a little more than combed through Amazon for 5 minutes.  

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