Gift-Giving Guidelines for Groomsmen: Mastering the Etiquette

by Melissa Bajda May 18, 2023

You have done the hard part. You managed to get her to say, 'Yes.' And while you may have agonized over the details of the proposal: what to say, where to do it, how to make it unforgettable. You still have some details to sort out. 

Groomsmen Gifts - The Ultimate Guide

Over the next few months, you'll look at wedding venueschoose a photographer, and pick out your reception menu.

It can be challenging to know where to start but checking out a few wedding registry ideas and using apps can help you get a head start.

The rule of thumb, though, is that after the proposal and the engagement announcement comes the picking of the groomsmen. The following is a comprehensive guide that covers the ins and outs of drafting your groomsmen team

Keep scrolling through the article to read everything you need to know about groomsmen or use the summary below to click through the section you want to learn about:

Table of Contents

9 Rules for Giving the Perfect Groomsmen Gifts

Groomsmen gift etiquette is an important consideration for any groom-to-be. After all, a thoughtful and well-considered gift is an excellent way to show your appreciation for your groomsmen's support and friendship.

To help you make sure you get it right, here are the top 9 rules for giving the perfect groomsmen gifts.

1. Opt for something they Can Use

When choosing the perfect groomsmen gift, it is essential to remember that you want to give something that the recipient will appreciate and use. Avoid getting something that will collect dust on a shelf or be thrown away after the wedding party.

Think about the practicality of the groomsmen gift and how it can be incorporated into their everyday lives.

2. Give the Gift in Person

When it comes to giving groomsmen gifts, there is no better way to do it than in person. Not only does it allow you to see their reaction and share the moment with them, but it also adds a personal touch that shows you care.

Consider a video call if you cannot give the groomsmen gift in person due to distance or other circumstances. This way, you can still see their reaction and share.

3. Avoid Regifting

One of the most significant groomsmen gift giving etiquette rules is to avoid regifting. It may seem like an easy solution to pass on a gift you received that you didn't want, but it can come off as insincere and unappreciative to your groomsmen.

Think about it, if you received a gift from a friend, only to find out that it was initially given to them by someone else, wouldn't you feel slighted? He deserves a groomsmen gift explicitly chosen for them.

4. Personalize it

One of the most important aspects of choosing a groomsmen gift is personalization. Adding a personal touch to the groomsmen gift will show your groomsmen how much you appreciate them and their importance to you.

Personalization can come in many forms, from adding their name or initials to these personalized gifts, or including a special message or quote that has meaning to you and your friends.

5. Consider the Group as a Whole

When selecting cool groomsmen gifts, it is essential to consider the whole group. This means taking into consideration their interests, hobbies, and personalities.

You want to ensure that each groomsman feels appreciated and that your chosen groomsmen gift is relevant to them.

6. Send the Gifts in Advance

One of the most important things to remember regarding groomsmen gifts is timing. It is best to send your groomsmen gifts in advance, either at the bachelor dinner or your rehearsal dinner.

Don’t wait until the day of your wedding party to hand out the groomsmen gifts, as your groomsmen may be too busy with other preparations or may have already left town.

7. Avoid Offending Anyone

Regarding groomsmen gift etiquette, it is important to consider everyone's feelings. The last thing you want is to offend one of your closest friends on one of the biggest days of your life.

To avoid this, make sure your groomsmen gift ideas are thoughtful and appropriate. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Avoid political or religious items unless you know your groomsmen will appreciate them.
  2. Avoid groomsmen gifts that may make someone feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
  3. Don't make assumptions about people's preferences or tastes. While you may love something, it doesn't mean your groomsmen will too.
  4. Think about any potential cultural differences that could impact gift-giving. It is best to err on the side of caution and stick to something universally appealing.
  5. Finally, don't be afraid to ask for input or suggestions from your groomsmen. They may have some great ideas that you hadn't thought of.

Ultimately, the key is to be considerate and thoughtful with your groomsmen gift choices, and to avoid anything that could cause hurt feelings or offense.

8. Consider Your Budget

When it comes to groomsmen gift etiquette, one of the most important things to keep in mind is your budget. While it is natural to want to give your best buddies the world, it is important to remember that you have other wedding-related expenses to worry about.

Here are some tips for keeping your budget in check while still giving great groomsmen gifts:

1. Set a Budget: Before you start shopping, decide on a reasonable amount of money you will spend on each groomsmen gift. Make sure this amount works with your overall wedding budget.

2. Be Creative: Plenty of unique and thoughtful groomsmen gift ideas won't break the bank. Get creative and think outside the box to find a groomsmen gift that fits your budget.

3. Think About Quantity: If you have a large wedding party, buying groomsmen gifts for each groomsman can quickly add up. Consider buying one gift for all the groomsmen to share, such as a round of drinks at a bar or a group outing.

4. Look for Sales: Look for sales and discounts when shopping for cool groomsmen gifts. You often find great deals on personalized gifts and other popular groomsmen gifts.

5. DIY Gifts: Consider making groomsmen gifts to save money. Homemade personalized gifts can be as meaningful as store-bought ones and are often more unique.

9. Don't Forget the Thank-You

Regarding groomsmen gift etiquette, one of the most important things to remember is to show gratitude for your groomsmen. They have been by your side during your wedding day, so thank them properly.

A handwritten note or card expressing your appreciation for their friendship and support can go a long way.

Step 1: How Many Groomsmen Should You Have?

To let you in on a little secret, there aren't wedding rules. They can happen anywhere, anytime, and in whatever way the engaged couple wishes.

So, although you will need a witness to sign the marriage license, you can have groomsmen if you want. And on the opposite end, everyone attending the wedding party can be a groomsman.

With that being said, most people follow a little closer to tradition. Most experts in the etiquette and wedding industries believe that seven or more groomsmen are often too many.

When it comes down to it, being a groomsman should be an honor. Some say that if a wedding party is formal and has 200 or more guests, it is appropriate to have up to 12 groomsmen. And the numbers decrease from there.

Semi-formal weddings should have between one and six groomsmen, and informal weddings will have a best man and one or two groomsmen.

Step 2: Who Should You Pick as Your Groomsmen

While some grooms have a few close friends, making it easy to name the groomsmen, others have built up many close friends from childhood, adolescence, college, and professional life.

And then there are siblings, of course. So, the big question is, how do you choose who cuts?

 

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The best place to start is with the best man. If you have a brother, they will often get the nod here. It is just tradition.

If the brother is estranged, much older or younger, or highly unreliable, it is appropriate to make him one of the groomsmen instead. 

For those with multiple brothers, it can be helpful to work out a system where one brother is chosen as the best man for each wedding party, this eliminates any confusion or hurt feelings. 

You should choose your oldest and closest friend if you don't have a brother. For the guys with several close friends, the seniority aspect helps create understanding among the other guys.

You can continuously tap your dad to be the best man for those who don't want to be put in a tough spot.

As for the other groomsmen, you should go with your fiancé's brothers first. And then two or three of your closest friends.

And while it is excellent to choose the guys who have been through the trenches with you, you should also consider reliability, which is good at public speaking, who can afford the costs associated with the wedding events, and people who will all get along.

Step 3: How Should You Propose To Your Groomsmen

Once you have laid out who you want to be your groomsmen, you have to ask them. And you shouldn't take this question lightly.

While it is fun and an honor to be a groomsman, anyone who has been one before knows that it is also a responsibility, both as a friend and in terms of financial obligations.

When and how to ask is just as crucial as who to ask, starting with when, if you plan to have your wedding party in less than eight months from your proposal, you should ask as soon as possible.

If it will be a long engagement, there is no rush because relationships can shift and may make you change your mind about who you want your groomsman to be.

Moving on to how to ask your groomsmen, you want them to be honored to be asked, and you also want them to take the role seriously.

Because of this, you shouldn't take too informal of an approach in asking them (i.e., text or email). Instead, at least give them a call.

Ideally, you would take them out to dinner or make the invitation thoughtful in some form or fashion. 

To help get your creative juices flowing, here are some options for the groomsman invite:

1. Send them a custom bottle of their favorite alcohol (or non-alcoholic beverage). Plenty of companies will specially label bottles and attach a nice note.

2. Plan a dinner or an outing. This can be one-on-one to make it a more personal and memorable experience or a group activity, think of it as a pre-bachelor party.

3. Mail them a starter pack. Pack a box with everything they'll need leading up to the wedding party, including dates and times, some alcohol, cufflinks, the wedding day bowtie, and a cigar. Add a note and tell them to call you when they get their groomsmen gifts.

Step 4: Why Do I Need To Get Groomsmen Gifts

The expenses surrounding a wedding seem endless. So, when it gets down to the nuts and bolts, it can be tempting to snip and cut items wherever possible.

There are some items, though, that you need to spend money on. One of these is the groomsmen gifts. 

 

Before we get into the logistics of giving groomsmen gifts, it is essential to understand why you give these wedding party gifts.

Understanding the meaning and significance of the gifts will help you choose the most appropriate items to provide. 

Beyond the fact that etiquette gurus say that groomsmen's gifts are a must, these gifts are a tradition. It is a small token that serves as a pillar to the overall occasion. 

Another primary reason for giving these wedding party gifts is that they are simple thank you. The process of planning and hosting a entire wedding party and the entire season of being engaged is overwhelming and stressful.

It takes support and help from every single groomsman. They will all play a role, no matter how big or small. And you need to thank them for taking on the additional responsibility.

Even if they didn't actively participate in planning the wedding party, they did spend the money on their suit, the bachelor party, any gifts for the bachelor party, their accommodation, their flights, their engagement, and wedding gifts, not to mention the time and energy they invested.

A final reason for these cool groomsmen gifts is to mark the occasion. This should be the best day of your life, and you have chosen a small group of people to stand beside you while making the most important vow you will ever take.

A personalized gift will help preserve the memory of everyone involved and will continually remind them of your friendship over the coming years.

Step 5: Who Do You Need To Buy a Wedding Gift For?

Every male at the wedding party should get a gift from the groom. This means the groomsmen, the best man, the ushers, the ring bearer, the officiant, and the father of the groom and father of the bride. But only some get the same thing. 

The best man should be given more than just the same items every groomsman gets. He plays a unique role, and more is expected of him. Therefore, his gift should be more unique

The groomsmen should all get the same gifts, but ideally, they should be personalized with their name or monogram.

The gift ideas for ushers and the officiant will be more modest unless your officiant or clergyman/woman plays an important and present role in your life.

The ushers might receive a nice bottle of liquor, and the clergy could get 10 to 15% gratuity on their fee. 

If you have one, the ring bearer will likely be young, which needs to be considered. Think about their hobbies and interests and maybe ask their parents what they most appreciate, they'll unlikely genuinely value a sentimental gift.

Gifts for the groom's father and the bride's father may take the longest to pick out. These gift ideas should be the most sentimental, and as much should be spent on them as is spent on the gift for the best man.

They likely contributed to the wedding expenses, and they will play the biggest role in strengthening the marriage as you and your bride move into this next chapter of your lives together. 

As a side note, the gifts for the fathers, the ushers, the ring bearer, and the officiant will be joint gifts from the bride and groom.

The gifts to the best man and the groomsman, on the other hand, will come just from the groom. 

Step 6: How Much Should You Spend on Groomsmen Gifts

You have just sent the wedding venue a $5,000 check, and next month, you'll be dipping further into your savings to pay the caterer.

And then there's the chair and table rental, the photographer, and the flowers. Who knew flowers could be so damn expensive? 

 

We get it. And so do your groomsmen. Weddings are expensive. Fortunately, the groomsmen gifts can be one of your lower costs.

And the convenient aspect of the cost of these groomsmen gifts is that there is no set dollar amount. It entirely depends on how much you are asking the groomsmen to spend. 

The general rule of thumb is to give presents that cost between 10 and 25% of how much the groomsmen had to pay. This includes their suit or tux, accommodation, and flights, not their wedding and engagement gifts.

Thinking about this ahead of time can go a long way in helping you stay within budget. In other words, the more groomsmen you have, the more groomsmen gift ideas you need.

If you have a formal wedding party, tuxes will cost more to rent. Destination weddings, especially when guests stay at the same resort, will make these expenses skyrocket. 

Step 7: When Should You Give the Groomsmen Gifts

You would think that weddings would have fewer rules tied to them, but they do. And one of those rules concerns when you should give your groomsmen their gifts (and your ushers, ring bearer, officiant, and father and future fathers-in-law).

This rule, though, is one of the few that is a little looser. Several different occasions are viewed as appropriate timing for gift-giving. The only hard and fast rule is to give them the gift in person rather than mailing it. 

 

1. Giving Gifts with Wedding Invitations:

One of the less common times to give gifts is when you send out wedding invitations.

The important aspect of this is that for the groomsmen's invitations if you are giving them their gift at this time, you will need to hand deliver the invitation so that you can stick to the 'in-person' stipulation mentioned above.

The biggest downside to doing this is that because the potential groomsman is only just then seeing the date and location of the wedding party, they have yet to have a chance to let you know if they will even be able to make it.

If they can't attend the wedding party, you have just given a groomsmen gift to a guy who won't even be one of your groomsmen.

2. Bachelor or Rehearsal Dinner:

Another option is to give your groomsmen their gifts at the bachelor party. Ideally, though, they should be able to enjoy at least part of the gift at the bachelor party, whether a bottle of liquor or a round of golf at the beginning of the weekend. 

Alternatively, you can wait until the day before, at the rehearsal dinner, or the day of.

When you give the groomsmen gifts at this time, they should typically include something that the groomsmen will use at the wedding party, think cufflinks, socks, etc.

3. Wedding Ceremony:

Giving gifts on the wedding ceremony has two additional key advantages:

First, if the groomsmen gifts contain something they need for the wedding day, you won't need to worry about them leaving it at home.

The second is that it can be a good distraction from the traditional pre-wedding anxiety and stress.

4. Wedding Reception:

The final option is at the wedding reception. If this is the case, the groomsman gift should be something they will use in their daily lives or enjoy in their own home.

The downside of gift-giving during this time is that the reception can be a little crazy.

You and your new wife will be running around, chatting with friends and family, taking pictures, and attempting to keep up with the evening's schedule. The groomsmen will likely be scattered around and need help tracking them down.

Step 8: What Should You Give as Groomsmen Gifts

You now know the whens, hows, whos, and whys of groomsmen gift giving. It is time to move on to the whats. There is no right or wrong answer, honestly.

Every group of friends and family is different. Some types of groomsmen gifts will be much more meaningful than others.

Gag gifts could be the most special. Sentimental gifts might be more valued. This is something only you can decide. However, to help you understand the possibilities, here is a comprehensive list of potential groomsmen gifts you could use.

1. For the Beer Lovers

If your group of guys usually gathers to enjoy a few cold ones, making your groomsmen's gift revolve around drinking could hit the spot.

Sign them up for a short-term craft beer subscription. You could include a personalized beer mug.

There are all sorts of quality, beer-related items, just type 'beer gifts' into the Google search bar, and you will find the perfect item. 

Engraved Horn Shaped Beer Mug

2. For the Creatives

Maybe you and several of your groomsmen went to music school together. You may have an artistic family.

Perhaps you and all of your groomsmen are just big bookworms. There are many groomsmen gift ideas that you could go. One option is a personalized moleskin journal. Or you could get them each a framed print from your favorite artist.

Whatever your preferred outlet of creativity is, mold your groomsman gift around that. 

3. For the Handymen

The groomsmen who fit into this category don't need any frills. They will most enjoy a groomsman gift that they will get some use out of.

A pocket size survival kit is a great option. It is a flint fire starter, a ruler, a bottle opener, and more. It is the Swiss Army knife of the twenty-first century.

There are also some other options depending on their particular interests. If they build things, you could opt for personalized tools or toolboxes.

If they are just a little rough around the edges, you could opt for an experience rather than a physical groomsmen gift, think a camping trip or tickets to see their favorite sports team

4. For the Techies

Groomsmen that fit into this category can be harder to buy for, everyone has unique preferences regarding the devices they use. But this doesn't mean you can't find something that will work for everyone.

You can get them lovely leather bands for storing cables. You could get them personalized wood phone stands, allowing them to transform their phone into a bedside clock.

5. For the Wedding

The groomsmen's gifts can also be bits and pieces that revolve around the wedding day yet can also be used after. This could mean a box of smaller items, such as cufflinks, a tiesocks, and a bottle of liquor, to be enjoyed pre and post-nuptials.

Or you could go a different direction and give them a single item they could use every day, including the wedding day, such as a traditional razor and shaving cream brush.

Think about what your groomsmen will need to prepare and go from there. 

6. For the Next Morning

There's no better way to let your groomsmen know you expect them to fully enjoy the reception than to help prepare them for the following day.

You can pop a few cheap items in a box, such as Advil and sunglasses. w2You can also include a few more personalized items, such as a specially made 'hangover' glass that lists the ingredients for the perfect hangover cure.

Just think about what you crave the morning after a big night, and you're off to a good start.

7. For the Trip

If your groomsmen are traveling to your wedding party, some good traveling gear can make the perfect groomsmen gift.

This means an excellent leather carry-on, a personalized toiletry bag, or a box of carry-on goodies (i.e., snacks, breath mints, carry-on sized toiletries, an airline gift certificate for a few drinks on the flight, etc.).

It can also be wise to include a checklist for everything they should bring with them, or have some items as groomsmen gifts (i.e., tie, socks, belt, and more).

And, with this type of gift, you'll need to give it to them either when you ask them to be a groomsman or at the bachelor weekend.

When it comes down to it, the options are endless. You can choose walletsmoney clipsbottle openerscoolers, a grilling setmetal kooziesleather croakies, and a voucher for a special event or experience, it is up to you, your budget size, and your creativity.

But as a last piece of advice, the best groomsmen gifts will probably be those items that the groomsmen would never splurge on themselves. It will just be something useful yet memorable. 

Finally, make this a smooth part of planning the wedding party. Have fun with it and explore your options. With time and effort, you will find an excellent groomsman gift that says 'thank you' just the right way.

Related:

The Groom's Survival Guide: 13 Tips for Navigating Your Wedding Day



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