So over to theunbride - thank you.
I've only been in two weddings. But when I see people on blogs assemble their bridesmaids gifts, I can't help thinking, "ugh, I don't want that."
In her words, about what your bridesmaids might like, "They do not want a) Another monogrammed tote bag containing ‘cute’ flip flops b) A picture frame with or without a photo of the two of you c) A random piece of jewelry that is solely pertinent to their bridesmaid’s dress or d) All of the above."
I've only been in two weddings. For one of them I got item C as well as a thing of bath products. For the other, I got this:
It's the Tiffany starfish necklace. I've been eying it since I discovered the internet and tiffany.com. Every girl in my high school had the heart. I never wanted the heart. I wanted the starfish. (This sounds really selfish. It's not like I was waiting for my high school sweetheart to buy it for me.) However, since it was ridiculously expensive and I knew I would never spend that on myself, or ask anyone else to, I simply bought a knock off...but it wasn't as nice. And it was awkwardly sized.
My sister watched me occasionally pull it up online. She watched me eye it in the Tiffany window. And since she knew that I was far too thrifty to ever buy it for myself, but because she believes I deserve the very best, it was my bridesmaid/maid of honor gift for her wedding. I tried to tell her that it was too much, but she wouldn't hear of it. Initially, I felt guilty accepting it - I was a mediocre maid of honor. (It was my first time! The first time isn't good for anyone!)
But I wear it all the time. I love it. The quality is better than all of my other jewelry, and it's just so darn cute! As all the best gifts are, it was something I really wanted but would never get myself.
And it wasn't the same as everybody else's. Our bridesmaids gifts reflected who were were as people. As I consider my own ladies, I know that I will go the same route - because I love these people because they are different from each other, and they all have different tastes and needs. So I suspect that even if each girl does get some token piece of jewelry, they will also get some sort of gift that reflects their individuality, our relationship, and how grateful I am to them for their help. And I don't think that you have to present matching gifts to everybody at the rehearsal dinner, and I don't think that you have to get everyone gifts of the same value. This comes up sometimes on Weddingbee and a bridesmaid isn't pulling her weight and somebody is like "I bought her a really nice gift but I don't want to give it to her." I think if you think of it as giving something more to your bridesmaids who were really there for you during the planning, instead of some kind of punishment for the ones who didn't have the time or just didn't want to be involved, it seems reasonable.