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Bridesmaid Gifts She'll Use Again by Deb Boxill

You're deep in the trenches of planning your wedding, going down the list. Bridal Party: check, right? You've assembled your team, picked out the dress. But one thing remains. You know you couldn't do it without their support, and you want to make sure they know that. What's the best way to show your appreciation? The Bridesmaid Gift.

This list is here to give you some ideas for selecting a thoughtful gift that your girlfriends will enjoy. Most of them make a bridesmaid's life easier on the Big Day--and will get used again. Now, these are your close girlfriends, and you already know what would be most meaningful to them, so definitely go with your gut. Most of these suggestions are pretty simple and inexpensive, so will work well in combination, or you can add one or two as favors if you've planned a more elaborate gift.

1. Accessories for the wedding day: The shoes, the jewels, and the hair styling. Some folks seem to think this is selfish or boring. I disagree--it's actually one less thing to worry about (and definitely used again). Feel out your bridesmaids, though--if most of them already have three sets of fake pearls, you might want to look for something else.

2. A bridesmaid tote bag and "day-of" essentials. I got this for the first time recently, and it was a godsend. The bride gave us makeup bags containing band-aids, nail files, face blotting paper, lip gloss, breath mints, and hand cream. On the wedding day, I used every single item! It was all contained neatly in a large, sturdy tote bag with my name on it, so I could just throw everything in there and go. That tote bag continues to regularly serve me well as a grocery sack, beach tote, gym bag, book bag, you name it.

3. Anything personalized with the name and date. Speaking of, anything with the person's name is a special gift. Every time I use my beloved tote bag (which is practically every day), I think of the bride and how much fun we all had.

4. Bridesmaid cake charm. One of the most meaningful mementos I have is a simple silver charm, pulled from a cake at the Bridesmaids Luncheon. According to this Victorian tradition, different charms with ribbons attached are placed under the icing when the cake is made. At the luncheon, each bridesmaid chooses a ribbon and pulls out a charm. The one she gets determines her romantic future. The first one I got was a heart, meaning "One who finds true love." The other charms are usually things like a four-leaf-clover or a horseshoe (lucky in love), a flower (a blossoming relationship), a ring (next to wed), an anchor (life of adventure), or a rocking horse (happy home and family life).

5. Fancy flip flops. Chances are, your ladies won't be able to dance the night away in those gorgeous heels they're wearing for the ceremony. It's great to have something to slip into that's cute, comfy, and doesn't look ridiculous with the dress! And who can't use another pair of stylin' flip flops when it's time to hit the beach--or the spa!Speaking of...

6. Spa services. A girls' day of manicures, pedicures, and chatting is a not only a lovely gesture to honor your friends, but it does wonders in the "bonding" and "de-stress" departments as well. Look into facials, waxing services, massages, and reflexology to spice it up.

7. Special no-show undies. Another day-of accessory that will find its way into regular rotation. Especially if the bridesmaid dress is less than forgiving, finding the proper undergarments can be problematic. Why not help your sisters out? Even if they don't do day-of duty under the dress, a really nice thong or tanga panty with a matching cami is a lovely thing for a girl to have.

8. Dressing gowns/robes. An oft-overlooked hazard of Wedding Day prep is when to put on the dress vs. when to have hair and makeup done. One bridal party I was in was so large, my appointment with the stylist was at 7 am--and the wedding was at 5pm. I didn't have a robe or a button-down shirt, so I had to put the dress on first. It was chiffon. I pretty much had to stand around for 8 hours to avoid wrinkling it. Never again! I've always brought my own dressing gown and been the envy of the other ladies trying to wrestle out of their clothes or keep covered in a towel.

9. Bridesmaid Keepsake boxes. Although it's a little less practical than some of the ideas in this list, a beautiful box for keepsakes, jewelry, and mementos is always a welcome gift. The type of box you choose reflects your unique style and will remind your friend of you every time she looks at it.

10. Journals or books. Again, this is an opportunity to really get creative and personal with your bridesmaids. Think about what your bridesmaids mean to you when making your selection, and include a heartfelt inscription inside each. Whether your gift is humorous, mushy, representing the theme of the wedding, or specifically chosen for each individual, it will be a lasting reminder of your friendship--and your appreciation of her support on your wedding day.