Groomsmen gifts are often the lowest priority, and that's OK. Your groomsmen appreciate the thought, and probably won't keep the gifts for very long. Just avoid buying gifts that will sear themselves into the memory of every groomsman as the Worst Gift They Ever Got. Read this list for the 10 worst the author's ever seen.
10 Worst Groomsmen Gifts:
In the interest of saving you snide remarks during the wedding toast, the stink eye from your groomsmen's wives/girlfriends/significant others and at least 20 years' jokes at reunions, here's my list of the worst.
I've spent 10 years helping wedding-related sites sell groomsmen gifts. I've seen some serious doozies. Whatever you do, do not give these items as groomsmen gifts:
10. Anything pink or pastel. I shouldn't have to explain, but apparently I do. There are websites out there pushing pink stuff as groomsmen gifts. I saw at least one keychain groomsmen gift that might have LOOKED white in the picture, but was an undeniable shade of pink. Hopefully you know better, but just in case, DON'T BUY PINK STUFF.
9. Soap. Groomsmen don't want soap. I don't want soap. Soap is something I buy at the grocery store. 8. Candles. Wow. Candles? Seriously? I'd rather get soap. 7. Money. A friend told me about a wedding where the groom handed out $20 bills. That's kinda neat, but it makes everyone uncomfortable. We're not going to your wedding to get paid. 6. Pictures. I'm torn on this one. A picture of the happy couple could be a nice gift. But somehow, it feels a little like going to England and being handed a picture of the Queen when you step off the plane: Crass. I'll pay my respects. 5. Stamps. I. Have. No. Idea. But someone really did give out collectors' stamps at their wedding. It you're a philatelist you may know the value of your gift. Your groomsmen will probably use their gifts to mail a check to their electric company. 4. Anything that melts. Nuff said. 3. Anything political. Yes, you really, really believe the Spotted Owl deserves saving. And cute fuzzy little owl chicks thank you, even if the lumberjacks don't. But making a donation in someone else's name to a highly political organization makes for crappy groomsmen gifts. 2. Gift cards. If cash is bad, gift cards are worse. Nothing says "Damn, I forgot about you guys until 2 hours before the wedding!" like a gift card. 1. Porn, or anything that might pass for it. Our winner! No matter how funny it seems at the time, a video of bachelor party hijinx between some guy named Biff Tiggler and 10 overly-endowed strippers who are inexplicably drawn to our hero is the worst groomsmen gift possible. It pisses off the girlfriend/wife, embarrasses most guys, and generally taints the entire memory of your wedding with an air of Texas whorehouse.
Avoid this kind of gift-giving humiliation:
- Order IN ADVANCE. Don't procrastinate. Buying groomsmen gift is easy - there are lots of good online stores that'll let you order all manner of tchotchke, often with engraving.
- Learn to read. "3-4 days shipping" doesn't mean you'll have the gift in 3-4 days. It means you'll have it 3-4 days AFTER the gift is engraved/packed etc.. Most sites make this crystal clear, if you're not totally wasted and/or uncaring to take a look.
- Get a second opinion. If you want to surprise your groomsmen, that's fine. Show the gift to your wife-to-be, or your groomsmen's significant others. If they wrinkle their noses and look at you like you're a turd in the middle of the sidewalk, move along and try something else.
What if you buy groomsmen gifts that looked OK online are horrifying in person? A few suggestions:
- Have a backup plan. If you're ordering the groomsmen gifts online, have some ideas for what you'll do if they're awful (or if they don't arrive). Even with the best vendor, things happen. - Contact the site from which you purchased the gifts. Ask them if the cigar humidor is really supposed to smell like a rat crawled in and died in it. Chances are, they'll work with you to fix the problem. - Beg forgiveness. If all else fails, it's the night before the wedding and there's just no way to fix the problem, give your groomsmen a gifts IOU.
Remember: A week after your wedding, your groomsmen will probably take the gifts you carefully select and chuck 'em to the bottom of the underwear drawer. That's just the way it is.
Groomsmen gifts aren't about long-lasting keepsakes that folks put on their mantle (assuming they HAVE a mantle). You're trying to create a memory of your wedding day for everyone involved, especially the people who are in your wedding party. The gifts you buy them can be a huge part of it.
Or, they can hover over your wedding like a particularly nasty, toxic fart. The choice is yours.
So do yourself a favor: Print this list. When you're drunk, sitting in front of the computer 2 weeks before the wedding shopping for groomsmen gifts online, look at this list. Remember it. You can thank me later.
Ian Lurie is a writer and internet marketer who's helped https://branddepot.com/collections/groomstand sell groomsmen gifts since 2002. When not ranting and raving, he prowls the internet looking for silly wedding stories. Don't fall into his clutches, whatever you do.