These touching gifts will add an extra element to your big day.
By Melissa Jacobs
Isn’t the pretty pile of festively wrapped wedding gifts enough? Sure—but those are from family, friends and relatives. These days, brides and grooms are giving wedding gifts to one another. Large, small, pricey or not, the point of the gift is to commemorate the day in a very special way. “Personalize it,” suggests Conni McDonnell, vice president of operations at Touché Accessories in the King of Prussia Mall. “The thought behind the gift should be: I know you, I love you and here’s something to remind you of that.”
If a picture is a worth a thousand words, then these are the photos he should have before he says the two most important words: ‘I do.’ Tasteful and artistic with just the right amount of naughty, boudoir shots are a great way to tantalize husbands-to-be. But the photos are for the bride, too. “It’s not just about the groom and being sexy for him,” explains the owner of Boudoir by Jennifer Smith in Middletown, Del. “It’s about the woman feeling good about herself, especially right before she gets married.” To get those good vibrations flowing, Smith takes her clients through an in-depth process that starts long before the photo shoot. Through emails and phone consultations, Smith talks to brides about their personal style, what kind of clothes to wear, whether to fake bake or not and how to mentally prepare for the photos. And she supplies an expert glam squad to do brides’ hair and makeup. “Every client has the same insecurities,” Smith says. “They think they’ll feel awkward, or they are worried about how their bodies will photograph. With posing, lighting and various angles, I can make them look better than they would after six months at the gym.” Smith walks them through the shoot, explaining where women should put their heads, their hands, legs and everything else. Brides choose from a variety of set-ups, including a white leather couch, white sheer curtains and, of course, a bed.
Scheduling and photo finishing does take time; Smith suggests brides book boudoir shoots two months in advance. The morning of the big day is the most popular time to give grooms the pictures; they offer a wedding night preview. As finished products, Smith creates a lot of photo albums and wall art. “The wall pieces are perfect for the master bath, master bedroom or inside the husband’s closet so it’s behind clothes, and only he can see it,” Smith says.
“They are for tears of joy, either his own or to wipe away the bride’s,” explains McDonnell. At Touché Accessories, McDonnell sells handkerchiefs from La Vie Parisienne, an artisan company that creates five masculine designs using French linen. Meant to go in the groom’s pants pocket, the handkerchiefs can be monogrammed or embroidered with a message, poem or other words of meaning. La Vie Parisienne also makes handkerchiefs for brides; those are available in 30 styles.
You’re about to have the time of your lives, so giving him a watch is a great idea. “When you’re thinking of buying a timepiece for your husband-to-be, you want to find one that accurately reflects his personal style as well as lifestyle,” advises Harvey Rovinsky, owner of Bernie Robbins Jewelers in Villanova. “A dress watch is something men don’t typically buy for themselves, making it a perfect gift for marking momentous occasions. I recommend thin, simple and precious metal watches that can be passed down for generations. A great example of this is Baume & Mercier’s Steel Clifton Chronograph—contemporary yet understated, this style is inspired by a historic timepiece dating from the 1950s.” Pocket watches are another, hipper option. Don’t forget to engrave the watch with initials, the wedding date or a personal message.
Traveling to Mexico, France or Florida for the honeymoon? Get her bath products that carry signature scents of the region, like citrus, lavender and sun-kissed beach goodness. Have them wrapped in a gorgeously decorated basket that gets delivered to the bride on the morning of the wedding, suggests McDonnell. “Bath oils, sea salts, soaps and everything else delicious smelling makes for a wonderful honeymoon preview,” she says. “It’s about pampering her and about the time you’ll spend together.”
Yes, the bride has her engagement ring, and she’ll soon have her wedding ring. One more gift of jewelry creates an extra special trinity. “The key for wedding day jewelry gifts is to show you know the other’s personality, while also keeping it simple,” explains Rovinsky. “A gorgeous, timeless strand of Mikimoto pearls or a pair of diamond earrings are pieces she will cherish long after the ceremony.” Bracelets—charm, diamond, gold or gemstone—are another option. “Customization is also a sentimental way of expressing your commitment,” Rovinsky says. “Engraving her new initials, wedding date or a meaningful quote on the piece will make your gift even more personal.”
A ball and chain might not be the most romantic tattoo, but that’s exactly what Tommy Tunaitis got for his wedding. “It has my wife’s name etched into it with our wedding date,” Tunaitis says with a big laugh. “Because of my last name, she got a tattoo of a boat—the USS Tuna Boat.” If having a sense of humor is one ingredient of a happy marriage, Tunaitis and his wife are off to a good start. He’s the owner of Agaru Tattoo & Body Piercing, which has two locations in Wilmington. Wedding tattoos are all the rage, Tunaitis says. “It could be matching tattoos, like something connected to the place that they met. Or it could be their spouse’s initials, the gemstone or flower of their spouse’s birth month.” Some people opt for tattoos that are more abstract, choosing artistic designs or drawing their own. “The drawing can incorporate symbols or letters,” Tunaitis says. “It’s really cool if they are the only ones who know what the tattoo means.” He’s also getting more requests for tattooed wedding rings, especially for guys who work with their hands. Whatever the couple chooses, Tunaitis advises them to wait until after the wedding to get tattooed. “Healing may jam up their honeymoon plans,” he explains. “There’s no ocean or pool for two weeks after the tattoo is created and no sun until it is healed. Go get married and have fun on your honeymoon, then come in for your ink.”
Before you exchange vows in front of family and friends, share your private thoughts with one another. Marrygrams are the modern version of an old-fashioned letter. Available at www.marrygrams.com, the engraved note cards carry messages like, “I can’t wait to marry you,” “It was always you” and “I have loved you for 2,368 days,” with a handy online tool to calculate exactly how long it’s been since you met.
Another DIY option are so-called “open when letters.” Brides and grooms can give one another a series of letters in envelopes on which they’ve written things like: ‘Open when we spend our first night apart.’ ‘Open when you need a reminder of why you love me.’ ‘Open when we fight.’ ‘Open when I’m sad and you don’t know what to do.’ And the best of all: ‘Open on the day you’ll marry me.’