bride and groom almost kissing

Once in a Lifetime: an Introduction to Wedding Gifts

Wedding gift etiquette has changed in recent years; discover the new trends & history of wedding gifts with the Ernest Jones intro to wedding gifting.


Wedding gift etiquette has changed in recent years, with the new normal seeing couples asking for donations towards the honeymoon, a charitable contribution, or simply your presence rather than a present. However, the shift away from receiving traditional gifts from the guests has seen an even greater emphasis being placed on gift exchanges between the happy couple and their wedding party.

So, whether you’re looking for the ideal ‘his and hers’ wedding gifts to commemorate the big day, special gifts for the best man, or the perfect gifts for bridesmaids, you'll find all the inspiration you’ll need below.

Why do we buy wedding gifts?

Wedding gifts are an excellent way to spoil the happy couple, but the type of gift has changed greatly over time. Traditionally, a wedding gift list played a key role and was invented to stop newlyweds from receiving three kettles and two toasters. The list often reflected that they were setting up a new home together and tended to be made up of practical household items. But times change. Couples now often live together well before their wedding day, and 'home' already has all the kettles and toasters it needs! Whilst some contemporary gift lists do exist, many couples have moved away from asking for household items. However, there are no set rules when it comes to gifting, so if you’re a wedding guest and still want to buy them a traditional present, then do!

Today, most couples feel that celebrating with all of their favourite people is present enough, but lots of guests and loved ones will still want to spoil them with a gift. In those cases, many couples choose to ask for money to donate to a good cause, or to put towards a trip or experience.

Therefore, most wedding gift exchanges now occur between the two people getting married, and between them and their wedding party. These are often very personal and thoughtful gifts that go on to become treasured keepsakes.

Wedding day gift exchange

When it comes to who the happy couple should give a special something to, it’s a very personal choice, and there are no hard and fast rules. However, at the top of the list tend to be the bridesmaids and groomsmen and, increasingly, the parents of the soon-to-be-newlyweds. These sentimental gifts not only say ‘thank you’ for all of the ongoing love and support, but they become cherished items to remind them of your special day.

Couples often also agree to exchange gifts between themselves. It's a romantic and highly sentimental gesture, and it is customary to choose a keepsake that will last a lifetime and beyond, such as a luxury watch, designer cufflinks, a piece of diamond or gemstone jewellery, or some classic pearls. Check out our Bride & Groom Gift Exchange feature for more ideas and inspiration.

It’s also becoming increasingly popular for bridesmaids and groomsmen to give a gift to the happy couple, with many choosing to club together for something extra special. These gifts are usually exchanged on the morning of the wedding and can even be the 'something new' that the bride or groom wears if they opt for the 'something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new' tradition.

If you’re looking for wedding gifts for the bride and groom who have everything, or you’re searching for the perfect present for your bridesmaid or soon to be husband or wife, here are a selection of our favourite wedding gift ideas.

Gifts for the groom

Whether you’re their partner or a member of the wedding party looking for an extra special gift, it’s safe to say you know their taste and style, so it’s best to trust your judgement when shopping for the perfect present. When it comes to thoughtful gifts for men, a beautifully crafted watch is always a fantastic choice. Not only will it last a lifetime, but it’s something that he will look at regularly and will be reminded of the day he received it. A watch is also the perfect finishing touch to any outfit and is bound to attract admiring glances on his big day.

Alternatively, jewellery is another sentimental and symbolic wedding day gift option. From sleek and ever-stylish men’s chains to sophisticated bracelets or the perfect cufflinks for the dapper gent, you’ll find options to suit all styles and budgets in our men’s jewellery collection.

Gifts for the bride

Luxurious, elegant, and incredibly meaningful, ladies’ wedding jewellery is the first thing to consider when looking for special gifts for the bride. High-quality jewellery is also incredibly durable, so with a little TLC, it will become a sentimental keepsake to be treasured for generations.

As a well-known symbol of eternal love and commitment, diamond jewellery is a classic bridal gift. The most popular options include diamond pendants, stud earrings, tennis bracelets, and jewellery sets, but you’ll be spoilt for choice at the Ernest Jones. With exclusive collections from leading designers such as Vera Wang, stunning virtually colourless Canadian diamonds from Arctic Light, as well as our own Ernest Jones Diamond Collection, you’ll be sure to find stunning pieces to suit a wide range of tastes and budgets.

Symbolising love, purity, and loyalty, pearl jewellery also makes an excellent choice that will look stunning both during and after her big day. The pearl necklace is a timeless classic, but from earrings to bracelets and even jewellery sets, there is a wide range of both contemporary and vintage-inspired pieces to choose from. Depending on her taste and style, you can opt for traditional white pearls or go for a unique coloured alternative, like a blue or pink hue.

A ladies’ watch is another gift that never fails to impress, and from stylish Swiss-made timepieces to sporty smartwatches, there is a design to suit everyone. Our luxury watch collection includes stunning ranges from the likes of Omega, Cartier, TAG Heuer, and Breitling, and you’ll also find high-quality designer watches from iconic brands such as Tissot, Michael Kors, and BOSS.

Gifts for the best man and groomsmen

The best man and groomsmen contribute so much towards the big day, from planning the stag do to nailing the speech and calming your pre-ceremony nerves, most will go to extraordinary lengths to make sure your wedding day is as special as it can be.

All of this will help you to form an even stronger bond, and what better way to show how much you appreciate their friendship than with a thoughtful gift to mark the occasion. Many grooms opt for something that will be the finishing touch to the wedding attire, so luxury cufflinks, tie clips, men’s wedding jewellery, and designer watches are ever-popular options. Or, if jewellery isn’t his thing, you’ll find a wide selection of luxury leather goods, designer pens, and other keepsakes in our collection of men’s gifts.

Gifts for bridesmaids

Whether she’s your maid of honour or bridesmaid, chances are she’s helped you plan your wedding, pick your dress and has been your rock when things have got a little stressful. So, it’s likely you’ll want to thank her for all her love and support. A surprise gift that will look great with her dress on the day, and that she can get lots of wear out of moving forwards, will be sure to show her just how much she means to you.

Stylish jewellery sets, diamond earrings, elegant pendants, and beautiful bracelets are all popular choices, as are designer watches. For something even more sentimental, you could consider personalised jewellery or opt for a design with a heart or infinity motif. If you have several bridesmaids and are looking for high-quality designs that won’t break the bank, then sterling silver jewellery is an excellent choice.

Finding the perfect wedding gift with Ernest Jones

Whether it’s engagement rings, wedding bands, or wedding gifts, at Ernest Jones we’re privileged to have played a small role in so many special days. So, whether you need a helping hand choosing the perfect gift, or you have a few questions about a specific collection or product, book a complementary in-store or virtual appointment with one of our friendly experts, who’ll be happy to help. Or, for more ideas and inspiration, see our Luxe Journal.