The Definitive Guide To Groomsmen Gifts

The act of taking a spouse has been going on since the dawn of time. Back in the day it was usually a simple matter of finding a suitable mate and having a basic ceremony, sometimes a clergyman and witnesses weren't even necessary. However, things have definitely changed over the decades. Weddings are a huge production with every last detail being planned and executed (hopefully) without incident.

With this tradition also came the groomsmen gifts for the best man and ushers - small, usually dignified tokens for the men who stand by and watch the couple take their vows. But did you know when the tradition of the best man started it was more than just including your friend in the big day? Weddings in the past could be a dangerous affair, especially for the "best" man.

Ancient Weddings

Back before women had the right to make her own decisions, a man would choose a woman to marry and, if the family didn't approve, he would forcibly take her away, so the groom would need backup; thus the best man.

Not only would the best man help in the kidnapping of the bride-to-be, but he would also stand guard at the altar with the couple. In ancient times weapons such as clubs, knives and spears were stashed by the altar in case the bride's family decided to take her back. Again the best man was here to safeguard against a (future) in-law attack. The best man also had the responsibility of standing outside the newly wedded couple's home on their honeymoon, guarding them against any altercation that may arise.

Best Man and Groomsmen Today

Most weddings today don't involve the kidnapping of the bride. The best man and groomsmen are there to support the couple and enjoy the festivities. The best man may also take responsible for holding the rings, throwing a bachelor party, giving a speech and helping the groom in any way he can.

However, different cultures each have their own traditions and tasks that fall to the best man.

In Uganda, the best man is chosen on his ability to counsel the couple on the ways of marriage. He's there to give sound, tested advice and guide the couple through a happy married life together.

Weddings in Greece will find the best man (usually the groom's godfather), crowning the couple and circling the altar three times as per their tradition. This lucky fellow may also be responsible for paying for all the wedding expenses.

Traditionally in Bhutan (south Asia) the best man is a ceremonial 'watchdog' to both the bride and the groom. He also has to entertain the guests, even if it goes on for hours.

Ukraine traditions dictate almost an old ancient approach to the duties of the best man. In this culture the best man must guard the bride during the wedding festivities. If he or the groom steps away, this signals an opportunity for the guests to "kidnap" the bride or to steal her shoes. Once this happens the groom or the best man must pay a money ransom, or do something embarrassing in exchange for the returning of the new wife.

Traditional Gifts for the Guys

Whether it be a cultural responsibility or a few friends being involved in your wedding, expressing your gratitude and thanks is an important detail that's not to be overlooked.

The first thing to do when shopping for gifts for the men in your wedding party is to decide whether you're going to buy the same thing for all of them, or break it down into more personal gifts. Think about what one or all these guys would like and go from there.

Traditional gifts like flasks, sports' mugs and money clips are all useful and time-honored items. Plus, you can usually have these personalized for an added touch.

If you want to really wow them and give them something to remember your big day, try a classic and stylish pocket watch. These are universally appreciated and something they will always cherish.

Non-traditional gifts can also make a wonderful token of your appreciation. Items that play into your ushers and best man's personalities are a fun way to say 'thank you.' Find out what the guys are into and go from there. Most hobbies or sports have cool items that will translate into unique and thoughtful gifts.

No matter what you chose to give the special guys in your wedding party, make it from the heart and give it with gusto. Your groomsmen are sure to appreciate the sentiment and will remember you each and every time they use their gift.