The answer is: Yes, it’s expected.
But it’s also a chance for brides to truly show that not everything is about them on the BIG DAY. That there really is another person involved (that would be the groom) who deserves a bit of recognition, too.
We’re talking wedding presents — specifically, yours to your husband-to-be.
Tradition does, indeed, hold that both you and he exchange gifts. And while it’s true that some grooms are initially shocked to learn your engagement ring doesn’t also count as a “pre-sent,” that’s no excuse for you, the bride, to forgo a gift to your new hubby.
“Giving him something that’s just for him will make him feel really special,” advises BrideBox.com.
Here’s what you need to know, now that prime wedding season is upon us:
• There’s a time and place. Etiquette dictates that the hand-off occurs at one of three times: the night before the wedding, the morning of the ceremony or right before leaving on your honeymoon. Think it’s still bad luck to see the groom before the nuptials? There are ways around this. “Many couples choose to courier gifts via bridesmaids or groomsmen just before the ceremony,” says brides.com.
• There’s a thin line between “romantic” and “mushy.” Some may be tempted to com-pile a “love notes” journal of every bit of correspondence they’ve received from the groom. Even assuming he’s the type who would appreciate such a gift, there’s always the off chance he might be left wondering, “Okay, where’s my real present?” — especially if his gift to you is a serious piece of jewelry.
• There is the consensus choice. There’s a reason a watch invariably makes everyone’s short list: It’s the perfect statement of who he is or aspires to be. (It’s also a lot more impressive than a flask, which for some reason also makes the top ten in gift giving.)
No less a taste arbiter than MarthaStewartWeddings.com favors Baume & Mercier’s Clif-ton line — as elegant as the original 1950s model that inspired it — for the way it “easily transitions from big day to every day.” Like the Swiss watchmaker’s timelessly charming (and affordably luxurious) Classima line, it comes with a choice of straps, dial faces and a variety of what’s known as “small complications” that go way beyond just telling the hour. You can shop them at Baume&Mercier e-boutique or by calling 1-800-MERCIER, where free engraving and wrapping are available.
• There’s something to remember. One writer at AskMen.com says he’s “heard of women giving their husbands watches in the ceremony instead of a wedding ring.” If so, the answer: No, just like your engagement ring, that, too, would not qualify as a wedding present.