If you're the bride, your mom has likely been there for you since day one — and especially during the wedding planning process. You might be wondering: How should I express my gratitude for her unwavering support (especially just in time for Mother's Day)?
While gifting the bride's mother as a token of appreciation is not mandatory by any means, it's a common practice — and for good reason, says Matt Graham, a gifting expert at Utah-based gifting company Shadow Breeze.
"The mother of the bride traditionally plays the greatest role of any of the parents when preparing for a wedding: serving as the liaison between the bride’s parents and the groom’s parents in addition to her consulting role with the bride on all the details of the wedding," he explains.
The mother of the bride traditionally plays the greatest role of any of the parents when preparing for a wedding.
Matt Graham, Gifting Expert, Shadow Breeze
Of course, as times have changed, so have norms. Graham tells us that an increasing number of weddings are seeing others in the wedding party taking on some (or all) of the planning responsibilities — which historically have been the bride's mother's domain. The reasons behind this splitting of tasks could include any number of things, from financial constrictions to blended or "nontraditional" family structures, he adds.
So if you're planning on getting gifts for more than just the mother of the bride as a show of thanks (perhaps the groom's mother or both fathers too, for instance), know that the tips and gifts we share here can apply for them, too.
From mementos to help her look her best on the big day to sentimental souvenirs that will serve as a reminder of your special bond, read on as our two gifting experts break down some go-to gift ideas and clear up your top questions around gifting etiquette. Keep scrolling or navigate using the links below!
What to consider before shopping | Best jewelry gifts | Best keepsake gifts | Best self-care gifts | Wine and spirit gifts | Best plant gifts | Best personalized gifts | Gifting FAQs | Meet our experts
What to consider when gifting the mother of the bride
No matter what, be sincere.
The biggest requirement when you're shopping for a gift, our experts say, is that it be sincere and heartfelt — regardless of your budget or when you're presenting it.
"With the average cost of a wedding now $29,000 in the U.S., and many much higher than that, a wedding is a significant expense for the parents of brides and grooms who are in a position to help with some or all of the costs. Whether you are spending $50 or $500, be sure you select a thoughtful gift that reflects your sincere appreciation," Graham says.
Julie Kenney, celebrity gifting pro and founder of The Gifting Experts, echoes this advice. "The gifts do not have to break the bank. [There are] so many wonderful ideas that cost just a few dollars or can go much higher, depending on budget. Just think sweet and sentimental," she says.
When in doubt, get personal.
There's a reason personalized jewelry is often at the top of lists when it comes to gifting mothers of the bride. But you can even take personalized gifts a step further. "The bride and groom should know their parents well enough to select a gift that is unique to them," Graham advises.
For instance, "if [the] mother of the bride is a pet lover, [you] can order a custom pet print (or even sweaters, hats, etc.)," Kenney says. You'll see some of our examples below.
Time it right.
Both our experts say you can send your gift to the mother of the bride a few weeks or days before the wedding day. Kenney adds that you could choose to give it on the wedding day itself, but Graham advises against it, suggesting shortly after the wedding day if you must.
"[This is] so that she has more time to focus on the gift and the heartfelt message, which should be featured prominently with your gift," he explains.
We'll let you decide, depending on your circumstances.
Best (personalized) jewelry gifts
Jewelry topped both our gifting experts' lists when it comes to popular gifts for the mother of the bride. While they don't necessarily have to be personalized, nothing says "heartfelt" more than a customized necklace or bracelet. We include both categories below.
We love that you can choose this necklace's finish (either gold, silver or rose gold) and that it comes with a heartfelt message and a velvet case. Just note that you can't customize the message if you're shipping directly to the recipient; otherwise, you'll get a blank card on which to write your own.
Recommended by Kenney, this cute charm bangle by Shop TODAY-beloved brand Alex & Ani features a pretty leaf design and comes in silver and gold finishes.
While some personalized necklaces (like our splurge pick below) could cost you a pretty penny, this recommendation by Kenney still offers that personal touch without you having to spending too much. You can choose from eight size-shape combinations, and you can personalize it with anything from just one quote to one that also includes their name and the date.
But you won't go wrong if you do decide to go the personalized necklace route; we've got an affordable pick or one if you feel like splurging on a higher-end pick for the mom in your life.
Both picks take a picture file of your handwriting to work off of, and you simply choose your customizations.
Stunning earrings are another great option for helping her shine at the wedding and for years to come — and they don't have to put a dent in your wallet. Quince offers affordable yet high-quality picks like this diamond stud pair.
Best keepsake gifts for the mother of the bride
This category includes a wide range of items, according to Graham: personalized paintings or photos, personalized jewelry boxes, customized photo albums, and even plaques with engravings or photos. We include some examples of our favorite keepsakes fit for the mother of the bride:
What better way to commemorate the big day than with a timeless picture frame or another vessel that captures a visual image of the big day? Mom can choose to display special moments and create a wedding gallery using either a physical book or virtual photo display, or even just a snapshot captured on something as simple as a ceramic candle.
"Personalized" doesn't just have to mean photos of human family — if the mother of the bride has a particular four-legged friend she considers family, there's a gift for that, too. We've recommended Max & Modern's custom pet portraits before, but Kenney says you can even go for something like a custom pet sweater or other knitwear from Crown & Paw — and these ones get bonus points for being both cozy and stylish!
Gifts to help the mother of the bride relax
She’s spent her life pampering you, so why not return the favor she very much deserves with a luxurious spa day? This can mean anything from a spa or beauty gift set to an entire day at an actual spa — "brides might consider giving this gift a week or so before the wedding and participating," Graham suggests.
We love that this kit doubles as both a spa gift set and a grow kit, perhaps for the plant mom who considers plants a key part of her mental and physical wellness.
Or you can even get creative with your gift sets, too, as Kenney's gift box suggestion from Confetti does; we consider chocolate-chip cookies a form of self-care, too!
Of course, Mom can't have a proper spa experience without a luxurious robe to wrap herself in. Our options above — a silky satin robe from Classy Bride, as well as the more traditional cotton terry robe from Land's End — both let you add an extra personalized touch. The latter even offers the option of unique embroidery designs, if that's more your fancy.
Graham also recommends gifting the mother of the bride with a weekend getaway or vacation (or staycation) where she can enjoy some much-needed R&R.
Above: Airbnb gift cards are great for long weekends and experiences, while Kimpton Hotels & Resorts offers a range of accommodations and packages for perfecting her next great escape.
Best wine, spirits and cigar gifts for the parents of the bride or groom
A full-on wine excursion would make a great gift for the mother of the bride who fancies herself a sommelier. But we know that's not within everyone's budget.
We would argue a mixed pack of quality wine is the next best thing — and we're fans of Maker Wine's particular set. Choose from lbariño, Orange Vermentino and Carbonic Sangiovese varietals, all zero-sugar and low-carb. The cans look cool, too (and you can choose from six to 12 to 24 cans).
Or, for the mom who's prefers enjoying her vino al fresco (especially with summer around the corner), give her a keepsake she'll be able to use for years to come. We can attest to Yeti tumblers' quality insulation, and now you can personalize their wine tumblers, too!
If you think Mom would rather customize her gift herself, we suggest a gift card from a wine subscription company like Winc (and you can customize the amount starting from $50).
If it's the father of the bride or groom you're shopping gifts for, and he's not much of a wine drinker, Graham suggests cigars; luckily, there are gift sets you can personalize, as well, like this pick from Etsy.
Best gifts for the mother of the bride with a green thumb
Is the mother of the bride a plant mom? There are so many creative and inexpensive ways to make her feel special. Uncommon Goods is one of our favorite sources of unique gifting inspiration, and they have a gift section dedicated to gardening (and you can even filter by price).
Below, two of our favorites: cute garden ducks (we suggest buying a couple to make a little "family" in her garden) and a handy tool gardener seat. Each won't cost you a penny past $50.
Or if she doesn't have a garden yet but is looking to start, AeroGarden's grow kits are super convenient. We like the gourmet herb kit that lets her proudly grow her own herbs, not to mention she'll have them easily on hand to cook her specialties.
Personalized journals and accessories for the mother of the bride
Sometimes the most personal and intimate gifts are the most inexpensive.
Uncommon Goods' "You & Me, Mom" journal, at first glance, seems meant for a mother and her young child, but a quick scroll through the glowing reviews, and you'll see that adults use it to stay connected with their mom if they're far apart, or even to commemorate the memories and milestones they've gone through together during a special occasion.
Kenney also recommends this tote bag on Amazon, and considering that you can choose to customize it with labels like "Mother of the Bride" or "Grandmother of the Bride" (and a handful more), it's a bargain at $20. And it comes with a makeup bag, to boot!
One bride who gifted one to the mother of the groom said in the reviews, "It even has the insert to keep it standing upright and a [little] makeup bag. ... It was cute [and] I wanted it myself after I opened it."
Mark & Graham comes through again with a higher-end customizable pick that also happens to be both stylish, thoughtful and useful. These oh-so-soft indoor/outdoor throw blankets, made of virgin wool, come in four color schemes (designs inspired by National Parks), and for an additional $12.50 — which we accounted for in the price we list above — you can personalize it with embroidery of your choosing. It even comes with a durable leather carrier so she can bring it wherever she pleases.
Mother of the bride gifting FAQs
When is the best time to give my gift to the mother of the bride?
While our experts are split on whether it's acceptable to give your gift on the day of the wedding itself, both of them agree that you can't go wrong gifting several days in advance. "[This is] so she has more time to focus on the gift and the heartfelt message which should be featured prominently with your gift," Graham explains. If you didn't get a chance to do it that far in advance, he recommends gifting them a few days after the event so the stress of the wedding is behind her.
How much is a good amount to spend on a gift for the mother of the bride?
The consensus: It doesn't matter whether you spend under $50 or over $500. For starters, according to Graham, "The price spent on these gifts varies significantly based on the financial situation of the bride and groom as well as the contribution made by the parents." What matters is that it's a gift that's uniquely sentimental to the mother of the bride and that it comes from the heart, says Kenney.
"The gifts do not have to break the bank. [There are] so many wonderful ideas that cost just a few dollars, or can go much higher depending on budget," she says. You can get creative with the present if a more costly, high-end gift isn't in your budget. For instance: "a collection of items such as a Mother of the Bride tote [see above], with a personalized hanger, jewelry holder, robe, sweatshirt, etc.," Kenney offers.
Graham agrees: "The bride and groom should know their parents well enough to select a gift that is unique to them," he says.