Gifts for wedding attendants should be thoughtful but fun

Just how do you thank the friends who spent hours suffering through formalwear fittings or the flower girl who took her job so seriously?

Many couples choose to express their appreciation with a thank-you gift.

Usually, wedding-party gifts are presented prior to the wedding, at the rehearsal dinner or another pre-wedding party.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen deserve special thanks for the time, energy and money they invest in your special day.

One way to lighten their load is to pay for part of their wedding attire. If you would prefer a more personal gift that is also commemorative of the occasion, choose a special piece of jewelry, a handbag, handkerchief or other item that can be worn on the wedding day.

All the bridesmaids should receive duplicate gifts. The same is true for the groomsmen. The maid of honor and best man, however, have probably earned something a little more special.

Great gifts for bridesmaids include: gloves, shoes, handbags or handkerchiefs that match the wedding attire; affordable fine jewelry; stylish picture frames with wedding photos; crystal bud vases; or gift certificates to a favorite store.

Gifts for ushers include: engraved money clips, business-card cases or keyrings, pewter mugs, watches or cufflinks, and gift certificates to a favorite restaurant.

Treat youngsters in the wedding party to a gift they can really appreciate. A children's book, teddy bear or favorite collectible (train, car or otherwise) would bring a smile to any little ring-bearer. A bride doll, necklace or bracelet or a music box will probably thrill your flower girl.