But to be sure, I snuck over to TheKnot's Q&A with Carley Roney and found both a Q and an A on that precise topic. Carley's response?
"It is an optional tradition for the bride and groom to exchange gifts -- the night before the wedding, the morning of, or once the festivities are over."
Aha, there it is. Traditional. Optional. Which means, considering all those last minute things that are not optional, it doesn't happen that often...
...but if I can reach out to the gents for a minute here: Men, here is your opportunity to shine. Chances are, unless you yourself are a wedding planner, and you're marrying a woman who lives in Antarctica with no internet access who's arriving the morning of the wedding ... she's done more work to get here. She's put in more hours, made more phone calls, visited more venues. This is your chance to say, in a very personal way, "Despite all this chaos, I haven't forgotten that this day is about you and me, and I want to thank you for everything you've done to make it happen."
Our destination wedding made things a little tricky, but with a little help, I was able to make it work. I had the gift shipped to a friend's office in New York and asked now-brother-in-law Patrick to pick up a gift bag and some tissue paper the morning of the wedding. Partway through getting ready, I sent one of my boys upstairs (the girls were directly above us, actually) to deliver the gift: a coffee mug camera lens that 2Es had been raving about for months (but hadn't bought, for whatever reason) with a handwritten note. She never expected it.
Only $24 on Photojojo. And that's not 2Es, by the way. That's just a well-lit stock photo woman with a similar tint of hair.
The mug is so authentic-looking that one of our photographers mistook it for one of his lenses -- until he realized that it was completely hollow. The gift also came with this plastic dinosaur, which became the mascot for the wedding and lives on a mantle here at the house.
If your bride is into photo gear like 2Es, check out the Photojojo store for cool, cheap gift ideas (as well as sweet props for photo sessions).
Ladies -- if your groom hasn't already splurged on his attire, maybe slip him a pair of these kick-ass mustache cufflinks before he slips into his tux. (Starting at $60 from Uncrate)
As Carley suggests, it need not be extravagant. Lord knows you've spent enough money getting to this moment, so it's really not about that. It's about showing your better half that you know precisely what this day is about. And if the gift comes with a mascot, so be it.