Though the topic of gifting at weddings tends to make us all cringe, I’ve decided it’s time to start talking. I’ve heard from so many people lately that the number of their friends getting married is on the rise, and for many of you, 2010 will be a year of “I Do’s”. So as heard on Rich Bride, Poor Bride – “It’s I DO, but at what cost?”. Weddings aren’t only expensive events to deliver, but also to attend.
Standard wedding gifting etiquette suggests that each wedding guest should monetarily cover a minimum of theirs and their date’s per plate cost, plus some percentage of “gift” above that. And don’t forget that not all wedding gifts are created equal, in that guests attending a casual backyard BBQ wedding are expected to gift substantially less than those attending an upscale, 5-diamond-restaurant-catered event. Ultimately, regardless of the extravagance of the affair, most of us have found ourselves in situations where we are forced to gift less than what we would like…. so here’s a compilation of wedding gifting ideas to try and offset budget with creativity and thoughtfulness for our loved ones’ nuptials. Furthermore, these ideas can be used by those who choose to stray from the standard “money-in-envelope” and add a little personalized touch of uniqueness and creativity.
The easiest place to start when gifting on a limited gifting budget? the couples’ gift registry. Most couples will have registered for gifts that range in price, and if they’ve registered for it then they obviously need and want it! Otherwise, a smaller registry gift is a comfortable way to offset a smaller monetary gift. Every newlywed couple needs some basics – towels, kitchen gadgets, baking utensils, etc.
You can turn a single item registry into a thoughtful, “themed” gift basket by considering the experience rather than the gift itself. For example, buy the couples’ pasta colander that they registered for, but turn it into everything needed for a romantic dinner. Fill the colander with items such as wooden kitchen spoons, high-quality dry pasta, gourmet sauce, a bottle of wine, and toss in a corkscrew with some candles (and a barbeque lighter or matches). Add into your card a note about “the ingredients for a happy marriage” and include a recipe for spicing up the sauce or the instructions for properly boiling the pasta.
If only miscellaneous items are left on the registry, be creative! Turn a soap dish into a spa-themed basket, complete with some luxurious bath soaps, monogrammed towels, a loofah sponge and some candles.
Turn a cozy blanket into a “movie night basket”, complete with a gift certificate to a local pizza shop (that delivers!), popcorn, some fancy sodas, theatre-style snacks and a romantic comedy on DVD.
If your friends are like me… they hate gift registries. Consider the types of people they are and gift accordingly. If the newlyweds are wine people, gift them a gift certificate for a winery tour. If they enjoy being pampered, consider buying them a couples’ massage at a local spa.
Some wedding gifts are more sentimental than others, and depending on your budget, you can offset price for sentimental value:
- Frame the couples’ wedding invitation or a poem
- Buy a bottle of wine that you believe will age well, and attach instructions stating that it is meant to be shared on their 10th or 20th wedding anniversary
- Fill a picture frame with gift certificates for photo printing
- Give the newlyweds a hard-bound classic love story (with a personal inscription with your best wishes on the inside cover)
One of the most creative gifts my groom and I received on our wedding night… a homemade “voucher” for a night out WITH our friends! The couple invited us out for a night-on-the-town complete with transportation, dinner, drinks, and a theatre show (all expenses paid!). What a creative way to offset gifting cash, and creating an experience TOGETHER at the same time!
Regardless of what you end up giving, be it money in an envelope or some contribution to the experience of newlywed life, remember that the wedding isn’t about the gift… it’s meant to be about the celebration. Don’t forget, many of us are in the same situation.. so make the best of it! If the bride and groom are good enough friends, they’ll even appreciate an I.O.U. with your best wishes!