When the wedding season is in full swing, you can spend a large chunk of your personal budget celebrating the brides and grooms in your life. Of course, gifts are important tokens of love for the people you care about, but there comes a point where they go from grace to charge. Conventional wisdom dictates that you should spend roughly the cost per plate that the bride and groom spend on you as a guest, and taking a look at a registry full of fine china and expensive appliances can make you wish weddings weren’t so big. matters.
Lack of money or a desire to avoid overspending shouldn’t prevent you from extending your good wishes to the happy couple. In fact, they are probably more concerned about you attending their big day than they are about receiving an expensive gift. That said, recognizing a new union is important, so try to find gifts that are thoughtful and you won’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money.
Pro Tip : Before you start shopping, be sure to add the free Capital One Shopping browser extension . When you buy from Amazon, they will let you know if there is a better price elsewhere. Capital One Shopping will also automatically add available coupon codes to your order.
Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the browser extension using the links provided.
Wedding gifts on a budget
It’s not uncommon for me to attend five or more weddings each summer, so it’s important that I come up with thoughtful, inexpensive, and helpful gift ideas. By checking those three requirements, I can be sure that the bride and groom will love my gift, without having to fork over the money for a very expensive record item. Here are some of the best ideas I’ve picked up along the way, plus some thoughtful gifts I received for my own wedding.
1. Small registry items
When the bride and groom create their registry from somewhere like Amazon or Target , they are generally encouraged to add a variety of items at different prices for wedding guests whose budgets may vary. If there’s a record, take a look – you might be surprised at how many smaller, less expensive items are out there alongside the top-of-the-line coffee maker and new china.
Pick up some of the more modestly priced registry items to create a little gift basket for the bride and groom. By doing so, you keep better control over how much money you spend, and the happy couple still get the spatula, measuring cups, vase, and placemats they wanted. Other guests can pass up these smaller items in favor of more eye-catching gifts, making it a win-win situation. Many registries offer online access, and you can often sort items by price to get started.
2. Embroidered bedding
Look specifically for machine embroidery (as opposed to hand embroidery, which can be significantly more expensive) and you can expect to pay between $ 3 and $ 5 per item to put a name, monogram, or nickname for newlyweds. This is a great way to turn a basic gift into something truly memorable.
3. Dinner or dessert for two
If you’re short on cash, wrapping a few smaller related items can make an inexpensive gift that much more thoughtful and useful. I love the idea of giving dinner or dessert for two as a cute, inexpensive gift basket idea. Here are some components for each one.
- Dry pasta package
- Jar of your favorite pasta sauce
- $ 5 or $ 10 gift card for bread at a local bakery or grocery store
- Candles ( tealights are the least expensive)
- Boxed brownie mix
- Rubber spatula
- Game spoons and cups to measure
- Cute pair of gloves in kitchen
- Large mixing bowl
Place items in bowl or strainer and wrap in clear cellophane, securing top with ribbon. The gift should cost less than $ 20, but a couple of newlyweds starting out alone will surely be thankful that you are thinking about some of the staples they will need after their honeymoon. To make it extra special, and if you’re on the budget, add a $ 10 bottle of wine (or a similarly priced bottle of dessert or port wine) to the dessert basket.
4. A framed wedding invitation or photos
A dear friend gave me one of my most precious wedding gifts – a framed copy of our wedding invitation. She placed it in a shadow box and added embellishments so it looks great hanging on our wall. I found that while it was definitely a kind and sweet gift, it was also one of the least expensive we received.
With a shadow box, you can take the invitation you received and create something the bride and groom will appreciate. If you’re unsure of how to place the invitation inside the shadow box, check out Pinterest for great embellishment and setup ideas. I did a search on “wedding invitation shadow box” which returned a lot of creative ideas. With an afternoon free and around $ 25 worth of supplies, you can make a gift that you know the bride and groom will enjoy for a long time.
If you don’t have the time or resources to put together a shadow box, sweet, thoughtful full photo frames can be an inexpensive but meaningful gift. You can find frames for almost any budget, from basic black at the dollar store to more elaborate or classic designs when you shop at a home decor store. You can leave the frames empty for the bride and groom to post photos, or fill them with pictures and even quotes to help the newlyweds commemorate the occasion.
5. Future Wine
Show that you know the couple’s love will stand the test of time by bringing this awesome inexpensive gift. Visit a local wine and liquor store and talk to the wine expert there. Order an inexpensive bottle of wine (in the $ 20 to $ 40 range) that will taste even better in 10 years. You can then wrap the bottle with a note instructing the bride and groom to drink and toast their love on their 10th anniversary.
6. Date at night
If the bride and groom are like most newlyweds, money may be tight during those early years of marriage. When there are bills and debts to pay, the days of expensive date nights, eating out and watching movies may not be feasible. Reduce your burden and host a “date night in a box” – it’s an inexpensive and thoughtful gift that can help newlyweds feel connected, even in tough times.
I like to use decorative shoe boxes, which can be found at craft supply stores. Then, I fill in the “Date Night Box” with the following items:
- Super soft throw blanket (find one at a discount store like Marshall’s or TJMaxx )
- Romantic comedy DVD (take advantage of Black Friday , when DVDs are only $ 3 to $ 5)
- Gourmet popcorn
- Wine or a couple of bottles of stale soda
- Some movie-style candy boxes
Overall, the basket shouldn’t cost you more than $ 30, but it does mean a hassle-free night for the happy couple.
7. Honeymoon team
Find out where the couple is going on their honeymoon , and you can probably find some thoughtful and inexpensive travel gifts that enhance your trip without breaking your bank. Try these combinations:
- Beach Vacation: A pair of matching beach towels , sunscreen, and some good beach reading.
- Adventurous holidays: the trips for skiing or hiking can use a first aid kit, sunglasses, trail mix and a disposable camera.
- Holiday at the theme park: ears of Mickey Mouse for the bride and groom, matching shirts and water bottles.
- European Vacations – Maps of the countries you are visiting, cute passports and luggage tags.
- Road trip: a prepaid gas card, road maps, mixed CDs, and some healthy snacks .
If all else fails, a “day after” kit might be just what your doctor ordered after you’ve been partying all night. Wrap up some ibuprofen, water, eye masks, and flip flops so the bride and groom can take it easy on their way to the airport, and maybe grab a few z’s while on the plane.
8. Gifts financed with collective funds
If you have little cash but really want to make a great gift, consider starting a effort to finance collective. This can be used to help pay for the honeymoon , reduce the financial burden on the couple, work towards a down payment on a new home, or simply help start saving money. The gifts financed collective funds are particularly suitable for destination weddings, or if the couple plan to move and simply did not have room for larger items.
Since generally it considered impolite to the bride and groom start their own effort finance group, your gift can be setup, administration and promotion of the profile, so that friends and family know that is an option instead of gifts. Sites like PlumFund , Crowded Wedding, and GoFundMe can help. While it may not be the most traditional wedding gift, making it easy for guests to donate money could be far more valuable than what’s on the record.
The bride and groom are going to have quite a few toasters. So why not be a little different and offer the gift of an experience instead? For less than $ 100, you can gift the married couple with lasting memories, the most important gifts of all.
You’re not sure where to start? Take a look at these inexpensive gifts based on experience:
- Recreation center . Membership in a local facility, where newlyweds can exercise together, go swimming, or take classes.
- TV subscriptions . Netflix offers gift cards (you can buy them at Staples) that can be redeemed for monthly subscription services. A Hulu gift subscription starts at $ 5.99. Just set how much you want to spend and the newlyweds can snuggle up for a “House of Cards” marathon .
- Couple massages . Guaranteed to reduce post-wedding stress. Expect to spend between $ 75 and $ 100.
- Events . Tickets to a festival, concert fair, wine tasting, concert, or other event for less than $ 100.
- Memberships . Annual memberships to a local attraction that newlyweds would enjoy, such as a museum or zoo.
- Cooking class . These typically range from $ 50 to $ 75 per couple.
- Date night . Restaurant gift certificates for a night out.
Check out local daily deals like Groupon and LivingSocial for great deals on experience-based gifts.
Shabby-chic design is back in full swing – just check out any Anthropologie or Pottery Barn store . Of course, your antique-looking items can cost an arm and a leg, so instead of opting for recreation, choose a royal antique as a wedding gift. A haunting flea markets, farmers markets , the garage sales and sales of properties, can create some beautiful pieces to help equip the house of any newly married. Whether it’s a gorgeous vase, an antique photo frame, decorative tchotchkes , or an antique sign with a location or phrase that is meaningful to the new couple, your antique gift can be thoughtful, personal, and special.
As always with antiques, make sure items are clean and properly cared for before giving them to them. It may take a bit of weekend hunting and a little effort to get an old item back into use, but a well-chosen antique can make a beautiful addition to the bride and groom’s new home.
11. Plants and trees
Puns on “growing love” aside, giving a newlywed couple the gift of something alive is a sweet way to acknowledge their union. Trees and plants continue to grow long after the wedding and can act as a metaphor for the couple’s relationship and a lasting reminder of the resilience of your love.
Try gifting the happy couple a functional tree or plant – a planted fruit tree can produce candy for years to come. Or, if that’s not feasible, a row of potted herbs for the kitchen can lead to fresh, tasty meals and smaller grocery bills .
You have probably noticed that weddings have been changing. They are becoming less formal and friendlier to celebrate the bride and groom’s commitment to each other.
As such, the standard for gifts has also changed dramatically. There really isn’t a set amount of spending that you need to meet, especially since simply attending the wedding can be expensive considering travel and attire. By thinking beyond the usual suspects and going with a gift that has a heart, you can surprise the bride and groom, even if you are on a tight budget.
What is your favorite wedding gift?