I overcompensate. When you have a reputation for being thrifty, you don't want that notion to precede your gift!
There have been times when we have improvised with less. The more you know the couple, the more freedom you have to be creative.
Here are some ideas for perfectly acceptable wedding gifts on a tight budget:
1. The cheapest thing on the department store registry.
The dollar amount won't impress, but at least it's something the couple selected. "Bulk it up" with cheaper extras:
- two handtowels from the registry with fancy soaps bought on clearance.
- set of salt and pepper shakers with a grocery store canister of French sea salt.
- set of everyday glasses with a cellophane bag of homemade tea mix.
2. Something that complements their registry.
It doesn't cost anything to view the registry list. Take note of the colors of their china, then head to a reasonably priced store for something coordinating.
Big Lots always has a selection of 99-cent placemats and napkins, which are heavenly cheap to ship. Or make your own.
3. Something pretty which everyone needs.
I often choose a pitcher from a bargain store like Old Time Pottery. These can cost as little as $4 and make an impressive, if inexpensive, package.
When I entertain, I use several pitchers for water, tea, and lemonade. Clear or cut glass coordinate with most crystal choices. Likewise, cake plates and salad bowls.
4. Someone else's wedding gifts.
You wouldn't believe how many people are too tired to exchange duplicates after a wedding.
When you see generic, new-in-the-box items for pennies on the dollar at yard sales, stockpile them in your gift closet. Examples would include tasteful frames, silver cake and salad servers, and Armetale platters designed to complement any china.
5. Regional cookbooks and specialty items.
Several of my cherished gifts were local specialties like the Charleston Receipts and Repeats cookbook set from my cousin Kathy.
I have gathered several unused local cookbooks (Miss Daisy and The Nashville Cookbook) for this purpose.
6. A wedding snapshot, framed.
You have up to a year to give a wedding gift. Bring your digital camera to the event and snap until you get a great picture. Develop and frame using your own thrifty sources.
Trust me, with the ridiculous cost of professional photos, the couple will appreciate free photos and/or negatives--especially if you have them waiting after the honeymoon.
7. The gift of your praise.
If you feel unsure of your modest gift, take the time to praise the wedding in writing.
Sit down and pen a note to the couple and/or the bride's mother thanking them for the wonderful time you had. Include specific examples of touching moments, beautiful flowers, the most delicious wedding cake you've ever tasted.
A wedding is over so quickly. No one appreciates the opportunity to relive and reminisce more than the people who put their hearts into the day. Your thoughtfulness will far outlive the wineglasses!
Share your ideas for budget wedding gifts! I'm always happy for more ideas.