Wedding invitations are the couple’s way of honoring you by asking you to share their special day. The honor comes at a price — a wedding gift — and no one wants to look cheap. Americans spend, on average, $128 for a wedding gift for a good friend, but millennials budget more ($151 on average) according to a Nerdwallet study.
Combine that with travel costs, hotel rooms, shower and/or engagement parties and bachelor parties, among other possible expenses, and you soon realize that while love may not cost a thing, making that love official can break the bank!
Not all wedding gifts have to bankrupt you. Here are a few ways to give thoughtful wedding gifts that will cost little to nothing but still make a big impression:
1. Offer a service
Use your talents, rather than your money, to make the day special. Do the bridal party’s makeup or hair. Offer to serve as disc jockey. Serve as photographer or videographer. Design the invitation. Set up the photo booth. Make the offer early. It will save on two levels: The couple will spend less and so will you!
2. Tap your creativity
Scout out outlet stores and sales to find a lovely frame at a lovely price. Then take the invitation and frame it alongside a picture of the happy couple. Or frame a photo of the couple with the wedding shots of the parents of the bride and groom. Offer to collect and frame old family photos for a special table at the wedding.
3. Hunt for a bargain
For some reason, there’s a tendency to scout out only high-end stores for wedding gifts. But watch flyers, visit lower-price stores, and keep an eye out for a bargain. A much-missed famous bargain store once advertised a stunning Waterford crystal vase for an amazing price. I bought a few and was all set for the wedding season. A nice vase fits every décor — and you don’t have to attach the receipt, so they will never know it was a Sunday newspaper flyer special.
Couples often put items on their registry that are large scale and perhaps not even practical. But how often do you see a tool kit? Or measuring cups? I received a first aid kit for a housewarming gift that I rely on all the time. Put a few of these small must-have items in a beautiful basket and you win the not-super-pricey but super-practical honors.
5. Remember the Honeymoon
If the couple is headed to the beach, consider filling a basket or inexpensive weekend bag with matching beach towels, maybe with Mr. and Mrs. embroidered on them, with sunscreen and snorkeling gear. It’s thoughtful, doesn’t cost a ton, and is a great gift to send a week or two before the wedding to make honeymoon packing easier.
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