You’re a broke twenty-something paying off student loans and looking for a better job. Maybe you even live in a really expensive city and are just trying to make ends meet. Sound familiar?
Now it’s wedding season and suddenly your mailbox is stuffed with invitations that probably cost more than your last meal. While you’re happy for all of your friends embarking on matrimonial harmony, your already skeletal bank account is feeling the pinch of this extra travel and gift giving.
How can you show you care without going into debt? Forget the adage that a wedding gift should cost as much as your plate of food. True friends will appreciate these thoughtful presents much more than generic – and expensive – registry items that will only collect dust in their kitchen cabinets.
Personalized Photo Frame or Album
Give the bride and groom something special for their favorite wedding photos. Personalized frames and albums can include the couple’s names and wedding date, and will give them a memento to cherish and look back on throughout their life together. Get one or the other for under $50 each or a set of both, depending on your budget.
Miniature Zen Garden
Most people have heard of feng shui, and how designing your home according to this East Asian law of spatial arrangement can create a healthy flow of chi. Anyone can pick out a vase or serving platter, but a miniature Zen garden is a unique gift. The couple will think of you every time they look at it, plus it’s a great conversation piece.
Think of it as the Buddhist answer to the stress ball. The small sand garden with beautiful rocks gives its owners something to contemplate. It also comes with a small rake, which can be a simple, relaxing activity. The bride and groom can enjoy it together as they reconnect after the work day.
Fancy Wine Set
For the couple that enjoys fine food and drink, a fancy wine set will be a treat they can enjoy together. Pick out one bottle of red and one white at a price point the couple wouldn’t normally spend, but that doesn’t break your bank either. Present the bottles in a classy wine tote. The bride and groom will be delighted by this gift they can enjoy on their next date.
Letterpress Thank You Cards
When they get back from the honeymoon, the happy couple will have a lot of thank you notes to write. Help them do it in style with an elegant set of letterpress cards. The bride and groom will be glad to have one less thing to worry about.
Massage in a Basket
In addition to its healing benefits, massage is a great way to show you care. Happy marriages are built on a lifetime of such gestures of affection. Go to your favorite bath and body store and pick out a few nice bottles of scented oils and lotion. You could also include a small massage book or handout printed on nice paper. Assemble everything in tissue paper in a beautiful woven basket.
Cookbook and Grocery Store Gift Card
Food nurtures and brings people together, so making dinner is much more than a chore. Give a beautiful and comprehensive recipe collection, such as The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook, and a gift card to a nice grocery store like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. The bride and groom will appreciate this practical gift that will make dinnertime more fun.
Housecleaning Gift Certificate
Putting a wedding together is no easy project. Months of decision-making and details can exhaust even the most enthusiastic planners and leave everyday tasks neglected. Help the couple get back to normal with a gift certificate for a complete housecleaning. They can have it done before they go on the honeymoon and enjoy coming home to a clean house. Or they can utilize it once they’ve finally unwrapped the last gift and found a place for all their new possessions.
Selfie on a Stick
It’s hard to take nice pictures together when you’re travelling without friends or family. Save the couple from having to pester strangers every time they want a romantic snapshot on their honeymoon. There are a variety of “Selfie Stick” products that will help them capture every nice memory on this trip and all the rest to come.
Getting married and setting up a home together is a fun milestone. Whereas before they may have dumpster dived for furniture and scored accessories from the local thrift store, the pleasure of domesticity is about enjoying beautiful objects you never even knew existed. One such item is the spoon rest. Both a functional object that keeps sauces and other cooking debris from dripping on the stove and a work of art that brightens the kitchen, the spoon rest is a versatile “must-have” item. Search on Etsy or in your local craft gallery for this unique present.
Regardless of what you decide to give, remember that thoughtful wedding gifts are the ones that are most memorable. Don’t break the bank this wedding season, and give from the heart instead.