Wedding season is upon us, and for guests that can mean spending a lot of cash. Whether you’re going to a wedding of a friend or a family member, it’s likely that you will want to spend some money on a nice gift for the newlyweds. But this can get expensive. Some brides view their registry as a wish list, while others see it as a need-to-have list of essential items. Some couples have even limited registries in hopes of receiving cash. These factors can be daunting to guests.
The most important thing for guests to remember is that gifts are simply that, gifts. Guests are invited to the wedding because the couple wants them there to celebrate their love. Love is the reason for the ceremony, reception, and honeymoon. Love is why all 50 to 350 guests have gathered. Love is the reason for the season. The couple wants the guests at their wedding to celebrate their love.
Of course, guests will want to show the couple how much they support this wonderful union, and often the best way to show this is through a thoughtful present. But it needn’t break the bank. If you have cash to spare, the couple will be happy for it, but they will also be happy for any thoughtful gesture.
Here are some ideas for thoughtful, inexpensive wedding gifts:
- Frame the invitation and a special photo of the couple as a sweet reminder of the love that prompted them to marry in the first place. Double frames are affordable, and it doesn’t cost much to print out a cute picture from Facebook. (Bonus points if you have a picture they don’t have already.)
- Offer a service, perhaps a ride home from the airport after their honeymoon. Another idea could be a dinner for the couple when they return from their honeymoon. The dinner can be either pre-made (make sure to include the recipe so that the bride can recreate it) or you can invite the couple to your house for a nice — and free — date night.
- Give the couple an affordable date night. You could give a Redbox rental coupon and a box of movie theatre popcorn in one of those cute popcorn buckets. You could also give a gift certificate to a take-out restaurant. If you want, you could include a cheap blanket for them to snuggle under. If there are children involved, you could also offer babysitting services.
If you really want to give something large, but can’t afford it before the big day after the expenses of shower and travel, etiquette says that you have a full year to give the newlyweds a gift. Feel free to take your time in determining — and saving for — a wonderful gift that you know the couple will love.
Just remember that the couple wants you there to celebrate, not grow their bank account. It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing a lavish wedding and wanting to get a gift that matches. Just remember the couple is so happy to get married, anything else is simply icing on the (wedding) cake.
Going to a destination wedding? Don’t miss our tips to save on out-of-town weddings.