Weddings are the ultimate celebration of love, but they don’t always create warm and fuzzy feelings for people trying to save money. The tab for a typical wedding day can easily soar into the thousands for the lucky couple and their family.
Guests can also end up digging deep, especially if they feel compelled to purchase a pricey wedding gift. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Following are some ideas for unique and affordable wedding gift ideas that can help you keep a lid on wedding costs.
1. Send Them to a Winery
Planning a wedding is stressful, so gifting the couple with a trip to a winery will give them a chance to relax and have some fun. If you live nearby, you can even offer to drive and bring along some snacks or picnic foods to celebrate the couple before the big day. Check out local deal sites for discounted winery packages. For example, you should have no trouble finding deals on Groupon that offer wine-tasting packages at a cost of around $25 for two people, or $50 for four people.
2. Make a Photo Scrapbook
Personalized wedding gifts can be among the most memorable. Create a photo scrapbook chronicling the happy couple’s life together before the wedding day. With many people sharing photos on Facebook, Instagram and other social media, it shouldn’t be hard to find photos without asking the couple and ruining their surprise.
Make the photo scrapbook by hand with an elegant book from Target or a craft store for under $20. Shutterfly has a variety of wedding photo book options starting at around $15.
3. Personalize Some Wine or Beer Gifts
Give the couple who loves to drink beer and wine Mr. and Mrs. beer or wine glasses. You can find them on Etsy’s LetsTieTheKnot beginning at around $30. Etsy’s EverythingDecorated also sells a personalized wine stopper for under $15.
4. Help With a Wedding-Related Task
If you’re out of wedding present ideas, consider a different approach. A successful wedding requires a lot of work from many people. Perhaps you can offer to help instead of buying a traditional gift.
The bride and groom will likely love the chance to get rid of one of the many duties on the wedding checklist. It won’t cost you anything but a little time to help set up the wedding venue, to clean up afterward, or to help with flower arranging. And your friends are likely to remember your help fondly in years to come.
5. Map Out Their Love
For a personal gift that won’t cost you much, grab a cute picture frame or a shadow box. Find maps — either old atlases or even printed Google maps — for locations that are special to the couple. Examples might include where they met, where they got engaged and the location of their wedding.
Cut out that part of the map in a heart shape, and glue the hearts to cardboard or thick paper. Then simply add those to a frame or shadow box. Print out the maps yourself and find an inexpensive frame or shadow box at your local craft store. Michaels sells a shadow box from Studio Décor for under $10.
6. Turn Their Wedding Invitation Into a Gift
Looking for more unique wedding gifts? Save the couple’s wedding invitation when you get it in the mail and frame it as a memento for them to keep in their home.
To make it extra nice, add matting to match the invite, or find a frame that matches the style of their wedding. If it’s a vintage theme, go with a vintage frame. If the wedding was super modern, use a slick black-and-white modern frame and matting. You can get a nice frame and matting for under $30 at most frame stores.
Related: 7 Ways to Profit Off Your Marriage
7. Share Your Favorite Recipe
For the couple who loves to cook and try new recipes, put together a food basket with one of your favorite recipes and all the necessary ingredients. For example, pulled chicken barbecue sliders would include the chicken, your favorite barbecue sauce, buns, cheese and green onions.
Add some beer or dessert, along with cute napkins, and this should cost less than $50. You can even offer to cook the meal, and then get out of their hair so that they can enjoy a romantic dinner alone and get an inexpensive date night to boot.
8. Buy Them Brunch Before the Wedding
Surprise the couple with a gift card to their favorite brunch place, and give it to them before the wedding. Giving the gift before the craziness of their wedding day means they’ll be more likely to remember and appreciate it. Plus, using it before the wedding gives them some time to relax at their favorite restaurant.
9. Create a Personalized Wedding Guest Book
As a great alternative to a plain wedding guest book, order a unique one from Etsy’s Peachwik. You can find the perfect book to match any couple or wedding theme. Personalize it with their name and wedding date, and you can get a memorable gift for under $30. If you’re feeling creative enough, you can even make one yourself.
10. Find a Personalized Wedding Sign
If you don’t think the couple will need a guest book but still want to surprise them with a personalized gift, go for a wedding sign with their names and wedding date. It will serve as a beautiful decorative piece in their home to remind them of their wedding day — and you. There are many beautiful wedding signs on Etsy’s ThePaintedHedge for under $40.
11. Help Them While They’re on the Honeymoon
Hopefully, the couple will plan an inexpensive honeymoon. You can trim their costs even more by offering to watch the couple’s pets or their home when they’re away. It will save them a lot of money if they have pets, and you can make sure their mail doesn’t pile up. Offering to help is another gift that doesn’t cost anything aside from your time.
Go the extra mile by stocking their fridge with essentials like milk, orange juice, eggs and their favorite foods for when they return home. It will help make the dreaded transition from traveling the world back to the real life a little easier, and it shouldn’t cost you more just $20 or $30 — depending on how well you decide to fill the fridge.
12. Offer Elegance With Monogrammed Towels
Giving the gift of monogrammed hand towels or washcloths can be a nice reminder of the couple’s union. Amazon has some monogrammed hand towels for under $20, and you might even be able to find something cheaper and unique on Etsy.
Keep Reading: 33 Savvy Tips for Planning a Wedding on a Budget