Budget Wedding Gifts

Weddings can be such lovely, joyful affairs, and staying out of debt attending them can be a feat in itself for many families. From airfare to accommodations and garb to gifts, fancy weddings can be quite expensive.

As many families tighten their budgets to better afford gas and groceries, gift giving is taking a hit as well. Linens N’ Things, where I registered as a bride, recently declared bankruptcy. Retail sales are down, even in the traditional wedding-related sector.

I recommend making your own wedding gift if possible, but realize this doesn’t have to mean something that looks tacky or especially homemade.

Think about your skills, your family members’ talents, and family businesses or enterprises. What about these ideas:

~ Professionally framing the couple’s wedding invitation. My friend’s father owned a framing shop, and I received an elegant framed display of my wedding invitation that I treasure to this day.

~ Gift certificate for services. If you or your spouse are self-employed, what about a gift certificate? Services such as gutter cleaning, hardwood finishing, pet sitting or vehicle tune-up would be practical and much appreciated by many couples.

~ Elegant crafts. Do you make scrapbooks, notecards, or gift baskets? What about making items for the bride’s wedding gift?

~ Thrift stores and discount shops. After looking through the couple’s registry to get an idea of their taste and style, look for very inexpensive yet new items at thrift outlets. You’ll be surprised at the bargains and quality you’ll find.

To avoid overspending on wedding gifts, Kiplinger advises sticking to a budget or teaming up with friends for a group gift. They even go so low as to advise re-gifting. Hey, don’t laugh–soon re-gifting may be mainstream as purse strings continue to tighten for many.

Are you scaling back on gift giving because of finances or the economy? What budget wedding gifts do you recommend?