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Ask the Readers: Frugal wedding gifts


photo by Bonnie BonBon

I was wondering if any of your readers had ideas for
frugal wedding gifts? My youngest sister is getting married and I
would like to give her something nice but our budget is limited. I'm not very creative or crafty, so it has to be something
simple to do. I am a mom of 7, as well, so time is limited. -Michelle

I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions for Michelle. With "wedding season" fast approaching, I'm sure many of us could benefit by hearing about your frugal but thoughtful wedding gift ideas. Post away!

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  • Sassysaver says:

    We give themed gifts! Like a waffle iron (on sale of course) with homemade pancake mix (recipe in the more with less cookbook), or a homemade cookbook (print fav recipes on the computer and put in 3 ring binder with cute cover) and menu plans with some sort of cooking gadget or fun pan.

  • Gale says:

    I made the favors for my sisters wedding and i also made the invatations for her wedding on my computer

  • Katie says:

    You could put together a photo book for the couple– include baby photos & school photos of each, then show photos of them together. A lot of the digital photo sites have easy programs for photo books where you can just upload photos to the site and then drag and drop to ready-made templates. Artscow had a deal going when I signed up where they gave you a free 8×8 photo book for signing up, I just had to pay shipping for it.

  • I think a neat and really thoughtful wedding gift would be to ask family and friends of the couple to give advice for the newlyweds and write something nice about each of them and then you will put them all together in a scrap book. This would take time but not alot of money and I think the couple will enjoy these forever.

  • geri anne says:

    I recently attended a wedding and had the same dilema….I got to thinking about how I could use my stash of free/cheap stuff for a gift. I spent $5 for a laundry basket and then filled it with items from my stash…toilet paper, paper towels, air freshener spray & candles, laundry detergent, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo & condition, body wash, dish soap, cleaning supplies, etc. I then used some pretty, wide ribbon to tie it up with a big bow on top. Nobody likes to buy that kind of stuff, but everyone needs it — especially when you’re just starting out!

  • Meg R says:

    I’m a newly-wed (March 15, 2008) and thought I’d share a few ideas that I enjoyed receiving. 🙂
    1. My sister gave me hand-crafted Thank-you notes as a shower gift. These don’t have to be super-complicated! Find a rubber stamp that says “Thank You” and repeatedly stamp small pieces of white/light-colored paper. Glue these onto printed paper rectangles and glue that onto plain white notecards. You can buy those at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and probably other craft stores. Embellish w/ a bit of fuzzy yarn and there you go!

    2. Purchase a storage container (laundry basket, plastic bucket, etc) and fill it with household necessities such as cleaners, kleenex, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dusters, cleaning clothes, dryer sheets – whatever you can think of! I’m doing this with the “extras” I find on sale or while “CVS-ing” for a couple getting married this summer.

    3. Same as above but purchase food staples you know she & he will enjoy. My wedding shower with my mom-in-law including everyone contributing a “pantry item” – very helpful to us as we were just starting out!

    4. Gather family recipes and print them onto cards for her to take to her new home.

    It may be that these ideas are “too frugal” for your sister. Sometimes we want to do something a little nicer for those close to us, and that’s perfectly understandable. Maybe someone else reading this will benefit though!

  • susan says:

    What about a recipe book or box? You can use your computer to make a simple booklet-maybe with some pictures from over the years?

    Or, purchase (or make) a simple recipe box with matching cards. Send the cards out to friends/family members of the bride and ask them to contribute a few favorite recipes and give them back to you to be put in the box. This is especially fun for a family member if you can have some traditional family recipes like Grandma’s pumpkin pie!

  • kimberly says:

    My sister-in-law compiled all the family favorite recipes from my husband’s side of the family (it was his sister) and put them together in a recipe book for my gift.

    Perhaps your reader could get all the recipes from her family and put them together. Since she isn’t crafty, she could have the “owner” of the recipe to write it out in their own handwriting. How cool to have “Grandma’s Pound Cake” recipe handwritten by Grandma herself?

    Just an idea!

  • Jessica says:

    If you have some prescriptions that could be transferred using some RX Transfer coupons, you could use those to build a few of those up from Target or something and combine them on one gift card. At no cost to you, you have a wedding gift that any newly married couple could use!

  • Emily Anne says:

    My sister-in-law just got married and I made her a gift basket. I spent $25 to buy towels and a few cleaning utensils and I filled the rest of the basket with CVS freebies or cheapies. The basket was beautiful and very useful. It contained: Three bath towels, one hand towel, scrubbin bubbles automatic shower cleaner, another new scrubbin bubbles gadget, febreeze candle and Glade plugins. It was a hit!

  • Michele says:

    Gift baskets always are among my favorite gifts for almost any occasion. They are simple to make and can cost as little or as much as you want. Since the couple will be setting up a new home, you can do a basket with things they will need – detergent, soaps, towels, shampoos, etc. Or it can be more luxurious such as gourmet foods and drinks for a “night in.” The possibilities are endless – a game night basket with favorite games of theirs – Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, snacks, etc., a Spa night basket with bubble baths, towels, scrubber, etc. They’re fun to put together and can be inexpensive, too.

  • Lee says:

    I’ve used this idea several times with great success…
    A few months before the wedding, I contact family and friends of the couple asking for beloved recipes, either old family recipes, easy things to learn or recipes that they know the couple enjoys. I make sure to definately include the mothers and sisters if possible.

    While I’m waiting for recipes to come in (which sometimes takes some prompting or reminding), I shop around for a small notebook. You can usually find them at the dollar store or on clearance at craft stores. Purchase one and cover it with pretty scrapbook paper. Embellish it with what you have on hand and add some ribbon to the spin… Maybe even a ribbon and charm as a place holder.

    Make dividing pages by pasting in pictures of yummy dishes from magazines, and making tabs that stick out. I usually include: appetizers and drinks, soups and salads, breads and sides, entrees, and desserts. Sometimes I also include a take out section if I know the area where the couple will be residing. Take out section can include names of restaurants, phone number and street location, and favorite dishes.

    Include recipes as you receive them and sprinkle a few of your own in as well.

  • I’ve never personally done this,but I have seen it done before. Take your favorite recipes and type them out, take them to an office supply store to get bound. This way the new bride will have tried and true recipes from family, and a personalized gift. The possiblilites are endless as far as how you do it. You could include it in a gift basket with pot holders, kitchen towels, utensils…anything kitchen related.

  • Mialee says:

    One of my absolute favorite wedding gifts was a basket of goodies left in our hotel room on our wedding night. We had been so busy visiting with guests and such, that we didn’t have much to eat at the wedding. The basket had crackers, cheese, fruit, cookies, drinks, and maybe candy? – can’t quite remember. But it was a FANTASTIC surprise, as we were pretty hungry when we got to the hotel. Good luck!

  • Alex says:

    This is a bit different for a gift idea, but if you think your sister would appreciate it, then it’s not that expensive, although it would take some time. I made my sister-in-law a coupon binder and gave her some duplicates of my coupons. I also put some coupon tips and website in there for her.

  • Maria says:

    I love to giveaway gift baskets but for a wedding I use a laundry basket and fill it full of household items. You can always find household items at great prices by using coupons. When you buy something for yourself just by an extra one for her.

  • Lindsay says:

    Years ago my Mother began framing the bride and grooms wedding invitation and giving it as their gift. I have picked up on her idea and have started doing the same. I pick up a nice frame (definitely under $10) that goes well with the style of invitation and add a piece of scrapbook paper etc. behind the invitation to pull everything together. This is a link to one similar to what we have put together but not ours.

    It’s cheap, easy and more importantly something they will probably keep for a lifetime! All in all, you could really do this on the cheap!

    Check out my blog. I picked up 10 NICE frames at a local thrift shop for under $20 this past weekend. I could definitely use one of them for a project like this.

    Passenger Seat Kind of Girl

  • Brandy says:

    My dear friend was married in October, and I made her a cookbook. This is my post about how I did it.

  • Shana says:

    What about doing freezer paper stencils on some solid color tablecloths for holidays and do matching placemats and napkins?

    Maybe an array of holiday centerpieces for her table? You can decorate candles SUPER easily and cheaply

    Or something like this :

  • Honey says:

    I like to do a “date night” bucket. Look for a nice bucket, popcorn, soda pop glasses (Dollar Tree had coca-cola glasses), and then get a video store gift card=instant date. Another idea is a pasta basket. I get a nice big ceramic pasta bowl, some pasta, sauce, a nice checkered dish towel, pasta spoon, etc. I like to think of things that make life fun and easy for a new wife. I also have gotten an apron in the Walmart craft section and stenciled (for example: “Cafe Jennifer” or whatever the ladies name is) onto it. I think if both bride and groom liked to cook, you could do 2 aprons and perhaps a cookbook from a discount bookseller. I once received a big laundry basket with spatulas, towels, measuring spoons, and much more! I think most things came from the $1 store, but they were everything a girl needs to start her kitchen and I was thankful. I think that doing a theme makes an ordinary gift lots of fun to put together and to receive. Looking forward to all the other ideas people share.

  • missy says:

    one idea that is thoughtful is to frame the wedding invitation and give that with maybe a nice scrapbook of your sister thru the years (childhood to now) make sure to leave some bank pages at the end for them to fill with their own pics of their new life together.

  • Lorena says:

    You can always get a recipe box or a little notebook and fill it with some of your favorite recipes. This is a gift that is good for both her and him!! :o)

  • Robin says:

    One of my favorite gifts I recieved when we got marreid was a cookbook put together by one of my sister-in-laws. It has recipes from our church and family. This has been very nice since I moved 2500 miles from home! Some of these recipes are now are favorites. She took a white 3 ring binder and decorated the outside. Inside she seperated it with dividers into catergories and people emailed or gave her the recipes. She then typed them up and printed them out, hole punched them and put them in the book. I have since made 2 books for friends who got married. Some of the recipes are heritage recipes passed down from generation to generation. Also at the bottom of the page if there was anything special about the recipe or a special note she included that. My mom and different family included favorites!!

  • Candace says:

    What a coincidence that I just barely ordered materials for TWO different wedding gifts and I only spent $21 (and that included shipping!) There’s a website where you can order vinyl lettering and make your own tiles or boards, or you can just order them already made (although they’re a little more expensive that way). You can make them very personable if you want, with last names & all that. There are SO many different ideas at this website, and SO many Great gift ideas! Good luck. Here’s the website:

  • Mel says:

    I once filled a cooler full of everyday items that people need when they are getting started or moving. Items such as paper plates, cups, bowls, paper towels, wash clothes, etc. You could easily fill it with anything you think they might need!

  • Lucky says:

    I have started framing each person’s wedding invitation. I never feel right throwing an invite away, but I’m never sure what to do with it either. So, I frame it in a nice frame from Target and give it to the couple. Its quick and easy on my part and everyone has seemed to like it!

  • Some people don’t like to give perishable weddings gifts, but the best response I ever got to a gift (raves, actually) was when I put together a basket of food for a new couple. Some people never even get to eat at their reception, so putting together a basket with wine (or sparking cider), salami, crackers, french bread, etc. gives them something to eat either on their honeymoon, or in their room on their wedding night. The friends we did this for mentioned it for months after. They were so thankful to have it, and they didn’t have to pay for room service.

  • Lady Ozma says:

    I’m a photographer so often I find a print that I think they might like and get it processed and then getting matting and frame that look appropriate. I’ve even been known to shoot the wedding or engagement photos.

    I’ve also made gift baskets of all the little piddly thing that people never get but need. You’d be surprised what you can put into a nice wicker laundry basket for cheap! 🙂

  • Belle says:

    When my husband and I were married I was given a cd cookbook that my aunt made of all of her recipes. This was frugal and it helped us out with those first years of cooking- also it means more being homemade.

  • Aimee says:

    Great question! I am anxious to hear answers. My older sister is getting married and I have the same question. My only issue is that she does not want gifts-openly asked for money and is having a “green back” wedding shower. Maybe readers could offer what is acceptable as a monetary gift-anyone know? Thanks!

    Oh, btw, my only thought on frugal gifts would be to really watch clearance sales for items that she may need. I love Target clearance-last year I bought a turkey roaster for only a few dollars and it was originally over $40. That could help a great deal with budget. Good luck!

  • Autumn says:

    My favorite wedding gifts are super simple!

    I get a nice basket from the dollar store and fill it with the following:

    2 nice coffee mugs
    instant hot coco (or instant coffee, like the international coffee house flavored late type things)
    a cheap bottle of wine
    and some lube

    some times I even get some travel sized lotions or shampoos and gift card for dinner or something

    I never spend more than $20 and every one I have given one to loves it… its like a nice little care package for the honeymoon!


  • Sandi says:

    One of the best wedding gifts I got was a caddy with cleaning supplies (Windex, Pledge, rubber gloves, paper towels, etc). I still use it. I have also seen laundry baskets filled with cleaning supplies given as gifts. It is perfect for someone starting out in a new household. And of course, any self-respecting couponer knows how to get cleaning supplies for pretty cheap!

  • Anon says:

    If the newlyweds just moved into a new house, how about painting some of the rooms for them? They buy the paint and rollers, etc. but you do the labor. They take the kids for the day or if they are old enough, they help. If painting is not your thing, substitute with gardening, etc.

  • Rhonda says:

    We were in the same predicament this last year when I needed to give two wedding gifts. I put together a homecoming welcome gift basket. I filled it with cleaning products, glade air fresheners, etc. Of course, if you play the drug store games, you quickly accumulate a nice stash of these kinds of items–it was a very nice gift and something that was useful to the new couple.
    I remember when I first got married and the sticker shock I experienced when I went to the grocery store the first time because I needed all those initial cleaning products to get started:)
    It seems everyone is appreciating practical gifts these days–something they can really use and this fits the bill perfectly!

  • Patty says:

    My suggestion would be to give her a couple of used cook books. I received two basic cook books when I married, over 25 years ago, and I still use them to this day.

  • grocerymama says:

    Photo books!
    You can use snapfish, walgreens or any number of places to create a photobook. Include pictures from when you were kids, funny stories and remember whens. . .
    I did this for my sister when she got married. It had family picts in and stories of her, my cousin and I.
    A very personal gift and they are pretty easy to make. Google coupon codes wherever you make it and find some money off!

  • Lisa says:

    One thing I have done for wedding gifts is to cross-stitch a sign that said, “(first line)Jones Home (second line)est. 2009”. I made a checkerboard border around it. Although the skill level is beginner, it still makes a nice finished project. Put it in a nice frame, perhaps with a mat in a complementary color.

    Another thing I have done was to print a Bible verse on the computer, using a nice font. Using high-quality scrapbooking tagboard, colored ink and a nice frame, made a finished project that looked like some of the things I had seen in Christian bookstores for around $30.

    I almost never get rid of picture frames, so I can usually find something nice to use for my projects. Of course, if I didn’t have something nice to use, I would go ahead and spend the money on a nice frame, because that can make or break the project.

  • cara davis says:

    Well … if you have a Dillard’s nearby, they are currently having an extra 30% off their sale items. Much of it is 70% off already. You can also shop online. Lots of home and dining/kitchen items that might make for good gifts. I found a beautiful serving tray there today marked $9 with an extra 30% off of that.

  • couponinggal says:

    I just gave my newlywed brother and sister-in-law a bag FULL of couponed toiletries, household goods, and dry goods. They were so surprised and still remark every time they see me what has recently been used. Sample ideas from their giant box (I even wrapped most of them just for kicks…maybe tacky but fits my family to a T):

    CVS finds:
    Deodorant (his and hers)
    L’Oreal Lip gloss
    Toothpaste galore
    Febreeze Air Effects Air Freshener plugin w/refill
    Spices ($0.75-$1 at CVS, great fillers)
    Body wash (St. Ives)

    Grocery store coupon finds, almost all doubled/tripled coupon purchases:
    Cookie/cake/brownie mixes and frosting (bought with Betty Crocker coupons)
    Other baking supplies – baking powder, cornstarch, sugar etc., from tripled coupons
    No-stick spray
    Shout spray

    To cap this all off, I ‘splurged’ (by which I mean paid full price and used a free shipping code) at I made a cookbook consisting of recipes from both sides of the family (I had emailed contributors and asked them for their very best recipes). It was really easy to do, and the cookbook itself was $38. The newlyweds were very pleased to have access to all the family recipes in one location (and I had included pics of past dishes in the recipe page layouts).

    So…maybe $20 total invested in the box of goodies, plus $38, under $60 for a memorable and very practical wedding gift. If you have no time or inclination to skim off your coupon stockpile for the box of goodies, the TasteBook idea is still low-effort and stylish for under $40!

  • Jennifer says:

    A nice set of thrifted (or new) clear glasses can be a cheap purchase. Add an etched monogram or last initial with etching cream, and you have a classy but easy/inexpensive gift. An example tutorial is here:, but there are others, and videos as well.

  • Kat says:

    I forgot to put how I wrapped the cast iron skillet. I used one of those clear plastic bags that you can find at any craft store and some LO Christmas curling ribbon.

  • Karen White- says:

    A cookbook is ALWAYS nice! Church cookbooks are usually available in any area and very budget friendly AND the recipes are usually “tried and true”.

  • For our wedding, a good friend of ours gave us a basket with hot pads, wooden spoons, a spatula and then a really nice small collection of cookie cutters. It was an inexpensive gift to put together, but well thought out and we use all of those things all the time. I think about her whenever we make sugar cookies and use the cookie cutters.

  • Alicia says:

    For younger people who have not set up a home before I have created a basket for them-usually a laundry basket. This is also easy if you stockpile yourself. I can go through my stockpile and give them a nice gift that might cost them $100, but because I purchased the items for dirt cheaper or free it cost me very little. I give them laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, soap, other personal care items, etc. Also I give things for the kitchen as well-flour, sugar, and other non perishable items that I have stockpiled. Then I make a big bow and put it on the basket.
    For someone I know who is frugally minded, but young and hasn’t set up a house before I’ve also included many extra coupons and a coupon organizer for them.
    Good luck and congrats to your sister!

  • Cheri says:

    I love to create a homemade cookbook using a 3-ring binder and typing up or copying our family favorites. I then also pick up a few of our favorite kitchen utencils (on sale) to give with the book. It gives them a great way to start their own collection of recipies by easily adding to the binder as they are starting their own family.

  • I’ve done:
    a bottle of red wine with my sangria recipe attached on a pretty card
    an Italian dinner – pasta, sp. sauce, bottle of wine, loaf of Italian bread or cheese (parm-reg can sit out without problem)

  • Leslie says:

    I’m not sure if anyone would want to do this or not. I was just kind of proud of this gift! I found out about one of my husband’s friends wedding and was a little nervous about a gift because we had had some unexpected expenses and the budget was very tight. Thanks to money saving blogs like this one, I was able to score household items for super cheap to free. I took a big basket that I had recycled and filled it to the brim with candles, air fresheners, dish detergents, sponges, dusters…just everything that you could think of. It was huge!! I wrapped it with cellophane and tied a big bow on. It made a beautiful gift. They were so thankful and every time we see them they make sure to tell us that they are still using things form that gift and how much they appreciated it. The best thing was that I added up the value of the gift it they would have bought all of that themselves…it would have been well over $200. I spent $7 total. Thank you Crystal!!

  • I love giving a favorite cookbook or homemaking book. These can be bought in bulk and given as needed. I also like giving a jarful of towels (or anything!), which I posted about long ago here:

  • Emily says:

    For a family member or good friend, the very best gift might be your time in preparation. Can you (and your kids!) put together table decorations? Or get there early on the wedding day and set up chairs and tables? What about taking charge of the gifts after the wedding and making sure they get safely to the new couple’s house?

    For some people, giving a couple of collage photo frames and a coupon for an afternoon spent together creating them might be a good gift.

    Do you or your husband have a skill that could be useful? Perhaps you could offer to paint their first (non-apartment) home?

    What about a window box, complete with flowers and a watering can?

    Hope some of those are helpful! 🙂

  • I LOVED getting recipes for a wedding gift! I still use the ones I received at my shower in 2001! A nice collection of ‘tried and true’ recipes would be welcome by most new wives.
    In October, we attended the wedding of couple in their late 30s. They didn’t “need” anything so we got copies of Created to Be His Helpmeet and the Five Love Languages and placed them in a plastic reusable box. The couple really liked the idea, nothing fancy and definitely books that change marriages (of people of any age!)

  • Stephanie says:

    1. “Coupons”, or an RSVP for a “future date”, for a home-cooked dinner or perhaps a Saturday breakfast. If you wanted you could get a basket from the thrift shop and add in items such as a bottle of sparkling grape juice, some chocolates (obtained free from one of the deals?), and candles (also free from one of the drug store deals?).

    2. A starting supply of cleaning products, good smelly things (candles, plug-ins, etc.), and the like. This could be from your stockpile. I’ve done this before and included the web address to this website and some of my other favorite money saving/couponing sites.

    3. If she is the type to be willing to coupon, you could start them out with a supply of coupons or a year’s subscription to the Sunday paper, an organizer, and offer to mentor her in starting along this frugal path. It would be fun to hang out together and they would learn a great skill.

    4. I keep my eyes open for tool deals. Hardward stores in my area have a monthly deal (or several if you have a Menards) where you can get a rebate. It will take so out of pocket at first, but you get the money back. Then you could put them all in a tool box. This works especially well for non-basic items. Things like crow bars, stud finders, levels, etc. You could also include hammers, screwdrivers, etc. as you find them if you don’t think they will get them.

    5. If you have a good thrift store, you could search there for an unusual or pretty dish. Include a recipe and the starting ingredients.

    6. Look at TJ Maxx or Marshalls for deals. I just found that mine has a discount section. There were some really good prices on nice kitchen items – skillets, pans, etc.

  • Leah says:

    It does require some creativity, but making a Guest Book for the couple’s new home is a fun gift to give that is useful and personal. Whenever someone comes over to the new couple’s home for the first time, they sign the guest book and leave a little message. I have so many friends that have done this and they love to look back and see who all came to visit them during their first year of marriage.

  • susan says:

    If you do the whole ‘cvs’ thing, you could put together a great ‘getting started’ basket of free to you items. By going off of what I have gotten free lately, you could make a very nice basket including febreeze candles, softsoap liquid soap, laundry detergent, various cleaning supplies, tooth brushes, tooth paste, paper plates, towels, candies, ect.
    You could put everything into a laundry basket and wrap it in tulle. It might not be the most romantic gift you could give them, but it sure is practical and inexpensive!

  • Lynn says:

    When I got married my sister gave me a large laundry basket full of household stuff. Pantry items like flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, etc. Some canned goods, laundry soap etc. It was full of things. It was great. These things can be a big expense when starting out and this helped me out a lot. I think if you started doing something like this early you could find items on sale and with coupons. You could also stretch the expense out over a period of time and take advatage of sales. Another idea is to put together a family and friends cookbook. Gather family favorites, those that carry memories etc and put them together in some sort of a book. I hope that helps.

  • I recently gave a $25 gift card to Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as 10 coupons to there for a gift…with an explanation that you can use up to 5 coupons per transaction, etc. The coupons were really good too–$5 off, $10 off and 20% off your total purchase. I figured that was a good gift because it could really save them a lot of money even though it didn’t look like a ton at first.

  • jenny m says:

    Couple things- Maybe make up a gift basket with a soup in a jar or you could buy say a bear creek mix at the grocery store and cookies in a jar with some nice utensils? What about a memory recipe book with ingredients from when you were growing up with her? Some nice recipes with shared experiences the two of you had.

  • Katie says:

    My husband and I buy the game “Lost Cities.” We order a bunch at a time from an online game store. Then whenever someone we know gets married, we just pull one out of the closet. It’s the best two player game out there, and we love sharing the fun! I think each game is usually about $13… so it’s not too expensive for hours and hours of fun. It’s not very “fancy,” but everyone we have given it to has loved it.

  • Megan says:

    I’ve read the following idea: Put together a box of 2 pretty dessert plates, 2 forks, maybe a tablecloth, some candles (you get the idea), maybe a CD of the couple’s wedding music, anything to bring the day back. Then label the box “Open on your first anniversary.” The idea is that they use the “kit” when they eat the wedding cake that they’ve saved in the freezer.

    Alternatively, you might do something similar (a “package” gift) for their first Valentines Day, first Christmas or heck, even their first St. Patty’s or Arbor Day! If you plan ahead you could get a ton of great items at after-holiday sales.

    A tree or flowering bush would also be a great gift if they’re going to be moving into a house right away.

  • If you are a stockpiler you could provide the newlyweds with a nice stock of products they will need for their home. A nice gift basket or a hamper full of goodies I’m sure would be a total surprise from the routine wedding presents they will receive.

  • Jenny says:

    As a college student, I was always strapped for cash, but a lot of my friends were engaged/getting married, so I started this little collection and used to make picnic sets for wedding presents. One year toward the end of summer, Wal-Mart had all their summer dishware (you know, the plastic stuff that looks great on the patio table) on clearance (I bet you can find this stuff at dollar stores too – or drug stores if you have a bunch of ECBs to blow). I bought a few packs of four place settings each. They came in bright colors and included cups, plates, bowls and sturdy plastic (not disposable) flatware to match.

    I also shopped the sales and Michaels coupons for baskets. Most weren’t actually picnic baskets, just pretty baskets with plenty of room. I bought oilcloth or waxed cloth or flannel lined plastic tablecloths from the dollar store and lined the basket with it so it could be folded over the stuff inside, breadbasket style.

    Then I filled the baskets with setups for “lunch for two” – two matching sets from the clearance dish sets, a bottle of wine or sparkling cider, a disposable camera, and a cheap vase with a fake rose in it for fun (these were dollar store items – they had fake water that held the rose in and weren’t really that pretty but that wasn’t the point). The tablecloth/liner could be used as a picnic blanket.

    I think I spent about $25 per setup, it would have been more like $17 without the camera. It doesn’t take any craftyness, just a little bargain shopping. Everyone loved it. For one friend, I included a book of love poems that I’d found at a used bookstore, for another, I threw in some cheese and summer sausage that I’d been given and I knew it wouldn’t go bad if they didn’t investigate the gift right away.

  • One of the best gifts i received at my wedding was not the beautiful crystal platters or the silverware etc. When we came home from our honeymoom there was a beautiful (laundry) basket full of goodies.
    I had so many practical things in it. Cleaning supplies, paper goods, there was also food inside. We were so hungry and hadnt had time to stock the fridge. We were able to use the spaghetti supplies and cook up a quick dinner followed by homemade chocolate chips. Not sure if this idea will work for you but we loved it!!! If you are a coupon shopper you might be able to fill a basket fairly cheaply

  • clgnb says:

    For my little sister’s wedding shower I collected a couple recipes from each friend and family member and printed them out in a book. Have people write down what is meaningful about the recipe or memories of get-togethers when you enjoyed the food together. You can get as creative as you’d like in the presentation.

  • Gina Martin says:

    One of my favorite wedding gifts was a particular cook book. The book normally costs around $30.00. I have found that I can get a new copy on for $10 – $15, including the postage! It has been my standard gift for the last several years and I’ve had many brides specifically tell me how much they have used the cookbook! This fall I actually found a brand new copy of the same book at a used book sale! I took it as a special gift from the Lord as I had a wedding that month that I had not purchased a gift yet! We have lots of weddings and it has been great to find something that is economical yet appreciated! So my advice, think about what gifts you have enjoyed, ask the Lord to show you a good source for the item, and think outside the box! Gina

  • Donna Baldwin says:

    My friend, when she got married her mother-in-law to be gave her a cookbook with al her fiance’s favorite recipes in it. I thought that was a neat gift.

  • Jan says:

    I don’t know if you would consider this simple or not, but a collection of family recipes compiled all in one book (a 3 ring binder if your really really frugal or printed and bound by a local printer) is an excellent gift. If you need more recipes than what your family can give you, ask your friends to email you their top 3 recipes and give them categories so you don’t end up with 10 chicken enchilada casserole recipes. It could take some time to compile but you could easily do this over time. Create your skeleton document and then just cut and paste as recipes come in your inbox.

  • Mom in IL says:

    1. If they are staying somewhere special on their wedding night, arrange to have a bottle of champagne, box of chocolates, or other romantic treats waiting for them. You could also order breakfast for them.

    2. A cookbook or a subscription to a cooking magazine, or put together a binder of your favorite recipes from your personal collection.

  • Lauren says:

    A friend of mine gave a basket full of things like cleaning and bathroom products. She also included things to stock a pantry. A lot of these things were freebies she had got at CVS. Also at one of my own wedding showers, my grandmother made up a basket filled with spices and baking stuff.

  • Debbie says:

    A frugal wedding gift we have given on multiple occasions is a “stock the medicine chest” gift. This works best if you have advance notice of the wedding (like 6 months) to give you time to use all the great deals at CVS, Walgreens, etc.
    The sky is the limit with the variety available out there from toothpaste and toothbrushes to pain relievers and allergy meds. Buy a reasonably priced tackle box keeping in mind what you’ve bought and go to town. Don’t forget a dollar store first aid guide and a thermometer. We have received much thanks for this type of gift.

  • Louise K says:

    If you are a couponer (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) you can easily put together a gift bin. I purchase a nice handled clear plastic large bin from Walmart for approximately $6.00. Then I fill it to the brim with every household item I get free (razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrushes, OTC medicines, cleaning products, paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning wipes, laundry detergent/softener, make up, gum/candy, trash bags, ziplocs, tissue boxes, lotions, bath soaps, shampoo/conditioner and more as the list is endless) Honestly what newly married couple wouldn’t love to have their bathroom, laundry, and kitchen filled with these types of products. They are all sooooo expensive. I even get the card and bow from CVS for free (with ECB’s of course).

    Whenever I give this gift the recipients are blown away and think I went WAY over the top to help them set up their new home together.

    Hope this helps.

  • Angi says:

    I don’t know how frugal you would consider this, but we give wedding gifts that will help grow the marriage and not just furnish a home.
    So we’ve given things like a new Bible with the inscriptions from close family on the inside cover, the book Love and Respect by Emmerson Eggerich, and for my brother in law and his bride we gave a Weekend to Remember gift from Family Life. We also try to write a letter of encouragement to the bride and groom (my dh does the groom letter and I do the bride letter) we want them to know that we are here to support them for years to come.
    My husband is a pastor and we’ve just seen too many marriages (in the church) not make it because there was no real support and when the couple hit hard times they didn’t have anyone to turn to. So, we no longer give stuff – they’ll get plenty of that from others.

  • Marli says:

    well. my thrifty wedding gift is crafty, but I’m sure you could do it! I take their wedding invitation, and do it up kinda like a scrapbook page and frame it. You can see some that I have done here : just look for “scrapped and framed wedding invitations”.

  • Kristen says:

    I thought some of the best gifts were the practical ones. Gift cards to grocery stores, Items to set up our home such as towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies. My mom gave us some very soft white sheets and they are by far our favorite sheets we got.

  • rachel says:

    Since I started couponing a year ago, I have gotten quite a few cleaning products for free or just a few pennies. I love to give a gift basket full of cleaning items to a new bride. You could even throw in one or two free air fresheners to top it off.

  • Tina says:

    How about collecting recipes from your family and friends for a home made recipe book. My friend recently showed me one she had received when she got married. The neatest thing was that each recipe was written by the individual donating the recipe and signed by that person as well. My friend pointed out how much she loved having recipes from her loved ones in their own handwriting.

  • When my husband and I got married in June my sister was pretty much in the same boat. I told her I did not want a gift, she was already my MOH. However she insisted, so I told her the only thing I wanted for a wedding present was her help. She made sure that all of the gifts made it to my house, she followed up with the tuxedo rental place that following Monday because all of my groomsmen worked and took off that Friday before. She also purchased some and helped cooked the food for my rehersal dinner. She made sure that all of the out of town guests were taken care of after we left the reception and she helped with getting our left over food donated to the local woman’s shelter. It’s the little details that really helped on the day of the wedding.

    One great idea would be that if she is taking a honeymoon, while she is gone take her guest book and stuff, address and stamp the envelopes , you can do the same with thank you cards. Take a seperate paper and list each gift and it’s giver, that way when they come home from the honeymoon, all they have to do is open the card, write the thank you’s and put in the mail. She will probably need help organizing her gifts and home once she returns from the honeymoon, or when they move in together.

    Your time is way more precious than anything you could ever buy.

  • Kort says:

    We are going to a reception tomorrow and I decided to make a cleaning basket for the bride and groom. I went to the dollar store and purchased 10 name brand cleaning items (including: hand soap, dish soap, Ajax, furniture wipes, scrub brush, air freshener, etc), purchased a small waste basket for $1, used recycled plastic grocery bags to stuff the bottom of the basket, arranged the cleaning products nicely to fill the basket, and then tied the waste basket with ribbon. Total cost = $11. I wish I could post a picture. It looks so cute. It is a cheap and very functionable gift!

  • Jessica says:

    I’m really interested to hear what others have to say. I went to a wedding last fall and didn’t have a lot of money for a gift but I bought a really nice frame (about $30) for a picture of their choice. But I was pretty embarrassed at the wedding when my gift was only one of three or four and all the rest were envelopes. I wondered if it wouldn’t have just been better to put $30 cash into a card.

  • tammy says:

    This might be more appropriate for family weddings than other relationships, but you could compile a “family” recipe album… gather together recipes from your mom and siblings – and maybe even reach out to her future-in-laws. You could either put all the recipes on cute recipe cards (which you then tuck into a photo album – the kind with plastic sleeves to keep them protected) or go to a site like and create a printed book with photos of past family celebrations. I would love to receive a gift like that. 🙂

  • Carolyn says:

    Using coupons, freebies, CVS, and sales you could “stock” her pantry for her new home?

  • Becky says:

    When I got married 15 years ago, my sister presented me with a recipe box containing recipes from everyone in our family. Several months before the wedding, she sent 3 or 4 blank recipe cards to each member of the family and asked them to write out their favorite recipes. Everyone included their name and the origin of the recipe on the card.

    Many of the recipes were the traditional family gathering favorites. This gift cost my sister very little, but it is priceless to me.

  • Jodi says:

    A great but thoughtful idea is giving them a framed poem. Somehow obtain a beautiful love poem, possibly scripture infused (John Piper..maybe?) and printing it from a computer on beautiful paper (I buy those scrap booking papers at Michaels or JoAnnes, about .35-.55.) Then buy a frame to your liking at either Ross or Marshalls (they’re cheaper, less than $10 or you might have a frame on hand.) And then cut the paper to size and center the poem inside. Sometimes I like to buy ribbon and glue it around the poem to frame it even more, or buy dried flowers at the craft store to accentuate it. This makes such a lovely gift and one that means more and is very inexpensive on your finances.

    If you want to get really creative, you can buy two sheets of paper and use the two to compliment each other and use them as the matting to frame the poem. You can do this idea as well with pictures you might have on hand of the couple.

    Trust me! They will love it!!

  • Kelly S. says:

    I often find myself unable to afford the many many $50 wedding gifts. So, I’ll make thank you cards for them. They’re going to need a lot of them…so, depending on how close they are and what not, I’ll make them a couple dozen handmade cards to give out to their friends and family after the wedding.

  • Moni says:

    We started to give our friends puzzles or board games when we were in college and couldn’t afford a china place setting. We con’t to give puzzles (usually 1000 piece ones) even after we could afford a little nicer of a gift because we got such good feedback from our friends. Most of our friends have said that not only was it a good learning experience to see how they worked together while doing a puzzle but also they enjoyed the fact that it was something they could spend time together doing. I know my husband and I have learned a lot from each other about how we think, problem solve and do things by working puzzles together.

  • Sara says:

    My MIL made me a recipe box full of recipes from her family and that special things my husband liked. My friend made me a “recipe journal” of tried and true recipes that she loved. I thought this was a great idea and have used both of these many times. As a mother of 7, I am sure you have some great recipes for a new family!

  • I always give a stack of books at wedding showers ~ the books I wish I’d read *before* I got married:

    Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
    Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl
    Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley
    Sheet Music by Kevin Leman

    I order them from Amazon and typically get free shipping (for orders over $25). If I have extra money and/or I’m close to the person and want to spend more, I also get them Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely and maybe a few others.

  • nikki says:

    Someone framed our wedding invitation and we still have it up to this day.

  • Shawna says:

    A very memorable but frugal gift could be framing her wedding invitation. You can easily use a Michael’s or AC Moore 40% off coupon for the frame or shadowbox frame and any matting and do it yourself. You said you’re not very crafty, but I’m sure you can do it! You could also layer it on a nice sheet of scrapbook paper to add some color, hot glue some silk flowers or greenery, and even add a wedding or engagement photo of them inside.

  • Amy says:

    I am a frugal mom of one (soon to be two!) and I love making stationery for new brides, particularly with their new initials. Please visit my website for ideas, and know that I am happy to work with other frugal moms on price payment plans or discounted prices for large orders!

  • Jill Foley says:

    Some of my favorite wedding gifts were the simple ones…
    The ice cream gift….a set of 4 matching bowls, an ice cream scoop and various toppings (hot fudge, caramel and sprinkles)

    The wine gift…2 fun matching glasses, corkscrew and a bottle of wine

    Date night gift…snacks (box of popcorn, candy, etc) and 3 or 4 DVDS and/or games.

    Picnic gift….picnic basket with tablecoth, picnic supplies, etc.

    Baking gift…baking pans and utensils with cake mix, sprinkles, frosting, chocolate chips, cookie cutters, etc. You could also include an oven mitt.

    Or buy a serving dish from the registry and then include a recipe for one of your family’s favorite meals and some of the non-preishable ingredients for it.

    These were just so much more meaningful and creative than the stuff I registered for. Maybe she could have each of her kids pick out a kitchen towel or kitchen utensil for her sister. I really like the idea of picking something fairly inexpensive off the registry and then adding to it and personalizing it.

  • christine says:

    all new brides could use help with finding great recipes- how about a tastefully done homemade recipe book with all of the tried and true recipes that you have found and used over the years? You could print out the pages or use index cards in a photo album.

  • Kathryn says:

    One idea that I always loved was to give two dessert plates and two Champagne glasses in a box with a tag that says, “Do not open until 1st Anniversary.” Because a lot of couples save the top tier of their wedding cake for their first anniversary, it’s a little “cake kit.” And you can find dessert plates and Champagne glasses in any price range, so it’s a good frugal gift.

  • DealBetty says:

    A kitchen basket of utensils, a collection of your favorite recipes (maybe in a nice bound book or scrapbook-type album) and some homemade baking kits (like those that MSM did for Christmas) would be nice for a couple that is just starting out. You can find inexpensive but good quality utensils at outlet kitchen stores or even the Dollar Store. I can’t wait to see what other ideas are out there – wedding season is fast approaching!

  • trisha says:

    I made an apron. Also included some handmade(by me) “gourmet” kits of food (one in particular was skillet lasagna) in reusable containers. I adjusted the amount to serve just 2-4 people since it is just the two of them. I also included the recipes to make these kits themselves later. If you don’t sew or aren’t very crafty, you could purchase something that you’d use to cook these items in or something to serve them in.

    Basket of pantry items to help get them started (baking theme or canned goods theme?)–good idea to include some of your favorite recipes too. Maybe a thing of spices (not commonly seen in spice racks you buy). Bucket of cleaning supplies. Laundry basket w/detergent and such. First aid kit. Lifetime supply of free toothpaste (just kidding or not)

  • Amiyrah says: constantly has great sales for 70 to 80 percent off their gift certificates. You can look for restaurants in her and her fiance’s area and buy them a few. If the price is really right, buy 5 or 10, print the certificates on nice off-white stock, and place in a 8×10 colored envelope. Write them a note in the card saying that these are for “your upcoming newleywed date nights,” or something to that effect. Make sure you read the details for use of the certificates at the stores. Try to find ones that can be used any day, and don’t require them to spend too much in order for the couple to redeem the certificate.

    If you want to beef it up even more, keep a lookout on for discounted and clearanced pots and pans. You can then address the card in a different way: “new cookware for when you want to make your own meals, gift certificates when those meals go awry” or something silly like that.

    I recently did the gift certificate thing for a couple for Christmas and they were so excited.

  • Carrie Kirby says:

    When we got married, one friend who was pretty broke gave us ballroom dance lessons as a gift, and that was something we REALLY needed for the first dance.

  • Michelle says:

    One of my favorite gifts to make (and I am NOT crafty at all) for $10 or less…

    1. Make a list of as many words you can think of that apply to the person/people/occasion. Make it a LONG list, at least 25 to 50 words.
    2. Go to and create a personalized “word cloud” using the list you made. You can play with the fonts, color schemes, orientation, etc.
    3. Print out AT LEAST THREE COPIES (because you’ll want extras in case you mess up when trimming or mounting it)
    4. Find a cute 8×10 or larger frame at Goodwill, a yard sale, or other inexpensive location
    5. If necessary, paint the frame.
    6. Put your word cloud in the frame (and if you have a tiny little bit of craft skills, you can add a mat that complements your creation)

    Voila! You have created a very meaningful, personal gift that anyone would be proud to hang on their wall for years to come. These are my go-to gifts for almost any occasion. For Christmas we redecorated my daughters’ room. I created one for each of them that featured their name, plus several dozen words that remind me of them…things like “love”, “joy”, “daughter”, “sister”, “brilliant”, “kind”, etc. These framed word art creations are the centerpieces of their room, and they love them. We also made one for my dad, and put it in a very large (poster size) frame, along with my children’s silhouettes in a custom-cut mat. I think it was his favorite gift we ever gave him.

  • Sherri says:

    If you are a much of a cook or have family that is, fill a recipe book with some tried and true recipes that you know she will love. Recipe cards and a binder can both be gotten at Hallmark for under $20 and probably even cheaper somewhere else. That paired with a necessity kitchen items (timer, handtowels, wooden utensils) would be a practical and meaningful gift.

  • Kristi says:

    I got married a little over a year ago, so I can help out a bit here. First of all, if they’re registered at Bed Bath and Beyond, don’t buy anything without a 20% off coupon. Same goes for Macy’s and probably many other stores. Right there, you can buy an item worth $50 for example, and save at least $10 without much effort!
    This post has a great idea on pictures that would be personal and relatively cheap. I highly recommend checking it out!

    I can give you a couple favorite gifts we got. One was a pretty plate that had a bunch of fondue mixes with it (we had already received a fondue pot at the shower). Another great gift were monogrammed towels. The towels themselves were from Macy’s but it felt very special to have our monogram on it. I think you would be suprised how including something a little extra makes the gift so much more memorable.

    Finally, you say she’s your sister…the more personal the better, here! Make her scrapbook of tips on love from all your family members. Make her a photo album on Shutterfly of pictures of her and her fiance growing up. I know these can seem scary if you’re not crafty, but they really don’t take much time at all!

    Good luck! 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    The gifts that really stand out to me from my wedding turned out to be practical and frugal presents but they have been some of the most useful!

    1. Bucket of Cleaning Supplies- two different ladies gave these to me, filled with everything from Windex to Clorox to Comet. They also contained dusting cloths, cleaning rags, sponges, dish soap, etc. If you coupon this can definitely be very inexpensive and a young bride starting out really needs these items!

    2. Canning Supplies- I received a case of Mason jars, the Ball Blue Book, Jar Lifter, and canning salt! This gift was very useful to me because I had no canning supplies of my own and was growing a garden that summer!

    3. Homemade Cookbook- One of my mother-in-law’s dear friends made me a cookbook, this particular one she made in an 8 x 8 scrapbook and decorated the pages with cooking themed paper and stickers. She put the recipe and a picture of the finished dish on each page! That was the most thoughtful gift I received and I use it often! (I have also taken a spin off this idea and given recipe boxes as gifts filled with my favorite recipes!)

    4. Signed Picture- My husband’s grandmother purchased a large picture frame with a white mat in it and had our wedding guests sign the mat during the reception.She put a picture of us in the frame with the mat and gave it to us as a gift! It was fun to read what our guests had written to us when we received it! We have it hanging in our master and it is a great reminder of our special day and those people close to us who shared it! I often glance at it and read a note or two!

  • Anna2 says:

    If their wedding invitation included a photo or a cute poem she could purchase a frame and put the invitation in the frame. I had a friend give me that and it was one of my favorite gifts, it could be as costly or inexpensive as you wanted to make it. My wedding invitation had a photo and a separate sheet of velum with the words to “our song” on it. My friend used a frame with multiple openings, put our picture in the center with the invitation and velum in the other openings. She printed out our names and the date and put it in the other opening. BAM! Super easy, way memorable gift.

  • Joy says:

    Frame their wedding invitation- match the mat with the bride’s colors, or use any fabric left from alterations from the bridesmaids dresses to make your own mat. It is simple, thoughtful, and should be reasonably inexpensive.

  • Jenna says:

    My sister recently got married, and this is what I gave her:

    A Crock Pot from her registry list (on sale for $17)
    A beautiful blank journal

    Then, I filled in some of my favorite recipes, Crock Pot or not. We are going to pass the book around to my other sisters and our mom, to fill in as well!

    Already, she has called me several times to ask advice about making some of the recipes.

    Also, I like to make themed baskets, such as a pizza pan, rolling pin, pizza dough mix, a jar of sauce, pepperoni, etc. It makes a pretty presentation, they have a meal that’s easy to put together, and it’s inexpensive!

  • Gloria says:

    I am a practical gift giver and receiver. If I cannot use it then I do not want to maintain it. That being said, Pyrex is about as practical as it gets and fairly inexpensive. You might be able to find pieces here and there at thrift stores and garage sales and come up with a nice collection. Vintage Pyrex and Oven King ware is always fun. New Pyrex is reasonably priced as well and found at Costco and Sams. Also, making something sweet out of the invitation is a nice way to preserve it and make it into decor for their new home.

  • Kristen says:

    For a few weddings, when money was tight, I would buy a picnic type basket and put in it “picknicky” things. I put a tablecloth, plates, cups, snacky food, and stuff like that. I have also done a “gift basket” with breakfast for two stuff. Pancake mix, syrup, waffle mix, a cute tablecloth, a bowl, mixing spoon, etc. I have gotten a lot of compliments on both.

  • Teresa B. says:

    Sometimes I have made the couple a food basket that includes what they might need for a pasta dinner or pancakes. I have also made up a cleaning “basket” that included trash bags, cleaners, etc. Consumable gifts are great because sometimes as a young couple we receive more stuff than we have room for and everyone eats and cleans. Another idea is to compile your favorite recipes and household tips for the bride, or make her a scrapbook of pictures and memories. A gift can also be wrapped in some kitchen or bath towels that they need. Instead of buying a card, you could write a blessing for the couple.
    Hope this helps!

  • Diane says:

    I recently went to a wedding where I gave an inexpensive casserole dish, and a small brass trivet with the following note attached:
    This gift comes with some needed explanation: I am giving you:
    1) A casserole dish (with laminated card to attach to the bottom): This is something I started doing after receiving many meals and trying to return all the dishes. Now, I collect casserole dishes (usually from yard sales – you know me) and when someone is ill, has a baby, or suffers a tragedy and I give a meal, I always give the dish as well, with the suggestion that it be used until the need arises to pass it on to the next meal recipient. It doesn’t even have to contain a casserole; chicken breasts, with baked potatoes and veggies work just as well.

    2) Recently, I realized that after 25 years of marriage I have very few items left that were wedding gifts. I treasure the few items that have lasted, and so have given you brass trivet in hopes that it will be with you for the entirety of your very long marriage.

    3) The last thing is completely intangible and is just a bit of advice. Seek God. First, believe He exists, look at nature, for: “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrew 11:6. If you ever want to reach me, my email is XXXX.


    Please do not return this
    dish to me. Use it as you
    like until the occasion
    arises to give a meal.
    Then pass it on.

  • Beth says:

    I’ve done a couple of things:

    Made a scrapbook and matted specific spots for them to insert their photos. They loved not having to do all the cutting and pasting.

    Got a laundry basket and filled it with TONS of free or cheap toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. I got rave reviews on that one and the people said they are going to do it for future weddings they attend.

    Get a basket at a thrift store, fill it with two nice wine glasses (can get cheap at Target) and a bottle of a wine that is bottled about five miles from our home. I tell them to pop open on the first anniversary.

    All gifts have been very well received.

  • Heidi says:

    One idea that I’ve seen done is to make a “pantry starter gift”. You can put almost any non-perishable food in a decorated box, along with recipes written on colored card stock or decorated index cards. You can also make homemade mixes to go along with it, making it more personal. One of my favorite mixes to make is:

    Quaker Square’s Famous Oatmeal Cookie Mix
    You mix together in a cellophane bag or other bag:
    1/2 cup sugar
    3 cups rolled oats (I use old-fashioned)
    1 tsp. salt
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 tsp. baking soda

    Mix thoroughly and put in a nice clear bag. Close bag with curling ribbon and/or twist tie.

    On your card stock write:
    Quaker Square Famous Oatmeal Cookies
    *Oven 350 degrees
    *Beat together:
    3/4 cup veg. shortening
    1/4 cup water
    1 egg
    1 tsp. vanilla
    *Add cookie mix and mix well. (Can add some raisins if desired.)
    *Drop on greased cookie sheet.
    *Bake 12-15 minutes.

    Attach card to the bag.

    A pantry gift can be done tastefully and will be much more useful than China : ). Obviously you can use your couponing and bulk deal strategies to make this inexpensive. Hope you find something that will work for you!

  • Jana says:

    One of our favorite weeding gifts was 2 beach towels and 2 beach chairs. It was creative, fun and definitely something we needed and used 🙂

  • Megan says:

    Another great gift idea that I haven’t seen mentioned yet is a punch bowl. This is something that people aren’t likely to buy for themselves and they’re really fun to have for parties. My husband found me a brand new punch bowl w/ a silver base for $3 at Goodwill. A just-as-good idea is to buy one from an antique or thrift store (or Goodwill!); even at the antique stores they are often only $15-20.

    Also, I’ve seen STACKS of incredible cookbooks like the “New York Times Dessert Cookbook” or Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” at closeout stores. For under $10 you’ve got yourself a fantastic $40 cookbook.

  • Daina says:

    I like Katie’s comment just above. When my husband and I got married this past year, some of the neatest presents we got were books — and not just cookbooks! Some people thought about books we might like and we got quite a selection, from rare-ish leather-bound volumes that speak exactly to our interest to a few books friends picked up for cheap online (or free elsewhere!) and gave to us because they KNEW we’d love them! This doesn’t work for everyone, but it worked great for us, because we are book lovers.

  • Emily says:

    Our family loves to give a new BIBLE to the couple.

  • Heather says:

    You could make her a quilt, or buy one from someone. That is always a special gift.
    I make them if you are interested

  • Ashlei says:

    You could get three nice bowls, two small and one larger. Write their names on the two small ones and then write Popcorn on the big one with a paint marker. Add a box or two of popcorn in the package and they are ready for Movie Night at Home!

  • leslie says:

    you can also get a casserole dish and etch in their new last name on the dish. there are lots of tutorials on how to do that. add to it one of the cookbook ideas and you are good to go!

  • Karilee says:

    Overwhelmingly a basket of household goods seems to be the suggestion! AND I agree, its a great idea, I think its a great Shower gift.
    My favorite wedding gift (as in take to the wedding and give it there), is to make up a Honeymoon Love Snack. As was mentioned previously, often the bride and groom don’t actually get to eat a lot at the reception because they’re busy talking with people and fulfilling the traditions of the reception.
    I make up a gift bag (not a basket, so they don’t have to cart it home), or cover a cardboard box inside and out with pretty fabric. I then fill the bag/box with a few homemade goodies (e.g. cookies, brownies), salty snacks, candy items, fruit, bottled water or other favorite beverages (if you know what they are), and maybe some microwave popcorn. Then I also try to include a few $$’s worth of quarters for the hotel vending machine, just for a fun extra.
    To insure that they couple actually BRINGS the gift with them, I usually tell someone who will be helping the bride/groom get ready to leave the reception area, or if you know they’re get-a-way vehicle, you can leave it on the hood, so they’ll be sure to see it 🙂
    It’s always been a hit with people and its very inexpensive to make since the items are things I’ve made or gotten with other “deals”.
    However, this doesn’t work if the couple is leaving right away on a plane….you have to make the bag MUCH smaller, but they’re sure to still appreciate it since most airlines don’t give out food anymore.

    It has always been a big hit

  • Allison says:

    We had 7 weddings last year and 8 this year, so I’ve had to come up with frugal ideas. I’ve been making 1 year anniversary packages. I buy 2 dessert plates, 2 champagne glasses, and 2 forks. You can find all these items at Walmart and spend less than $15. I put pretty ribbons around the glasses and forks. Sometimes I add a bottle of champange. They are all set for their 1 year anniversary. All they need to do is add the frozen wedding cake.

  • Kristi says:

    One of the wedding gifts that we got and loved was seasonal decorations, ie: Valentines,Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. When you are just starting out this might not be something you could spend extra money on, however, if planned right, the giver could hit after season sales and score big!!
    The other idea I saw at the last family wedding was a black and white collage of the couples last name done from pictures of each letter, then spelled out. The giver had taken a picture of each letter from a place around their hometown and then framed them. You could pick up a floating frame and save big with such a personal gift.

  • Lana says:

    How about a Maid Service once a week or twice a month for a month to give the Bride and Groom some quality time together. Some places have hourly rates and others have a rate per visit. Not an expensive gift, but a thoughtful one!

  • Laureen says:

    I hope this doesn’t sound silly but I have found that you can usually find something on their wedding registry on sale if you check it occasionally and often it comes out cheaper than a homemade gift would. Add in an extra 30% off coupon (or whatever one the newspaper has) and it’s even cheaper. And they get something they really wanted.

  • Lana says:

    In regards to my comment about a maid service. Here is a link to Molly Maid’s Gift Certificates:

  • lee says:

    I would suggest a cookbook. Or maybe a bible that would be their “new” family bible. Or if you have a nice photo of the couple or just a photo that they look good in, doesn’t have to professional or posed, you get one printed and put it in a “nicer” looking frame at walmart. Pictures i think are thoughtful, memories.

  • Jenni says:

    Two things that I have done in the past that were well received:
    -I supplied a box of pastries from the bakery I was working at for the bridal party as they were getting ready (home baked would be great as well)
    -On -the vendor name is Elephanie,she makes personalized wall art- with initials, names etc. for very reasonalbe prices.

  • Katie says:

    My favorite thing to give is a container full of gift wrap and bows. All occasion stuff, usually that I can buy on the cheap. Newlyweds can always use that stuff.

  • Kristina says:

    My Matron of Honor gave me a basket of cute stuff to open the week of the wedding. Each day had a poem and a gift – sunglasses for the honeymoon, a stress ball, etc. It was so fun to open a new gift every day! On the wedding day, she gave me a hat box filled with pairs of different colored candles and a poem with a reason to use each: 1st night home, 1st dinner with company, 1st promotion, 1st baby, 1st fight. Very cute!!

  • Melissa B. says:

    For my wedding 13+ years ago, my aunt and uncle got us something small off of our gift list(Glass mugs) and rootbeer, and an ice cream scoop. We had friends that got married just 2 weeks before us and we had them over alot for Rootbeer floats on the weekends. Which we were thrilled about the gift. But on our one year anniversary, my aunt and uncle sent us a money for us to go out to dinner on our anniversary. My hubby was in college and I was the only source of income. This was such a wonderful surprise. And when I thanked them, they said they had someone do the same thing for them on their wedding ($20 gift or so.), then money for the anniversary dinner. Out of all of my gifts, this is the one that I remember the most.

  • Jill Morino says:

    Personal Creations has some lovely personalized wedding gifts at reasonable prices. A frame with their wedding date or something else to mark the occasion maybe? Or if you know where they are going for their honeymoon, you could call ahead to the hotel and pre-pay for their breakfasts for a few days.

  • chantel says:

    I think a great gift is a nice recipe box or some sort of holder, with your favorite recipes included. maybe a nice cookie sheet and supplies to make a good cookie recipe…Or nice oven mitts, something like that. If you could gather some family classic recipes that would be cool too, At least I would love that! Good luck

  • Lilbet says:

    I would want it to be memorable. Here are some ideas:

    ~Do you have something that belonged to a cherished relative, like your grandmother? If so, give it to them with a thoughtful letter on why you’d like them to have it.

    ~Will they have a home with space to plant? If so, give them some of your perennials?

    ~Give them a work day: help her with thank you notes, help them paint their new home, help them move.

    ~What about a candlelight dinner kit–candles, candle sticks (found extremely cheap at thrift stores), and a beautiful table cloth and/or cloth napkins (also at thrift stores)

    ~This one, I just love. We did this for my mom. Take a ton of pictures at all the events surrounding their wedding. Take pictures of things that aren’t even that memorable. Then, download them onto one of those video frames. You can get them relatively inexpensively and this would be so much fun.

    ~Camping gear makes for great presents and can usually be picked up relatively inexpensively this time of year (since it’s cold most places!). As newlyweds we could only afford vacations if we camped. See if you can get a bunch of people to chip in on a tent. Check ebay for great deals.

    The most important thing to remember is that your gift doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be from the heart. It could just be a poem that you wrote, placed in a pretty frame. Or a framed letter of well wishes to the couple.

    I just thought of another one: how about contacting all of your relatives to write them relationship advice, well wishes, etc. Then place them in a pretty book. I would be this would be hilarious and a tear-jerker all at once!

    Best wishes.

  • Janae says:

    For my family & close friends I always give a perpetual calendar (sometimes called Birthday Calendars). I contact each of the couple’s mothers and get immediate family’s birthdays and anniversaries. Then I completed the calendar. As a newlywed, it was crucial to know the new in-laws important dates!
    I found mine from a Stampin Up demonstrator (about $7 each). BUT I’m sure you could just buy a regular 2009 calendar and fill in the dates. (Or make one on a photo site)

  • Hannah Noel says:

    you could gather recipes that are classic to your family and put them together in a cute box or binder. then leave room for her to gather her own recipes to fill in.

  • Janae says:

    For my family & close friends I always give a perpetual calendar (sometimes called Birthday Calendars). I contact each of the couple’s mothers and get immediate family’s birthdays and anniversaries. Then I completed the calendar. As a newlywed, it was crucial to know the new in-laws important dates!
    I found mine from a Stampin Up demonstrator (about $7 each). BUT I’m sure you could just buy a regular 2009 calendar and fill in the dates. (Or make one on a photo site)

  • Pamm says:

    I know cookbook has been mentioned several times. I made one at: It was very easy! You don’t have to order the book (but you can if you want). You can just print out the PDF file and put it in a binder.

    You can also ask relatives and friends to add their recipes. It’s easy and takes all the ‘work’ out of it.


  • Darcy says:

    I’m not sure about what kind of gift to get them but if she is doing a lot of the wedding prep herself (decorating, invites, etc.) I bet she would gladly welcome some help. I know I would’ve! She’s probably got loads of small things that need done and not enough time to do them in so a helping hand would probably be appreciated.

  • Esther says:

    Sorry if this is a repeat. How about a personalized welcome sign for their new home. Contact a graphic design place, pick our your font and what you want it to say and the size then stick the letters to a painted and distressed board.

  • Amy says:

    One of our wedding guests picked up a large handful of rose petals from our wedding (either off of the tables, or from the petals that were thrown on us as we were leaving). Then, she framed our wedding invitation and placed the rose petals around the edge. It’s a beautiful momento of a memorable day!

  • Erica says:

    This one requires some planning in advance, but if I know I am going to a wedding or bridal shower of a young couple just starting out during the year, then about a week after Christmas I go out and buy Christmas decorations on sale. I then put those in a red and green rubbermaid tub, that is also on sale, for additional storage. One year I got my sister $150 worth of Christmas decorations as a shower gift for $35 with a little planning in advance.

  • jennifer w. says:

    I think this idea was on a wedding registry website for awhile – maybe Williams Sonoma? Anyway, just take a bunch (5 or so) of long handled stainless cooking utensils (whisk, spatula, etc. – usually a few bucks each at Target or Walmart) and bundle into a “bouquet.” Tie together with a thick long white ribbon and bow.

  • Becky says:

    Mine was done later, but after my little sister got married, I took a tile board, cut up one of her wedding pictures, glued it on, and poured varnish on it. It doesn’t require craftiness, or a lot of time (depending on the type of board you choose), and can be done for about $15. The finished product was beautiful, display-worthy, and personal.

  • Katie R says:

    One of the gifts that we received in celebration of our wedding was actually given to us long after the wedding.
    We went on a week long vacation immediately after our wedding so I hadn’t been grocery shopping in a while. We had all our dry goods but nothing fresh.
    We had given our spare apartment key to my maid of honor so she could bring in our gifts while we were gone.
    Instead she got several of our friends and my parents together (most of my friends are still in college = poor) and filled our refrigerator with basic fresh food items plus some fun things we wouldn’t normally buy ourselves. It was so nice to not have to worry about shopping immediately just so we could have milk and veggies.
    Because we are all so thrifty when it comes to grocery shopping, figuring out how to grab a few more items while at the market is not difficult nor is it expensive.
    We’ve given the gift of fresh veggies and foods to some our newly married friends and they in turn have given it to others.

  • milissa says:

    I LOVE books so I try to add a book with my gifts. For weddings, I often include a copy of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Everyone that I know who has read that book said it has made a difference in their relationship – positively. The book itself is very reasonable…if you write a nice inscription and couple it with some of the ideas above (like a pretty framed copy of their wedding invitation) it would make a lovely, thoughtful gift.

  • VaughnMom says:

    i have a standard wedding gift that i give to everyone. i buy white/ecru towels cheap (from WalMart or such). close friend/relative, i get two bath, hand, wash towels; not as close, i just buy two bath towels. then i take them to my local monogram shop to be personalized with their initials. either just their last initial or the last initial in the center with both of their first initials on either side in a three-initial monogram format. if you do some research at places they might be registered, you can find out their bath/bedroom colors and coordinate your present. towels ($10-12) and monogram ($14-18); total (around $30) for nice personalized gift…

  • Joy says:

    Maybe to go along with some of these recipe ideas you can freeze a few meals for her. In portions for two.

  • Sarah says:

    This doesn’t necessarily promote frugality, but I hosted a Papmered Chef party and through the purchases of guest prior to and at the party was able to get several things free that I intended to give as wedding gifts.

  • KEnci Hunter says:

    I search with swag bucks. You can get gift cards. I am 20 and just got married last year. A gift card is always great, you can earn star bucks cards yumm every one loves a good coffee.

  • Jessica says:

    As a recent newly wed (October) I second all of the gift basket ideas. We got a gift basket from one of my maid of honors and while it did not cost her alot, she put a lot of thought into it and made it fit us.
    I recently gave a friend of photobook I purchased through shutterfly with a great discount code that she loved. It was easier to make than a scrapbook. I also made a recipe scrapbook for another friend with recipes we used to make together and some of our favorites.
    Lastly, I often give the Joy of Cooking to newly weds too. It is an awsome book and I can often find it on sale. It is well worth the price!

  • Chiara says:

    This is something someone told me although I’ve never quite done this before but it’s a neat and possibly cheap idea if you find sales. I guess in the East Coast it’s called “pounding” or something like that? It’s where a group of people would bring a pound of something (probably more like baking items or grains or beans) and collect the items together, with the idea of stocking the newlyweds’ kitchen. In some cases this might not work out but I can imagine if someone starts out with a bare kitchen, they would really appreciate a pound of beans, rice, flour, sugar, baking soda, to start their pantry. I would think if this is a wedding gift, you can put the pounds of items in a gift basket and make it more personal.

  • Michele says:

    Candace! I want to buy you chocolate! We’re not even pregnant, but I know how I’m telling the grandparents when we are!

  • Melanie says:

    My girlfriend made me a candle like for a wedding gift. I cherish it to this day. That candle along with our unity candle gets lit every year on our anniversary.

  • bezzie says:

    It’s not really too “frugal” per se but easily customizable.

    I like to take plain old cash–pick your amount and denominations–say anywhere from $30 to $50–or less, whatever! I get a mix of bills–a couple of ones, some fives, a ten, a twenty (again, whatever!). Then I iron the bills on a low setting to give them a “fresh” crisp look.

    Then what I’ll do is make cartoon bubbles and put smart alecky “marriage advice” comments from the dead presidents. Things like “Never soak your wooden teeth on your wife’s drinking glass” (Washington); “Even if your wife is truly insane, never go to bed mad.” (Lincoln); Don’t chop down your wife’s cherry tree (Washington); etc. I attach the bubbles to the bills using a removable adhesive you can buy at any big box craft store in the scrapbook aisle–so they can peel it off and spend the $!

    I’ve had two reactions to this gift: People either love it (one couple framed the bills!) or people think I’m nuts (but that’s OK!).

  • Debbie says:

    I have been giving nice journals to newlyweds recently. My fabulous six years with my darling has gone so fast and I wish I had recorded lots of the details of roller coaster ride from the start as well as lists of blessings, adventures, emotions, good luck, people who have stayed at our house, vacations etc. It’s such a great way to celebrate life and they are not expensive.

  • Melissa says:

    What I’ve done in preparation for many showers/weddings coming up on my hubby’s side of the family was this: I emailed every female in the family looking for recipes. I compiled the recipes and organized them into 3 ring binders. I decorated the binders by personalizing them to each person, then attached a couple of hot pads, and a couple kitchen utensils. Instant gift! I actually did this for Christmas the year before last for DH’s aunts, mom, and grandma. Now I have a great gift to use when his sisters and cousins get married!!

    Another idea is if they’re going on a honeymoon, make a little basket for that. You can include snacks, sunscreen, whatever you think might be useful to them.

  • Amelia says:

    What I did for a family member was a photo book at CVS. I had 9.00 in ecbs. The photo books go on sale every couple weeks for 9.99. There for it was 1.00 out of pocket. It was very simple I took basic pictures at the wedding then just inserted them in the photo book at the kodak Kios. You don’t have to be crafty to do this. When I gave it to them they were very happy they finally had pictures to show friends and family. The photographer did not even have the picture back to them but I did. It was a great gift and very cheap and easy.

  • A Gardening Mix is a great frugal gift.
    Check out this link to find out more

    More ideas:
    scrapbook starter pages, volunteer to serve at the wedding or to help decorate, handmade thank you cards, recipe box filled with recipes, coupon book, homemade bookmarks with books like The Power of a Praying Wife/Husband, The Complete Tightwad Gazette…

  • Kathy says:

    Not sure how practical it is now that its almost February…but a basket full of Christmas items is a HUGE hit. How many newlyweds have enough Christmas ornaments and decorations for their tree or house? You can even add some christmas wrapping and tags to the mix……make it a real theme basket. There may still be some sales out there….I saw some at Target recently. But for others who use this idea – shop after Christmas for those 60-70% off and you’ll be suprised how nice a basket you can fill……

  • sara says:

    When Christmas items go to 75% off around the New Year, I stock up on ornaments, lights, garland, wall decorations . . . this year I even found really neat nativity sets for $3! The very best is when you can find “Our First Christmas” ornaments that don’t have the year on them.

    When we’re getting ready for a wedding, I buy a storage tub (or sometimes I’ve already purchased a few if I see them on sale) and fill it with Christmas decorations. I tie a bow around the tub and, voila . . . a great gift!

    I got married at Christmas time and we received lots of this kind of stuff, but people who get married in the spring, summer or fall often have zero Christmas decorations when it comes to December.

  • Two ideas:
    1. I was given a 9×13 casserole in one of those to-go bags that comes with a hot/cold pack. I’ve seen them at Target for under $15 I think. The casserole dish has a lid, so it’s great for freezing meals, or taking a prepared meal to a potluck, etc. The person who gave it to me gave me a little scrapbook with about 12 recipes to make in a 9×13 dish – her personal recipes. I love it!

    2. My close friend has a family tradition. The family members give a basket of food for the wedding night/honeymoon. The basket is loaded into the giveaway car and includes snacks, chocolate covered strawberries, crackers/cheese/meat, etc. It is a family favorite, and I thought it was a wonderful idea.

    3. The ideas already mentioned about a basket of home items is fabulous. The day after our honeymoon, my hubby & I got in a moving truck and spent four days moving from Colo. to Va. Beach. I knew no one. I knew no stores. I had no coupons. We spent over $100 just getting cleaning supplies to set up our home and move in. A basket filled with these items would have been a blessing!

  • Ashley says:

    Why not make them a gift basket? You can get cleaning supplies and air fresheners for their new home close to free with coupons. I’m a bride and I would really like to receive something like that.

  • Once, we gave a new bride and groom a laundry basket that we stuffed full of things that most people don’t commonly give, i.e. vegetable peelers, dish drainers, kitchen scrubbies, etc. We found most everything around a dollar a piece, (except for the laundry basket) so the total cost was around $20 -$25, but there was a lot to it. Getting a new kitchen set up is not always easy and this proved to be a blessing to the new family as well.

  • We arrived home from our honeymoon to find some good friends weeding and planting flowers in our garden! It was so nice to have people to talk to, rehash the wedding with and share all the fun of the honeymoon with over a cup of tea – and their gift of gardening service has been remembered for 10+ years, long after I’ve forgotten who gave me towels or a vase!

    Another neat idea I’ve heard is to take some photos during the service, run out and have them processed at a one-hour photo place, frame them or put them in a little photo album and present it to the couple during the reception. Since the couple will have to wait weeks for their official photos, it’s nice for them to have a memento of the day immediately, even if it’s just a few snapshots.

  • RebeccaC says:

    I was a very frugal bride, and my new husband and I were going to be moving into a tiny house after we got married. So we registered for the things we really needed and nothing else. (We didn’t register for china, for instance, but for the linens and kitchen items we really needed.) I remember that I really wanted people to shop from my registry.
    Hardly anyone shopped from the registry, though! We got 4 or 5 new afghans, and I had no linen closet. We got oodles of picture frames and things like brass candlesticks and coffee mugs.
    I understand trying to be frugal and creative. But I really recommend considering the individual and the purpose of a registry.
    I’d much rather have some very small thing from the registry (like a manual can opener, or a pair of new washcloths) than some other thing that I didn’t ask for.
    If you can’t afford anything on the registry, go in together with another family member or two and split the cost.

  • A.R. Craven says:

    I had my wedding a couple of years ago and I think the one of the best things I got was a HUGE set of kitchen stuff from one of my husband’s grandmothers. In there was a BIG wok style pan, lots of pot holders and dish towels, lots of random little kitchen utensils that I didn’t have/hadn’t thought of and that sort of deal.

    When people move out or get married, I try to get them a give basket full of stuff I have found useful in my house/kitchen. Usually there’s either a nice basket that has lining or one of those plastic caddies you can use in the shower with stuff like: kitchen towels, an apple slicer, fridge magnet chip clips, pens, tea, a candle, a box of baking soda and some other things I can’t think of right now.

    It sounds like an odd assortment but most people love it!

  • Alana Jo says:

    My niece is getting married in July, so I’ll be reading this one.

  • Julie says:

    You could give them some nice mugs, an ice scream scoop, and rootbeer. You could also give cleaning supplies in a plastic carrier with a handle or laundry basket full of laundry items.

  • Patsy says:

    An 8X10 silver picture frame to frame their wedding picture would be a very nice gift and not extremely expensive at a discount store. Or a photo album is another great idea.

  • My husband is a pastor and before staying home with our children I worked in campus ministries at a university, so we are invited to LOTS of weddings and wedding showers. I LOVE giving gifts, so when we went down to one income, I had to break my cardinal rule of wedding-gift-giving, which was to ONLY buy something off of their registry. This was my reaction to getting LOTS of random things when we got married that we could not use. We couldn’t afford to do that anymore. So, I had to think creatively. I typed up our favorite 60 recipes and included 4 different cards with the recipes that tell how to use them for gifts, meals for a family with a new baby or death in the family, and hosting people in my home. These recipes are a HIT at every shower that I attend. I’ve even had people offer to BUY my set. In her thank you note to us, one bride wrote that it was helpful to get a whole host of recipes that were “tried and true” rather than a huge cookbook where you’re “crossing your fingers” every time you try a recipe.

  • Susan says:

    When my son got married, my daughter contacted each member of the wedding party, parents, grandparents, and siblings and asked each to prepare one 12×12 scrapbook page that highlighted their relationship or a memory with the bride or groom or both. She collected them at the rehearsal dinner, inserted them into the scrapbook that she had purchased, and then presented it to the bride and groom. It was an amazing gift and her only expense was a scrapbook, she prepared one page, and her time to contact everyone.

  • JoJo says:

    I just got married this past April, and one really thoughtful gift came from my aunt who collected family recipes and wrote them into a special recipe book. It’s also one of the gifts that I use most often!

    Also, my husband’s grandmother gave us cash (also one of my favorite gifts!) and included a book of stamps in the card. It was such a thoughtful thing, since I had tons and tons of thank you notes to send out, and it saved me just a little postage $$ and a trip to the post office! Since then, I have included a book of stamps in each of the weddings I’ve attended this year.

    One last thing that I loved was that without my knowledge, two of my bridesmaids made a copy of our housekey before the wedding. (Yikes!) When we got home from our honeymoon, our pantry and fridge were stocked with essentials, and there were flowers and a bottle of wine waiting for us on the dining room table.

  • Jennifer says:

    I just got married in June and here are some wedding gifts I enjoyed getting/would like to have received:

    1)All the women at my shower gave me recipes. I love those recipes, especially ones that are easy yet delicious.

    2)When we first moved in our apartment after the honeymoon we would have had absolutely nothing if it weren’t for my mother-in-law. Some things you could get as a kind of “housewarming gift” are: toilet paper, ziplock baggies, paper towels, quarters if they don’t have a washer and dryer, soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, tissues, some drinks and snacks, etc.

    3)If you are a good cook and can somehow find the time, a few freezer meals so they don’t need to cook the first few days they get back from the honeymoon would definitely be appreciated.

    …haha are you noticing a theme here? Food?

    4)You could also buy an address book and put all of the family members addresses in it, or make up a calendar with each person’s birthdays and anniversaries in it.

    5) These can get a little expensive, but if you are able to get food storage containers such tupperware or rubbermaid…I am always running out of those it seems like.

    There are a lot of great other ideas posted too! I hope you will be able to find something that fits your budget and time allowance!

  • Andrea says:

    I like to give a framed copy of “The Wedding Prayer”. You should be able to easily find this prayer online. I type the words of the prayer on the computer, print it out on nice cardstock, and frame it in a nice frame. I put the couple’s first names and wedding date at the bottom of the page, too. Sometimes I add a graphic. Once I used a black outline of a tiny flower and ribbon. I actually colored it in with markers to match their wedding colors. The couple loved their personalized gift and had no idea it was homemade.

  • Kristin says:

    I found cheap but cute and solid color fleece blankets on sale. I bought some at Old Navy after Christmas for $3 and they have others at Walmart and places like that for under $10. I take them to a monogramming shop and have the couples new name stitched in one corner. It’s usually under $10 for the monogramming. It’s a cute and practical gift with the new family name on it.

  • A couple of gift ideas I have done:
    This one requires a little time but it is worth it! Shop after holiday sales all through the year and then give the couple a box of holiday decorations for each major holiday. Shopping after the holiday has passed means you can snag CHEAP decorations!
    Another great gift is to get a couple of bath sized towels or hand towels and either do it yourself, ask a friend, or take it to a local tailor and have them monogram the couple’s initials. Very personalized and usually pretty inexpensive! (I got two bath towels with his and her names on them for about $15 including the price of the towels!)

  • Vanessa says:

    if you have an ikea anywhere near you-it’s a great place to get housewares, kitchen gadgets, and home decor for really, really great prices. you could fill up a nice basket without breaking the bank and give them stuff they will definitely need. cheaper than walmart and much better quality.

  • Heather says:

    We’ve pulled togther a themed basket for several of our friends, and I always hand make something that relates — for one friend, I cross-stitched two kitchen towels, and then did a colendar filled with different kinds of pasta and pasta sauces; for another, we did a similar bathroom supplies basket with some hand towels that matched what they had registered for. I found one book of hand towel cross stitch patterns that I use over and over again, and both it and the towels can be obtained from any craft store (paired with a 40% off or more coupon).

  • Michelle says:

    A friend of mine gave me cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, dish detergent, washing detergent etc. She gave it to me in 2 huge gift bags but I love the laundry basket idea.

  • Rebecca says:

    This is really quick an easy…
    If anyone in the couples family has a family recipe book that includes recipes that they grew up on, you could simply photo copy the recipe cards or pages and put into a small binder. This can be particularly fun when they are really old recipes, hand written ones, with special notes included and what not. For example…i have the recipe of the tuna macaroni salad my momma made my daddy on their very first date (and that little note is included). Things like that!
    You could also take a hat box, or any size/shape box, photo copy (in black & white) pictures (they could be of the couple through dating, engagement, wedding, or of them growing up…you could be creative with which pics you choose) cut them out and decapague all the many pictures into a collage onto the box. Around the middle of the box or around the lid you can tie a thick ribbon, in the colors of their decor. It’s a fun accessory for a room and great for storage. And it’s also a great way to wrap any other small presents you choose to get them. Plus it’s cheap because you can copy the pictures on a regular copy machine. They don’t have to be fancy or on photo paper. In fact it works better on regular printer paper.
    Lastly, you can do the same idea as above but decapague the pictures onto a Large wooden letter (using their last name initial) You could add a small ribbon or one really good picture in full color or you can just do it simple with all black & white and no extra ribbons or anything.
    Good luck and have fun. I’m curious to find out what you end up making and how much it ends up costing!

  • Rebecca says:

    Okay I thought of 2 more…
    1. You can pick up a shadow box at michael’s (use your 40% off coupon)…inside it fill the back with a piece of paper or cloth that is the colors of their wedding or just pick a white, cream, or black solid paper. In front of that use double sided photo safe tape to mount their wedding invitation. You can use another solid paper to make a mat or frame around the invitation so it stands out some. It can be as simple as that or you can add a flower from their wedding (just use the fake ones) like we had calilies so ours has 2 lilies and a small ribbon tied around them in the color of my girls dresses. You can add a picture of them on the wedding day or anything else you come across. It can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like.
    2. My mom always does this…and now is a great time because you can still find thanksgiving and christmas stuff on clearance. And you can get valentine’s day and easter stuff already. But she always gets 1 or 2 things for each holiday so they can decorate around the year. Like a hand towel for each holiday, cookie cutters, themed platters, etc.

  • When my husband and I got engaged, my sister in law made us a homemade ornament for our Christmas tree that said our names, and under that, “Engaged” and the year. My other sister in law got married that year and she also made her one that said “just married” and their names with the year. The ornaments had a bride and groom, or in my case just a man and woman with our color hair/eyes, but I love mine so much, it was the sweetest custom gift!!! After I got it, I started looking up how to make them and it doesn’t look that difficult, but it is one of my favorite gifts, so so thoughtful. Just search for homemade clay ornaments. I’m going to be making these for my friends for sure! I’ll post a picture of mine on my blog tomorrow if you’re curious. ( Good luck!

  • I almost forgot, this is more for a bridal shower, but when my sister in law got married, I made her a “bridal emergency kit.” you could easily make this with cvs items, but at the time I wasn’t a frugal, go figure! It contained a whole bunch of last minute things a bride might need on her big day, including deodorant, tylenol, hand wipes, safety pins, bobby pins, lip gloss, compact face powder, extra nylons, band aids, hair clips, travel sized hair spray, small mirror, etc. basically anything you can think of that she might need in a pinch on her special day. If you’ve been in a bridal party before you can think of a ton of things. I looked up “bridal emergency kits” online and found a ton of ideas, and some people even make these and sell them. I bought a makeup/purse type bag at cvs and put all the items in it and wrapped in in a big bow, with a custom tag I made on my computer that said ” (bride’s name ‘s) emergency bridal kit” and she loved it.

  • Noah says:

    If you scrapbook and can find good deals on supplies or have some on hand, make a wedding scrapbook with places for the couple to simply glue in their own photos. It’s a keepsake that they personalize, but also a time saver.

  • andrea says:

    My husband retro’s old windows in homes and replaced them with new windows, so when he does this he brings home the old wood windows. I have used a four pane window for pics of the couple and the invite displayed in a cute wall hanging. To using a two panel window and chemically etching the name of the couple on the top pane and taking the bottom pane out and replacing it with sheet metal and homemade magnets with the glass pebbles and their pics.

  • Jenny says:

    It takes a little planning, but when I’ve done this it hasn’t cost more than about $20 (especially if you can find a 50% off coupon for the fabric store). If you can sew a straight line on a sewing machine you can make a quilt to give the bride and groom to use as the guest book. I did it for a baby shower, but it would obviously work for a wedding shower or wedding gift.

    I bought a few different coordinating colors of plain fabric (quilter’s calico or even solid color broadcloth), pre-washed it, and cut it into 10″ x 10″ squares (depending on the final size of the quilt you can adjust the size of the square but leave room for the seam allowance). I brought the pre-cut squares to the shower along with fabric paint, ribbon, and a few embellishments. Everybody decorated their square and I sewed them together once everything was dry. I just used a few yards of fleece for the backing and tied it together with some ribbon. If there are special people who can’t make it to the event, you can mail the fabric square, have them decorate it and mail it back to you to include in the quilt so they can still send their well wishes.

    You could also find a cheap quilt (or maybe use a “sentimental” one that’s been in the back of your linen closet for a few years) and people can sign the already made quilt with a fabric marker.

    It’s even cool if the bride has multiple showers because you can do it at each shower with the different guests and incorporate all the squares into one quilt. It’s a nice symbolic way to show the new bride and groom that they’re surrounded by love and support from all the different groups of friends and family (literally and figuratively). I’m doing this for my brother’s wedding in May…which means he’ll probably get the finished quilt next year 🙂

  • Bonnie says:

    When I threw my sister’s bridal shower, I asked that everyone picked a room in their new house and created a gift basket designed around that room. It was amazing how creative people became and I know my sis and her hubbie were so excited about the baskets. Some examples were

    Bathroom: Cleaning supplies, bathroom cups, toilet scrubber, shower cleaners, etc…
    Kitchen: Cooking Utensils, Towels, Dish Rack, Pot Holders, etc…
    Office: Paper, Pens and Pencils, Paperclips, Stapler, Tape Dispenser, etc…
    Laundry Room: Detergent, Softener, Dryer Sheets, Home Drycleaning Kit, Lingerie Bags, Laundry Basket, Bleach
    Garage: (one of my favorites) Large Trash Can, Hose, Shovel, Snow Shovel, Rake etc…
    Dining Room: Candles, Seasonal Table Runners, Trivets, Centerpieces, Napkins and Rings, etc…

    You get the idea. . . the cool thing is that you can shop thrift stores, clearance sales and drugstore deals to get your baskets filled on the cheap. As long as the basket is filled with nice things that a new married couple can use, they don’t care where they came from. It makes it really cool when several people do this together and there ends up being a basket for nearly every room!

  • Lura says:

    If you know about the wedding more than a year in advance, my favorite gift to give is a year of decorations or ornaments for the holidays. After every holiday, shop the clearance section for very low priced plates, napkins, window clings, ornaments, deocrations, etc. When it comes time for the wedding you will have a years worth of decorations to give the new couple.

    Some other ideas, a tote filled with wrapping paper, scissors, and tape.

    A beach bag filled with towels, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

  • Sandy says:

    My mom, sisters, nieces and I created a scrapbook family recipe book as a shower gift for my nephews fiance. It turned out great! We had recipes from my great grandmothers and great aunts in there as well as a few from my nieces. 5 generations of recipes. It was huge and it took quite some time, but we had a blast and my nephew’s fiance just loved it!

  • Dee Wolters says:

    Two ideas:
    Spices are super expensive especially when you need to stock the pantry. I often give 3-4 along with recipes using them.
    The last wedding I went to I got nice kitchen towels in her kitchen colors. Found some at Ross for about $1/each, but they were not the cheap felling kind. Then I included several cookie cutters. They were actually dificult to find, so I am going to keep my eyes open from now on and pick them up after holidays during the 75% off sales and keep them for the next wedding gift. I included my favorite sugar cookie recipe.

  • Stacey says:

    For my sisters wedding I got one of their engagement pics. and got it copied onto a plate that they can display in their house. It turned out so nice and it was a hit of the wedding!!!

  • Amy says:

    When I got married a friend of mine gave me a laundry basket full of “supplies”. TP, Paper Towels, kitchen towels, soaps, etc. I LOVED IT!! It is a great gift.

    Also, you could help stock the kitchen. Give bulk dry items. Maybe around a theme. Like Spaghetti noodle, sauce, etc.

  • Gina says:

    I have purchased glass freezer mugs that a friend registered for (using a 20% off coupon at BB&B!) and personalized them by using glass etching cream to put their last initial on them. When I do etching, I put contact paper (not clear) on the area I want to etch, trace the design on (sometimes I free-hand, but not for a set), cut away the letter with an exacto knife, and follow the etching cream instructions. Then I added a tag to the box with something like “glass etching by Gina.”

    In general, I like finding something on the registry that I can enhance with little extras… an assortment of teas to go with their kettle, for example.

  • Erika Luke says:

    I got married about 8 years ago and we were really poor at the time. (funny still are) My husband and I ended up spending a lot of the money we got on gift cards on toilet paper and other house hold items I think a gift basket would be great! Load up some of your freebies or cheepies and if you could include a coupon binder that would be awesome show her how to same money who doesn’t want to know how to do that! You might think this is not nice enough but when she is not using her gift card to buy toilet paper and something she really wants she will love it!

  • jessica says:

    Could you maybe join another couple in purchasing a gift, and split the cost? Though I’ve been married for almost 7 years, I just recall getting some very strange gifts that didn’t fit into our 500 sq ft 1br apt, meanwhile we had to use what little money we had on things we needed, like laundry baskets and towels!

  • I like to give a gift card to a place like an ice cream or coffee shop ($5-$10) and include a note that encourages the couple to still take time to go on “dates” after they are married. The people who have gotten this are usually pretty excited to have a free date! 🙂

  • Leah Johnson says:

    I haven’t read through all the posts yet, but getting some nice towels and then having them monogrammed with their initials is very nice. Or get them guest towels and have “guest” monogrammed on them. I know several people that have a embroidery machine, so this is easy for me to say – they always do it for free for me.

  • Amanda says:

    I think you should stick with the registry or else get something that everyone will use around the house. A lot of people at my wedding did not use the registry and it was really inconvenient. I have to do tons of returns. It’s not that I was ungrateful, but for example I had just purchased a new set of pots and pans before the wedding because I got a great deal on them. Then for our wedding my sister in law bought us a set of pots and pans (obviously not on the registry) so I had to return them. That happened with A LOT of other items and it took A LOT of time to return it all. The items I got that I already had and couldn’t return went to the local goodwill. If would have rather had a really inexpensive item from my registry than something I didn’t want/ already had. If you can’t afford a registry item, I’d definitely do the cleaning supply basket… It’s a great idea! You could get all kinds of cleaners and scrub brushes/ sponges and put them in a nice basket. Everyone uses cleaning products and you can get them really cheap after coupons!

  • Megan says:

    There is a great website called I just recently got married and I used this website a lot they have some great gifts on there that would be very nice! Also if you know your sisters theme you may be able to find stuff for her (with her theme) for cheaper and then you would be helping her and getting your gift at the same time! I had a lot of people buy me things that were useable for my wedding and it was seriously the best thing! it cut cost for me and they didnt have to worry about finding a gift! Oriental trading is another good one they have bride and groom wine glasses that are really pretty something like that would be nice! If all else fails remember that Christmas just ended and a lot of places still have Christmas stuff on sale a lot of new married couples dont have stuff like that that you would put out during the holidays and they will appreciate something to help decorate for the holidays!! So many things you can do I wish you luck and Congratulations on the new brother in law!!

    Megan Renee

  • Allyson says:

    When we got married 4 years ago, one of our friends framed our wedding invitation. She added a few embellishments like glittery flower stickers. We loved it and still have it displayed in our home. You could also speak with the minister and get a copy of the vows to type up in a pretty font and frame. Either of these ideas could be used in a double frame leaving one side blank for a wedding photo.

  • Janika says:

    Though not romantic, but very practical–one of our favorite wedding gifts was a simple set of screwdrivers. We still use them after 13 years of marriage! We have given good quality hammers, screwdrivers, etc. and the recipients have often commented months later what a great gift that was! If it’s a special relative or friend, we often just give a gift certificate to Home Depot. Newlyweds can always use tools to get their new homes set up!

  • Lori G. says:

    I gave monthly kitchen towels – a set of 12 or 24.
    They were easy to find at T.J. Maxx and Bed, Bath and Beyond, and if the holiday was not upcoming, the towels were cheap. I also give this gift as a housewarming gift.
    I give Valentines, St. Patricks, Easter, spring (2), summer, fall, winter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas towels. By having a theme, I do not have to match a kitchen color, and everyone can use a kitchen towel and it is nice to have a new one each month. So my gift does not last forever, but it does last at least a year!

  • My sister is getting married in just over a month. We are providing the flower girl and all the expenses that go along with it. SO I’m on a SUPER tight budget!
    My B-in-L to be really enjoys cooking and mentioned that he would like to have fresh herbs growing at their home. So I found 3 clay pots (sealed and painted them in their colors(( i also put their names on one each and their married name on the one that sits in the middle)), window sill tray, a bag of organic soil, 3 herb packs and watering can. Pop it all into a thirft store basket.
    It really turned out nice and they were really surprised! All for $15 including wrapping from Dollar Tree.

  • Tovah Certain says:

    I know one of the most memorable gifts that we received at our wedding was a plaque for our front door/ doorpost that read, “(our last name) est. (year)” on it.

  • eldomom says:

    I like to go with consumable gifts or practical gifts. One of the more unusual gifts we received was a full-sized cooler. Ours came in handy when we returned from our honeymoon to find that our refrigerator had quit working! You can usually get them fairly reasonably around Memorial Day. After 15 years, it’s one of the few gifts that we still use on a regular basis.

  • Christa says:

    I just got married in June, so I’m pretty “fresh” as far as remembering good and bad gifts. 🙂
    One of my faves was a basket full of practical needs such as dishsoap, handsoap, toothpaste, tbrushes, air fresheners, meds, etc. It was so helpful to move into our apt. and have little necessities like that!
    I gave a basket like this to my cousin in January and it was one of their faves as well.

    The awesome thing about this…I got everything in the basket for free or “nearly free” from good ol’ CVS and Riteaid. 🙂

  • Barbara Githens says:

    I love to quill! Quilling is also called paper filagree. This is a simple, inexpensive craft that can turn out beautiful work looking like you spent hours! One thing that I do for “to be” couples and wedding receptions is frame and mat the wedding invite, quilling flowers, scrolls and roses around the corners of the frame. The total project usually costs me around $20 but is a gift to be cherished for many years to come!

  • Johanna says:

    Some of my favorite gifts from our wedding are ones where people gave us their favorite household item. For example, someone bought a kitchen timer with digits so you don’t have to press “minute” many times, and a note explaining that they have the same one, and hope we love it as much as they do. The items weren’t particularly expensive, I’m sure, but they were so thoughtful, and we get far more use from them than from crystal candlesticks!

  • Cindy says:

    We just got married a year and a half ago, and I was so thankful for the practical gifts! For newlyweds on a budget it’s GREAT not to have to go out and buy cleaning supplies. My MIL gave us a big box of Melaluca cleaning supplies and I was so thankful for that! We also got some fun gift baskets. One of them was a cute basket with pancake mix, a bowl, pancake flipper and blueberry syrup. YUM! We were also given a picnic basket, which is a great basis for a gift basket! Just add a bottle of wine, an outdoor tablecloth, maybe reusable plastic place settings (you can find GREAT deals on these at Walmart/Target towards the end of summer).

  • sharla says:

    I like the theme idea, someone gave us a small trash can filled with pens, pencils, post it notes, stamps, paper clips etc, that really came in handy one time i wrote down the recipe for my mom’s yummy lemonade and included all the ingredients she would need for it and a gallon pitcher, long spoon, and ice cube tray another gift I received was a plastic storage tote filled with Christmas decorations

  • Elizabeth Rehn says:

    IF the couple is not into coupons why not teach them how to, and giver her a coupon binder full of coupons to get all the free and cheap things themselves. I think teaching newlyweds how to save money and be frugal is the best gift you can give them.

  • Honey says:

    I forgot-another frugal but useful and unique gift I have done is something I saw on Martha Stewart an few years ago. Its a sewing kit. You take a ball jar and place in it sewing notions (white thread, black thread, buttons, straight pins, thimble, and needles). Then you put a circle of fabric between the lid and rim. You can tie with ribbon. I suppose you could even get a permanant marker and put the person’s name on it. You can buy most of these things at the $1 store. And once I found various flower bulbs and a stepping stone on clearance at Walmart. I snatched them up and headed to big lots where I found a couple gardening tools (cheap) and gave them as a garden them gift. It was in Sept. when things like that go on sale. The couple could have planted them then or waited until spring.

  • Andrea says:

    I think some of the “best gifts” Aaron and I got were the ones from the heart – it didn’t matter how much was spent, just that people celebrated with us on the day that we became a family! 🙂

    But that being said, you have to get a gift. Here are a few of my favorites (please keep in mind, I had established a home already when I went to college, so I “traded up”, so to speak, on a number of items):

    – a Waterford crystal vase, straight from Ireland. Okay, not the most inexpensive, but my late Grandmother LOVED Ireland, and my Great Aunt Betty (her sister in law) got this for me because she knew how much I missed my grandma on my wedding day. It was the vase that held my bouquet at the dinner and dance.

    – a quilt, in colors both Aaron and I like, that was embroidered with our wedding date on the back. It doesn’t match anything in our house, but it comes out for romantic picnics in the evening on our living room floor, anniversaries, etc.

    – a basket of household supplies. Even WITH an established household, I was just too darned busy to remember that I ran out of Windex weeks before the wedding.

    – a collection of family recipes: both from the family that the giver and I had in common, as well as her other side’s recipes. How fun!

    – a few thrifted vintage cookbooks. My weakness!

    – Table linens and napkins. I never registered for these, and boy, was I glad someone thought to get a relatively neutral set for me. Whoops!

    I’ve also given gifts that the newlyweds might not have actually thought to get – fun stuff that isn’t “household” related. Gift certificates to a bookstore if they like to read, a restaurant gift certificate for the 1st month anniversary, “pretties” for the bride, tools for the groom…

    Really, anything goes as long as it is from the heart, in my opinion!

  • Betsy says:

    My sister just got married (like this past Sunday) and their Guest Book was a photo album of their engagement pics done through Shutterfly. It turned out really nice and could be a great gift if you’re able to use the frequent specials that Shutterfly or others offer!

  • Tanya says:

    A very cut and inexpensive idea is to put together a wish book, that was something we got and I still use it 13 years later. A wish book can be a simple journal decorated for the occassion with a fancy pen attached. Both items can be found at the dollar store or on clearance alot of times. The book came with a special note inside the front cover letting us know that the only way to fulfill our wishes was to remember them and the book was for all the wishes we would have for our future. I put little things in there like: “I wish for a day of landscaping work from my husband without asking.” This may sound simple but it helps us to communicate things we want without the nagging and as newlyweds you generally find you don’t know each other as well as you think.

  • Kelly says:

    One of the best gifts I got were lawn chairs and a cooler….something you don’t think about until you need them!

  • Megan says:

    Another book suggestion: A Do-It-Yourself book for around the house would be a great gift (we gave one to my brother-in-law-to-be this Christmas and he loved it!). Also, a road atlas is something many people might not have.

    And just a comment on all of the recipe/homemade-cookbook ideas: let’s not leave the guys out! My husband cooks more than I do and most newly married women I know don’t do the majority of the cooking. Ask men in the family to contribute recipes and include basic info (how to hard boil eggs, make corn on the cob, what it means to “scald” milk, etc.) for the less experienced cooks 🙂

    I love seeing all these great ideas!! I’m going to use a few for my sister’s upcoming wedding. Thanks!

  • Maggie says:

    (1) Christmas decorations / Seasonal items

    (2) Beach Towels & Sunscreen

    (3) SHOP ON EBAY!!! As a rule you can almost ALWAYS get anywhere from 30-90% off on Ebay. Also if you plan to get a gift card or shop at a certain store, type in the name of that store with “gift card” or “coupon” and you will more than likely find someone trying to get rid of a gift card they received from there.

  • Kerry says:

    I often give Christmas ornaments as wedding gifts either one larger one or several smaller ones. These can be personalized for the wedding couple based on their interests and can quite often be bought on sale either after Christmas or using Hobby Lobby and Michael’s coupons. If the couple is older they make a nice addition. If they are younger I might get a basic set of lights, glass balls and spray paint pinecones gold with wire hangers for their first tree. It is also nice to give a sturdy plastic container to store them in.

  • One of my most meaningful wedding gifts came from the pastor (mostly from his wife) who married us. She found a beautiful wooden box that was big enough to hold recipe cards. She carefully copied out a really nice collection of a about 30-40 of her favorite recipes and wrote little notes on them about what she serves them with, how she adapts them, etc.

    Although I’ve now moved the cards to an album that holds many new recipes, I’ve kept the box and think of her everytime I see one of the cards in her writing.

  • Tricia Hall says:

    One of my most favorite wedding gifts was from a family in our church. They made up 3 dinners for us and tucked them away in our freezer for us to have during the time after our wedding. It was such a blessing while we were in the process of unpacking our belongings, setting up the kitchen, still trying to locate specific items, getting adjusted to life together, and resting and recovering from all the craziness leading up to the wedding, to be able to just pull out a home-made dinner from our freezer. We just needed to heat it up in the oven and we were ready to eat. Wow, was that nice. I’m sure that it was pretty easy for them to do. They probably just made a little extra when they were making their own meals and set it aside for us. Chicken Pot Pie, noodle casseroles, and Chile all work well for this. It’s been nearly 6 years and I still remember how much I appreciated this wedding gift.

  • Kirsten says:

    I know this goes without saying, but I think the best way to be both frugal and thoughtful is to really think about what best suits the situation of the couple, and also what they have or haven’t registered for. I often look at the couple’s registry, and then try and find a great deal on something I know they want/need (or something similar — perhaps a different brand, or the same item at a different store where I can get a better price).

    People get married in all sorts of situations these days, and while a lot of these gifts are great ideas, the same gift that would be great for one person would be a waste for another. A couple moving into a new home together may love a basket of cleaning supplies or pantry items or basic kitchen supplies, but if the couple is moving in to a home that one or the other has already lived in for months or years, these items may just be one more thing to try and find space for!

    We had a some “helpful” people buy us things that weren’t on our registry that they thought we had missed (things like a crock pot and a clothes iron). We didn’t register for them on purpose, because my husband or I already owned them (in fact, we each owned a crock pot before we were married!) and we thought it would be a waste to replace them with new ones just because we were getting married.

    We were of course happy for all the gifts we received, even the ones we had to return (or re-gift if we couldn’t return them if they had no receipt!) because we already had the item in question…but I’m sure most gift givers would rather have their item used instead of returned!

  • Chrissy says:

    For almost every wedding gift, we buy a couple of card games and board games at Target.So far all the recipients have thoroughly enjoyed, it’s fun and no one else will do it.

  • Amy West says:

    Sorry I wasnt able to read all 200+ comments to se eif this was posted, but here’s one thing i do…

    If I know around holiday time that there will be a wedding the next year, i like to get them their first Christmas ornaments at the after christmas sales. Esp ones that say “our first Christmas” just have to make sure it does NOT have the year.

    We got a bunch of stuff like that when we got married and i just LOVE it! A pretty heart ornament, one with a couple ice skating that says “Our Christmas together” a cool cord that connects all the cords, a storage box for ornaments and some angels, etc.

    But shopping at the after Christmas sales is a good way to get it at a gREAT deal!

  • katie says:

    I think an easy and cheap gift is giving holiday gifts. For example, up until this last week or two, you could still find wrapping paper and gift bags in stores from Christmas. Ornaments and other home decor were marked way down too. I just bought 3 rolls of Christmas paper and 2 pacakges of tissue paper for under a $1.50. Bundle them together with ribbon. It would look super cute to have an ornament attached to the ribbon. It’s a gift everyone will use and super cheap.

    I also think using your freebies or super cheap things you have bought are a great idea. Buy a reusable bag from one of your favorite stores and fill it with the neccessities you have to go buy when you get married. Kleenex, shampoo, lotion, toliet paper, paper towel, etc. I remember spending so much money the first time my husband and I went ot the store because we had so much of that little stuff we needed to get.

  • Carrie says:

    When my best friend got married I was only about 20. We had been best friends for years and she was like a second daughter to my mother. They didn’t have a registry for their wedding, so it was slightly difficult to figure out what to get them. In the end, my mom ended up making them homemade Christmas stockings. Over the years she had made homemade Christmas stockings for everyone in our family (ex. my brother and I both had green stockings with little Santas all over them, but mine had lace around the top b/c I am a girl). They are so simple to make and you can customize them to the person’s tastes/interests. Hope this helps~

  • kim says:

    One of the best gifts that I recieved was from my cousin who was my bridesmaid. She made CD’s that had about
    10 of my and my future husbands favorite songs, including our “first song” dance. She bought the cases and CD’s on sale for cheap.She burnt about 100 of these and then printed our names and our wedding date
    on the sticker that went on the CD itself. It was also in our wedding color. She then bought clear CD covers. We
    put stickers on the cover of the CD with the guests name and table #. This was a great gift to us!! And a great momento for everyone.Everyone still talks about them!!!

  • Annie says:

    Our standard wedding gift is sign that bears the “new family’s” name. My husband takes a weathered board and using a router writes the family name (i.e. “The Robinsons”) neatly (this could also be done with a wood burner)and then stains the wood. Add two eye screws to the top so that it can be hung.

  • tammymv says:

    most of us have bought up holiday clearance items: christmas, valentines day, easter, 4th of july, halloween, thanksgiving. you compile a giant box of these items for the new couple to have on hand for the various holidays !! you can also make holiday wreaths to go along with this as well as tucking in some reciepes & your own holiday tradition ideas !! most new couples are very grateful for this type of help. ( its very reasonable right now , because all the x-mas items that are left on the shelves are dirt cheap now) good luck !!

  • Anne says:

    How about address and stamp envelopes for thank-you cards? If money is really tight, no need to put a stamp on them. Just a cute return address label with their new name and address the envelope to their guest list. Put a cute ribbon around all the thank-you cards.

    I know I’d be appreciative.


  • Janet says:

    A plain white cake wrapped with ribbons or candy dots placed on the cake I have found these in white looks extremely elegant is very easy. I also have a glass blown heart for a topper I have used on lots of cakes. If you can not do a tall cake well (which I can not) use several cakes layed out on pretty cake plates three or four and the center cake can be two or three layers this gives plenty of cake even for a large wedding. I did one where the brides cakes were white and the grooms cakes were choc. Everyone loved these. The bride cakes had pink ribbons the choc groom cakes had black it looked like a tux and a dress. (IT was so simple it was extremely elegant!)

  • Brooke says:

    i did the cvs basket (his and hers) for a friend

    and i think the recipe idea is a great one.

    i got married in november and BEG you not to give a picture frame. i committed the same offense when i was in college – i got my sister a gorgeous silver picture frame with the date engraved on it.

    she loves me, and would never hurt my feelings, so the silver frame now decorates her country style home. and is very out of place.

    she – on the other hand – is giving the hubs and i some trees and helping us plant them. and the assistance planting them is the best part of the gift!

  • JoJohnson says:

    I went to my sister’s wedding last month and they had these really neat guest books for Polaroid pictures from Adesso Albums. They are very reasonable and a gift that the couple will have forever. I know what it’s like to have no time, I have four of my own kids, but the website is really easy to navigate through. I just got two albums for my friend’s wedding next year. They also have digital print albums too and sell everything you need right on their site.

  • Donna says:

    The last two wedding gifts I gave were purchased from I bought wall lettering with the last name of the couple and the year they were married. Ex: Smith Family
    Est. 2008
    I got them in black lettering. It cost about $20.

  • Amy says:

    I got a framed invitation and loved it – I wished I had also framed the vows we wrote. If it is family or a close friend you could get a copy before and frame it with the invitation or leave a spot for a wedding photo.

  • Alison says:

    I am trying to think of something myself for a wedding and shower for my cousin this summer, I have several tried and true but was trying to think up a new one. Here is what I have done before.

    -picnic basket (bought on clearance of course!) and filled with some dishes, spatula, candle, matches, salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, table cloth, cloth napkins (that match) aluminum foil, charcol, a bottle of sparkling cider. I figure all they need to do is add the “food” and they are set for a fun date together.

    -large strainer, box of pasta, jar of sauce, cheese, bread

    -scrapbook/cookbook. Gather recipies, photos, and notes from family and friends, put them together into a cookbook where you can think about your family as you do your daily things.

    -dvd OR gift card to video store, popcorn, movie theater candy, bowl, bottles of coke

    -laundry basket with household goods

    Obviously some take more $, others more time, but you get the idea.

  • colleen conner says:

    Several Suggestions:
    A together bowl. I buy a nice mixing bowl (can be purchased on sale at TJ Maxx, Homegoods, etc.) that matches their color scheme (check their registry). I then fill it with things to cook together… any combination of the following – pancakes, popcorn, spaghetti and sauce, chips and dip mix, Brownie or cookie mix, pizza crust mix, be creative! I include a spatula, and/or a whisk!
    Attach a note that says – This is your “together bowl” filled with things you can do just the two of you. Enjoy the time together!

    Luggage Tags: These are easy to make with your computer and self laminating tags from an office supply store. Put their new name and address on them!

    Make them a couple of casseroles and freeze them. If possible, put them in the freezer at their new home and attach cooking instructions. If Neccessary deliver them a day or two after they arrive home from the honeymoon. Leave some candles and a cd (homemade is fine) and a note saying, “Dinner is ready for the next couple of nights, find something creative to do with the time you might spend cooking dinner!

  • Emily says:

    For my cousins wedding I gave her a copy of all my favorite recipes and the non-perishable ingredients to go with them. I tried to pick from my favorite recipes ones that were unique and she probably hadn’t had. I was able to buy the ingredients a little here and there to stretch out the cost and she loved it.

  • Christie says:

    I always watch clearance racks for universal gifts. I once scored a Shark dustbuster-like thing for $7 at Kohl’s.
    A gift I would have appreciated would be a few freezer meals for when the couple gets home from the honeymoon. Not having to go to the store that first day back, jet-lagged, would have been a god-send!
    My favorite gift was from my cousin who offered to come help set up the reception hall with me and my parents the day before our wedding. It was great to not have all that stress on us!

  • Mrs. Jo says:

    I’m doing a series of gifts for the honeymoon when my brother gets married in a month. Because they are missionaries, they can’t take a lot of things with them so the gifts have to be small, or flat or perishable. They are honeymooning for a couple of weeks in the states, using a car, so I plan to give them a box of wrapped gifts when they leave the reception. Here are some ideas for what will be in each gift, with instructions to open one gift per day on the honeymoon:
    *A package of snacks for the honeymoon (we were starving when we reached our hotel room)

    *Coins for hotel vending machines

    *CD made with our favorite love songs and their favorite love songs to listen to while driving

    *Fireproof DVD

    *a Dave Ramsey book

    *Some advice cards

    *Special letter to the bride and groom

    *Popcorn and cocoa mix for a “night-in” in a hotel

    *Love quotes/verses from the Bible

    *Breakfast basket

    *A packet of special family recipes that my brother loves

    *Paper plates and napkins

    *Wet wipes and hand sanitizer

    *Favorite marriage book (Like Love and Respect)

    *T-shirts that say “My Husbands Rocks” and “My Wife Rocks” (

    *Restaurant gift cards

    I hope this little gift-a-day thing will be very memorable and fun for them and most of the gifts will be used up so they won’t have to pack much

  • Ashlee says:

    I have given a tub full of Christmas decorations a few times. I stock up on things when they 90% off after Christmas and fill a whole tub for a few dollars. Things like ornaments, stockings, tree skirt, placemats, hotpads, twinkle lights, ornament hangers, etc are much appreciated when the couples first Christmas comes around!

  • AH says:

    I purchase a baking dish set at IKEA for around $6. I place in it one of my favorite recipes and then wrap it in gold tulle with a beautiful big ribbon. Altogether, it costs around $7-8 and looks BEAUTIFUL!

  • Elaine Huskey says:

    Spices! I remember when we were first married. I didn’t even have salt and pepper! Even though I bought frugally, I still spent more than $20 on spices! (This was 27 years ago.)

    Give a gift basket with spices and other little kitchen tools you know the couple would use if they cook, i.e., various types of knives-paring, boning, chopping, etc., zester, potato peeler, measuring spoons and cups, pan scrapers, etc. One kitchen item we received and still use–a set of steak knives!

    I took a lot of stuff for granted as far as kitchen tools, I mean everyone has knives?!, right? Except for me when I first got married. It takes a lot to equip a kitchen with the basics.

    Elaine in OK
    HS Mom of six, four graduated, two to go, one 2nd grader and one preschooler (This is what happens when you have two more children after you turn 40.)

  • Heather says:

    One of my favorite gifts that I’ve ended up giving myself was an “emergency wedding kit”. It was in a beautiful box with a ribbon and “Heather’s Wedding Kit” typed out and nicely applied to the top. Inside was everything you possibly need at the last minute right before your wedding that you could possibly forget. For instance, a nail file, a comb, lotion, clear nail polish (in case a nylon snags), a small mirror, tooth brush and small tooth paste, small mouthwash, small sewing kit,granola mix, etc. I can usually get a box and most things at the dollar store. I usually include a small thing of pain reliever too (I had the worst headache ever before mine, but didn’t have any in my kit). Most of these things are things I now get with coupons. The great thing is it’s an unusual memorable gift, it’s inexpensive, easy to do and so practical! I used almost everything in mine.

  • Anna says:

    I was looking for cheap gifts for Christmas and decided to give my parents an HERB GARDEN. The seeds are cheap and all you have to do is get it started, buy a nice container on sale, and put them together in a beautiful way. If you don’t want to do it from seeds you could probably buy the herbs already started at a home and garden store soon.
    I use my herbs when I cook and it always adds a little bit more to the recipe

  • Brynn says:

    What I have seen done I think is really cool and I wish someone would have done it for my wedding…..I have seen people get a shadow box from say michaels and they have coupons every week for 40% a regular priced item. Then when you go to the wedding you take little keepsakes (invites, napkins, favors, pictures, etc.) and put the different things in the shadow box and then they have a keepsake of everything to hang on the wall to remember their special day! It would be given after the fact but with the shadow box and hot glue or craft glue it would be pretty inexpensive. Good Luck

  • Candra Probert says:

    Put together a kit. (i.e. movie kit, date night kit, spaghetti night kit, game night kit, etc)

    For spaghetti night you could find a cool, inexpensive serving bowl filled w/ a box of noodles, jar of sauce, martinelli’s cider, etc. Depending on your budget you could just keep going with the theme.

    For a movie night kit, buy a popcorn bowl, microwave popcorn, movie treats, and a cheap dvd.

    I think you get the idea. Good luck! 🙂

  • Diane says:

    i love all the comments above and the Family Recipe book idea is great! An additional book idea is to collect some really great house hold hints from family and friends and divide into catagories – laundry, cleaning, how to be a housewife and retain your sanity ( I need to read this chapter), etc.
    Give an address book with the names and numbers of repairmen, emergancy numbers, etc.
    Give a date book with the birthdays of both sides of the family marked. You could add some homemade cards.
    I love the idea of giving a prepared coupon organization system – you could get a few copies of coupons in the newspaper that week and arrange them in the organizer for her.
    I developed a basic filing system for my niece when she married. It was something she could add to and change but gave her a place to start. ( you get a ton of appliance books that need ‘a place’ as well as gift receits and this gives her a place for them.I have the labels saved to the computer and when each of my children moved out I started them one as well.

  • Lauren says:

    I think a thoughtful gift for a wedding to give the couple their wedding invitation framed. You can have it professionally done (Michael’s, AC Moore, etc often had coupons for framing discounts) or just buy a nice frame and do it yourself. This is what I almost always do for my friends and they always end up on the wall!

  • Linda says:

    I just posted pictures of two gifts that I put together for my sis. – here I posted about samples as a gift.

  • My mouth starts to water when I saw that deliciously designed cake. But anyways, you can create your home-made wedding gifts. Just a little creativity and your done. Wedding gifts need not to be expensive. What’s great about home-made wedding gifts is you can have your own design the only limit is your mind.

    Good luck!

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