June is the most popular month for weddings, according to TheKnot.com. For those of you invited to multiple ceremonies, you might be wondering how to get your friends or family members something nice without going into debt or looking like a cheapskate. Don't worry, it's easier than it seems once you learn the tricks to gift giving on a budget.
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For weddings, you can keep costs to a minimum by shopping smart and using a little creativity. Here are eight gift ideas for $25 or less that will look thoughtful -- not thrifty.
Give something personalized. An easy way to make an inexpensive item appear special is to personalize it. West Elm has hand towels on sale for $7.99, and you can add a monogram for an additional $7. You can get a set of 50 lightweight personalized coasters for $18.95 from American Stationery. Or type in "personalized" in the search field on Etsy.com for a large selection of items that are $25 or less.
Treat them to a night out. Young couples might not have room in their budget for a night on the town. So treat your newlywed friends to a dinner or movie date. You can get a $50 restaurant gift card for just $20 at Restaurant.com. And you can find discounted gift cards for movie theaters at Gift Card Granny and CardCash.com.
Help them enjoy a night in. Kitchenware and linens are useful, but help your friends have a little fun in their new home with entertainment options they can enjoy together or with friends. You can find board games, such as Monopoly, for less than $25, or you can get them a Netflix subscription for three months for $23.97.
Buy some bubbly. Give the couple something to look forward to: a bottle of champagne that they can open on their first anniversary. Just be sure to include a note telling them to hold off on consuming it ... if they can.
Make a scrapbook. In an age of digital photos, an album of actual prints (and other items) can be a treasured gift. For example, you could make a scrapbook of a great golf outing you had with the groom; or a special vacation you had with the bride. Or make a wedding scrapbook with the invitation, notes from friends or a matchbook from the bachelor's/bachelorette's party -- and take a lot of pictures before and during the ceremony. At Snapfish, you can get 4x6 prints for 9 cents each, so 50 would cost just $4.50. And you can find photo albums for $20 or less.
Start a tradition. A Christmas ornament or holiday decoration to start a collection for their first holiday season together adds to the memories of a year of firsts. Several companies, such as Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, offer ornaments that are engraved or hand-painted with the newlyweds' names and the wedding date. Most are $15 or less, so this is an inexpensive way to give a personalized gift.
Get a group gift. Sticking to a couple's gift registry is a good idea. But you might feel cheap or embarrassed just getting them the $25 electric can opener on their registry. So go in together with other friends invited to the wedding to get one of the more pricey items on the registry, instead.
Offer your services. If money is really tight for both you and the couple getting married, you both might benefit if you have a service you can offer. That is, if you play an instrument or sing well, you could offer your musical talents for the ceremony or reception. That would save the couple the cost of hiring a musician. Or, if you're way into photography, you could take pictures of their reception or even the ceremony itself as long as your skills are truly up to the task.
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