Let's face it: most of the pricey gifts typically given at weddings are beautiful, but not very practical. Many of these gifts get put in a closet soon after the wedding and never see the light of day again. Rather than buying some knickknack or gadget the couple may not need, why not look for ways you can give a meaningful gift that requires you to spend time rather than money?
Giving "timely" gifts is both thoughtful and practical. When you perform a service the couple would otherwise have to pay for, you save them money they can use on their honeymoon or in establishing their new home. Likewise, when you volunteer to take care of one facet of the wedding preparations, you give the couple the peace of mind of knowing that's one less thing they have to worry about.
"Timely" wedding gifts fall into three basic categories. First, there are services related to the wedding that you perform without charge. This kind of gift usually involves a special skill or talent you have. If you decorate cakes, you could volunteer to make the groom's cake or wedding cake. You could sing or play the piano in the wedding. If you have a flair for hair and nails, provide hairstyling and manicures for the bridal party.
Another variety of "timely" wedding gifts is when you offer to take care of a time-consuming detail that must be done. An example would be babysitting for the rehearsal dinner if members of the wedding party have small children. You could volunteer to address invitations or cook for the rehearsal dinner. Why not offer to serve at the reception and then head up the clean-up crew afterwards?
One last variation of gifts that involve more time than money is when you use your talents to create a unique keepsake in honor of the couple's special day. If you are musically inclined, you could write a song for the bride and groom. You could write a special poem if you are a poet, or make a quilt if you're a quilter. Such a gift probably wouldn't cost much but would be priceless to the recipients.
If you choose to give a "timely" gift, here are a few tips to remember. First, if you'd like to provide a service for the wedding, it is best to discuss what you'd like to do with the couple soon after they announce their engagement. Most couples begin preparations months in advance; knowing about your offer will help them as they plan and budget for wedding expenses.
Also, when you present your offer, do it in such a way that the couple won't feel they'll hurt your feelings if they decline. Tell them that you want to help out by doing such-and-such as your gift, but if they've already made plans to have that done, you will gladly do some other task or service that would be just as meaningful to them.
Finally, remember the couple's wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event for them. Do not commit to any sort of "timely" gift unless you are 100% sure you can do a good job in fulfilling your promise. If the bride and groom trust you and you let them down on their special day, hard feelings will undoubtedly result. Your gift would be more of a curse than a blessing if not done to the couple's expectations.
Nancy Twigg is a Christian speaker and the author of Celebrate Simply: Your Guide to Simpler, More Meaningful Holidays and Special Occasions
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