Frugal gift ideas the bride and groom will appreciate

Inexpensive Wedding Gift Ideas

TDS Reader Solutions

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Ouchless Wedding Gift Wanted

Please ask your readers for some wedding gift ideas that have frugality in mind. I'm tired of always going and purchasing items at very expensive stores that are on the brides wish list. Is it wrong to give something like a Tightwad Gazette book for a wedding gift?


My favorite wedding gift is a set of towels. Buy inexpensive (but not too cheap looking) solid colored towels and some fancy ribbon at the sewing store. Add the ribbon and you have a not-very-expensive gift, but a practical and expensive-looking gift.
Faye in Mossleigh, Alberta, Canada

The Invitation

Take the wedding invitation sent to you in the mail and purchase an inexpensive picture frame and frame the wedding invitation yourself! You can even buy pre-cut mattings that might fit the frame. I usually spend less than $25 and everyone that receives this gift raves about how thoughtful I was and how pretty it is and how it's one of their favorite gifts!

I usually buy a picture frame with a stand so the gift can be moved from room to room as the couple redecorates. That way they don't have to keep putting new holes in walls in order to hang it up!

Practical, Inexpensive Wedding Gifts

I'm a terribly practical person, so I tend to give practical gifts. I give things like a laundry basket filled with detergent, softener, hangers, etc., or a dish pan with dish soap, scrubbees, dish towels, dish brush, or a cake pan with mixes for cakes and frosting, and a spatula. I just pick a price limit and then fill the basket with items that fit the theme until I've reached my limit. I've also given a broom and mop. I know these aren't fun gifts, but our thank you notes often include comments like "Your's was the first gift I used" or "the one I use every day."
at M

An Idea for Group Giving

I read about a shower that was thrown for a soon-to-be-married couple. The guest got together and purchased a couple bushel of peaches. On the day of the shower, the guests all prepared and canned the peaches, shared beautiful stories of their own weddings and family life, and at the end of the shower, the bride-to-be had several quarts of peaches. Each guest received a paring knife as a gift, and there wasn't alot of money wasted on things the couple didn't want or need, and there was no wrapping paper to throw away. I've also heard of people giving "staple" showers where each guest brought baking supplies so that the couple could stock their kitchen. There's also bathroom or bedroom showers where the couple receives much needed items such as towels or sheets. I personally like the kitchen shower and really wish that someone would have done that for me.

I know a shower isn't the same as actual wedding gifts, but maybe if enough people got together and gave theme gifts, the ideas could work. You know, several people from the church, neighborhood, office, or where ever could get together and do a large box or basket of kitchen items or something.

Honeymoon Helper ?!?

Times are very tight for us right now and giving gifts can be very difficult sometimes. Our standard wedding gift to friends has become a bottle of wine or champagne and a box of nice chocolates for the couple to share on their honeymoon. It is elegant and unique. There is quite a variety of very good wines or champagnes that are not at all expensive and even a small box of gourmet chocolates is appreciated by pretty much everyone. If we have a little extra money we sometimes include two inexpensive wine glasses as well.
Fresno, CA

Use Your Talents

I recently attended a wedding and didn't have a "large" budget for a wedding gift and a shower gift. I decided to visit the local fabric store and browse the sale tables. I found a nice Daisy Kingdom print that was 70% off (it was last year's style)(1 yard cost $4). After that trip, I went to the local Wal-Mart and picked up a photo album that could hold 8x10 (it cost me $12). I made a padded photo album for the bride and groom. On the front I framed their invitation and on the inside pages I included the inside of their invitation and an extra response card. On the following pages, I used computer graphics to "doctor" up the pages using wedding themes. They loved it. Many compliments were offered and in no way did it look cheap. All it cost me was an hour of my time and $10.

For the shower gift, I made the pew bows (six total) for a cost of $8. I also made the head tables' placecards on my computer and gave those as a present. They were done in color and an appropriate theme (a country western wedding). The bride and groom loved everything. Tell your readers to use their talents! Homemade gifts can mean so much more than a store bought. I know years from now when the bride and groom look at their personalized wedding album, they will think of my family!
Beth H.

The Way to a Man's Heart...

I have always bought a set of cast iron skillets. Nobody else ever gives them in the same party as I go to, and they are always welcome. They can be found boxed and looking pretty nice in a set of three at Target or Wal-Mart for $30.

Inexpensive Wedding Gift Ideas

My Favorite Inexpensive Wedding Gift

One of the most memorable gifts I received for my own wedding was from a creative friend. She chose a simple basket and filled it with 2 cloth napkins, a few favorite recipes hand-written on pretty cards, a cutting from an easy-to-grow ivy and she hand-painted a wooden spoon with our wedding date. This gift was pretty, personal and useful. Several variations would be possible.

Gift for a Lifetime

Some of my favorite wedding gifts were cookbooks, household repair books, and medical books. I have given these gifts and find that couples enjoy using them for a lifetime rather than until the plate or glass breaks! There are several "cheap" ways to get these books. Check bookstores such as Half-Priced books or the bargain tables at many of the chain bookstores. Secondly, book-of-the-month clubs offer people the option to purchase 6 books for a dollar (buy all your gifts here) and then have to purchase 1 or 2 additional books over a period of time. Check all the fine print, but this could work for you.

Lastly, one gift option I have used for a wedding shower gift is to purchase a casserole dish or cookie sheets, give one of your favorite recipes using that item and give them a sample. New brides are always looking for good recipes and kitchen hints!

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Personalized, Creative Gifts

My husband and I were married about 2 years ago, and some of our best gifts were handmade (with us and our tastes in mind). Making a nice gift may take a lot of time, but it becomes a personal treasure to the recipient. Some suggestions for handmade wedding gifts:

Keep the styles and preferences of the recipient in mind. Go to those "very expensive stores" where the bride is registered, and see what she likes. Find out what colors she likes, and make sure your gift coordinates.

Here are some ideas:

  • Anything personalized with the names of the bride and groom and their wedding date would be appreciated. We received a framed stitchery sampler with our names and date.
  • Give decorative pillows for the bedroom or living room. From a single bed sheet, you can sew several pillows, dresser scarfs etc. It's just like the designer ones for a fraction of the cost. Use the pattern of the sheet set for which the bride registered.
  • Put together a picnic basket for two. Shop around for bargains on picnic items like cute plates (paper or plastic), cups, tablecloth, small non-perishable food items, etc.
  • Sew a tablecloth (or placemats) and set of napkins to match in a fabric that coordinates with the bride's choice of china or everyday dishes. Add napkin rings or candleholders and candles to enhance the gift.
  • Put together a "fun food kit," like a pizza kit or ice-cream sundae kit. The ice-cream sundae kit might include sundae dishes, ice-cream scoop, jars of marshmallow and chocolate topping, sprinkle candies, etc.

Mail order discount catalogs are excellent sources for "first-quality" dinnerware and home decor at discount prices. We registered for our crystal and flatware at Barron's (1-800-538-6340) because they had the best price for our particular patterns. I have also purchased gifts through Ross Simon (1-800-521-7677), and I know there are other discount catalog stores with similar merchandise. Get a copy of the bride's registry from the "very expensive store" and then call the catalog store for availability and prices on the items she wants. If the bride doesn't know about these places, she may be delighted if you shared the information! Be sure to check what the bride needs. We received (and had to return) some very nice items in our china pattern, purchased from the outlet store, although we had already stated that we did not need any more china.


I don't always have the cash to purchase a "registered" gift for showers or weddings. I have found an alternative. When the local large department stores have their sales on photo frames and photo albums, I always pick up a few very nice items to keep on hand for gifts. For example, I purchased (at close out) a 8 x 10 Silver framed photo album (holds 100 photos). Sometimes the glass may be cracked on an ornate frame and they will take additional money off. When I want to be a little more generous, I tuck a gift certificate for photo finishing into the album.
Terri K
Northwood, OH


Angie asked about inexpensive wedding gifts. Here's what I do for the new bride. Go to the bargain store and look in the kitchen area. Most of the places I look at have a "gadget aisle." I choose things like spatulas, measuring spoons, bowl scrapers, and whatever else the store has that week that would be appropriate for the person. I also pick up a gift bag at the store since the bags are about half the price of other stores.

Put the gadgets in the gift bag and put colored paper in the top. Tie the handles together with a ribbon and add a card. We've had lots of nice comments about getting things "we forgot to list." All of the gift bags we've given have cost about $20.

Reviewed November 2017

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