It has become tradition that the bride and groom give and receive presents from each other, and present their families with a small gift as a token of their appreciation for any help that they may have been given (especially if there has been money involved!). But how can you do this whilst sticking to a tight budget?
The answer is: use your imagination!
The company Oh So Cherished provides gorgeous editable books in which you can state why your bridesmaid/mother and even groom (!) are important people in your life and you can include photos and memories. These are a lovely idea and will definitely be appreciated by those who receive them, and will probably put them in floods of tears! They are however, a little pricey. Not extortionate, but if you buy a book for you groom, four bridesmaids (the average number) and your mother, it all adds up to approximately £140 (not including delivery), which for leather bound books is not a rip off, but takes a fair chunk out of your budget. (www.ohsocherished.co.uk)
An alternative to this is to make your own! The Oh So Cherished site is quite helpful and gives you the titles of each of the pages included in their books, so gives a good guideline to go by if you fancy giving making your own a go! All you’d need is a notebook of some form and a bit of creativity – ebay has some lovely leather ones for quite a reasonable price! You could also make a scrapbook using the same kind of ideas! I picked up a white A5 recycled paper self-mounting photo album for less than £8 on ebay recently! Good quality sheets inside, AND came in a quality cardbox! Perfect for gift giving!
If you do decide to DIY then log on and sign up to Jessops (the photo company) for free, and receive 40 free prints when you order online! Total bargain!
Another idea is to make a memories box. Also on ebay, there are sellers lisitng East of India (a gorgeous shabby chic brand) memory boxes for a lot less than their original retail price. Pop photos of you together, little poems, and other items that have significance to you in the box and give it to members of your bridal party including the groom! Remember the 40 free prints from Jessops!!!
Letters are a sure fire way to make sure the people closest to you know they are special and important people in your life. It can be quite hard to put what you are thinking into words so its best to start these a little way in advance, especially if theres a few to write! It is also a practically free way of giving someone a gift so definitely worth considering if you are on a tight budget! Sometimes, something personal such as a letter can mean more than something that anyone could buy off the shelf!
If you want to be a bit more flash, or just lack the creativity to make something, then jewelery, especially for your bridesmaids is also a good option. The Christmas/January sales is always the best time to start looking, as this is when you can pick up some real bargains. A good website I have come across (but haven’t used myself yet) is http://www.st8mentaccessories.com. They have some lovely elaborate necklaces, bracelets and hair accessories, for a really cheap price! Plus, from the photos the items look far more expensive than the price you pay for them! Presenting your bridesmaids with a piece of statement jewelry to wear on your wedding day kills two birds with one stone! For your Groom, a classic pair of cufflinks always go down well.
Another neat little trick to have a seamstress embroider your names into your Groom’s shirt collar! Very cheap to do, but thoughtful all the same!
An alternative gift for your bridesmaids or mother is to have artificial flower bouquets rather than fresh ones. They are usually around the same price, but have a lasting effect and make a nice gift to remember your day by! I have seen lots of recommendations for http://www.sarahsflowers.co.uk – which is where I’ll be getting mine from!
The most important thing to remember is that your Groom and Bridal aren’t there to accept gifts from you, they are there to celebrate and be part of your day. As I previously said, the gifts that the most thought and care go into, such as letters, often have the bigger and more genuine effect on the recipient.
For once, its not all about the money!
On a seperate note
Mr M asked me to send him links to engagement rings that I liked the look of last night!!! (To those who have only just started reading, we are “pre-engaged”). I don’t think he’d be so obvious as to ask me anytime soon now he’s asked about the rings because I know he wants to make it a surprise (plus its his lovely Dad is the jeweler who will be making my engagement ring so that’ll take a little time), but it has got me thinking……….
Hope it helps!