It's well known that June is the most popular month for
weddings. My husband, kids and I actually will be attending one
next weekend. And I really need to get on the ball and buy them a
gift. I plan on being generous because it's my step-brother who is
getting married -- and I'm at a stage in life where buying
something nice for him and his fianc� won't put a big
dent in my budget. It also helps that I won't be attending any
other weddings (and buying more wedding gifts) this year.
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But those of you in your twenties and early thirties might be
invited to several ceremonies this year (maybe some engagement
parties and wedding showers, too). You're probably wondering how
you can afford to get your friends something nice without racking
up big credit-card bills or looking like a cheapskate when you give
them a present that's actually in your price range.
The good news is that you can keep costs to a minimum by
shopping smart and using a little creativity. Here are five tips to
Set a budget.
Examine your finances to figure out how much you can afford (use
). And avoid the urge to over-give. Your gift doesn't have to match
the entr�e price if you're invited to a fancy
Homemade and heartfelt gifts can have a big impact -- at little
cost to you. The key to pulling it off, though, is to personalize
the gift. Make a wedding scrapbook filled with pictures and
mementos from the wedding -- and events leading up to it. If you're
not crafty, consider a DVD photo album. Or pick something for the
couple's shared interests, such as a travel magazine subscription
and a pair of binoculars for a globe-trotting couple, or a DVD
collector's set for film buffs. Monogram an inexpensive item, such
as a frame or hand towels, for a personalized touch.
Get a group gift.
Go in together to get a big-impact item. Group gifts are a common
practice among baby-shower guests, and they work just as well for
wedding presents. Ask other friends invited to the ceremony to
pitch in so you can give the couple one of the more pricey items on
Stick to the registry.
If you don't know the couple well, the registry definitely is your
best bet. If you try to pick out something on your own but don't
know the couple's tastes, your gift might be the butt of jokes for
years to come. You can also personalize a registry item to make it
more meaningful. Include a couple of your favorite cookie recipes
with that mixing bowl set, for example, and toss in a few of the
Offer your services.
If you play an instrument or sing well, you could offer your
musical talents for the ceremony or reception -- and save the
couple the cost of hiring a musician.
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