Feb 18, 2010

Unexpected Expenses: Gifts - Part 3 (Merrick)

As far as gifts go, wedding gifts are always a budget killer, in my opinion. You can probably get away with cheaper gifts at baby showers since it’s hard to tell the difference between a $5 outfit and a $50 outfit; but wedding gifts are slightly less easy to disguise, especially when you get items the couple has registered for, so they know exactly how much you spent and how cheap you are.

Therefore, to avoid this problem, I’ve come up with a standard, inexpensive, but heartfelt, wedding gift that I give to anyone and everyone getting married: A Cookbook.

Now, this is not just any cookbook. I actually got the idea from my sister, Janssen, who put together a cookbook for our wedding of all her favorite recipes. For one, this was an extremely thoughtful gift since she not only took the time to compile all the recipes, she also put little blurbs at the beginning of each recipe telling where she found it, what she serves it with, why she likes, it, etc. Second, it was the perfect gift because the moment I was married and presented with my first week of cooking for two people, I suddenly couldn’t remember one single thing my mom had ever cooked. What did we eat for the last 20 years of my life?!

When the wedding announcements began pouring in, I thought back to this perfect gift and decided to use it as my standard, cheap, thoughtful wedding gift.



I drew up a cute design for the front, compiled all my favorite recipes (I’m constantly adding to this), wrote funny blurbs for each recipe, and then saved it all on my computer. Every time we get invited to a wedding, I print out the cookbook, put it in a $3 binder, wrap it in dollar store wrapping paper, and voila! The cheapest wedding gift you’ll ever give, and yet it’s the one I get requests for from friends who have upcoming weddings.

Bottom line is this: wedding gifts can be expensive, and sometimes we feel obligated to buy something that goes beyond our budget so you don’t feel like a cheapskate. But if you can come up with a gift that is thought out and meaningful, but also inexpensive, you get the best of both worlds.

So, does this get your creative wheels turning? I’d love to hear your ideas for inexpensive wedding gifts.

11 comments:

Janssen said...

Yours is much cuter than mine is, but I should definitely go back and add to yours. Of course, we don't get invited to nearly as many weddings outside of Utah either :)

Carly Jane said...

I just made two sets of placemats (four each) as wedding gifts. I get the decorator fabric at Wal-mart for $3.50 a yard (they take a bout a yard a set). Sometimes (for family or a really close friend) I make ones that are turned rather than just hemmed... but either way, they're a fun gift.

I've also done cookbooks before--but always bought. I love this idea (if I only had a working printer!)

Mary said...

My go to wedding gift is a gift basket all from the dollar tree. Sometimes I'll do a "spaghetti dinner" basket and get a strainer, pasta, sauce, dish towels, champagne glasses, and chocolate all from the dollar store, then arrange them with the strainer as the basket. For bridal showers I've also done the same basket idea but using a mopping bucket as the basket and included cleaning towels, those yellow cleaning gloves, scrubbing pads, and various cleaning products also all from the dollar store.

Packrat said...

Lately, I've just been doing a gift card to a store where the couple is registered. They'll know I'm "cheap", but too bad. If I know the couple really well, I will spend more money.

LOVE the cookbook idea. Thank you for sharing this.

Gretchen said...

That is a very cute idea and I wouldn't mind getting something like that. However, this is not always true. Everyone is different and maybe I'm an exception, but I would much rather get something that costs only $5 from my wedding registry than something worth $50 that isn't on it. I have never once judged someone for how much they spent if they got me something I registered for.

Bart said...

Makes me think about Janssen's cooking, which is making me hungry. Time for lunch!

Chelsea said...

My girlfriend Shelli did this same thing for me! Love it! Tom took one of his friends wedding pictures. One time he also took pictures during the reception and put together a little scrapbook for them.

Kimberly said...

I get everyone one of two things (or sometimes both if I REALLY like them): Rubbermaid Premiere Tupperware (which doesn't absorb colors or smells of tomatoes or anything else) or a meat thermometer. Both are things that I can't live without and feel are severely undervalued. I think what makes these gifts work for me is that they are a) $15 or less, and b) I can vouch for them, which is what makes the cookbook idea so great.

tootie said...

What a good idea!! I think these kinds of gifts are the most thoughtful, and practical, too. I would have LOVED to have gotten this as a gift at my wedding!

Chelsea said...

I LOVED getting this gift at my bridal shower. Tried and true recipes are the best, I use it all the time. Thanks Merrick :)

Hurst Family said...

I like to give spoons for wedding gifts. Special spoons you usually wouldn't think to buy: grapefruit spoons, milkshake spoons (the really long ones), serving spoons, salad tongs, soup spoons etc. They're cheap and so practical yet you wouldn't think to get it for yourself.