Wedding gifts on a budget

Ditch the list and save £££s while surprising your friends with these quirky gifts.

Ever seem like everyone you know is getting hitched? While it’s always fun to go to your friends’ weddings, the costs quickly add up. Once you’ve paid to go on the hen/stag do and booked trains or even flights and hotels for the wedding itself, you might not have that much left for a pricey wedding gift. No one wants to show up empty handed but who wants to be the one who forks out for the expensive plates in a matching dinner service when you know your friends won’t even remember they’re from you?

So here's our thrifty guide to being Cash Smart when it comes to shopping for wedding gifts – whatever your budget.

Don’t overspend

The amount of money you splurge on a gift is not equal to the amount of love you have for the couple in question – or how long you think their marriage will last! Most couples don’t remember who gave them which gift, but what does stick with them are special memories from the day and all their treasured photos. So treat them to a lovely (and cheap) photo frame or a collage board so that they can pin up their fave pics of the big day. They’ll remember all the fun they had with you – and your thoughtfulness, more than the price tag!

Give your services

Think outside of the gift box and instead of splashing out on a pricey present, offer up your services instead. Think about what talents or skills you have, so if you’re savvy with web design then consider offering to design the couple’s wedding website, or if you love to bake then offer to make the wedding cake. If you have beautiful handwriting, you could really help them out by writing the place card names. Weddings are so expensive that they’ll be relieved to save some of their own budget and you’ll be remembered as part of their special day, rather than just another guest!

Go for a group gift

If you’re going to the wedding with other friends or family members, why not see if they’re interested in pitching in for one big memorable gift? Choose something you know the couple have mentioned but can’t afford to splash out on. This way they get a lavish gift while everyone spends a little less each.

Buy early

You usually receive the wedding invite or a ‘save the date’ at least 6 months before the big day, which leaves you plenty of time to plan your gift. Schedule everything you’ll be spending on their wedding (travel costs and hotels) into your monthly budget so you can save up and look for wedding gifts during the January or summer sales to save pounds.

The gift of memories

Whether it be the actual invite to their special day or memorable photos from the stag and hen, you can use these happy memories to make perfect personal gifts. All you need is a fancy frame to turn the wedding invitation into a piece of art that they can hang on the wall and treasure forever.

Alternatively, you can create a photo album to remind them of their stag and hen dos or events you’ve been to together such as parties, birthdays and holidays. Sites like Snapfish, PhotobookUK and Photobox make this very easy. You just upload the photos, chose the book style and away you go. You can often find online vouchers to give you a bit of a discount too.

Look after their home

The last thing on a happy couple’s mind when they are about to head off on their honeymoon is to get their house ready for when they return. You could offer to house-sit or look after their pets while they’re away. And, if they’ve left it in a bit of a mess, you could give it a bit of a clean so they come back to a tidy, stress-free home. You could even fill their fridge and cupboards to make their welcome home all the sweeter.

Homemade with love

A homemade gift is the best, as it shows a huge amount of thought and effort has gone into it. Why not knit them a blanket that they can cosy up with or make a scrabble picture frame with their names in. They can even add more names as and when their family grows.

If you’re going to stick to the list…

If the couple is stubbornly sticking to the gift list, one easy way to get them something they want without blowing your budget is to choose one of the cheaper gifts from the list (something that’s about half your budget) and then use the money you have left over to buy a small, accompanying item that looks thoughtful. So if they have a mixing bowl or rolling pin on the list, then you could accompany it with some pretty yet cheap cupcake holders or cookie cutters that match their style.

Whatever you choose to give them, remember that love is all you need!