Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Sentimental Wedding Gift Ideas Under $30

Last week we heard from a woman who wondered whether she could skip giving a wedding gift to her friend because she was spending so much on travel costs to attend the wedding and couldn’t afford to give cash, which is the norm where she’s from, and her friend didn’t have a registry. Of course, registries make it very easy for guests to give gifts they know will be appreciated at whatever price point they are comfortable with — assuming there are items listed at a variety of prices, but for a variety of reasons choosing a gift from a registry isn’t always practical, possible, or preferable.

Here are five ideas — all under $30 — for those occasions when you want to give a gift that will be meaningful, you can’t afford to spend much, and you want the thought to especially count. (Just make sure to include a thoughtful, hand-written card!)

A ring dish with their initials.

A framed photo of the couple if you happen to have access to a particular favorite photo. This matted frame for a 5×7 photo looks like it would cost a lot more than the $29 it’s priced at (use code EXTRAHOT for free shipping).

Get some notecards and pass them along to the couple’s close friends and family with the request that each person write down his or her favorite recipe on the card. Collect all the cards and present them to the couple in a lovely recipe box, many of which you can find on Etsy for well under $30 (consider customizing with the couple’s initials and/or wedding date).

Or, get a nice box with notecards that you can display at the wedding (this works best if you’re in the wedding party), and, instead of recipes, ask the couple’s wedding guests, to write notes of advice or wishes for the couple.

If they celebrate Christmas, an ornament commemorating their first holiday as a married couple.

Do you have any other suggestions? What were some of the more memorable wedding gifts you received?

Related: Poll: Do You Think Wedding Gifts Should Be Eliminated? and “Should I ask Wedding Guests Why I Haven’t Received a Gift From Them?” (The comment section on that second one is a real trip down memory lane…)

17 comments… add one
  • ktfran June 25, 2018, 12:27 pm

    My close friend cross stitches and she gave us a framed cross stitch that says “No longer living in sin” I thought it was hilarious and we keep it on our dresser. Hands down, favorite gift. Second favorite was a very lovely crystal picture frame.

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  • SpaceySteph June 25, 2018, 12:48 pm

    +1 for ring holders. We have one by every sink in our house. I often give them for bridal showers, because they are so useful.

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    • Lianne June 26, 2018, 7:59 pm

      Wow. I can’t believe I never thought to do that. Now I want several ring holders!

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      • SpaceySteph June 26, 2018, 10:05 pm

        Around our house we have the silver Umbra ones, including some they don’t seem to have anymore. http://www.umbra.com/usd/jewelry-storage/ring-holders

        I totally bought the tiny giraffe because of that DirecTV ad from a few years ago where they dude has the tiny pet giraffe and then goes “opulence, I has it”

        And, great, now I found several more of those that I want but I’m out of sinks.

  • Lucidity June 25, 2018, 1:29 pm

    My best friend cut up our wedding invitation into strips and put them inside a clear ornament, then made a loop to hang it using a ribbon in our wedding colour. I love seeing it on our tree every Christmas.

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    • Lianne June 26, 2018, 7:59 pm

      Yes!! One of mine did the same and it’s such a treat to see it every year.

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    • SpaceySteph June 26, 2018, 11:35 pm

      One of my husband’s cousins did this for us as well. I’m Jewish but I still really love them.

      We don’t do a christmas tree, but we do have a decorative ornament display thing that I got specifically for those. We have since added some other keepsake ornaments to it, like the ones made with our nephew’s handprints.

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  • MaterialsGirl June 25, 2018, 1:40 pm

    If you’re particularly close to the couple, putting photos together in an album from tiny prints or Shutterfly is always nice. And there are so many coupon codes!

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    • Kate June 25, 2018, 6:41 pm

      Someone who didn’t come to my wedding grabbed photos off Facebook and had them put on coasters, probably via Shutterfly. They are cute!

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  • Bess Marvin June 25, 2018, 2:14 pm

    I like to give small framed artwork as wedding gifts. My favourite is Marc Johns, who sells signed prints with happy / congratulatory / inspiring / lovely messages for very reasonable prices. Pick up a frame and boom, wonderful gift. http://www.marcjohns.com/shop/signed-prints

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  • JD June 25, 2018, 2:45 pm

    I mentioned it in that thread but my mom came up with a nice pair of men’s pajamas and wrapping the top for her and bottom for him. It’s always been wel received.

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  • Moneypenny June 25, 2018, 6:39 pm

    I’m throwing a bridal shower/brunch for a friend this weekend, and, instead of having people bring gifts, we’re asking them bring recipes to add to a custom recipe box.
    My co-bridesmaid and I found a cute one on Etsy like the ones linked as well as some cute cards. And the box turned out super cute! I’m excited to give it to my friend!

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    • JD June 26, 2018, 8:15 am

      This is really cute. I’ve cherished recipes from my family (half straight from Italy) and my mom has passed down old cook books to me.

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  • Kate June 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

    A friend of mine sent us a few different personalized things. My favorite was a big canvas tote bag with “our” last name on it (I didn’t take his name, but that’s fine). It turned out to be awesome to take on vacations where we fly to a beach destination, works great as a carry-on and then it’s a beach bag. Or I can throw all my shit in it and put it in the car to go to cape cod.

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  • Ange June 25, 2018, 7:16 pm

    Oooh actually I remember a gift at my wedding I really loved. A friend of mine bought her polaroid camera and took a heap of photos all through the wedding. She also had a lovely box to put them in after they were taken. The photos are great because they show all the fun we had plus they have that great vintage look. Our photographer ended up being dodgy so those were also the only photos we had for the longest time, they have a very special place in my heart.

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  • Sarah June 26, 2018, 8:29 am

    $29 cash

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  • Lianne June 26, 2018, 8:02 pm

    This was actually for our first anniversary but could work just as well for a wedding gift. My brother and SIL found a shop in NYC that takes your wedding invitation and turns it into a little trinket plate. I absolutely love it. Especially since our invitations were handmade by someone on Etsy.

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