For many brides, the shower host has already done her share, and that’s enough of a present. But if you still want to present a gift to the bride-to-be, there are plenty of creative ways to show you care in spite of a small or depleted budget.
Bridal Shower Gift Ideas on a Budget
The best tip to finding a cheap but impressive gift is simply to ignore the registry. The bridal and wedding registry is usually made up of pricey gifts that are meant for distant relatives or people who don’t know the couple well enough to make an informed purchase. It’s true that the bride and groom put items they want on their registry, but other people will probably snag those things, leaving you free to purchase or make a less-expensive gift from the heart.
Remember, just because your gift has a smaller price tag doesn’t mean it’s any less heartfelt. In fact, a thoughtful gift might mean much more than another casserole dish. There are a number of affordable, useful gifts your friends are sure to love:
1. Utensil Caddy
While plenty of friends and family are sure to purchase some of the things on the registry, a lot of the smaller items might get left behind in favor of a more impressive gift. Make it your personal mission to outfit the bride with all of the kitchen utensils she’ll need in her home. From spatulas to wooden spoons, measuring cups to whisks, all can be bought cheaply from a big box store.
Once you’ve grabbed the necessities, nail the presentation by purchasing an inexpensive caddy, arranging the new utensils and gadgets inside, and then adding a few fresh-cut blooms. The gift looks beautiful and impressive, even if you paid less than $20 for the entire thing. You can also try wrapping the caddy in clear cellophane if you’re traveling.
2. Wedding Day Survival Kit
As a well-wisher, you hope that the bride’s day goes off without a hitch. But, in case she hits a few snags, give a “Wedding Day Survival Kit” that she can take with her to the venue in case of an emergency. Grab a plastic case from your office supply or drugstore, and fill it with goodies that could mean all the difference in a pinch. A packet of safety pins, a couple of bandages, bobby pins, nail files, clear nail polish, tissues, a packet of painkillers, stain wipes, and a snack and a bottle of water could fix a small problem before it gets out of control. When the bride is applying a bandage after all that dancing in her new shoes, she’ll be grateful that you thought ahead for her.
3. Thank You Cards
One of the most thoughtful gifts I was given at my bridal shower was a kit for making thank you cards. The giver had created a bag of pre-cut cards, and then added stickers, decals, die-cuts, and other embellishments, along with scissors and adhesive. As a busy new bride, I was so happy to have a way to say “thanks” for all of the people that helped with my wedding. While we ordered cards to send to all of the guests, I put together and mailed homemade thank you cards to caterers, florists, my dress seamstress, and other people who helped to make the day possible without actually attending the wedding.
Try putting together your own thank you card kit for the bride to work with. She’ll love that she still gets to design the card, while giving a homemade thanks to those who lent a helping hand when it was crunch time.
4. Wedding Date Frame
If you know that the bride and groom’s new home is decorated sparsely, get them started on their decor with a date frame. It’s super simple, but really impressive for a bridal shower.
First, find a picture frame that has three slots for 4″x6″ or 6″ x 7″ pictures. You can find them at discount, home, and even secondhand stores. Once you’ve found the frame, use a word processing program to type the date of the bride’s wedding in numbers. Put a different part of the date on each page. For instance, the day would be on one page, the month on another, and the year on yet another. Make sure that the numbers are as large as the spaces for pictures on the frame.
Once you’re happy with the size of the numbers, print them on cute scrapbooking paper. Patterned looks best, and it’ll add a pop of color to the project. When you’re finished printing, trim the paper down to fit the slots on your picture frame, and insert them in order. If the wedding date is July 12, 2013, the finished project should have “7 – 12 – 13″ in the picture frame.
5. DIY Body Paint
If you have a bride who’s more Carmen Electra than Martha Stewart, play on the tone of a frisky bridal shower by mixing up a batch of DIY edible body paint. Start with 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, and melt it in the microwave in short 30-second bursts, stirring in between. Then, add one-half cup of heavy cream and a tablespoon of sugar. Mix well to combine.
Once you’ve mixed up your body paint, package it in a cute and original way. Pour the paint into a mason jar, and tie a ribbon around the top with a tag explaining what it is. The instructions should read that the paint is best when applied warm, and leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Finally, tie a paintbrush onto the jar. The rest is left up to the imagination!
If you’re strapped for cash, leave the Waterford crystal vase and the feather duvet for guests who have a little more to spend. If you’re really close to the bride, you should know what she needs and how to tug at her heartstrings without emptying out your bank account. The result is a gift that means a little more than silverware, whether it’s on the bridal registry or not.
What other affordable bridal shower gifts can you suggest?