Wedding Gift Giving Guide

wedding-gift-table Summer is popular wedding season. You’ve probably been invited to a few. If you’re attending a wedding this summer, you’re probably wondering: What should I give the happy couple?

Figuring out how much to spend, what type of gift to give, and even when to deliver a gift is tricky, especially if your generosity exceeds your budget.

Here are a few tips to help you sort through all those thorny gift-giving conundrums.

how much should I give as a wedding gift?

There are no rules. Whatever you feel is appropriate for your budget and your relationship with the couple is the right way to give. There is this misconception that people are supposed to give a gift that equals the cost of their meal at the wedding, but isn’t that a bit impersonal? Instead, how close do you feel to the couple? This is a more appropriate gauge.

On average, according to a 2013 survey by American Express, people spend $179 on a close family member’s gift, $119 on a close friend’s, $114 on a relative’s, $79 on a friend’s, and $66 on a coworker’s.

Wedding etiquette expert Lizzie Post adds that if your budget is on the lower end, say under $25, it may be better to give a physical gift rather than cash.

is it ok to go off the registry?

Yes. If the items on the registry are out of your budget, it’s also ok to give the couple something you’d think they’d like.

Be creative in your gift giving if you can’t spend a lot of money. Is there a service or a skill you can offer to the couple? These gift can turn out to be some of the most appreciated ones.

When all else fails, a gift card to the store where they registered is always a safe and appropriate gift.

is it rude to give cash when the couple is registered?

I don’t know of any one who would be upset at receiving cash. Cash makes a great gift for any occasion. In an Amex survey, released in April, half the couples said that the gift they’d most like to receive is cash.

if you have to travel to get to the wedding, should that impact how much you spend on the present?

You should never feel bad if travel costs impact your gift budget. If you’re spending money to be there on their day, that is a huge contribution already. It is more important that you give within your means.

should you mail the couple the gift or give it to them at the event?

Best practice is to send the gift ahead of time or directly after the wedding. Please don’t take the gift to wedding. It becomes too much of a burden on family members to protect the gifts and too easy for gifts to disappear, especially in a public place. Then they also need to be transported… It just creates a lot more work.

if you’re part of the wedding party, how much should you give for the gift?

Since you’re already spending quite a bit of money on the event already, the couple typically does not expect to receive individual gifts. Go in as a group and give one big gift.

if the couple says ‘no gifts please,’ but you want to give something, should you?

It is always best to honor the couples wishes. If you bring a gift to the wedding, you might make other guests, who didn’t bring a gift, feel uncomfortable.

If you really want to treat the couple to something, give them your gift after the honeymoon, when you can privately celebrate together, say at a dinner out.

do I have to send gift if I don’t attend the wedding?

If you receive an invite to a wedding, it is usually customary to send a gift. That being said, a gift is never a requirement. Again, use your judgment. How close are you to the couple? Just be sure to send the gift before the wedding or within a month after, if you decide to send one.

I hope these tips help you figure out what’s appropriate for your gift giving situation. What other tips do you have on gift giving?

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Why Hire A Wedding Planner?

Wedding-Planning-Binder-Timeline Hiring a wedding planner will give you the opportunity to really enjoy the wedding planning experience. A wedding planner can basically build your dream team of vendors and take care of everything come the day of your wedding and all of the little details leading up to your big day. The last thing you want to worry about on your big day is something tedious like whether or not you have someone to cut and serve your cake. A planner doesn’t only bring an extra pair of hands, but he/she will advise you on budget, logistics, vendors, decor, etc. Wedding planners truly are experts and you’re paying for their expert advice and opinion on top of coordination and design.

What is the Difference Between a Day-Of Coordinator and a Wedding Planner?

Some couples choose to hire a day-of coordinator instead of a wedding planner. Day-of coordinators usually come with your venue, and some wedding planners also offer day-of coordination as a package. However, be wary of hiring someone who only shows up for 1 day. While the price difference may be attractive, day-of coordinators are not in the planning process with your for months like a full service planner. So, if you do decide to hire a day-of coordinator, make sure that you meet with them several times the month before your wedding, and you can trust this person to show up and know exactly what to do come your wedding day!

Would you hire a wedding planner? Click on the picture here to download a free printable wedding planning binder.

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Return The Favor – Welcome Bags

WelcomeBags Making your guests feel welcome and appreciated from the start is essential. So whether you’re hosting a destination wedding or you have guests coming from out of town to attend your local nuptials, a welcome bag is a must. These clever sacks filled with snacks and activity lists are the perfect greeting for those who have traveled to share in your celebration. Include things that will make their stay more comfortable, like bites for late-night cravings, sunscreen for pool-side fun and pain reliever for the morning after, as well as ideas for things to see and do in town. Want to play up your location? Include a regional hot sauce or other tasty treats associated with the area to show pride for your chosen destination. If you choose to make an investment in the bag, there’s a good chance guests will put it to use carrying groceries or beach toys in the future. – The Knot

What would you include in your welcome bags?

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Expect The Unexpected

OutdoorEvent

No matter how carefully you plan, there’s always a risk that something can go wrong. Consider the following advice on notoriously unpredictable variables:

Venue temperature

When selecting a venue, make sure you ask about the temperature. Party spaces are different with hundreds of people inside; we always ask if venues get very hot, and if they do, we rent additional fans or air conditioning units.

Timing

Pad the components of your event with extra time: When building a production schedule, we always include time buffers — not only for day-of, but throughout the deliverables process.

Weather

Whether it’s having heat lamps on hold for a potentially chilly outdoor event or industrial ACs (or even a bunch of branded fans or spray bottles) in case of an extra hot day, or ordering a ‘just in case’ handful of branded golf umbrellas in the event of rain, it’s nice to see that the details are thought of.

Budget

Keep an emergency fund. As a general rule, we always include a contingency bucket in our budgets. This is comes in handy for those unexpected expenses.

Keep these things in mind the next time you plan an event.

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Jump Start Your Beauty Routine

BrideBeauty

When preparing for you big day, beauty is on the top of the list. We all want to look and feel our best. Here are five things to think about six months before your wedding.

skin

Visit your dermatologist to discuss any concerns. Six months is usually enough time to complete a treatment or regimen to deal with issues like acne or rosacea.

hair

You may love the person who cuts your hair, but updos may not be her thing. Give yourself enough time to find the right stylist, and schedule a consultation prior to the wedding. At home, start with weekly deep-conditioning treatments.

makeup

Whether you’re going to do your makeup on your own, or hire someone to do it for you, this is the time to start trying out different looks.

your smile

Ask your dentist whether you’d benefit from an at-home whitening kit. Make a cleaning appointment for a week before your wedding so teeth are extra bright.

brows

It’s not a bad idea to seek out a brow specialist and see what she has to say about your arch. The shape of your brows can really open your whole face, and these pros know what they are doing.

Check out The Knot for some more beauty tips to help you look your best on your special day!

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Planning Tip #1 – Fast Track Planning

alfrescowedding

Sometimes you don’t have a year to plan a wedding. Maybe you only have 6 months, or six weeks! You may be short on time, but you don’t have to be short on style.

One tip to help you remain calm and not blow your budget when on the fast track, is to

be flexible with your must-haves

Do you have a dream venue, band, and caterer already in mind? You’ll probably be able to book at least one of them, but it’s unlikely that all of your first choice wedding pros will be available on the same date on short notice. Establishing a list of priorities and sticking to them will save you a lot of head aches in the end. If there is a band that you must have at your reception, go with them, but settled on your second or third choice venue to keep cost down. This will also help you lock down your date much faster.

Planning your wedding faster can be done. You’ll just need to adjust your strategy.

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Return the Favor – Custom Glassware

Return the Favor - Mason Jars Fancy beverage stations are huge! They’re showing up everywhere. From pre-ceremony to the after-party. To give yours something extra special, incorporate custom glassware into the display. Pick a style that matches your overall day – Mason jars for a bar or picnic wedding or stemless wineglasses for a sleek loft reception – then customize them. They’ll serve as a memorable (and useful!) keepsake. Plus:  Your guests are likely to hang onto their glasses and use it all evening, if you attach an escort card on them, which means you can cut costs on rentals – you won’t need as many replacement glasses if people aren’t getting a new one with every single refill. GlasswareFavors1

 
What have been some of your favorite favors?

Source: The Knot

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Expert Advice

DessertTable

I was recently asked a few questions about some of the concerns a client might have while planning their big day. Here are a few of their questions and the answers I gave them.

If a couple has no idea of what type of wedding they want to have, where should they begin?

I would suggest browsing through wedding magazines and blogs. Find what you identify with. Oftentimes, couples jump into planning without a clear vision or path. That’s where planners and designers come into play! We are able to assist with honing in on what’s important for you to create your dream wedding.

What are some of the first steps to-be-weds should take in planning their wedding?

I always tell couples to begin by creating a budget. With a budget you’ll be able to determine guest count and whether or not you can afford any extras, like an eight-piece band, or upgraded linens. Most importantly, a budget will help you prioritize.

What should couples keep in mind when choosing their wedding pros?

I can’t stress enough the value of selecting vendors that get you. Just because someone is good at their job doesn’t mean that they’re good for you! Choose a professional team that you click with, so they can help you bring your vision to life. Also, when you visit your vendors, have your inspiration boards handy so they can get a good idea of what you are looking for and incorporate it into the finished product.

What’s the biggest mistake you see couples making?

Many couples underestimate the amount of time it takes to plan a wedding. The average wedding can take more than 250 hours to plan! When you overextend yourselves, your stress levels increase. Don’t forget that your wedding is about celebrating your love. If it becomes difficult to plan the wedding on your own, consider hiring a wedding planner who can easily guide you through the planning process, so you can enjoy your engagement. A wedding is only one day; a marriage last a lifetime.

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DIY Details: Entertaining with Brown Paper

Brown paper, or the paper used to make brown paper bags, is so versatile. I love using it for wrapping gifts. It’s a durable, blank slate you can embellish on as much, or as little as you’d like. It gives your gift decor a natural, organic feel. I always have some on hand.

But wrapping gifts is just the beginning for this handy paper. Take a look at some of these ideas I found for entertaining in Bride’s Magazine, that you can make yourself.

 Brown Paper Table Number

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Frame your floral table arrangements with brown paper details!

Wrap flowers in brown paper, then place in a painted tin. Using a chalk pen, write your table number on to a luggage tag before edging in lace tape. Attach to your tin with twine.

Brown Paper Table Cloth

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Snazz up your dessert table with a brown paper table cloth and a decorative chalk pen!

Spread a roll of brown paper across your table to use as a tablecloth. Place the desserts on top and write the names of each treat on the paper with a chalk pen.

 
Brown Paper Chairbacks

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Cut two large rectangles to fit your chairs before adding a pointed edge. Use a chalk pen to write ‘Mr’ & ‘Mrs’ on each one. Glue the ribbons to the top two corners and tie to your chairs.

Lace Brown Paper Table Runner

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Place a length of lace over brown paper and secure with masking tape. Spray paint over the top and leave to dry. Peel away the masking tape and lace to reveal the pattern.

 

Source: Bride’s Magazine

I love these ideas. They are simple and elegant, and easy to do. And, brown paper is readily found at your local craft shop.

Will you be trying any of these at your next big soirée? Leave a comment and let me know

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Down The Aisle

DownTheAisle

Whether your taste is classic or neveux, when picking your processional song, choose something that you absolutely love. But if you’re having a little trouble picking something out, consider one of these song below… You can’t go wrong with any of them!

Strawberry Swing – Coldplay
Not With Haste – Mumford & Sons
Sea of Love – Cat Power
Turning Page (Instrumental) – Sleeping At Last
Expression – Helen Jane Long
Hoppipolla – Sigur Ros
Reign of Love – Coldplay
Feels Like Home (Instrumental) – Chantal Kreviazuk
Your Song – Elton John
Marry Me – Train
All I Want is You – U2
Skinny Love – Bon Ivre
First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes
Canon in D – Pachelbel
Blackbird – The Beatles
Legends of the Fall Theme – James Roy Horner

What song would you walk down the aisle to?

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