5 Important Tips On How To Choose the Right Wedding Gift
There's nothing better than wedding season: watching friends or loved ones pledge forever, drinks, travel, good food, and cake. I love everything about it.
Well, almost everything.
Other than finding an appropriate dress for myself and trying to make sure my husband (who hates dressing up) has an appropriate outfit, probably the most difficult part of attending a wedding is the dreaded wedding gift.
What do you buy a couple for such a monumental life moment? How much do you spend? How do you avoid going over-the-top? Then again, how do you avoid looking super cheap and unoriginal?
The gift giving process as a wedding guest can arguably cause as much anxiety as being the bride and trying to pick out centerpieces or cake flavors.
As a guest to several weddings, though, and after having my own wedding, I think I've been able to find a way to balance the stress and still give gifts I'm okay with putting my name on.
If you have several RSVP cards stacking up, check out these 5 do's and don'ts for wedding gift giving, and be sure to add your own advice in the comments below. Let's get through wedding season with a smile, a glass of champagne, and some excitement for the next event.
1. Do use the registry if you don't know the couple well.
We've all been to those weddings where we really aren't quite sure how we got on the guest list. In addition to having to scope out people to talk with, it can be a challenge to find the right gift.
If you find yourself invited to your brother's boss's cousin's twin's uncle's wedding, one of the best routes to go is the registry. If the couple has included a list of items they've spent time picking out, why not go ahead and trust their wishes? That way, you can be sure you pick out a gift they love.
If you are a bride or groom with your own wedding coming up, be sure to complete a wedding registry yourself. It can help ease anxiety in guests who just aren't sure what gift to give you. Zola has a great wedding registry website to make the whole process super smooth... because I know from experience that the registry can create its own set of tension. Let Zola help you make it super convenient and avoid a fight with the significant other (blog post coming soon about how my registry almost caused a divorce before we even said "I do.").
2. Don't be afraid to choose something sentimental over something pricey.
Oftentimes, when we are attending a wedding, we get so hung up on the price tag and trying to avoid looking "cheap." However, sometimes the sentimental gifts show a deeper level of thought... and can sometimes be more appreciated at such an important milestone in life.
One of my favorite gifts from my own wedding was a personalized "First Christmas" ornament. It was something I wouldn't have though to purchase but something I truly appreciated when we decorated our first holiday tree together.
Try thinking outside the box. Find that personalized item that isn't necessarily super flashy but is super thoughtful in its aim. Find a gift that highlights something important to the couple or will help them mark a future holiday or tradition.
It really is the thought that counts, not the amount of money you spend.
3. Do know that money is fine as a gift if you think the couple could greatly benefit.
There are so many thought processes over money as a wedding gift.
Some argue that giving money shows a lack of creativity, originality, and concern. I disagree. Weddings, although beautiful in their own right, create quite the financial burden, no matter how big or small. If a couple is also in the process of moving in together, money is a welcome gift for the brand-new couple.
4. Do try to set a budget that you adhere to for all weddings.
Whether you are choosing from the registry, creating a one-of-a-kind gift, or giving money, how do you know how much is the right amount to spend?
My husband and I generally set a budget for wedding gifts based on relationship. We have a certain amount we spend for close relatives and best friends, an amount for coworkers, and an amount for distant relatives or acquaintances. Obviously, the amount we spend for all is still an amount we feel is respectable and will not be distasteful.
At the end of the day, it is up to you to set your budget. Don't feel that you have to break your budget in order to attend a wedding. Speaking from experience, it was more important that the people I invited were simply there to celebrate the day than to bring gifts. You were invited to the wedding because the bride and groom want you to witness their special day--not to get a gift.
Be generous, but don't feel like you have to overdo it.
Still not sure how much to give? Check out this free guide from Zola on how much to spend.
5. Don't forget to enjoy the process and have fun.
Weddings are supposed to be celebrations, so no matter what gift you decide on, don't forget to have fun. Being invited to a wedding is a momentous occasion, no matter what gift you settle on. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are there to share in such a huge moment with the couple.
What are some of the best wedding gifts you've given or received? Share in the comments below!
5 Must-See and Must-Read Pieces to Cure Royal Wedding Fever
"I want to be a princess."
It's a line so many of us uttered as a child--and maybe some of us are still saying now. Becoming a princess is just the thing of childhood dreams. The dresses, the castle, the lovely teas and handsome prince. It's the thing of dreams, far away dreams for many of us.
So it's no wonder that when Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle live out our childhood fantasies in real life, we all get a little obsessed. There's just something magical about a royal wedding. From the clothes to the venue to the dress, it seems like the thing fairy tales are made of.
I can remember watching Kate Middleton's wedding, mesmerized by the beauty and extravagance of it all. I know for a fact I'll be tuned into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on May 19th, taking in all the magical beauty of the scene.
But, if you're like me, May 19th seems so far away. Other than a few cute engagement photos and the engagement interview, there's not a lot to keep the momentum going. So, I've come up with this list of top five books, movies, and shows for those of you also suffering from royal wedding fever. Feel free to comment with any additions to the list.
1. The Crown
I'll be the first to say I find The Crown to be a little bit dry. However, it does give you a deep look at the royal family and all of the crises they survived. The dresses are stunning, and the actors and actresses do an amazing job at portraying daily life for the family. It is insightful and gives you the glimpse into the lifestyle few are actually privy to.
If you're obsessed with all things royalty, this is an amazing series from the CW. It follows a very fictionalized story line of Mary Queen of Scots. Adelaide Kane does an amazing job at portraying the beautiful, young ruler. The love story between Mary and Frances is truly swoonworthy.
Although a different royal family and not historically accurate, this is sure to satisfy anyone who loves everything royalty. The costumes are to die for, the scenery and castle is magical, and the secrets and lies keep the plot engaging. This is my favorite "royalty" series of all time. I highly recommend you check out the five seasons of the show.
3. The Prince and Me
An oldie but goodie for anyone who loves the "average girl marries prince" idea. Julia Stiles does an amazing job at portraying the average, girl-next-door who unknowingly falls for a prince. It's a magical movie that gives hope to all of us that our princess dreams can come true. Check out The Prince and Me to hold you over until the royal wedding... and maybe pretend that your dreams of being a princess are still possible.
4. A Christmas Prince
This is the holiday movie that took the internet by storm. A Netflix Original, A Christmas Prince touts some cheesy acting and plot... yet is somehow irresistible. It has a similar plot to The Prince and Me, where an average girl ends up falling in love with a prince. A reporter is sent to cover a story on the prince, but accidentally ends up closer to him than she plans. As her lies snowball, she must decide whether or not to confess the truth or to follow her career passions.
It's a holiday movie, but I recommend it for anyone who can't wait for the royal wedding and wants to watch the lives of princes and princesses.
5. Tegan Wren's Inconceivable
This book is a 5-star read. It again follows the idea of an average woman (a reporter) who falls in love with a prince. However, this book actually goes into their marriage and their struggles as a couple. This book gives a realistic look at how becoming a royal could change you. For those of us who won't get to live out our princess fantasy, it makes you realize that even being royalty doesn't shield you from heavy life issues. It maybe dulls the pain of the fact that Prince Harry and Prince William are off the market.
I highly recommend this read. Check out my Goodreads review here.
Five years ago today, I walked down that aisle, said I do, and walked into our life together. My hands were shaking, and the aisle looked so long. We'd prepared for the day for months, but in reality, we'd prepared for years. That day was a long time coming. From the second I saw you in that 7th grade art class, I knew there was something special between us.
As the years passed, we celebrated so many milestones of growing up together. Walking down the aisle, I'd already known you for over a decade. We'd laughed together, cried together, fought with each other, and threw in the towel. We knew what we were getting ourselves into, and we were ready... sort of.
That day, nothing was perfect. The deejay lost power. I almost put your ring on the wrong hand. My dress straps almost came undone and your mom had to patch them before the reception. My bustle was all wrong, and the cake crumbled when we cut it. There were lots of "oh nos."
But we didn't care. We were bound together by some simple words, a white dress, and a magical day. We were wrapped up in the sheer joy of the moment, in the connection we had, even if everything wasn't quite right.
Now, looking back over the past 5 years we've had, I know the wedding was just the beginning. Over the past 5 years, we've had so many more moments of sheer joy. We've stood together, built a life together, been through so many more milestones. We found an apartment and bought our first furniture. We laughed at one of our first dinners because a friend brought a bottle of wine and we didn't even have a corkscrew. We celebrated first holidays and made new traditions. We bought a house, a dog, and collected quite a few cats along the way. We chased dreams, chased careers, chased passions.
We celebrate the little moments, too. We laugh together everyday, sharing in an inside joke from across the room without a single word. We enjoy our lazy evenings on the couch watching Netflix or taking a nap or eating Lunchables instead of cooking. We go to Applebees for appetizers just because we feel like it or buy way too much candy at the grocery store. We play pranks on each other and buy each other chocolates and sing crazy songs to drive each other nuts.
It hasn't been perfect, of course. We've shared in some rough moments, too. The inevitable, "life's not fair" moments have snuck up on us. We've mourned lost opportunities, lost pets, lost moments. We've had hurt feelings. We've hurt each other. We've been tired and broken and exhausted from this thing called life.
Still, the good definitely outweighs the bad. I'm thankful we've had the past 5 years to figure out who we are together. I'm thankful to have 5 years of amazing married life. I'm thankful to have a man who will support my crazy endeavors, whether it's going to a school musical to support the district I teach in or driving three hours in the pouring rain to sell books for my writing career. I'm thankful for a man who, even on my worst day, can make me laugh, can say what I need to hear, can tell me the truth others won't. I'm thankful to have a man who isn't afraid to laugh at himself, at life, and find joy in the simple things.
Just like our wedding day, things aren't perfectly glamorous. We live a simple life, perhaps even an ordinary life.
Still, on the anniversary of our wedding day, I know this life is exactly the life I'm meant to be living, exactly the life I'd choose if I could do it all over again because any life with you is extraordinary in its own right.
I love you. Happy anniversary.
*As an Amazon Affiliate, I get a small fee for any books purchased through the links below.