7 wedding gift ideas under $40 that won’t make you look cheap

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

May 30, 2016

Weddings can take more than a year to plan and can cost more than many people spend on a car. When it comes to spending a lot on a wedding, it’s not just the bride, groom and their families who have to pony up — guests often spend a lot on weddings as well, especially if they have to fly in from out of town and pay for lodging. While some couples request expensive gifts on their registry, there are plenty of ways to get creative and give the happy couple a thoughtful gift they’ll love — without breaking your bank.

With June, September and October taking the cake as the most popular wedding months, chances are you might have a wedding coming up sometime soon. Plan ahead with these unique and affordable wedding gift ideas.


With the stress typically associated with planning a wedding, gifting the couple a trip to a winery will give them a chance to relax and have some fun. If you live nearby, you could even take them yourself and bring along some snacks or picnic to celebrate the couple pre-wedding. Check out local deal sites for discounted winery packages. There are many deals on Groupon that offer wine tasting packages that include souvenirs at a cost of just $25 for two people or under $50 for four people.


Create a photo scrapbook chronicling the happy couple’s life together before the wedding day. With many people sharing photos on Facebook, Instagram and other social media, it shouldn’t be hard to find photos without asking them and ruining the surprise. Make the photo scrapbook by hand with an elegant book from Target or craft store for under $20, or order a digital one online. Shutterfly, for instance, has a variety of wedding photo book options starting at $15.99 and up.


For the couple who loves to drink beer and wine, give them something fun to drink it out of with some Mr. and Mrs. beer or wine glasses. Most sets are under $25. You could also add a personalized wine stopper for under $15 to complete the themed gift.


A successful wedding requires a lot of work from a lot of people. Think about what you’re good at and offer to help instead of getting a traditional gift. The bride and groom will likely love the chance to get rid of one of the many duties on the wedding checklist. Offering your help with wedding set up at the venue the day of or with the clean up afterwards won’t cost you anything — just your time. Your friends are much more likely to remember you for cleaning up everything for them at the end of the night instead of some plates you got them that got buried with all of their other gifts.


For a personal gift that won’t cost you much, grab a cute picture frame or a shadow box. Find maps — either old atlases or even printed Google maps — for locations that are special to the couple. For example: where they met, where they got engaged and the location of their wedding. Cut out that part of the map in a heart shape, and glue the hearts to cardboard or thick paper. Then simply add those to a frame or shadow box. You can make this for under $20 if you print out the maps yourself and find an inexpensive frame or shadow box at your local craft store.


If the previous idea sounds like too much work, here’s another unique and thoughtful gift that’s practically hassle free. Save the couple’s wedding invitation when you get it in the mail and frame it as a memento for them to keep in their home. To make it extra nice, add matting to match the invite or find a frame that matches the style of their wedding. If it’s a vintage theme, go with a vintage frame; if the wedding was super modern, use a slick black and white modern frame and matting. You can get a nice frame and matting for under $30, so this gift will hardly cost you anything.


For the couple who loves to cook and try new recipes, put together a food basket with one of your favorite recipes and all the necessary ingredients. If it’s pulled chicken barbecue sliders, grab the chicken, your favorite BBQ sauce, buns, cheese and green onions. Add some beer or dessert, along with cute napkins, and this won’t cost you any more than $40. You could even offer to cook the meal for them then get out of their hair so that they can enjoy a romantic dinner alone.