You Tell Me: Favorite Frugal Wedding Gift

Do you hear wedding bells? Well, it’s June and prime wedding season. I should know. My husband and I got married 14 years ago June 17. I think we attended around 8 other weddings that summer, too.

Attending weddings means bringing a wedding gift. Now, I love buying wedding gifts, because I remember appreciating everything that was given to my husband and I when we got married. It really helped us to set up our first home, a lovely pink townhouse in student housing.

Since I love shopping for wedding gifts so much, I don’t really have a go-to gift that I buy for every couple. The wedding gifts I buy tend to be a combination of my mood and what I find a great deal on. Here are some of my favorite things to get a newly married couple, though.

  • A nice picture frame…perfect for wedding pictures
  • Casserole dishes. I don’t know why these always appeal to me, other than the fact that I had NONE when my husband and I tied the knot. That and they last forever. I’m still using the casseroles that we received at our wedding.
  • A picnic basket, full of yummy goodies. We received a couple of them at our wedding, and they made for some good times early in our marriage.

So what gifts do you typically buy when you attend a wedding? Do you have a go-to gift, or do you vary what you buy?

Photo by *spudballoo*.


By , on Jun 26, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. We frequently give towels; they seem to be on most people’s registries. The casserole dish idea is great: 10 years later, I still love the casserole dish we got that came with a lid and a zippered fabric carrier with hot and cold packs that fit in a pocket. It works great for any time you need to bring a dish to a potluck.

  2. Heather:

    My favorite frugal gift to give is personalized Pyrex. Pyrex baking dishes seem to be on most registries. I buy them then using clear (or any) contact paper and some etching solution, I etch thier new last name on the bottom (outside) of the pan – so the name can be read through the bottom. I include with this most of the non-perishable ingredients for one of my family’s favorite cakes as well as the recipe. All wrapped up – it makes a nice gift that is personal, frugal, and has meaning. I hope those I give them to like them as much as I enjoyed making them.

  3. Matt:

    We like to support our local artists – a pottery studio usually has a sale a couple of times a year where beautiful platters and the like can be picked up inexpensively. May take prior planning and some legwork, but you can find some really beautiful unique gifts.

  4. JONES50:

    We always like to give a nice 5 x 7 or larger if you can find a good deal (especially starting around April through July) on a beautiful picture frame for one of their special wedding pictures. They’ve always seemed appreciative and if you can get a good deal at one of the major dept. stores with coupons you may only have to pay around $10 or so. This is for a crystal one with details – also picked up a beautiful frame at Christian Book Distributors that was porcelain with flowers and scripture on it and it was very inexpensive for one of my husband’s coworkers who is getting married. My son also works there and both said she was very excited and elated over it. I love the idea of the picnic basket! Have done that before and this was so much fun because I added inexpensive goodies that I knew they liked (non-perishable food items, etc.). Also, like to see what they haven’t received on the sites such as Target where they’ve registered their preferences. Love the topics you come up with each day! Thanks for your site!

  5. The favorite frugal wedding I ever GOT was a nice set of new towels from a colleague! Does anyone really buy sets of matching towels when starting out? It was a real treat to have them.

  6. The last wedding gift we gave was pretty frugal– a Home Depot gift card. The couple had “everything”, but was working on renovations.

  7. Debbie:

    I as a rule usually give money. I know it’s easy and bad and not all that creative or frugal but having been married twice I appreciated the money best but having said that….. The gifts I remember most, and I assume are frugal, are the personally monigramed towel set (the giver crafted them herself), the very thoughtful favourite collectable ornament (I’m crazy about unicorns) and the group purchase of lawn furniture. I know it sounds weird but the lawn furniture purchased by a family group (parents and adult children) was kind of frugal and extremely appreciated. I don’t know if this helps anyone with their frugal wedding gift ideas but I hope that it sparks your imagination.

  8. Nicole:

    There is a little specialty wine store where you can get customized labels ($2.50 per label) and pick your wine from some local vendors (price range is $8 -$28).

    I usually get two bottles of wine (if they’re wine drinkers) where one of them is a wedding theme with the date and their names. The second one is their First Anniversary bottle, again with their names and the anniversary date.

    Then, I throw in the wine opener set that retails for $60 from Brookstone. Easy and personalized!

  9. heather:

    One of the best gifts we got from a couple who were close friends: they took photos before and during the wedding and reception (very inconspicously) and then during the reception, they took them to a one hour photo, had them developed, and put them in an inexpensive album. They presented them as a surprise at the end of the reception. It was so great to be able to look at your wedding photos the night of your wedding.

  10. SPL:

    I agree with Carolyn that a nice cooking dish with assessories is always welcomed. I recently gave a bride-to-be a nice brownie pan, a high end spatula, and kitchen towels. I only wish I’d had time to ask the groom’s mom for his favorite brownie recipe to inlcude with the gift.

  11. Marci:

    Depends on the couple. Some, a gift card for home repairs at a local store. Family usually gets a homemade quilt – which, due to my slow sewing, sometimes doesn’t arrive until their first anniversary :) My fav is a black and decker rechargable screwdriver set with all the bells and whistles – something every homeowner needs :)

    When my mom and step-day married over 20 years ago, combining two grown familes totaling 9 kids, I did a crossstitched sampler with their names and wedding date, then added all the combined grandkids and birthdays into the sampler – and whenever a new grandkid is born, or great grandkid now, I “update” the sampler for them… It’s hung on the wall forever!

    The favorities I received were a crockpot (over 30 years I used that til I finally broke it during a move) and 4 suitcases that stored inside each other – used for years and now my grandkids are using them!

  12. Attila:

    I like to pack a nice box so that the couple open it and see the words “For romantic, candlelit dinners…” and find a pair of candlesticks and some good quality candles to fit them. Underneath is a little parcel with the word “…and…” on it, which they open to find a washing up sponge/scrubber thingy, a bottle of washing up liquid or some dishwasher tablets, whch is labelled “for the washing up afterwards”.
    Another thing I did for some close friends was this; a box of little kitchen bits like a garlic press, melon baller, zester and so on, with a special parcel labelled “Warning! This parcel contains the harsh realities of married life!” Inside is something for washing the dishes.
    The advantage of these is they are very frugal, can be assembled over time and show a lot of thought. And they raise a laugh or two as well.

  13. The most used wedding gift we got 11 years ago, and still use regularly, was a set of rubbermaid kitchen plastic containers. I know that sounds really cheap, but we also got nice expensive crystal that we rarely ever use (some have never been used). I like to give practical gifts that couples will need and be able to get the most use out of.

  14. Kristen:

    When it comes to weddings, if it’s someone I know very well, I usually give a gift from the registry for the shower and then something special and more personalized for the wedding. If I don’t know the couple very well, I just give money.

    I think the key with the personal gifts is to make sure it’s something the couple will actual use or enjoy. When we got married last year someone gave us a whole collection of gardening books. Guess where they are at this very minute? On a table at my mom’s yard sale. I do not like to garden. There are lots of other things I’d rather do with my time. Plus, we have pets that don’t mix well with plants and flowers. The dig at them and eat them.

  15. I have been making a cross-stitch sampler with the bride & grooms names and the date. The ones that I made for my cousins include heirloom stitching floss from our great-grandmother. I write a nice note on the back as well. I know they are appreciated. The framing is a little expensive, but it is something that I know they aren’t going to get 4 of!

  16. Janice:

    I have been giving Dave Ramsey books / software / sets – buying them when on sale. My husband and I are debt free because we listened to Dave and “drank the koolaid” – we want everyone to have the same blessing.

  17. Tina:

    My favorite wedding gift to give is something personalized with their last name. I often shop at or…you can find nice canvas or wooden items to personalize.

  18. if they’ve made a registry i want to get something off it. ideally the registry is composed of items in a range of prices are are all items the couple actually wants and will use. find something on the registry that works with your budget.

  19. Most recently, I’ve been getting couples gift certificates from Just look for restaurants on the list that are near the newlyweds new home, and buy a few. contstantly have 70% to 80% off sales, making 25 dollar gift certificates around 4 for 5 dollars each. You print them right from the site, so I “invested”(it was on clearance at staples) in some nice 8×10 card stock and I print them on that. Place in a photo sized envelope that you can get for cheap at the drug store, and you have a great gift.

    I remember us going out to eat a lot as newlyweds, so this gift would have been appreciated. We’ve used these certificates quite a bit and they are awesome.

  20. I used to do a set of picture frames – 8×10 and two 5×7’s, but now I like to give either cassarole dishes or cookie sheets and include either serving spoons or spatulas and also several recipes to use with the dish/sheet. Just adds a little personal touch, I think!

  21. Brittney:

    We got a set of screwdrivers that was obviously bought on clearance. MOST USED WEDDING GIFT!! It was awesome; we never would have thought to get them ourselves.

  22. Casserole dishes are a great idea. I think their over looked quite a lot now when it comes to wedding gifts and you can’t really get enough of them!

  23. We like giving an “at home date night” gift. A DVD, microwave popcorn, their favorite candy and a bottle of wine if they induldge in it. Both couples we’ve given this to have said that they really liked it…more than some crystal vase they’ll never take out of the box again.

  24. Abby:

    We often buy champagne – a really decent bottle of champagne. It’s a nice indulgence that we wouldn’t buy for ourselves. And since we’ve had lots of friends register for pricey silver and china, somehow one fabulous bottle of bubbly feels more generous than, say, three forks or a bud vase.

    It isn’t as frugal as, say, a picture frame, but it is easy to wrap. And, of course, a thoughtful friend gave us this gift when we tied the knot nearly ten years ago – so gifting it always reminds me of our happy day, too.

  25. One of the wedding gifts we got a lot of use from was an ice chest / picnic cooler set.

    The most recent wedding shower gift I gave was a gift card to Lowe’s.

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