Frugal is fabulous during wedding season

| April 14, 2011

Engagement PartyWedding season is just around the corner, and 2011 has greeted me with eight or so invitations thus far. Each invite in turn means an engagement party, a couples shower, possibly a bridal shower and of course, the bachelorette party.

That’s a lot gift giving in addition to the standard wedding registry. So how does one stay savvy with her pocketbook and still present the perfect present for each occasion?

Engagement Party

Bring booze. Before you pass judgment on the most basic and seemingly thoughtless gift idea, think about it; it won’t go unused.  Rack up creativity points by dressing up a bottle of bourbon with a recipe for a cocktail and package it with the ingredients. Or opt for a bottle of wine; there are many affordable varieties that taste great and won’t break the bank.

Couples Shower

Traditionally, housewares are the gift du jour for these events, but leave the standard on-the-registry countertop appliances to the other invitees. is a global market for handmade goods. Contributing vendors offer items such as ironing board covers, aprons and dish towels (just to name a few) in a variety of unique patterns and colors that liven up boring household staples with one-of-a-kind flair. Items range from $5 to $50, and it’s a guarantee the couple won’t receive a duplicate.

Bachelorette/Lingerie Party

Friend or not, picking out someone else’s sex clothes is my fear factor – not to mention that a lingerie set could run you upwards of $100, and who’s to say she even likes to play naughty nurse? Save yourself the embarrassment of trying to guess the size of her unmentionables and opt for something less literal. Think sensual rather than sexual. Items such as massage oils or novelty toys and books are budget conscience and still appropriate for the occasion. Bonus: You can keep it as tame or as creative as you choose!

A gift may not be required for every event leading up to the nuptials, but when in doubt, you should always bring something. Here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind:


For me, logging on to Bed, Bath and Beyond and clicking “ship” takes the fun out of gift giving, particularly when the registry is down to $400 Kate Spade stemware and a chip bowl. Nobody wants to buy you a chip bowl, even if you asked for it. When something is truly unique and speaks to the recipient’s taste, it’s always a home run. Of course, this theory applies only to close friends; not every guest should venture off the registry.

Gift Set

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Choose one item to invest in and accompany it with accessories that carry out the theme. For example, if the couple likes the outdoors, why not get them a modernized picnic basket and fill it with plastic barware. It’s inexpensive, fun to use and not something everyone considers for their registry.


If something is packaged in a marketable fashion, it’s received in a more favorable light. Target has mastered this theory.  I walk in to get a pair of socks and end up with color-coded measuring cups, wrapping paper and a Starbucks coffee. That’s not to say the gift itself should be thoughtless, but when all else fails, at least make sure the execution is flawless.

It’s bittersweet that friends often marry all at once. On the one hand, it furthers the friendship when the group is passing the same mile markers in unison. But with everything happening at the same time, the financial burden of too many weddings can outweigh the celebratory nature of the occasion. Keep your peace of mind and wallet in check by employing these resourceful pointers. Frugal can be fabulous!

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Category: Dating and Relating

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