(song of the day: if you only knew, savannah outen)
i'm not a wedding expert by any means. that's why i'm writing these! but i remember i had a particularly unfortunate experience last year. i shelled out $50 for a bridal shower present and then it turned out i wasn't even invited to the wedding. NOT a pleasant experience. i had forgotten back then that it's not so much what you spend as to what you get that matters. the price tag isn't the bottom line, you should find/buy/make something the couple will appreciate. now that times are tough people are evening more understanding. hopefully these gift ideas will keep everyone happy!

it's important to set a budget (1) more and more i'm trying to at least find a goal amount that i want to spend. it makes me more careful when i'm about to go over. and of course, it makes me more careful of the item i pick up. i'm perfectly willing to go over my limit if it's a really good deal. i find that budgets put things in perspective.

i think gift registries are wonderful. it takes all the guesswork out of everything, but when you're a student, not everything on said list is attainable. i think it's okay to purchase a smaller ticket item and then personalize it with a really nice note (2) or something. people don't really write letters any more but they're amazing to receive. chock it full of memories, wishes or advice for the happy couple. or get a group of friends and pool together (3) to get something reaslly nice.but if you're going to d this, don't wait till the last minute.

you can find an item from the gift registry and try and find it cheaper elsewhere (4). this only works if it's the EXACT same item. but if they're registered at the bay and you can save yourself five dollars at wlamart, i don't see a problem with that! just don't forget to notifiy the store that they can cross the item off the list.

i totally suggest giving etsy a browse (5). you could find a one of a kind gifts that they'd love. you may even have something you could personalize. if you're crafty you may even want to try making something yourself. i'm not talking a plaster cast of your palm print. homemade gifts (6) can actually be really nice. the key is to keep them personalized. go with names, or inside jokes,or something special with a memory attached. and keep the couples interests at heart first and formemost. if they're not really into cross stitching, it's not going to be much of a gift.

and if you've got skills of other sorts, you could always offer them (7) as a gift. if you're good with video, you can offer to edit all of the wedding footage taken into a nice dvd for the couple, cause services charge a lot for that. if you're musically inclined ask if the couple would like some free entertainment for the reception. if you're a whiz in the cosmetology department offer to do hair or makeup for the bridal party. maybe you can paint some original artwork for their new home.

some other kind of frual but still v. cool ideas (8): packaging up the perfect movie night (popcorn and video rental coupon included), framing their wedding invitations, putting together a cookbook of foolproof recipes, any kind of scrapbook is lovely really. and then, magazine subscriptions are gifts that keep on giving.

if you're tapped out for ideas, i've never heard of a couple that's complained about getting cash or gift cards (9). they're definitely easier to pack with you! and i think it's perfectly legit to use gift cards you've gotten (10) to buy someone something else. i'm not opposed to using coupons or store credit either.

one last thing: avoid regifting at all costs. if you didn't use it want it, why would anyone else?

anyway, that's it for me, i've got worship practice and some shopping to do!