Giving -- and receiving -- is part of wedding package

Handmade gifts that remind your friends of this special day make nice wedding gifts for those in your wedding party. Fill elegant baskets with soap petals, scented rosebuds or bath salts for a keepsake that also has a practical purpose.

Other ideas include personalized items to commemorate the wedding day, or an “I-O-U” for a bridal photograph of you and your friends.

Handmade gifts that remind your friends of this special day make nice wedding gifts for those in your wedding party. Fill elegant baskets with soap petals, scented rosebuds or bath salts for a keepsake that also has a practical purpose. Other ideas include personalized items to commemorate the wedding day, or an “I-O-U” for a bridal photograph of you and your friends.

In years past, wedding gifts were a way to get the couple started out on solid financial footing by providing the necessary items they needed to set up house.

Since couples are getting married later in life after living on their own, their needs are not necessarily what they used to be. As a result, wedding gift registries have evolved to reflect the modern newlyweds.

According to Stephanie Bales with Dandy Lions, a popular thing that couples register for are fine china ad every day dishes. When registering for dinnerware, most professionals suggest ordering eight to twelve place settings. When selecting a fine china pattern, most professionals say to stick with a traditional, timeless pattern. A trendy pattern might go out of style and out of stock, so choose wisely and opt for the classics.

Every day dish patterns should be made from a material that suits the couple’s lifestyle. Dishes accented with gold or platinum are not dishwasher or microwaveable safe and earthenware chips easily.

Most professionals suggest that couples register at more than one store. Most department and chain stores like Wal-Mart and Target offer gift registries and can be easier for out-of-town friends and relatives.

Specialty stores like Dandy Lions are great places to register so personal home decor pieces can be purchased for the couple. At most boutique stores that offer gift registries, the couple can easily customize their lists so that it truly reflects what they desire.

Couples should also register for gifts in various price ranges. Some guests might chip in together and purchase a big ticket item while those on a budget will appreciate those gifts priced in a moderate range. Also, if the couple is uncertain what to register for, web sites and magazine articles offer checklists, some of which are categorized by room.

The happy couple are not the only ones to receive gifts at the wedding. Typically, the bride and groom will show their appreciation to the attendants by bestowing them with a gift that can be treasured forever.

Hot trends for groomsmen and bridesmaid are monogrammed items. Glass bar accessories with the attendant’s initials are sure to please any groomsmen. Monogrammed totes, aprons or cosmetic bags are popular and useful items for bridesmaids.

Some suggestions for bridesmaid gift are jewelry that the attendants can wear for the wedding. This promotes a uniform look for the bridesmaids, and most women will appreciate a stunning pair of drop earrings or a necklace. Presenting the gift in a monogrammed trinket holder or jewelry box enhances the personalization of this gift.

Some groomsmen gifts incorporate the attendant’s hobbies. What baseball lover wouldn’t like an autographed Hall of Fame baseball bat or engraved baseball in a decorative display stand? Engraved golf balls or a monogrammed golf towel are also popular items for the golf playing groomsmen.

Some attendant gifts aren’t tangible, but are thoughtful services they can appreciate before the wedding. Facials, manicures, hairstyling appointments or massages are wonderful ways to pamper the wedding party before the big day.

Some suggestions for bridesmaids gifts include:

Classic gifts:

• A necklace, perhaps with a center stone that matches the dress.

• Beautiful earrings, perhaps personalizing each set to the style of the woman who receives them.

• If it’s going to be a chilly day, a warm wrap or shawl. (Wedding pictures where the women of the bridal party are all wrapped in matching shawls are so befitting of a winter wedding and picturesque. I especially like it when the bride’s shawl matches the bridesmaids’ dresses and the bridesmaid shawls match the bride’s dress.)

• Long white gloves

Destination wedding gifts

• A beach towel and a great beach bag

• A gift certificate to enjoy a fun activity during their stay

• A beautiful coffee table book about the destination

• A gift bag full of goodies to help them enjoy and remember their trip. E.g. a New York destination bride might give a guidebook to the city, an “I love New York” t-shirt, a taxi cab ornament, a disposable camera, and some New York food treats.

Memory maker gifts

• Personalized Photo albums

• A poem in her honor, tucked inside a keepsake box

• A traditional bridal shower activity is a charm cake, wherein guests pull ribbons attached to charms stuck in the cake before it is frosted. Which charm they receive tells them whether they are going to be the next to marry (a ring charm), have a baby (baby charm), come into unexpected fortune (dollar sign charm), or other prediction. If you chose high quality charms, a wonderful bridesmaid gift is a charm bracelet, given at the same bridal shower.

• A personalized CD of tunes that you both love

Do-it-yourself Gifts

•n a handmade scarf

• candles

• soap with a rosebud embedded

• bracelets

• bath salts

• a scrapbook of your friendship together

Pamper them silly

• Gift baskets full of lotions, soaps and other pampering items

• A manicure set

• nice pajamas or robes

• a spa gift certificate

• a makeup kit

• a beauty/makeup application lesson

Food is fun

• A box of chocolates

• A great bottle of wine

• A French press coffee maker and some fancy or unusual coffee

• A gift certificate to a great local restaurant

• Gift certificate to cooking classes

• Some beautiful wine glasses

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