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    Wedding Planning

    Engagement Gifts, Bridal Shower Gifts and General Gifts
    for Brides and Grooms

    Contributed by Nily Glaser

    For pictured ideas CLICK HERE.

    Congratulations! You're getting married. In addition to a new spouse, a new home and a new way of life, you'll receive gifts from friends and family.

    According to statistics offered by "BRIDE'S Millennium Report: Wedding Love & Money" The average wedding costs today top $27,000. With wedding costs escalating, many couples suggest that the best engagement and shower gifts will center on their wedding planning.

    Recently, It has become acceptable, even welcome when brides and groom inform their friends and relatives of their choices of engagement, shower and wedding gifts. This is why compiling a gift list is now a fundamental part of most couples' wedding planning.

    Many couples create a wish list of items and services they desire for their wedding and a separate wish list for wedding gifts. When creating their wish lists, couples tend to divide the lists into categories. Some wish list entries are for individuals or couples, while others are presented as cooperative gifts. That is, a few guests get together and present the bride and groom with a gift from all of them.

    Let me explain with two examples.

    David R. and Susan G.

    David and Susan got married. Though they planned the wedding on a rather strict budget, it cost them a lot of money. Some saved, some charged to their combined credit cards.

    As it is customary with Susan's family, her parents invited many guests to an engagement announcement party for their daughter. David's family followed suite by inviting their friends and relatives to an engagement party for their son. Between the two parties, David and Susan accumulated many gifts. Upon opening their presents, the couple's excitement turned into a disappointment. They received 3 toasters, 2 microwave ovens, over 20 towel sets of various colors, 4 sets of drinking glasses and other duplicated items. So, what is a couple to do? Be polite and send out thank you notes.

    Susan's sister, soon to be the maid of honor, honored her sister with a surprise bridal shower. She organized a party deserving of awards. Everything was just so! The guests arrived bearing gifts. Most gifts were thoughtful, some more expensive than others.

    As is traditional at bridal showers, the bride was expected to open each gift and make a comment. The comments were written down to be read later to the guests. Susan was up to the task with a pretty basket for the ribbons on her side and anticipation in her heart. I'll not go into the list of her gifts other than to say that she received 3 more sets of towels, (All she could think was: "Boy, I can open a towels store") another toaster that made her wonder who to gift it to, and some other gifts she had no idea what to do with.

    Ben S. and Rachel G.

    Rachel is Susan's sister. She and Ben got married about a year after David and Susan. Rachel and Ben's parents celebrated their children's engagement with a lavish party. This time, in addition to the standard invitation wording, the invitees were asked to contact the respective mothers by phone. When contacted, the mothers informed the callers about the wedding date and about the wedding theme the bride and groom chose. They suggested that the guests NOT bring any engagement gifts to the party and that they, the mothers, will share an idea for a most meaningful gift presentation for the couple. Obviously some guests arrived bearing gifts but the majority of guests was too intrigued to do so, and chose to comply with the request.

    Rachel and Ben were asked to come an hour later than the scheduled time to allow time for the guests to arrive and get comfortable. Rachel's mother took on the responsibility to announce the plan. It was a simple and forward presentation that basically stated that Ben and Rachel should have their dream wedding come true. They chose

    Red Roses
    as their wedding theme, and it would brings extra magic to the wedding if friends and family will contribute.

    Being very sensitive, Rachel's mother did not read her daughter's wish list and did not elaborate, but asked the guests to put on their thinking caps, and help her and Ben's mother by sharing ideas.

    It did not take long for many guest's suggestions and ideas to be expressed. Some are:

  • Personalized and keepsake gifts,
  • Accessories for the ceremony such as ring pillows, flower baskets, guest books and     pens and unity candles, marriage certificate holder,
  • Accessories for the reception such as cake servers, cake top, flutes, bridal purse,     disposable cameras, a photo album,
  • Cash gifts,
  • Pay for a limousine to and from the wedding site,
  • Purchase blank wedding invitations and note cards kits for the bride and groom to     print their own wedding stationery,
  • Purchase floral arrangements chosen by the bride and groom,
  • A Tiara for the bride,
  • Jewelry for the bride,
  • A Sixpence for the bride's shoe as an omen of Good Luck.

    A few crafters suggested a range of handcrafted gifts that will provide the bride and groom with true wedding keepsakes and offered to:

  • Decorate an entire wedding accessories collection with decorations matching the     wedding theme
  • Decorate the reception hall
  • Create favors
  • Create floral arrangements from silk or satin flowers, including the bouquets, wristlets     and boutonnières Creating centerpieces,
  • Write a poem for the bride and groom on their special day,
  • Play instrument and / or sing
  • Take photographs at both ceremony and reception
  • A teacher suggested that she will supply "Fun Kits" to keep invited kids happily occupied.
  • A few guests even suggested getting together to create and decorate the wedding cake.

    When they first thought of the idea, neither mother thought it would cause such excitement. Both were overwhelmed! It was, yet it was not surprising that even the gift bearing guests offered their participation with items and / or services.

    Ben's mother who could not get over the enthusiasm and energy in the room, provided each guest with a note card, decorated with red roses and butterflies, of course. She also provided each with an envelope. The instructions for the guests who wished to participate were simple. "Write down how you would like to participate in helping create an unforgetable dream wedding for Ben and Rachel, and return the filled card to me before you leave the party."

    Susan who held Rachel's bridal shower followed the same idea except that the request for suggestions and ideas was sent in advance, with the invitations and was aimed for suggestions and ideas of gifts that would provide Ben and Rachel with a dream honeymoon.

    Guests offered:

  • A night at a hotel,
  • Welcome baskets, (fruit, candies, pastries and other eatables)
  • Romantic baskets (champagne and personalized champagne flutes, Candles and candle     holders, Bubble bath, personalized keepsake towels, etc)
  • Meals gift certificates,
  • Entertainment gift certificates or tickets to events
  • Lingerie,
  • Transportation

    At both engagement and shower celebrations, a WEDDING GIFTS - WISH LIST BOOK put together by the bride and groom were available for browsing. The wish list in the book was not for engagement or shower gifts. It was very specific. As wedding gifts, Rachel and Ben included items they wanted or needed to start their life as a married couple.

    Ben and Rachel worked very diligently on their wedding wish list book. Each item entered included a picture, a price range and a box for a check mark. Yet each stated that the picture is just suggestive and the item does not have to be of a specific manufacturer and can look somewhat differently.
    Gift suggestions were organized by category with approximate price included. Guests who chose to use it as a guide, were asked to put a check (no name or identity. Just a check) next to the item they would like to provide.
    Ben and Rachel did not commit to a specific store's bridal registry for their wedding wish list. They thought it more considerate to allow their friends and family to shop wherever it was most convenient for them, be it in a store or on the Internet.

    When asked why they did not choose specific stores' bridal registries, Rachel simply said: "Our friends and family are very important to us. We want them at our wedding. The gifts are much less important and are not worth offending or placing a burden on our wedding guests."
    Wedding invitees were sent the modified list and asked to call the mothers to verify that the gift they chose is still requested. This too was a great idea. As a result Ben and Rachel did not receive duplicated items but did receive what they hoped for.

    Would you believe that Ben and Rachel's wedding wish list DID NOT include a toaster, a microwave, towel sets, drinking glasses or any items David and Susan received in duplicates? Copyrights © 2007 All Rights Reserved A-wedding Day

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    is the founder of A-wedding Day.
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