15 Cheap Wedding Gifts: Don’t Worry, They Won’t Look Chintzy

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Get ready to start the hunt for cheap wedding gifts and that’s because you will probably be going to more ceremonies this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a wrench in all sorts of plans in 2020, from festivals and races to graduation ceremonies and weddings. While limiting gatherings has been key to controlling the virus over the past year, it has caused many Americans plenty of grief, loss and sadness.

Couples who were planning to get married in 2020 had a few choices. They could keep their plans in place and reduce their guest lists, get hitched in 2020 and push the reception to 2021 or postpone the whole shebang a year.

A survey by The Knot shows that almost 32% of couples who got married postponed their receptions, while 15% put off their entire weddings to 2021. Add those receptions to the ones already planned for 2021, and you could end up attending a whole bunch of weddings this year.

15 Ideas for Cheap Wedding Gifts

While seeing friends and celebrating love is a wonderful thing to look forward to, your wallet won’t be too happy about paying for all those wedding gifts. If you’re looking to save by giving DIY or repurposed gifts this year, consider these wedding gift ideas.

Check out our 15 from-the-heart wedding gift ideas that won’t break the bank.

1. Personalized Puzzles

Puzzles saw a resurgence in popularity during the pandemic as a non-screen activity to do alone or with your family to help pass the time. They make perfect gift ideas for the happy couple.

If the happy couple has a puzzle obsession, you can have a personalized puzzle made for them. Use a photo from their engagement session (or their pandemic wedding ceremony, if they had one) or one from a favorite vacation they took together. Shutterfly has several layout options, from single images to collages, that they will love working on together.

2. Painted Plant Pots

Another popular pandemic pastime involves having a green thumb. If your friends now have a large collection of succulents and other indoor (or even outdoor) plants, you can gift them a hand-painted pot to display their green offspring.

Follow the tips at Fine Gardening to make sure your pots look professional and unique.

3. Scrabble Tile Frame

Use old Scrabble tiles to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art for the couple’s wedding gift. You can check Etsy if you don’t have the patience to DIY this one, but it’s a pretty easy (and cheap!) project with a big impact.

Look for old Scrabble sets at your local thrift stores (or raid Mom’s basement or game closet) . Use a shadow-box frame and glue the couple’s names onto a piece of cardboard that fits the frame. If you have calligraphy skills, add their wedding date, or embellish with heart or flower stickers around their names.

This illustration shows a recipe book laid out on a table with fresh ingredients all around it.
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4. Personalized Recipe Book

As Savvy Eats says, a personalized cookbook really is “one of the best gifts you’ll ever give.”

Instead of just including your favorite recipes, request them from the couple’s friends and family members as well. Ask them to type up their favorites, plus a note to the couple, then you can compile them into a sweet and meaningful book.

With people eating at home more than ever, your gift will help your friends try new recipes together as they start their life as newlyweds. If you have some extra cash, consider buying a piece of cooking equipment or utensils to go with such as baking sheets and potholders. Maybe even cooking aprons, one for each.

5. Wooden Photo Hanger

Who doesn’t want a shabby chic photo display in their home? Bonus: it’s an inexpensive wedding gift!

Though Heels in the Mud doesn’t go through each step, it looks pretty easy to figure out — especially if you bring a photo of the project into your local hardware store. This project involves staining and finishing a length of 2-by-4 wood, running a wire line from end to end and then adding small decorative pincher pins to hold photos.

To make it even better as a wedding gift, you could paint the couple’s names and wedding date onto one of the boards.

6. Plates with a Message

Did you know Sharpies are magic? So magic, in fact, you can create personalized plates like these ones from Orthodox Mom.

You could make them into “giving plates” intended to be used as a reusable platter for food to be given as gifts, such as Christmas cookies, like this clever blogger did, or decorate a few with your favorite recipes.

7. Photo Coasters

These photo coasters from The Frugal Girls are simpler than they sound, and are also quite affordable. Give yourself some time, though, to allow the sealer to dry over pictures adhered to the tiles.

Use high-quality photos of the couple or maps of meaningful spots, and you’ll have a beautiful (and useful!) gift.

8. Hand-Painted Song Lyrics

If you know the couple’s wedding song (and have legible handwriting), this song-lyric canvas from Swiish would make a stunning gift.

That’s one thing I’d hang on my wall for sure!

9. DIY Welcome Mat

Whether the couple has been living together for years or only just started cohabitating, a DIY welcome mat is a fun and practical wedding gift.

This is an easy DIY following the step-by-step instructions from Curbly.

Wine sits in a crate on a wooden table.
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10. Milestone Wine Collection

If you want to give something that will help the happy couple celebrate their major milestones together, put together a curated wine collection with personalized tags.

Take inspiration from Just Measuring Up with themed labels like the couple’s first snowfall, first Valentine’s Day and first anniversary. You can use the free printable at the website or create your own. Once you’ve printed the tags, hang them on the bottle necks and arrange the wine bottles in a basket.

11. Wedding Cross-Stitch

Another craft that gained popularity during the pandemic is cross-stitch, a form of embroidery that has been practiced around the world for centuries. If you’ve caught the bug, use your skills to work up a unique wedding gift for the bride and groom (or groom and groom, or bride and bride).

Choose from a variety of patterns at The Spruce Crafts, or create a unique pattern to celebrate your friends and their love.

12. Map Art

Travel is still limited for many people in 2021, so the newlyweds may not be able to explore the globe during their first year of marriage. Bring the magic of travel to their home with a DIY map art gift.

This example from Delightfully Noted uses three locations: where the couple met, where they married and where they live. Look for a cheap map and frame online and follow the instructions to create a one-of-a-kind gift that the couple will treasure. This is a thoughtful and inexpensive wedding gift idea.

personalized wine glasses for a bride and groom sit on a table.
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13. Painted Wine Glasses

Wine glasses are a popular registry item, but you can take this gift a step further by making DIY painted glasses as a memorable wedding present. And it can be personalized.

Eat, Drink and Save Money has a couple of easy tutorials; one using chalkboard paint and the other using either gloss enamel paint or glass markers.

14. DIY String Heart

String art is fun and easy to learn. A DIY string heart is a thoughtful and unique gift idea that will match the decor in just about any home.

Follow the instructions over at Green Wedding Shoes to learn how to make your own string heart. Since string art allows you to create a unique pattern every time, your gift will truly be the only one in existence!

15. Artsy Pillowcases

Make your friends some fun pillow coverings for their couch pillows. Starting with plain pillowcases, you can either embroider a message (kudos if you have that skill in your arsenal) or paint it using an easy online tutorial like this one from Brit + Co.

This craft uses minimal supplies which you probably already have lying around the house, but it’ll create a fun, affordable wedding gift that your friends will cherish.

Whether you have one wedding or 15 weddings to go to this year, you can save money and surprise your friends with unique gifts by going the DIY route. Which one will you try first?

Catherine Hiles is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.