How many weddings have you been to where you were given a gift (presumably a favor or welcome bag)? Probably all of them, right? Of those gifts how many did you keep? Use? Toss? Did you remember the wedding by the favor you received? Probably not!
In addition to wedding invitations I often get asked to create all sorts of paper goods like bags, stickers and tags for favors, menus, programs and lots of other goods. The sad fact of it all is that most of it gets thrown away. This idea is what fuels my efforts to live and work differently. It isn’t going to happen instantly but I’m working on using my time, money and resources towards creating ideas and giving things that last.
This post is one I’ve started and stopped countless times. In part because I don’t want to come across as a cheap, buy nothing, a never have any fun, snob. And in all truth I might, but I say this with love and honesty.
Let me first start by stating, gift giving is not entirely bad. Showing your appreciation for someone by giving them something is part of our human nature. We are wired that way, and it’s not wrong. But there are ways to go about gift giving that can leave you and the recipient fulfilled.
And if gifts are necessary, let’s give gifts with meaning, purpose, and heart. I’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to do just that.
1. Give Gifts You Can’t Buy
Yep, that’s right I’m going to talk about time again. I guess I can’t help it, I think a LOT, and overthink a LOT so the importance of time comes up a LOT.
Wedding planning can take a lot of time in a short span of time. So if you already have a busy life as it is it can make you feel like you’re in a pressure cooker. A change in focus can adjust the way you view this time and can help you turn back the clock.
I prefer to think of engagements as an amazing chunk of time that gives you an opportunity to reconnect with your friends and family. If your family is as spread out as mine there are few times in your life that are you going to see so many of them in one place. This should be a time that reminds us of how blessed we are to have people to care about, to focus on the family connections being made, and start a new life chapter embracing them. One of the regrets I’ve heard from recently married couples I know was that their wedding day was so rushed they didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone at the reception. That can often be the downside of large weddings but a great excuse for an engagement party (i personally enjoy a low key, pot luck, laugh a lot shindig to spread the love – – no gifts, just fun)! Getting to have some time with you before the wedding day is a beautiful way to give a gift of appreciation to them.
Whole Wed Tip: If you haven’t gotten a response from your invitation, respond to RSVP’s with a quick phone call. It’s a sweet, simple way to show them that you would love them to be there.
2. Give Gifts With Compassion
I want to specifically relate this to weddings but this advice pertains to a good portion of our lives. We don’t need more stuff. We need a life filled with purpose. For a lot of people that purpose comes from helping others. Why should your wedding day be any different? Take this time to shed light on a cause you are passionate about individually or as a couple and choose to give to a cause in honor of your guests. I think it is such a beautiful way to start of a marriage with an act of kindness. Take the money you would have spent on favors and give to a cause that speaks to your heart. Trust me it will speak to your guest’s hearts too.
3. Give In the Moment Gifts
Just like spending time with someone; in the moment gifts can be some of the best. Simple gestures to capture a moment can add value to your relationships. How about requesting a favorite song for your girlfriends (siblings, co-workers, favorite Uncle, fill in the blank) to dance to with you at your reception. In the moment edible gifts (with little to no packaging) can be thoughtful ways to share a special treat to keep them fueled during the night (i.e. homemade chocolate chip cookies). I could seriously go for one right now.
4. Give Circular Gifts
What I mean is to give with re-usability in mind. DIY weddings are popular for budget friendly couples, but often the cost and time requirements can overextend a nice gesture. If it can serve an extended purpose it might warrant the bigger effort. If it is something they need to take with them think of items that last or contribute zero waste. Items without direct personalization can be more easily reused or recycled. I love the idea of soy candles in reusable glass jars like ones by Rayne Home Decor. Our day-of-details page will someday be full of low to zero waste options for this. The point here is to re-think the ideals of gift giving. In expanding your thought in what you give you may decide no gift is enough.
5. You Are the Gift
I’m a firm believer that seeing two people in love commit their lives to each other is an amazingly beautiful gift. That is the ultimate gift of the day. They asked me to share the day with them, dine with them, and dance with them. I didn’t need a favor or a welcome bag to make the day any more wonderful.
The gifts you give with love, kindness, thought and purpose will always be the best gifts.