Monday, June 5, 2017

How to Select Handmade Wedding Gifts that will Please the Bride and Groom

Wedding banner by The Mad Stamper
By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Aren't summer weddings just grand? Refreshments on the lawn, photos in idyllic garden settings, fluffy clouds overhead and a breezy 72 degrees ... 

At least, that's how I imagine it at the beginning of June. What sticky 90+ degree days? Thunderstorms and tornado warnings? (That's when the old-fashioned church basement reception starts to look like a pretty good idea.)

Never mind about the impossibility of predicting the weather. When you're a guest you don't have to pick the date, so it's not your problem. But you do get to pick a gift, and you're thinking it would be cool to surprise them with an unexpected handmade gift — and still have it be something they'll like. Know what I mean?

Personalized wedding favor tile coasters, from My Little Chick
Even if you don't have insider knowledge of the kinds of things they want or need, you can still find something that suits them without just selecting an item off the registry, and here are a few ways to do that.

1. Give a keepsake that commemorates the occasion

Is the wedding taking place at a local landmark? Or perhaps the proposal occurred at such a spot. You might find a lovely print of their special place on Cindy Lindgren's Etsy shop, like this one of the Stone Arch bridge.  You can use the search box at the top right on her shop's main page to see if she's got one of the landmark you want — many Minnesota and Wisconsin sites are featured. She offers them not only as frameable prints, but also as cards.

This custom embroidered throw pillow features a charming tandem bicycle and the couple's names plus the wedding date, from Authentic Embroidery. 

You get eco-friendly bragging rights when you purchase this personalized glass heart sun catcher, because it's made to order from repurposed glass. Go ahead and start an engaging conversation with the maker, Brian Western, to get a custom made keepsake for the happy couple. 

Personalized heart sun catcher made from upcycled glass, by Western Art Glass

2. Think of the registry as a guideline

One thing that I like to do is study the couple's registry (or various registries, as is often the case), and make notes about their color schemes and styles (Midcentury Modern? Traditional? Rustic? Boho?), then look for something unique that goes with that.

Porcelain serving bowl by Diann Gamm

Or select something in a sleek timeless style that goes with any decor, like a white porcelain serving bowl or a black pepper mill.

Wood pepper mill from Just Turned
Are they book lovers? I can assure you, as half of a bibliophile couple, they can never have too many bookends or book shelves!

Stone bookends cut from one rock, by Naturally Unique Rock

Maybe they're coffee aficionados who would really appreciate a special handmade pour-over pot for their leisurely weekend brew.

Handmade ceramic pot and cone for filter drip coffee, by Nicole Baxter Pottery

3. Go Full Practical

Sometimes (maybe even oftentimes), people have established households before getting married and really don't need the traditional things like housewares and home decor. In that case, consider something that tends to wear out or get old — kitchen linens. I remember my sister-in-law giving us new kitchen towels after we'd been married a few years. It was a treat having fresh new ones, and so practical.

Cloth napkins made by LyricCol Designs

Not sure of their color preferences? Try something neutral, yet anything but dull, like these mixed pattern gray-and-white napkins.

Cloth napkins by Shaggy Baggy

Do they live in a classic Midcentury rambler? Then they'll surely get a kick out of these retro dinner napkins.

Retro '50s napkins by Mary Littfin

Or consider ever-so-useful kitchen towels, in fun mixed colors like these.

Hand-dyed flour sack towels from Palette Passion

Kitchen towel from Bethie Ann Designs
Have you noticed how quickly pot holders get grungy, burnt and stained? 

Pot holders by Handmade Bits 4 U

4. Cash gifts can still be special

So maybe this is a couple that really does have all the stuff they need, or they don't want stuff because they'd rather travel and keep their home base lean and simple. In other words, they want cash. But a cash gift can still be fun to open, and to give.

Here's a really unique memento, and it's only 10 dollars, so you can afford to give cash along with it. It's a fabric fortune cookie with a custom message stitched inside. You tell the maker what you want it to say, whether it's your good wishes or their wedding date and place. (You'll just have to click on the caption to take a closer look to fully appreciate this clever gift idea.)

Fabric fortune cookie with message inside, by Relaine

The "cookie" comes in a small plastic takeout box, in which you could put an enclosure card with a cash gift. These sweet peacock enclosure cards, which come in a set of five, are the size of a business card and come in a pretty aqua coin envelope in which you could insert folded paper money or a check. 

Peacock enclosure cards by Michelle Brusegaard 

For a truly unique handmade card, have a look around at Plays Nicely with Paper. The maker, Aliya, crafts several versions of wedding cards that are tailored to the individual couples, such as this card for a same-sex marriage, which comes in a male or female version.

Cake topper wedding card by Plays Nicely With Paper
Letterpress notecards offer a certain understated elegance, and this one seems perfect for a Minnesota wedding. It's blank inside for your personal message, and comes in a set of 6.

Love from Minnesota greeting card by Vandalia Street Press

This hand cut multi-layered heart card would also make a nice keepsake displayed on a dresser top. It's blank inside, so you get to write something personal, from you to them. This artist, Marnie Karger, also makes hand cut topographic dimensional wall art of favorite lakes in Minnesota and elsewhere, and many other places around the world, so if the happy couple has a favorite lake home or a favorite place they've visited, you may find the perfect gift for them here.

Hand cut art card by Crafterall

So now you see how that upcoming summer wedding presents you with an opportunity to do some fun shopping while keeping it both handmade and local. You may even discover your new favorite local artist, and end up buying a little something for yourself as well.



Brian Western said...

Wonderful gathering of handmade wedding gifts from HandmadeMN...thanks for including my little wedding slice in the proceedings. And the boys from Strange Brew say, "Beauty playing, eh?"