6 Ways to Save on Wedding and Shower Gifts

Don't break the bridesmaid's bank! Here are some budget-friendly tips for giving.

Don’t let that $200 gravy boat on the bride and groom’s registry scare you. It is possible to give fabulous gifts on a budget!

According to a survey by TheWeddingReport.com, the average amount spent by a bridesmaid on a bridal shower gift is $72, and for a wedding gift, the average amount is $117. Those are just the average amounts, but they’re still pricy figures considering today’s tough economy, and how much else you may be spending—from your dress to shoes to the shower and travel.

Of course, you want to give the bride and groom something fantastic, something they’ll love. So here are six smart ideas for giving great gifts at the engagement party, the bridal shower and the wedding:

1. Group up. Join together with the other bridesmaids to give the couple a big-ticket item from their registry—such as bakeware or a bedding set. You get a break on your gifting budget, and they get something they really need!

2. Use freebie gift cards. Check your credit card rewards program (and the fine print). You might be able to trade in some points for a gift card to where the couple is registered. And with this option, you might score a great gift for free. Keep in mind, though, that some companies can take weeks or months to send the gift cards. Again, read that fine print!

3. Give them a toast. Wrap up a bottle of fine wine or champagne, along with two of their registry wine glasses, and include a note saying, “For your next romantic evening” or “For the three-month anniversary of your engagement”—anything encouraging a romantic celebration. You can find fabulous vintages of wine for under $25 (so this gift only seems expensive!).

4. Give them an experience. Instead of a wrapped gift, invite the bride and groom to your place for a home-cooked dinner or a movie night, giving them the gift of no prep work or cleanup and quality friend time. Propose a toast to their happiness, and make your gift a priceless one.

5. Make a donation. Even if the bride and groom don’t have a charitable registry, you can still support a cause you know they love. For instance, you could have trees planted in their names through the Arbor Day Foundation. Or you could donate pet food and toys to an animal shelter. Print out the certificate and package it in a great box with pretty wrapping for an impressive and touching gift.

6. Be okay with spending less. The bride knows you’re spending a lot on wedding expenses, and she doesn’t expect you to buy the priciest items on her gift list. If she has no expectations, why should you put that kind of pressure on yourself? So get rid of any worries that your gift has to measure up to what the other bridesmaids are giving, and just give something special you know the bride will love.

Wanna know one of my favorite bridal shower gifts? A julienne peeler and a pretty bowl of lemons to go with it. I use that peeler all the time—it’s one of the shower gifts that really stands out in my memory. So you can spend less than $10 and give a phenomenal gift. Just get creative!