Did you leave your holiday gift shopping until the last minute? Stressed about how much it’s cutting into your wedding budget? Well from one bride to another, I’ve put together a little guide of thoughtful & affordable gifts to give when you’re saving money for your wedding.

Photo by Greg Finck

You don’t need to spend a fortune to show someone you are grateful for them. Traveling home for the holidays can be the gift enough! You may want to take a gander at the best gifts we recommend for brides, grooms, newly engaged couples & mothers. But if you need a little extra inspiration, here’s a list of what my friends and family will be getting this year.

1. Locally Made Treats

Donuts by Hello Sukar

Does your current city make something spectacular you can’t find anywhere else? Every time I travel back to the West Coast it’s with a suitcase full of New York bagels, Italian soppressata, fancy chocolates and other Italian delights. It’s a thoughtful gift spoiling your friends and family with food items they only get to dream about, and most local treats can be under $10.

2. Handmade Treats

Better yet, if you’re a whiz in the kitchen, why not treat your loved ones with a homemade foodie gift? Jams keep for ages and will remind the giftee of you over every breakfast. I get so excited when my mom sends her pickled jalapenos from my childhood garden, that is a thoughtful, priceless gift that costs her next to nothing.

3. Flowers

Florals & Vase available at Afloral

A beautiful & fragrant gesture for a nominal price, flowers bring joy to everyone!

Order stunning floral arrangements delivered to your loved ones’ door from Urban Stems. Or, contact a local florist for something special hand-delivered. Want something that will last? Afloral is our go-to shop for life-like silk florals & beautiful dried flowers, too. Choose one of their beautiful vessels & mix and match their faux & dried florals for a custom budget-friendly floral arrangement that will never wilt!

4. A Family Recipe

Handwritten Recipe Cutting Board available on Etsy

Do you hold the lock & key for a beloved family recipe? Or maybe your giftee loves a certain dish you make? Sharing a family recipe is free! And, there are inexpensive ways to upgrade the gift to feel extra special. Hire a stationer on Etsy to design a fancy or handmade recipe card on pretty paper. Or, pair the recipe with the ingredients they’ll need to make the dish!

5. Favorite Childhood Games

Lately, I’ve found an obsession with nostalgic childhood games like Clue, Scrabble, Monopoly and more. You can find vintage board games on Etsy for surprisingly cheap. Order your sibling the game you played day after day, and maybe over the holidays let them win?

6. Personalized Used Books

Whenever I walk by our local bookstore I check out the one dollar rack on the curb to see if there are any books that remind me of a friend. Even if ironic, or barely relatable, I love giving interesting reads to people. It says “Hey, I was thinking of you on my walk yesterday”. Wrap up the book in some super pretty paper and you have a low-cost, thoughtful present. Thriftbooks offers one of the widest online selections of gently used books at extremely low prices.

7. A Very Nice Handwritten Card

When accompanying a gift, sometimes handmade cards & stationery can seem expensive. But on its own why not splurge on just a card, and write a touching, meaningful note on the inside? If the card itself is the gift then it’s the right time to spend extra on that special message. Shop stunning hand-illustrated, letterpress & watercolor cards from Etsy’s incredible stationery designers.

8. Photo Prints

As a photographer & wedding expert, my friends and family are always asking where to order prints. Artifact Uprising always gets my first recommendation thanks to its high-quality meets fairly priced sweet spot. Print those family photos for ma and pa for just the price of shipping, and maybe they’ll cry happy tears.

9. Donate to a Meaningful Charity

My five-year-old nephew is already saving the world. For holidays and birthdays, I donate in his name to different charities that I know will mean something to his mom (my sister) and hopefully to him someday. A few dollars in each of your loved ones’ names to unique causes that you know are important to them can be a powerful gift.

10. A Bottle of Beer or Wine

True life, I used to work at a wine store! Friends and family could count on specially curated bottles from me on every occasion. I always picked out something interesting that either tailored to their personality or was made the year they were born or married. You don’t have to spend tons of cash to buy something nice, ask an expert at your shop and give a hard budget, they’re hired to give you the best possible advice.

Need more gift-giving advice? Check out all our Gift Guides in the archives.