Anyone can choose something from a bridal registry, but a homemade wedding gift will be unique and special. Handmade gifts have become quite rare, so yours will certainly stand out. While experienced crafters will have the most options for homemade gifts, there are some simple gifts even beginners can make that will be treasured by the happy couple for years to come. Be sure to start early and leave yourself enough time to complete your project.
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There are several wedding-themed cross-stitch patterns and kits available in a wide range of prices, sizes and levels of difficulty. Depending on the personality of the couple, you might want to make a non-wedding-themed project that reflects an interest or hobby of the couple. Peruse craft stores and online suppliers for ideas; you'll find landscapes, animals and floral themes, among others. Try not to choose something that is above your current skill level. The combined pressures of a looming deadline and a pattern that is too difficult for you will create unnecessary stress. Smaller, simpler projects include tea towels, napkins and place mats that can be personalised or stitched in a wedding theme.
Afghans and Quilts
A traditional homemade wedding gift is a quilt or a knitted or crocheted afghan. If you are not familiar with the decor of the couple's home, choose neutral patterns and colours. Smaller projects, such as pillows, throw blankets or smaller quilts meant for hanging, are also appreciated and will be easier to complete.
The First Wedding Photo
New technology makes this homemade wedding gift possible. Purchase an attractive mat and frame ahead of time. At the ceremony, use your digital camera to take a framing-worthy photo of the couple. In between the ceremony and the reception, bring your photo card to a store that will print the right-size photo while you wait. (Check with photo stores ahead of time to make sure they offer speedy service and will be ready for you.) The couple and the rest of the wedding guests will be amazed to see a framed photo from the wedding on the gift table at the reception.
Solicit family and friends ahead of time for their favourite photos of the couple, and use them to create a scrapbook of their lives together. Leave some pages in the back blank, and include a "coupon" for you to finish the project with snapshots of the wedding and honeymoon.
Choose a pretty picture frame and mat that complement the wedding invitation. Depending on the design of the invitation, you may want to cut it apart and place it in a larger frame with a mat cut in multiple windows. For a more advanced craft, create your own stained glass or mosaic-tile frame.
Floral Arrangements and Wreaths
Using a little detective work, find out what the bride has planned for flowers, and recreate her wedding bouquet or centrepieces in a silk floral arrangement or grapevine wreath. For a special touch, purchase a small set of battery operated craft lights to weave among the flowers. If your detective work has been unsuccessful, don't worry: The flowers don't necessarily have to coordinate with the wedding. A seasonal arrangement or anything pretty for the home will be just as lovely.
Everyone loves a basket! For a truly homemade touch, make everything yourself; if you know how, you can even weave the basket. Make some flavoured oils and place them in pretty bottles. Whip up a batch of homemade jam. If you grow a garden, can some tomatoes or peppers. Use a "gift jar" cookbook to create pretty layered jars of dry mixes for cookies, soups and dips. Be sure everything you include is nonperishable and will keep until the couple returns from their honeymoon.
More Simple Ideas
There are many other simple craft ideas even beginners can create. Try making a set of handmade soaps, perhaps using glycerine in the wedding colours. Make your own candles, or embellish and personalise store-bought pillar candles with ribbons, pearl strings and handmade paper. Choose favourite quotations about love and marriage and showcase them in small magnetic frames. Make a set of hand-stamped thank-you cards. Collect your favourite recipes and make a cookbook; with some advanced planning, you can even add a photo of each dish you include. Purchase a blank journal ahead of time and ask family and friends to write special memories or wishes for the future inside. Decorate the rest of the pages with places for the couple to record special moments in the future.