Should we get our parents a gift for our wedding?
May 16, 2006 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Should we get our parents a gift for our wedding?

I'm getting married in September, and my parents are paying for the wedding. His parents have contributed as well. We would like to show both sets of parents our appreciation, but I'm not sure if a gift is the best way to do that. Neither of us has a lot of money - I'm way underpaid, he's still in school. In fact, there's a good chance we'll end up borrowing money from our parents in the first year after the wedding. I was originally thinking about gift certificates to a nice restaurant for the parents, but it seems kind of stupid given that we'll end up borrowing money from them. And would we get both sets of parents the same dollar amount, even though my parents have paid for the majority of the wedding?

Would a heartfelt card be a better way to thank them? Any other suggestions?
posted by geeky to Human Relations (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Invite them over and make dinner. Give them handmade cards thanking them. They'll be so touched that they'll probably cry; they'll brag to their friends about dinner for months and save those cards forever.
posted by desuetude at 7:02 AM on May 16, 2006 [2 favorites]

I'd suggest a hearfelt (and hand-written) letter expressing your gratitude. Present it with a nice wedding photo of you two (or a pre-wedding photo if you want to give the present before the wedding). The memories of the event and of you two will undoubtedly be more important than any arbitrary gift you could purchase. Make it something personal and memorable that they can cherish.

You can always take them out to dinner/give them a gift certificate later on, when it's more economically viable.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:04 AM on May 16, 2006

Gifts can be thought of as a mix of three elements: time, money, and effort. With money out of the equation, focus more on having a nice time with your parents (dinner together) or making a effort at a crafty-style personalized gift.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 7:16 AM on May 16, 2006

My wife and I got a book of photos from Shutterfly made after the wedding for both sets of parents. They loved it, and it was relatively inexpensive. I second the heartfelt letter idea as well.
posted by gregchttm at 7:17 AM on May 16, 2006

My wife and I gave my folks a nice bottle of wine as a thanks. It was of the sort that would best wait for 3-5 years before opening, so was ominously labeled "open on account of grandkids".
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:38 AM on May 16, 2006

I would second slimepuppy's heartfelt letter and photo suggestion - one way to do this and be REALLY impressive is to have a friend with a disposable or digital camera take a photo of you two immediately after the ceremony, rush over to a one-hour photo place/rush home and get a print made. I did that for my best friend, and it was really appreciated (since it's such a huge surprise) - plus, you have to wait so long for those darn professional photos, it's nice to know what you looked like that day!!
posted by MeetMegan at 8:08 AM on May 16, 2006

More meaningful than a restaurant certificate would be something they can keep forever, along the lines of the picture people are suggesting. I got my parents embroidered handkerchiefs. A little corny, maybe, but they liked them. The personalized photoalbum goes over really well, too!
posted by onlyconnect at 8:42 AM on May 16, 2006

Here's what to do. Create a nice personal photo album prior to the wedding. Think of the pictures you want and make place holders with scrapbooky type memorabilia. Designate a friend whose not in the wedding take pictures prior to and during. Right after the wedding have them go to a 1 hour place and get the pictures developed. They can put the pictures in the album based on your place holders. Then at the end of the wedding reception, give the album to your parents.

Usually when we go a wedding my wife does this for the bride and groom. This gives the ability to look at them while they are on the honeymoon.

It's personal, touching and unexpected.
posted by bleucube at 8:43 AM on May 16, 2006

Response by poster: Hrm.. I like the photo album ideas. Problem is my parents are paying for the photographer, which includs a special album just for them. But I could scan in some old photos from when I was little and make those into a nice photobook. Ideally I would like to have something to give to them before the wedding.

Thanks for the suggestions so far!
posted by geeky at 11:51 AM on May 16, 2006

Invite them over and make dinner for them.
posted by StarForce5 at 12:05 PM on May 16, 2006

Take them on a picnic, let them know that you appreciate them and like spending time with them, take a photo or three of you all at the picnic together, get the photo(s) enlarged / framed.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:10 PM on May 16, 2006

We got the parents sundials-- both families are a bit outdoorsy/garden-y and we thanked them for the time they had invested in each of us to prepare us for that day. A little cheesy and not practical, but we meant it and they loved it.
posted by orangemiles at 8:09 AM on May 18, 2006

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