Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Perfect Wedding Gift

If your summer social calendar is anything like mine was two years ago, you're slated to attend more weddings in a two month span this summer than the number of weekends that are actually available. Both attending weddings and participating in the bridal party line-ups bring tight time constraints and the unwelcoming sound of !cha-ching! as the costs of dresses, airfare, hotels, and gifts keep racking up....and that's just for one wedding! But of course, the unflattering price-tags associated with going to your best friend's wedding or even your good friend's nuptial are never too high and we likely attend regardless of the cost. Who really wants to miss such a precious moment in the lives of people you care about? And so we suck it up and blow our vaca savings on the people we love.

Amidst these financial choices to attend the wedding lies the decision of what the perfect wedding gift might be for the happy couple. So often we want to give them something that they will cherish, love, and remember us by long after the wedding is over. To many of us, our gift feels like an extension of our love. It's a symbol of the relationship we share with the bride and/or groom, and is often something special they wouldn't normally get for themselves otherwise. But after spending hundreds just to get to the ceremony...who has hundreds left to spend on this memorable gift? But, I'm also not trying to be the one to wrap up the toilet brush, know what I mean?

Enter the perfect wedding gift. It's personal, creative, and inexpensive to give and will surely be the one your blushing bride and strapping groom will remember forever.

A personalized wedding plate.

Now, I'm not talking about a silver tray that's engraved (although those are lovely options). I'm talking about a hand-painted creation by your's truly. I realized the memorable feeling and heart felt sentiment that one of these creations carries when I recevied my own hand-painted wedding plate from a good friend for my wedding. It was a simple design - just my wedding colors and a cake with a message describing her wedding wishes for us with the date of our big day on the front. It came with a wall-hanging rack and now hangs in my kitchen above the stove in a place where I see it everyday and am reminded each morning about my special wedding day. It brings a smile to my face, and everytime someone asks where I got it...I know exactly who to give the credit friend, Anne.

And so, as one of my very best friends is about to walk the aisle this July I took it upon myself to paint her my own creation of a wedding plate for her 4th of July wedding. I even came up with my own saying to make it that much more special for the soon-to-be Love family...

"The Day Our Love Became the Love's, July 4, 2009"

Her bridal shower was this past weekend and I thought it was the perfect chance to give her the plate. And boy, was it a hit. She was so excited to have it and it was passed around the room with several girls saying, "Oh, I want one!" Now, I'm no professional artist but that's almost where the appeal comes's an shows mistakes...and it's the thought and time that went into it that means the most to the bride. You can't buy it in the store and you can't find another one just like it. It's all their own...forever.

My other two married friends loved my plate so much they asked me to make one for them, too. Of course, I am happy to do it and what's better now, is that they can give me input on exactly what they might want so I can make an even more personal plate for them this time around.

So if you have a friend, sibling, cousin, or just someone you care about who's getting married this year, consider taking some time to paint them your own creation. Find a ceramic or pottery studio in your area that allows walk-ins, block off about 2.5 hours in your day, and think of a creative design. It takes about a week for them to glaze and fire your plate and it's usually ready in about a plan ahead. A typical dinner plate size will run between $15-$20 and includes the paint, glaze, firing, and plate itself. The studio workers are also usually so welcoming and helpful and the possibilities are endless.

Now, go out and be the original friend who gives the best gift ever! It's sure to be a party favorite and will leave a lasting impact for years!

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