Cheap wedding gifts for the couple, attendants

LOS ANGELES Emily Pirkle and Michelle Zimmerman are two brides on a mission to save some dollars on their big day.

"I've made all the centerpieces. We made the invitations. I actually found an amazing dress for $100 that I bought from a friend," said Pirkle.

"What we've done is make our save-the-dates. We're going to be making our menus, our programs," said Zimmerman.

One task they have left to tackle is gifts for their bridesmaids. Sharon Stimpfle with says 88 percent of couples gift their attendants.

"The average bride spends $81 per gift for each bridesmaid in her party. Groomsmen also receive gifts from the groom-to-be and that's an average of $71," said Stimpfle.

Don't get tied up in knots about cost. Stimpfle says it's easy to find a meaningful gift on a budget.

"Personalization is a great movement right now, especially given the economy," said Stimpfle.

Brides take note. Stimpfle says engraved stationary, with sets starting as low as $14, is a fun way to say thank you.

Having a destination wedding? For $30 to $40, you can personalize a canvas tote bag.

"Fill it with tons of beach accessories. Depending on the items that you fill in that bag, you can really control the budget and the amount that you spend," said Stimpfle.

Pirkle is going the do-it-yourself route, sewing her own tote bags for the girls.

"I was going to stuff it full of pieces of jewelry and pieces of art that I've made, and I think it's going to be a good reflection of their relationship with me," said Pirkle.

For the guys, create a basket of barbecue goodies. Fill it with things like spices, sauces and tools all for $65 and under. Or try your hand at a poker set. Prices start at $40.

"You can personalize the chips with their initials, or any other emblem that's special to them," said Stimpfle.

If you're a guest, stylish gifts don't need to come steep, either.

"You want to make sure you're checking the registry, shopping smartly, and looking out for store sales," said Stimpfle.

Zimmerman added a range of price points to her registry.

"One idea for a group gift is actually to get a wine rack that the couple may have registered for and fill it up with their favorite wines, or just wines from the year that they're getting married," said Stimpfle.

You can toast the couple for as little as $75.

On your own for the gift? Mix things up with a set of mixing bowls. Fill it with recipes and pre-baked sweets for $40 to $50. Or treat the new duo to a movie night in for $30 or less.

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