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Asked to contribute to a wedding - please help me think of something original!

(52 Posts)
HomeIsWhereTheGinIs Tue 14-Jan-14 10:49:41

I hope that this is the right place to post (relationships = weddings?) as I can't see a dedicated category. Some very dear friends are getting married in the summer and are having a sort of hippy festival type affair. In keeping with their lifestyle, they've been very clear that they do not want gifts but that they'd welcome homemade help with the wedding (food, cleaning the site, decorating etc). I'll be eight months pregnant on the day and so whilst usually I'd want to build and man a coconut shy or similar, I suspect I will be waddling and puffing by that point and therefore not really able to be that physical. But I want to do something special.

So here's my question. What can I make for them that would be nice? We offered to provide Pimms and lemonade for all guests on the day but they've told us they didn't intend that we should give that much. I'd usually spend £100-200 on friends like these for a gift so can you help me with ideas?

So far I thought that perhaps one of the following might be nice:
- I could make a huge batch of personalised biscuits (monogrammed or similar)
- I could rent a candy floss machine and set it up (wedding is about an six hour drive from London though so might be difficult to source / bring / clean)?


ilovemydoggy Tue 14-Jan-14 10:52:30

What about hiring a bouncy castle from somewhere near the venue?

HomeIsWhereTheGinIs Tue 14-Jan-14 10:53:54

Thank you ilovemydoggy, do you think that would fit the budget? They've indicated they'd prefer we make something that just throw money at the situation (which is unfortunate). Any ideas?

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 11:06:15

This is tough because they seem to be very clear that they want something and have very strong ideas about what they don't want so it would be helpful if they could give you an idea about what they do want? I think if you'll be heavily pregnant by then they are asking a bit much to expect you to make anything. At 8 months pregnant it will be tough standing in the kitchen making biscuits even.

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 11:07:13

Bouncy castle sounds a lot of fun...

MerylStrop Tue 14-Jan-14 11:13:07

hire a face painter to entertain children or some arty-type people to do crafts with them?

organise for a (local) ice-cream van to come and buy everyone a 99?

help to make/assemble some sort of party favours?


(Pimms sounds like a great idea to me…..)

PeterParkerSays Tue 14-Jan-14 11:13:50

Do you sew or crochet? you could make a string of bunting, maybe with their names on it, and hang it across the entrance.

Lweji Tue 14-Jan-14 11:14:27

You will have to tell them that at 8 months pregnant you will be able to do very little.

Having said that, could you do place names, menus, flower arrangements for the tables?

In any case, at 8 months you may not be very reliable, as the baby could well decide on an early arrival.
Throwing money sounds good in this occasion.

Or order home made food and present as yours.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 14-Jan-14 11:16:50

How about one of those memory board type things? Gather lots of photos of the happy couple's friends and relations, get people to write good wishes messages, draw little pictures, etc, collate it into some huge artistic frame and present them with it on the day.

MistyB Tue 14-Jan-14 11:17:07

How about making some bunting, assuming it is an outdoors wedding. You could either make lots of simple bunting, or do some special strings with 'Just Married', 'Mr & Mrs', their initials, love hearts perhaps.

Lj8893 Tue 14-Jan-14 11:17:28

I think either make the biscuits or make a big punch of something alcoholic and put it into nice bottles or something??

TheFutureSupremeRulersMum Tue 14-Jan-14 11:21:50

Could you make them a sign to put up like this? Pinterest has lots of good ideas for making stuff. Just search on wedding.

notso Tue 14-Jan-14 11:25:36

Could you plant up some lovely pots to use as decorations. They could keep them after the wedding.

Lweji Tue 14-Jan-14 11:26:32

Something you could prepare now and leave until the wedding might be a good idea.

QuizteamBleakley Tue 14-Jan-14 11:31:42

What a lovely idea. We got married last year and a very lovely (and arts & crafts-mad) friend got us two gifts that were loved by us and all the guests. First off, she handed out a questionnaire to everyone (similar - but less Yanky - than this ) and then she'd also labelled up two huge old Kilner jars "Date night ideas" and gave everyone a lollipop stick & a felt tip. We dip into the Kilner now and then and sometimes follow what it says or realise that we'd get sent to prison if we did that.

We had a gift list and got some amazing 'money' gifts but these two lovely ideas really stood out.

Good luck with the pg, by the way!

Could you do their invitations? Then your part is over and done with well in advance of you being heavily pregnant?

HomeIsWhereTheGinIs Tue 14-Jan-14 12:52:42

Thank you all! There are some brilliant ideas here!

Offred: Love the name btw! Slightly worried by the idea that I might not be able to stand in the kitchen - I'll have to work for three weeks after the wedding so am assuming I'll be able to deal with that.

PeterParker and Misty I really like the bunting idea too, that might work. I can't sew for toffee but surely gluing should be an option? I also like the idea of homemade punch. And the "date night ideas".

notso the plants are likewise a very sweet thought!

I think it might be an idea to maybe send them a few ideas and ask them to pick? That said, please keep these gems coming, they're brilliant!

Poloholo Tue 14-Jan-14 12:59:50

Well very lovely for the happy couple but I have to say in the OP's shoes I'd feel a bit peeved that I was having pressure put on me to commit to do stuff whilst heavily pregnant.

Offred Tue 14-Jan-14 13:00:57

You're entitled to reasonable adjustments at work though and shouldn't be expected to stand for long periods! I found cooking the most difficult of all things because it involved a lot of standing, which is painful, moving or sitting was easier (sometimes lying down)! I had spd in my second two pg though!

Asking them to pick is a fab idea IMO!

slug Tue 14-Jan-14 13:02:16

My sister did something like this. I drove and decorated the wedding car.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 14-Jan-14 13:06:38

I think the Pimms and lemonade idea is excellent. You're happy to pay for it, so it doesn't matter if the bride thinks it's too expensive.

janeyjampot Tue 14-Jan-14 13:09:21

When my DSIS got married my Dad made her a wedding tussie-mussie with my DD (who was only 1 at the time). He chose flowers and herbs which symbolised different qualities and they tied them into a bouquet with ribbon. It made an interesting and thoughtful gift which looked beautiful and it sounds as if it might be in keeping with the style of the celebration your friends have in mind. There's some information about the significance of different flowers and herbs here:

blackandwhiteandredallover Tue 14-Jan-14 13:11:16

Place settings? We had a beach wedding and I had the great hmm idea of painting everyone's names on shells for the place settings. It took bloody ages (we had 85 guests) but I collected nice shells from the beach and just did a few every night in front of the telly with a special silver paint pen. They looked lovely and some of our friends still have them!

blackandwhiteandredallover Tue 14-Jan-14 13:12:43

Meant to say,if yoi don't live near a beach, smooth pebbles would work just as well!

iwantavuvezela Tue 14-Jan-14 13:14:34

Hire a candy floss machine or ice cream machine and provide dessert!

Joysmum Tue 14-Jan-14 13:18:01

Why not offer to have her bouquet pressed and dried?

LowLevelWhinging Tue 14-Jan-14 13:19:13

If you like the idea of bunting, you could do no-sew version: cut the fabric triangles with pinking shears and glue on to binding tape. They wouldn't last as long as proper sewed ones, but you only need them for one day!

or decorative paper pom poms like these?

Easy to make sitting down.

mistlethrush Tue 14-Jan-14 13:19:31

What about doing something like this for them? I drew the tree for a friend at work and they found some suitable inks for the leaves and got everyone there to 'sign' it on the day - then with a frame etc, nice visible reminder of the day and everyone that was there.

Some friends of ours strung up a washing line with 52 addressed postcards pegged to it. Each postcard had a week number written on it. As guests we were asked to pick a postcard and then post it back to them on the appropriate week with a message. They got the last postcard back on the week of their first wedding anniversary - and they got most of the 52 back. Some had messages, some had poems, some pictures. I thought it was a lovely idea! It made the whole year special.

brass Tue 14-Jan-14 13:29:05

haven't read whole thread but if they are hippy types I'm sure they'd love home made bunting to decorate wedding site.

just needs time now whilst you've got energy to whip up at home, source cheap fabric, (I'm thinking curtains and duvet covers from charity shops but you could probably get decent stuff by the metre online too).

on the day round up helpers to put it up -you can direct them rather than strain yourself!

brass Tue 14-Jan-14 13:29:53


should always read the thread first

Make some lighting for the venue? Pinterest is full of ideas for lovely mason jar lighting e.g.

You can put sand/shells & candles in, or those fake tealights (if kids might get them), or do some hanging ones for trees, or do the glitter/broken glowstick ones here? If you made loads the site would look lovely and I dont think they would be too labour intensive?

BeforeAndAfter Tue 14-Jan-14 13:45:08

How about buying disposable cameras for each table? Guests click away, you have them developed and then give them an alternative wedding album? Even though with iPhones and Facebook photos are everywhere - an album makes a lovely souvenir.

HomeIsWhereTheGinIs Tue 14-Jan-14 15:13:18

Thank you all, keep them coming! I'm providing a list for them in an email I'll send this evening (I shall give credit to MN!). Again, they do really want us to make or do something, if anything, rather than to buy them something.

I should mention that obviously they only said this after being pushed about a present, they're not being demanding. And Poloholo, to be honest, I take the view that I'm pregnant, not ill, I can make something now, I don't have to clean the tables on the day or anything. They're not pressuring us, they just said that they'd like us to get involved if we want to. I think it's a lovely way to celebrate a marriage and that it's nice that they're ignoring materialism and wedding lists. <blushes to think of own rather materialistic wedding list>!

You are all very creative bunnies, thank you again!

slug Do tell, what did you decorate the car with?
Janey that sounds adorable!

HomeIsWhereTheGinIs Tue 14-Jan-14 15:16:34

Goodness, more ideas!

Joysmum: Lovely idea, but they're really looking for something for on the day
LowLevel Lovely idea! <Squirrels away pompom link for bbq season!>
Baroness That's lovely, what a good idea! I will look into it.

Caught11 Tue 14-Jan-14 15:45:33

I did all the flowers and bouquets for my daughters wedding. She asked me to do them ( have never did this before). Got all the videos from youtube , had a practice and did them all the afternoon before, and stood them in water. She was delighted with them.

Joysmum Tue 14-Jan-14 16:10:10

I'm going to be following this thread with interest. There's have been some fabulous ideas on here and your friends sound like lovely interesting people without a care for commercialism. I bet the wedding is going to be fantastic.

Brokenpurpleheart Tue 14-Jan-14 16:27:40

How about a caricaturist? Someone to draw pics of the guests, starting with bride and groom. A keepsake for all concerned - people could scan their own or copy them so the couple could have a collection.

Brokenpurpleheart Tue 14-Jan-14 16:28:03

Or a photo booth ( same reasons as above)

RobotLover68 Tue 14-Jan-14 16:35:35


We had this lady who used to do it every year for our summer fete - by the end of the fete (only 2 hours) she was COVERED in candy floss - it was in her hair and everything!

Utterly Tue 14-Jan-14 16:38:33

What about asking their friends to send you pictures and video of them and compiling them with music into something you can project onto a wall during the reception?

SadieWord Tue 14-Jan-14 18:12:27

Love the idea of a homemade photobooth - they are v dear to hire but I'm sure a homemade one could be knocked up in advance and just transported to the wedding.

Lots of cool ideas on Offbeat Bride -

themidwife Tue 14-Jan-14 18:18:13

I agree that some sort of children's entertainer or a bouncy castle hire would be great. We hired a bouncy castle last summer & was only £55 all day inc set up & delivery. The kids would be entertained during the "boring" bits!

TwoNoisyBoys Tue 14-Jan-14 18:26:03

Just adding to the bunting idea....for my 40th birthday last year I made my own bunting and bought a few metres of the wipe down plastic-coated tablecloth fabric from The Range (obviously they sell it elsewhere too, but that was the most reasonable place) I bought three co-ordinating patterns, measured and cut out HUNDREDS of triangles and stapled them all onto lengths of coloured ribbons, and it looked was weatherproof....always an issue for our British summer smile

MinkBernardLundy Tue 14-Jan-14 18:30:47

I think lighting is a nice idea if the wedding goes on.i to.the evening. tea lights in jars and maybe strings of solar fairy lights and this citronella stinks to keep beasties away. and if you are feeling super creative a personalised fire sculpture- you get chicken wire, wire and paraffin. get some paraffin wick from somewhere that sells juggling/fire swinging supplies and an old sheet. Wrap strips of sheet around the wick. in paraffin for hours and hours. (do that bit there)

Then Wire the wrapped wick onto the chicken wire frame in the shape of their initials.
Set it on fire after dark. hey presto fire sculpture.

You do need either a frame fir the chicken wire or something to hang it between e.g. a wire between two trees.

Or if it out door...bring a gazebo and decorate it.

MinkBernardLundy Tue 14-Jan-14 18:32:19

Citronella sticks even.

if you need better instructions for fire sculpture making pm me.

oldgrandmama Tue 14-Jan-14 18:37:49

I like the face painting idea. You can buy face painting kits - have a bit of a practise first, of course. And you can do it sitting down.

YellowTulips Tue 14-Jan-14 18:48:43

What about making pretty party favours. You just need some netting, ribbon and some retro type sweets in pretty colours. Tie the sweets in little squares of netting with the ribbon (colour coordinate with the bride's theme) then scatter them on tables. Looks pretty and you can do this easily one evening sitting down.

If you want to go a step further do the same thing with small cellophane food bags (you can buy these online in pretty colours) filled with homemade chocolate truffles/fudge/toffee again tied with a pretty ribbon.

absentmindeddooooodles Tue 14-Jan-14 19:07:15

My wedding ( unfortunayley postpones due to cash :-( ) was going to be all homemade. Some of the things we were doing:

Collecting masses of jars. Putting a bit of hessian or lace round top and putting candles on. Looks so sweet.

Growing littlw chilli plants as dexorations/favours. Multicoloured ones. Look fab.

Collecting pebbles and painting initials and tiny quotes on them.

Making bunting. With glue. Haha.

Found a big wooden crate in a charity shop....filled it with flip flops from ebay. 50p a pair. Made a big sign to go with it saying dancing shoes.

Bought a big bit of driftwood for guests to sign rather than a guest book.

Made a wishing tree. With strong craft wirem covered in duct tape. Then hessian amd lace. Providing luggage tahs ( ebay cheap as hell) for people to write wishes and advice on and hang on tree.

Making a load of homemade lemonade. Putting in jars/bottles and anything glass. Bought paper stripey straws off ebay again.

Dont know if any of that will help. The wishing tree idea could be done way in advance and atored. Looked v natural and nice smile

venusandmars Tue 14-Jan-14 19:14:31

Are they having readings during the wedding? If they will tell you what they are you could get them copied and hung in frames around the venue. I know that many people love the readings at weddings but it flashes by too quickly and they'd like to read them again later. The couple could also have a special copy to keep at home - a present for the wedding, and for later.

WaitMonkey Tue 14-Jan-14 19:20:27

You sound lovely and the wedding will be amazing. There is a wedding board if you ever need it, in Fun & Games. Some great idea's on here.

Turvytopsy Wed 15-Jan-14 01:17:44

A daisy chain for each person to wear around their necks? You could use any type of flower. You can even make flowers out of coffee filters if you look on YouTube.

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