Sunday, July 14, 2013

Unique Wedding Gift Idea: The Date Night Binder!

Most summer Sunday mornings, I wake up, let the dog out, and take some time to reflect and relax whilst sipping my Jasmine Green tea.  It is MY time, without the annoying background noise of basketball shoes squeaking on the floors or the loud booming voice of Stephen A. Smith chiming in about something sports related (my husband keeps our TVs tuned into ESPN at all times), without having to wash a dish or prepare a meal, without having to grade a paper, or write a lesson plan.

This morning, after I contemplated working out, I started thinking about my friend, Courtney's wedding, which was a little over a month ago.  This moment struck me as being ironic because, little less than two months ago, I was sitting in this same position, drinking my tea, and panicking because I had NO idea what to get for my best friend's wedding.  That morning, I had logged onto her registry with a smile on my face, ready to make a purchase and be done with it.  That smile quickly turned into a frown when I saw that, quite literally, EVERYTHING from her registry had been purchased save her Dyson vacuum cleaner (please excuse my odd sentence structure, as I have been in the middle of reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whose British voice has somehow found its way into my writing).  Should I have been blessed having won the lottery, I would have purchased the vacuum cleaner, but unfortunately, that has not been my providence.

Anyways, I became panicked.  You may be asking, "Why not get a gift card?"  That is a valid question that can only be answered by explaining that I put undo stress on myself because I want to be unique.  A gift card is simply not unique enough for one of my best friends of at least 12 years.  I started searching Pinterest immediately, which is the craftiest sight I know.  I found a million ideas- personalized t-shirts, honeymoon gift cards (Grrrr!), and some diy wall hanging for their home.  None of these fit my vision...I didn't even have a vision.  Finally, I found something that inspired me The Can of Dates on a blog called My Creative Stirrings.  Her idea, which can be purchased on Etsy, was to print some different date ideas on paper, fold them, and put them in a decorated can.  I thought that was fantastic- definitely something I could work with.

I wanted to tweak it somehow, making it my own.  I knew I wanted to spend about $150 and I knew it had to be neatly organized because Courtney, the bride, is even more OCD than me.  I decided to use a binder instead of a can, and rather than do a bunch of date ideas, I would focus on twelve- one for year month of their first year of marriage.  Here is what I came up with.

I started with a simple binder from Target ($3.00), that had a clear insert on the front.  I created a document using Microsoft Word.  I thought it only appropriate that I use the "Date Night" movie picture as my cover pic.  I changed the names of the actors with the names of the bride and groom.

I then purchased a bunch of sheet protectors to put inside the binder.  This allowed me to keep my printables for each month in tact and it allowed me to put little gifts for each month inside of sheet protector, so that everything could stay together.  Some of the gifts wouldn't fit in the folder, so I also gave them a large box filled with the gifts that were too big to fit.

On the inside of the binder, I wrote a cover page explaining how this wedding gift worked.  For my gift, I wanted to make sure that they took a lot of pictures each time they do each date, to keep the memories.  They will end up needing those pictures later, as a part of their final date.  Please feel free to copy this wording to use for your own wedding gift.

After the cover page, I go right into the date ideas for each month.  I started with the month after their wedding so that way, their last date will be an "anniversary" date.  They got married in June, so I started with July.  Some of the dates had gifts associated with them, and some did not.  On the printables, I put a star on the tops of each one that had a gift.   The ones that didn't I left blank.  See the printables below for the date ideas and associate gifts.

July Date: Make ice cream without an ice cream maker.  
July Gift: Sprinkles

August Date:  Movie In
August Gift:  Redbox Gift Certificate

September Date:  Dinner Out
September Gift: Gift Certificate to a local restaurant

October Date:  Fall day
I found some cool fall festivals near their home, so I used that to create this Fall Day.
October Gift: None

November Date:  Dinner In
November Gift:  Cookbook
I bought them a Pioneer Woman Cookbook, which I found at my local Target for $15.00, but you can choose whatever one you would like.  I just love the Pioneer Woman; that's why I chose her.  You can also gift them some sort of cooking utensil and make them use it on their "date."  That would be a creative twist.

December Date:  Merry First Christmas Traditions
December Gift:  Sharpie Mugs (DIY); their favorite teas.    
I got the idea of making these Sharpie mugs from DIYopolis.  They are REALLY easy.  The mugs were $3.50/each at Target.  I had some Sharpies at home, so I didn't need to buy those.   I did the writing free-hand, but you could always use a stencil from your local craft store.  After you have finished writing, put in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.  Then, you're finished!

January Date:  Warm-Up with some S'mores and Cocoa
January Gift:  Gift certificate to a local sandwich shop that has delicious warm drinks and a S'mores platter. 
Don't have a Cosi near you?  You can do any coffee shop that serves delicious drinks and desserts.

February Date:  Love Hunt at the Museum
February Gift:  None
February was tough.  I was trying to think of something unique.  Being  from Northern Virginia, we live ten minutes from DC, but we never enjoy the perks.  I thought of using the museums and making them go on a DC scavenger hunt, but it is far too cold for that.  Oddly, yet thankfully, I found THIS online and decided to use it for the date.

March Date:  Lucky in Love 
March Gift:  None
I just thought of this, but it would be an awesome idea to give them lottery tickets or lucky pennies...something that symbolizes luck.

April Date:  Game Night
April Gift: Board game
Choose whatever game you would like.  This is one of the last gifts I got, and I was running into my $150 limit, so I went to Five Below and purchased a game there.  Target has some really cool games like Battle of the Sexes.  

May Date:  Plant a Garden
May Gift:  Packets of Seeds
I got herbs for this date, but you can choose anything you want.  If the bride and groom have a huge backyard, then you can gift them huge bulbs or a gift certificate to Lowes/Garden Center.  

June Date:  Anniversary Date
June Gift:  Gift card to Shutterfly
Throughout the year, the couple was asked to take pictures of their dates.  On this date, they will be using those pictures to create a photo memory book.  Not only will this allow them to treasure the memories from their first year of marriage, it will also be a wonder first anniversary (paper) gift! :)

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like help with doing one of your own.  I made all printables using PicMonkey.  

As I sit here, this Sunday morning, almost finished with my SECOND cup of tea, my relaxation has suddenly been shocked by the thought that I have a wedding to go to this coming weekend and I have NO gift.  Back to Pinterest I must go.

Plus, I hear ESPN-like sounds coming from my bedroom.  Reflection time is OVER...


  1. Such a cool idea for a wedding gift!!!

  2. Unique wedding gift is very important in life, I like this blog information.

  3. It was really unique and cool wedding ideas. I will definitely follow it on my wedding preparations. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ides with us!!

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