Every bride loves to receive gifts from their chosen bridal or honeymoon registries, unique gifts or gift cards, and of course cold hard cash. I mean, who does love getting gifts?! All of these types of wedding and bridal shower gifts are very generous and important as they help the couple celebrate and begin a new life as husband and wife.
While the above listed traditional and more expensive gifts are still necessary and fun to both give and receive; another emerging trend in wedding gift giving is giving a creative gift from the heart (which often accompanies the traditional gift). Some examples of gifts from the heart include: scrap booked photo albums of the couple from childhood up until their wedding day, gift certificates to 12 different great restaurants so the couple can have a fun and delicious date night once a month for a year, or building a library or music collection by asking the couples loved ones to donate their favourite book or CD/song etc. However, one of my favourite unique wedding gifts, and the one that will be discussed below, is The Personalized Cookbook.
What: The personalized cookbook is just that: a cookbook specifically created just for the bride and groom. The cookbook can take the form of a community collaborative, where moms, aunts, grandparents, neighbours, friends and extended family all contribute one of their favourite or “go-to” recipes along with a little blurb why they loved it, or why they wish to share it with the new couple. Another option for the personalized cookbook is to create the book around a theme based on the couple’s palate and philosophy on food. For instance, if the couple likes to socialize, ask for everyone’s favourite go to recipe for entertaining. Other themes include, cooking on a budget, hot and spicy, desserts, on the grill, health conscious, vegetarianism, or even skip the food and just have drink recipes!
Who should participate: Up to you! All are welcome, but as the organizer, you may want to limit it to a specific number or group of people because it can be quite a bit of work putting the cookbook together and keeping it organized. I have seen this gift given from a group of the MOB’s friends; one generation passing along their secrets to the next. I have seen the entire wedding party get involved, just close girlfriends, both guys and girls…really you and the organizer and gift giver can set your own limit…Depending on the form in which you decide to present the cookbook, people you haven’t initially invited can always add to the collection of recipes on their own.
When: Even though cooking and baking has become popular for women and men alike, I would still suggest presenting the gift at the bridal shower or a joint stag and doe. Since it is a gift that several people have contributed to, it feels more heartfelt to present it as a collective group and allow the contributors to see the bride’s appreciative and touched reaction (thankfully I have only seen a happy reaction when this gift is given). In addition, presenting it at a shower will allow a spokesperson to explain the gift to the bride and then the cookbook acts as a conversation piece afterwards.
How: The Cookbook can be presented in several different ways. If you have more time on your hands, you can gather all of the recipes before hand retype them and put them together in a cookbook form (this can all be done on the computer, or done artfully through scrapbooking). I have also seen this done by having all contributing members write their recipes on recipe cards and present the lot in a beautifully decorated recipe box. If you don’t have that much creative time, or the bride-to-be lives and breathes through technology, you can simply email the bride the recipe links with an index on the main email saying who sent each recipe, or create a blog where all recipes can be posted. A blog will also be a convenient place for the bride and groom to build and maintain their recipe collection throughout their marriage. There are several blogs sites out there, but obviously, I’m a fan of www.wordpress.com 😉
I love this gift idea; first and foremost because it is practical….a bride and groom have to eat, so why not help them eat well?! I also really like it because it ends up being a beautiful history of yummy and heartfelt secrets given to the bride by her nearest and dearest. I say this because many times the recipe will come accompanied with a cute or romantic story such as; the recipe for the only meal her mother-in-law will willingly consume, or the recipe for peanut butter cookies made on all movie nights. I have seen one recipe for a spaghetti and meatball dinner that is accompanied with an entire play list because the contributing couple loved to dance around the kitchen together as they cooked (Sooo romantic!). And ladies, even if you can’t cook, you can still contribute. One of my all time favourite “recipe” entries was a list of all different types of restaurants that either deliver or have takeout and the best way serve them so they look “homemade” lol. Lastly, I love this gift idea because cooking is a great experience that brings a couple together and allows them to spend quality time together and learn something new as a couple…is there a better gift than that?