This past summer certainly made for a beautiful wedding season. I attended one on Labor Day weekend, and I was honored to be a part of their special day. I couldn’t wait to soak up all the love and midnight dancing.

But since the last wedding I went to before that featured 12-year-old me as a junior bridesmaid, I was on some shaky new ground when it came to the gift-giving. My boyfriend and I are in our early twenties, so bankrolling a major buy at Bloomies wasn’t exactly on the agenda.

Construction

So we thought it wise to go down an unconventional route when it came to the gift giving. Kind of on purpose, kind of by accident.

For starters, time got the best of us. We found ourselves two weeks before the wedding, setting out to see what was left on the registry. We collected a hodgepodge of about five odds and ends that were still on the list, but they didn’t seem to add up to an actual wedding present. So we (mostly he) brainstormed and came up with a solution: My boyfriend built a beautiful, rustic wooden crate to put all of our random presents in, complete with the couple’s names emblazoned on the front.

It was a huge hit at the wedding, with relatives begging him to keep building. The best part? He made it out of 100% recycled materials, right down to the nails.

Finished Product

First, he found an old pile of free palettes lying around, stacked them up in the car, and got to work in front of his garage. He had a measuring tape, a hammer, and a handsaw, and that was all he needed. He’d estimated how big the crate would have to be to fit all of the presents (2 ft x 1 ft x 1 ft), so all he had to do was break apart the palette he chose, being careful not crack the wood while salvaging the nail, and measure and cut all the pieces. From that point it was just fitting all the pieces of the puzzle together with the leftover nails, and then spray-painting the names on the crate using stencils.

He got some hay from a neighboring farm, strategically placed all of the gifts (we added a bottle of red and a bottle of white) and there it was, ready for the front of the table–a gift that was admired all night at the reception, made of all-recycled materials, filled with things we knew the couple was looking for, and that they would keep and use indefinitely as a personalized, handmade gift from scratch by loved ones. Take that, Bloomies.