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7 Ways to Save on Wedding Registry Gifts

Summer is wedding season and this year, no one knows that better than me. I'm in two weddings and attending four more, making my weekends all about dress fittings and bachelorette parties. In addition to traveling around the country -- Florida, California and New York -- I also need to budget for six wedding gifts.

Gift registries make this part of the process easy, but shipping costs and indecision often contribute to a stressful experience. Consider these seven ways to save on wedding gifts, six of which I'll definitely be using this season.

1. Buy a group gift with friends.
Most of my friends already have the small household items that comprise traditional registries. If this sounds familiar, consider going in on a pricey gift with friends. Not only will you be getting the couple something they really need, but you may end up spending less in the long run. Edivvy.com makes it easy to organize the group gift without the hassle of calling around and coordinating payment.

2. Shop discount retailers.
If your friends are registered for Cuisinart pans or Kitchenaid cooking utensils, find them for less at such discount retailers as Ross, Marshall's or HomeGoods. You can also find things like cookbooks, picture frames and bath essentials for a fraction of department store prices.

3. Look for coupons.
Macy's is the go-to registry for most brides, so I was pleased to find a coupon for $20 off $100 worth of registry items on CouponSherpa. Luckily, you don't need registry-specific coupons to save on your purchase, so search the Web before clicking "submit."

4. Frame the wedding invitation.
Brides and the occasional groom spend lots of time and money creating the wedding invitation, only to distribute them to others. Make it into a creative keepsake by framing it. You can even buy a double frame with space for the couple's favorite wedding portrait for an added touch.

5. DIY - literally.
Are you handy, artistic or gastronomic? Consider a gift you can give based on your own business or skills. Paint a painting for their new home, offer your makeup or hair artistry skills to the bride, or bake the wedding cake. Your friend will be grateful for both the thoughtful gift and for cutting down her expenses.

6. Use (or give) discount gift cards.
Gift cards are much appreciated by modern couples and are often found at the bottom of registries. Click here to avoid paying full price for these versatile gifts by comparing discounts on cards to retailers, restaurants and other establishments. If you'd still prefer purchasing a tangible gift from the registry, purchase a discount gift card for yourself to offset the cost.

7. Shop for daily deals.
If you know the person well enough, you can get away with using the registry as inspiration for the right gift at the right price. For example, one of my friends registered for a set of chef knives that I know won't last. That's why I was thrilled to find a great set of premium chef knives for 60-percent off at one of the daily deal sites I'm subscribed to. Check out Groupon, LivingSocial or Seize the Deal for daily offers.