I still remember feeling overwhelmed by all of the things we recieved at our wedding--I loved and was grateful for each gift, but just felt innondated. So--with that in mind, here are 3 ideas that I really appreciated...
1) a charitable donation in the couple's honor--no one did this for us, but we were hoping people would.
2) a safe (or other symbolic gift)--one couple who came to our wedding cringed and appologized for thier gift as they gave it to us,they said it was 'not good enough'. Needless to say, this broke my heart--we were delighted that they came to our wedding, and did not expect a gift. Anyway, their gift was a small safe (something we were planning to buy anyway...). We loved it! I wanted very much for them to know that their gift was appreciated, so in the thank you note I wrote about how the safe was not only a useful item, but a very symbolic gift--a reminder to enjoy the good times, but remain prepared for the bad and to remember that only a small number of [I]items[I] are really worth saving in bad times, its relationships and love that count--they loved the card. Maybe you could give a similarly symbolic (yet inexpensive) gift and a card explaining what it means/ your wishes for their marriage.
3) offer to be on bathroom duty at the reception. Even the nicest reception halls do little/nothing with the bathrooms--you could offer to decorate and to check in and make sure there is tp throught the night
I was married in a park, and a friend offered to do this as my gift--it was the best! She cleaned the bathrooms (what a great friend!), and in the lady's room (men would never notice
) she added flowers on the stahl doors, real hand towels on lovely stands, and framed wedding cards on the walls--and she checked to make sure the rooms stayed clean/ stocked with tp--it was lovely, and she gave me all the frames, towel racks, towels etc. She got everything at the dollar store, but it looked great and I still use the stuff and think of our wedding.
A good friend of mine was married on a farm where they had to use 'honey buckets'--so we set up a lovely 'honey bucket'/ wash area for her. We put lights in the buckets, and checked on the tp levels. Between the buckets we set-up a table covered in a crisp, white linnen table cloth. On the table were fresh flowers, some cute little soaps, lovely antique handtowels, and candels, to make everything look romantic and classy. We also set out hand sanitizor, bug spray and really nice hand cream--everything had a very romantic feel so people felt less like they were using an outhouse and more like they were on some extravigant victorian picnic. The bride kept everything after the wedding in that case, too.
Hope that helps!