Moms

Pretty presentation makes a wedding gift about more than what's in the box

Wrapping a wedding present is one of the most pleasurable gift-wrapping experiences. There is only one present to wrap, so it isn't a daunting chore like the mountain of holiday gifts, and you can spend extra money and time on presentation. The reward is a personalized gift that is sure to stand out.

Here are some tips using traditional papers with unconventional additions, papers with a punch of bright color and some recommendations for mailing your gift.

Papers

Wedding gift wrap is usually tasteful-but-uninspired white or white-and-silver paper. This is one reason to shop the specialty paper stores, as they have many varieties of white, ivory and cream-colored papers with jolts of metallic that can be used for wedding wrap. Don't feel that you have to restrain yourself to a pale color palette. Brides are adding color to their wedding invitations, and you can add it to your gift wrap. Is there an accent color on the one you received? If so, use that. If not, it's better to play it safe and stick with something traditional.

Colors

Popular wedding colors this year are dark blues such as navy, intense cobalt blue and bright yellow, says Heidi Calvert of Paper Planet in Fort Worth. So look at the invitation for color cues; you'll likely find some indication of the bride's color scheme there.

Ribbons and decorations

Here's where you can stretch your creativity. Weddings now command several aisles in the craft stores, and the items that can be found there make great additions to wedding wrap -- small picture frames, glitter doves, wedding bells, even roses made of cake icing that are stiff enough to use as package adornments. The aisles will afford many possibilities.

Fabrics

The Japanese gift-wrapping method of using a length of lightweight silk is called furoshiki. You can find excellent diagrams for wrapping various shaped packages at www.notcot.com/archives/2008/01/mottainai-furos.php. A number of websites sell furoshiki fabric, but there is nothing simpler than taking two pieces of contrasting sheer fabrics and sewing them together. The lining fabric will show depending on how you tie the knot and adds a nice decorative touch. This is a very ecologically sound and easy way to wrap presents, especially if you are bow-challenged.

Wrapping helper: If you are completely challenged by gift-wrapping, as some people are, look for pre-decorated boxes at craft and hobby stores. These boxes won't require paper or ribbon. Simply put your gift inside and latch, tie or press the magnetic seal. You have wrapped with and gifted a use-again box.

Other considerations

Mail your gift, or deliver it to the bride's or her mother's home. This is the most considerate way to get your gift to the wedding couple. If you take it to the reception, someone has to take it home. Not the newly married couple; they are too busy. Often the job of schlepping presents falls to the younger brother or a cousin, and the gifts get pitched into the back of an SUV. Bows get crushed, cards fall off, and the gifts arrive looking as bedraggled as the drunken bridesmaid who fell in the pool.

This is why you should always put the card in the gift box, whether you are mailing or hand-delivering it. Paper stores stock lovely little cards with matching envelopes. Buy one of these and write a brief sentiment of well wishes and your name.

If you mail the gift, put it in a sturdy cardboard box and surround it with packing peanuts or bubble wrap. A handful of silk flower petals in the peanuts can pretty up the presentation. Tie a soft ribbon around the package. A soft bow travels better than wired ribbon, which tends to flatten in shipping.

Inspirational readings

Presentations: A Passion for Gift Wrapping by Carolyne Roehm (Broadway Books, $29.95) is all about the art of pretty packaging. She relies heavily on topping her gifts with fresh flowers, and her packages are tied with exquisite ribbons, which are a challenge to find but do break the white-and-silver mold in a dozen ways. She has clever ideas for cards and computer-printed gift wrap as well.

Gaile Robinson is the Star-Telegram art and design critic, 817-390-7113

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