When you're a close friend of a soon-to-be bride, you feel a bit more pressure than most other people to give her just the right wedding present. After all, you, above so many other people, know her deepest secrets and understand parts of her personality that others easily may not understand. The pressure can be thick, so I think there are some key ingredients that make up a great gift that you should keep in mind so that you can be sure to give her a gift that she'll love.
Even if the whole gift isn't handmade, adding some personal touch will surely show the bride how much you care about her.
Make sure you put a lot of thought into whatever you're giving her. It should make her think of positive memories or be relevant to a positive part of her.
I'm not convinced that a great present needs to cost a lot of money. However, your time and thoughts are worth money. With that said, I think the idea counts a whole lot more than how much money you spent on it.
Here is something I made one of my best friends when she got married. I collected pictures from landscapes of places that she really liked...the town where we grew up, the island on which she met her husband, etc. I got the images screen printed onto lots of pieces of fabric. (Honestly, if you're careful, you could just print these off with your color printer as long as you lightly glue the edges of the fabric to a thicker piece of printer paper). I used these pieces of fabric with these special images to create a patchwork quilt that she'll never forget. Just an idea!