I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Last week we talked a little about preparing for wedding season. Going into spring and summer with a stack of cards, gorgeous gift wrap and dresses that flatter is the first step towards a stress free season!
Today we’re talking wedding gift ideas. The first rule of thumb to remember is that I’m discussing wedding gifts here – not shower gifts. If you are invited to a shower, buy off the registry. It’s as plain and simple as that. The couple registered for exactly what they wanted. Why would you go get them anything else? That’s crazy. Get them what they asked for. Be done with it.
Now the wedding gift has a little more push and pull to it. To me the very best wedding gifts hit one of two extremes: It is incredibly useful (like the KitchenAid mixer they registered for but no one shelled out the money to buy) or incredibly sentimental (like the quilt my mother hand made for my very best friend to match their new home decor). Regardless of which way you go, you have a few options.
You could give the couple a check. Money = Useful. Money is appropriate as a gift at weddings, and honestly the money that you gift a couple on their wedding day is helping them build a life together. Whether it’s paying for their honeymoon, buying their first house, or paying off a new car. They are creating a home and you are helping this new couple reach that dream. So money, in my opinion, always works. Yes it’s boring. If you know the couple well (and they have a sense of humor) have a little fun with it. Give them a laugh when opening their cards by writing something silly in the memo line. Ideas?: “Liquor and Therapy.” “Shooting Range Fund” (for my southern friends). “Wife Name here’s New Shoe Fund”.
Option 2: Buy Off the Registry
You could buy off the registry, especially if the couple had items on their registry that were more formal or decorative (as opposed to buying them a dust buster or a set of pots and pans for their wedding). My general rule of thumb is this: the shower is for practical gifts (registry only), the wedding is for formal gifts or bigger gifts (decorative or very special).
Option 3: Decorative Gift
Buy a decorative gift that is not on the registry, but is something that you think would fit the couple’s lifestyle and taste. The most important part about buying a decorative gift for a couple: It should be their taste. Not your taste. Try (as hard as it is) to remember that when you are shopping for gifts. I also always think it’s courtesy to include a gift receipt for whatever you give (unless it’s custom obviously). Of course you want them to love the gift you picked out for them, but on the chance they don’t it really is just the thought that counts. Wouldn’t you rather they find something they absolutely love? I would! Money spent on a gift that isn’t cherished is a waste.
All in all, I think it’s important to keep the bride and groom in mind when purchasing your gift. Let that dictate what you give. I had a friend a few years back who married her childhood sweetheart (who happens to play hockey in the NHL). I was not invited to the shower (and thus did not have the registry handy). So I had two options: Cash or a thoughtful decorative gift. Money did not seem appropriate, especially when the groom had just signed a huge contract to play a professional sport. So I thought about what my friend would really use and cherish. I knew I wanted to get something for her home to use when guests came over. She loves hosting get-togethers with family and friends, and she is the type of woman that has the ability to make everything look beautiful. No plastic serving wear. No paper table clothes. She has that wonderful knack to pull everything together in a beautiful way. So as a wedding gift I had a favorite artist/friend of mine create two custom ceramic serving platters for them, in shades of buttercup yellow (which were their wedding colors). On the back of each platter she inscribed their names and wedding date.
Now more recently a wonderful friend in Georgia got married (Shannon, she threw the fantastic fiesta engagement party). Shannon is not what you would call domestic. Does not really like to cook or bake. And received so much silver at her shower she could open up a boutique store herself. Holy moly the silver she received. Serving platters, trays, bowls, spoons – you name it she has it. It is all exceptionally beautiful! But not always practical (usually when we go over to Shannon’s we BBQ. Who serves BBQ in a silver serving tray?). So I broke my own rules and for her wedding bought a practical ‘big’ item off of her registry. There were so many things that were leftover on her registry that it only made sense to buy her something for her new home that they really needed! In addition, I didn’t attend a shower for Shannon so I felt a functional wedding gift was appropriate.
So there you have it. My rules in a nutshell. The thing to remember with wedding gifts is to be thoughtful and mindful of what that bride and groom really need. And always include a gift receipt!
Wedding Gift Ideas
 Anniversary Wine Box, Packages start at $161  These agate coasters are perfect for your hipster glam friends, $40  On a budget? How about a set of mugs with their new joint last name as the initial? $5.99 each  Welcome guests to their new marital home with this classic Personalized Door Mat, $59.50  Perfect for newlywed dinners: One Pan, Two Plates Cookbook, $19.33  Every new household needs a cast iron skillet. These enamel skillets from Le Creuset are the best. Know the color of their kitchen? Coordinate with that! If not you can’t go wrong with ivory (and a gift receipt!), $140  Copper mugs are so in right now (moscow mule anyone?) but probably not an item that most couples would think to include on their registry! Bonus points for getting them monogrammed, $29.95 each  For the guy friend or the grilling enthusiast, it really doesn’t get cooler than this monogrammed cutting board and steak brand, $69.95  Unique and playful. I love these silver asparagus salad servers, $90  Go comfy and giggle when you picture your friends in these matching monogrammed robes, $109 each