Monday, November 14, 2011

The Best Wedding Gifts {The Registry and Beyond}

What do you do if you're invited to a wedding and everything on the registry is either taken, too cheap or way out of your budget? You know how it is. You loose track of time and by the time to hop on over to Crate and Barrel, the only things left are a sofa or a whisk.  I recently had an email from a family member asking for help with this exact situation. They were headed to a wedding but the registry had been stripped clean and since it was a work colleague, the husband didn't feel right giving cash.

Some people might say that it's always right to give cash and in many areas of the country, cash is the expected gift. But there are still places or situations where a gift shouldn't fit in an envelope. So, what are some options?

If possible, always buy off the registry. The couple spent hours picking these items for a reason. They want them and they need them. Even if you think buying one place setting is boring, they will appreciate being able to set their table for more than one person at a time.  If the registry is bare, see if you can get them a gift card for that store.

No dice?  Now is where we get creative. Here are some of the best ideas I've seen as well as a round-up of the worst.

For a couple who met while backpacking through Europe after college, one friend got them a bottle of wine from every country the couple visited. They loved opening each bottle during their first year of marriage and reminiscing about their travels. You could also get a wine-loving couple a year long membership in a wine-of-the-month club.

In the same vein, you could get a couple season tickets to the theater or their favorite sporting team. Even a year's membership to a museum for art buffs or a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant. Or how about cooking classes so they learn how to put all those pots and pans from their registry to use? All are fun ways to give a couple a night (or day) out as newlyweds.

If you have some artistic talent (or just know a good framer), consider having their invitation framed for them. A lot of times, couples forget to actually do anything with all their wedding memorabilia so being able to instantly hang their invitation on the wall is a lovely treat. For more personal art, you can get a photo of the couple turned into art at

I heard of a couple loving a personalized embosser they received because they could use it on holiday cards right away. I could use one of those!

Now here are some of the oddest gifts I've seen or heard of. Oh, and if you can help it, DON'T bring gifts to weddings. Have them shipped. Please.

-a full-size extendable ladder (this was brought to a wedding reception--I'm not kidding--try getting that in the trunk of a limo)
-a set of free weights (okay, that's what it felt like--regardless of what it was, it took two people to carry it and we nearly pulled out our backs in the process--CRAZY)
-a gift with a card written to someone other couple (if you re-gift, please remember to replace the card)
-an engraved picture frame with the wrong name on it (see above rule on re-gifting)
-a check that bounced
-pasta in the shape of the couples initials (did I mention it was dried pasta?)

Happy Monday and here's wishing you only fabulous wedding presents!