If you’re looking to get a wedding gift for a couple, our first bit of advice for you is: if they have a registry, use it. Especially if they’re setting up a home together for the first time, many of the items on the list won’t be just things they like, they’ll be things they actually need.
If there is no registry, chances are cash may be the way to go. Based on our research, it is very rare (i.e. we have yet to find a case) when cash is not welcome. Many folks don’t like to give cash - we feel you, it just doesn’t seem very personal - but in truth, it’s often what’s most useful to a couple, especially young couples just starting out in their careers or looking to buy a first home. What’s more, we’ve learned that giving cash can actually be extremely efficient gift-wise, ironically enough, especially in cases where a registry exists. Many stores and chains that offer registry services give newlyweds sizable discounts on any items remaining on their registry after their wedding. So, if you give cash, the couple may well be able to get the same item you had thought about purchasing off their registry but at a better price, allowing them to use the balance of the monies towards something else. Much more efficient, no?
All that said, sometimes there’s no registry and sometimes cash just doesn’t seem appropriate. In that case, what should you do? Well, first off, we recommend getting a gift that both of the affianced parties can use or appreciate. Even if you are much closer to one or the other, a wedding is about embarking on a shared future together and any gift should aim at fostering an environment where that future is as happy and as easy to achieve as possible. With that goal in mind, we came up with a list of ten gift ideas for you and hope that one (or more) fits the bill!
PICNIC GEAR - Perhaps the newlyweds are camping enthusiasts, or maybe they enjoy concerts in the park, tailgating at sports events, or if they simply love being outdoors, picnicking gear may make for the perfect present. Go full on formal with a hamper, complete with place settings, like Picnic Time’s ‘Charleston’ basket. Or, opt for a slightly more casual version of the same, in the form of a picnic tote. Alternately, choose to give a quality basket (like Picnic Time’s basket or one by Peterboro Basket Co.), perhaps tucking in some outdoor-friendly plates, utensils, or accoutrements of your own choosing. Consider too what a lovely gift a picnic blanket can make (we have one of JJ Cole’s handy outdoor blankets - for a more traditional version, check out Pendleton’s wool blankets) - or perhaps a set of outdoor wine glasses. There are endless permutations and possibilities when it comes to outdoor dining! Whatever you end up selecting though, you’ll be helping to further the couple’s enjoyment of the outdoors together.
KITCHEN KNIVES OR A CARVING SET - Setting up a home together often leads to more entertaining, or if not more entertaining, perhaps entertaining in larger numbers or in a slightly more formal style. For that reason, we have found that a carving set (like Robert Welch’s Radford Bright carving set) or a quality set of kitchen knives (like Wüsthof’s Classic Ikon 7-piece knife set) is often much appreciated by brides and grooms alike. Even for couples that have already set about creating a home together, chances are they do not have a carving set - and, if they have knives, they may well be thrilled to be treated to an upgrade. Final caution: personally, we’d be delighted to receive knives, but some folks do consider giving knives for a wedding to be unlucky, so you may just want to check with a close family member to make sure this sentiment isn’t one shared by the newlyweds (if you don’t already know) in order to avoid any awkwardness.
PILLIVUYT PLATTER - Continuing on the theme of entertaining, Pillivuyt’s large round platter is perhaps the most indispensable serving platter we have ever encountered for two reasons. First, unlike a regular plate and many platters, the whole surface is perfectly flat, making it ideal for plating everything from cheeses (easy to cut on a flat surface!) to hors d’oeuvres (no more sliding into the center!). Second, because the platter is lacking in decoration itself, the focus is on what you are serving. Garnishes can be used with great flexibility to dress it up visually or make it seasonally appropriate. Serving mini pizzas? Garnish it with some fresh basil. A holiday cheese platter? Consider a sprig of mistletoe or holly. Because this platter is such a workhorse when it comes to the business of serving food, we think it makes a pretty perfect wedding gift.
ACCESS TO A SHARED INTEREST - Do the couple in question already have a well established home? Are they pretty much sorted when it comes to home appliances, towels and linens? If they are already good in the “stuff” department, consider giving them something experiential instead. What are we talking about? If you know they love hiking, perhaps an annual pass to their state’s parks would be the perfect gift. If they love art, a museum membership could be just the ticket (ha!). Are they food lovers? An OpenTable gift certificate could be the way to go. Keen karaoke singers? Give them a karaoke system and their winter evenings will never be the same. Basically, what do they love to do as a couple - and, how can you help them do that in a new or different way?
EXCELLENT EDIBLES - Food. We all need it. And, most of us greatly enjoy it. If the couple in question falls in to that camp, a food-related gift certificate or subscription may well be the wedding gift you’ve been looking for. Zingerman’s offers a “Kitchen Starter Kit” that may well be appropriate for your pair of newly married gourmands. Alternately, to allow them a bit of flexibility, a gift certificate may well be the way to go. If they are a couple that likes to entertain, a certificate from a shop like Formaggio Kitchen, Murray’s Cheese or Zingerman’s will allow them to take their cheese board up a notch, or simply to treat themselves to some special goodies. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams offers a pint club which can make for a fantastically delicious gift that lasts the whole year - or, if they do a lot of cooking, membership in a local CSA or greenmarket could be the way to go!
FIREWOOD AND BLANKET (OR SLIPPERS) - If the couple in question lives in a part of the world where winters are chilly and bundling up is mandatory, consider giving them some quality cuddling duds - for example, a gorgeous new blanket or quilt, a pair each of cozy slippers, and perhaps a board game or two? Blanket-wise, you may wish to check out Pendleton USA, Oleana, Woolrich - or, Old Port Wool and Textile Company or Guideboat, both of whom stock Imperial Wool blankets. As well, we think Haptic Lab’s quilts look pretty fantastic - there are even some cool options for customization. For something new and different (but still warming), check out Selk’bag’s wearable sleeping bags. As for board games, go classic with the likes of Clue, Monopoly and/or Trivial Pursuit or opt for some of the newer hits like What Do You Meme?, Chronology or Catan. Fancy some bonus points? Consider sending a box of fatwood, grand as kindling for a roaring winter fire.
BOOK ON HOME REPAIR AND TOOL KIT - If the newlyweds are also (or soon-to-be) first time home buyers as well, this is a gift that we promise will just keep on giving. While a cheapo set of tools from IKEA can often suffice in a pinch, there’s nothing quite like having good quality, reliable tools to get a job done. And, we’re going to guess that the majority of new homeowners don’t know how to caulk windows or strip wallpaper, hence including a book on home repair, like the Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement. Help a couple out and give them the gift of DIY with the likes of an Estwing hammer and a ratchet ¼” socket and bit set or a 6-piece screwdriver set by German tool company, Wera.
WINE-JOYMENT - A bottle of really good wine, a couple of lovely glasses. Talk about something that will be savored and appreciated. For a wine-loving couple, there are several ways you could do this. Gift a couple of Champagne flutes and a really great bottle of bubbs. Encourage them to save it for a special celebration - their one year anniversary, a date night, you get the picture. LSA International’s coupes or their “Savoy” saucers are Champagne glasses you may wish to check out - as are Riedel’s “Vitis” flutes and Zalto’s “Denk’Art” glasses. For the tops in personalized presentation, you may also wish to check out the wine boxes made by Artificer Woodworks. You have to get the wine and fill the box yourself, but their boxes make for pretty impressive gift presentation, be it as markers for a single special occasion, or the couple’s first few anniversaries. Plus, there are many options for personalization.
PIZZA STONE (OR DISH) AND BOOK - After the honeymoon and after the return to day-to-day life, many couples establish regular date nights to check in with each other, to keep their relationship on track and to keep the romance alive and well. For a pizza-loving pair, we venture to suggest that a pizza stone or cast iron pizza dish, along with a stellar how-to cookbook (like American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza by master bread maker Peter Reinhart) makes it easy to have a staycation version of date night: an evening in, chatting, making pizza together, perhaps enjoying some music at the same time and then savoring their pizza while watching a movie or sipping some red wine. However they choose to do it, we find that pizza-making is a great (and delicious!) collaborative activity so gifting the tools and the know-how can make for a marvelous gift that will continue to reap rewards (and pizzas) year after year.
TRAVELING IN STYLE - Some folks wait until after a wedding to send their gift but if, like us, you’re one of those folks who prefers to do their gift giving in advance, you may wish to consider giving a superb new suitcase, like Samsonite’s Freeform 21” Spinner, Eddie Bauer’s Expedition drop-bottom rolling duffel or Tumi’s V3 expandable suitcase. This can be an especially good gift if the couple is going abroad for their honeymoon and/or if they are regular travelers. Another gift idea that falls under this umbrella is new luggage tags - such as these stainless steel privacy tags, brass tags from Orvis, or leather tags from Leatherology or Smythson. New tags may be especially handy/appreciated if the couple happen to be moving into a new home around the wedding and will be changing their addresses as a result. And, last but not least, two new pairs of chic sunglasses could be a great gift for the couple that already has everything and is headed to sunnier climes for their honeymoon! Even if they already have sunglasses, it’s a bit of a treat to have more than one pair to change things up a bit. To browse glasses, we recommend nipping on over to one or more of the following websites: Warby Parker, Glasses.com - or, for a big splurge, Mr Porter (men’s wear only) or Farfetch.com.
Why sign up for a free Little Birdie Me account?
- No more unwanted gifts! Create a gift profile to let folks know what you like (and don't like!) to receive.
- Link to existing wish lists, registries, Pinterest boards - and more!
- Keep track of the gifts you give, and budget for gifting events.
- Follow family and friends' gift profiles to make your own gift giving easy peasy.