One of life’;s paradoxes is that it’s never easy to find out what our friends and family really want or appreciate, especially as a wedding present. Are there particular times that you should go off the wedding registry so you can get people something different or better? If so, for what exactly? Just where do you purchase unique gifts? Or how do you find memorable gifts that they really enjoy? If they’re the type of people who have everything, or at least don’t want a lot of stuff, then just what do you do? Listed in what follows are 16 great present ideas (from both on and off the registry) that the groom and bride will honestly like. I’ve grouped the ideas into useful categories, but numbered the gift ideas throughout so that you can keep track of them.
The Experience Gift
The idea here is to get them something that they’ll carry and enjoy with them past the use of the item itself. These are among the best unique wedding favors, because of their lasting potential. Some examples include the following: pitching in to buy them an upgrade for their wedding-night room, purely to make it extra plush, or sweetening their honeymoon experience. To upgrade their room (1), you’ll want to check with the maid of honor or bride’;s mother (or whoever might understand these particular arrangements) to guarantee you put in for this before they make their reservation. This clearly calls for planning beforehand! The same applies for sweeting their honeymoon. You’ll ought to pinpoint where they’re going and then attempt to purchase for them (2) a dinner while there, or (3) perhaps a show, or (4) even pay to upgrade their airplane flight (which may be done at the check-in desk).
Empirical evidence supports this approach. Behavioral economists, philosophers, and psychologists studying exactly what makes people happy have found that because our brains form memories partially, we are likely to remember positive activities well. If you upgrade someone’s honeymoon, they’re more likely to remember that. Even if one of the couple got sea-sick on the cruise, that aspect of the memory will more than likely fade, and they’ll remember how you bought them an extra-special dinner.
The Personalized Wedding Favor
Everyone knows there are plenty of ways in which you might personalize a favor. Nearly everything on Etsy would qualify, but in fact Amazon has lots of personalized stuff too. Before I get to a few really concrete suggestions I would like to point something out. Remember, you need to buy them a GIFT That Has An EXPERIENCE for them to like it. So you have to make it significant to them. So, onto the suggestions.
(5) Mr. and Mrs. Pillow Cases. They are going to be sleeping together now 😉 Additionally this sort of thing might prove a thoughtful touch for a wedding night, if you can sneek into their room before they go to it and decorate it for them this will prove both a unique wedding gift and quite memorable.
(6) Unique Labels for Wine Bottles. Standard wine bottles are produced so that they feature a specific message on the label plus the names of whomever you want. This is one of the best personalized wedding gifts, because they’;re able to enjoy the wine while keeping the bottle as an effective memory gift!
(7) A Signature Frame. This may be one of the most memorable wedding favors around, and they are usually relatively inexpensive to put together. Simply buy a frame which is bigger than the photo that you want and then have everyone sign the surrounding framing board, just before or even during the wedding celebration. This gives the couple an absolutely personalized favor to remember their wedding along with the those that attended.
(8) Customized Cutting Board. If you know the bride and groom really enjoys cooking, you can buy them a cutting board with their names and an image engraved on it. It may be possible to buy them cutting boards with pictured printed upon them, however these won’;t be made out of wood, and most chefs and cooks prefer wooden boards, as they don’t dull your knife. For the genuine chef, there’s practically nothing which says this is my space than one of these.
(9) Framed Names by Photograph. Honestly unique wedding gifts are just like this package. You can purchase a photographic series that spells out the couple’;s names by the letters in each image. If you would like to ensure it is genuinely personal, you could create one yourself with things that the couple owns or is meaningful to them. By doing this, the result will not only spell their names, but retain a more profound meaning (it also is less expensive!).
The Memory Gift
The wedding favor idea here is a touch similar to the experience gift, namely to acquire for them something they will look at 10 years from now and say “Hey, remember that Jason gave us that?” Some examples include (10 towels (doesn’;t everyone put that on their registry?), (11) embroidered cloth, or (12) engraved goods like glasses, watches, silverware, etc. Handmade or do-it-yourself items also belong to this category, in particular when they’;ve got some form of engraving or inscription on them. You could also try (13) the “time capsule” idea. For instance, you could get them a nice bottle of wine with instructions to uncork it on their tenth anniversary. Or as a variant, you could get them a few smaller gifts and have them open the gifts ever month or so for their first year.
Can I Give Cash?
The drawbacks for this wedding present idea are that it seems not genuine and uncreative. The plus side: the newlyweds can actually do what they really want by using it. After receiving a tiny heart-shaped waffle iron as a gift, we are able to say that we’d prefer cash. The important point to bear in mind here is that it’s rude to ask for cash, but it is not to receive it. Any newly married couple could use some additional cash for moving expenses, a honeymoon, or maybe simply a nice dinner together. So for suggestion (14), if you’re short on time, or you just don’t know of a more desirable gift, cash is always welcome.
The same goes for (15) gift cards and gift certificates. They’ll be appreciated and they can be made a little more personal. If you know they really like a certain store (I love books, for example, so I received several Barnes&Nobles gift cards), then this is a great compromise between the time needed to get a specific gift and absolute anonymity.
Don’ts for Wedding Presents and Registries
Don’t leave the registry for the subsequent reasons:
- Re-gifting. Ugh.
- Because you can find it cheaper elsewhere. This possibility is reasonably tempting, especially if the registry item is a product they really want. You need to bear in mind that a registry is set up to assist the couple, however, and as a result they may have a very particular basis for wanting a toaster from Dillards over Target – then again, perhaps not. If you really don’t know, ask first. They won’t be offended.
- Because you’;ve got some stuff in storage that seems useful enough/romantic enough, and you wouldn’t miss it. I’m convinced this is why we ended up with a waffle iron for making three tiny heart-shaped waffles at once. It’s one step up from re-gifting (presuming that it’s an item you haven’t taken out of its packaging yet), but that’s not saying much.
- Because you don’t like the particular retailer they have their registry at. Maybe my wife and I just have a lot of far-left hippy friends and family, but we’ve really had individuals tell us this. For some unspecified reason they had an ideological beef using the business we had our registry at, so that they went out and purchase us what we should have. The end result? We wound up with THREE crockpots! Now, we’;re entirely in favor of the simplicity of the crockpot throughout a busy winter week, but who needs three? Registries also ensure that the couple gets what they need in the number that they want. It’s an organizational tool, so just not liking the retailer really isn’t assisting the couple.
Dos for Registries and Wedding Presents
Sometimes it is useful to go beyond the registry, and for those cases here are a handful of suggested times to do it:
- You would like to get the couple something individualized and it’s unavailable in the registry. In that position, make sure it’s something the bride and groom would use/like and then go do it. Just because you can acquire a personalized gift, like an engraved cutting board, off the registry doesn’t indicate it’s a wise idea. Make sure that they desire it. The easiest way to achieve this, then, is just to find a product or service in the wedding registry and get an individualized version.
- You want to give a present that is handmade/DIY. What in fact you’;re doing, then, is giving them a memory gift, which shows the detail of your affection through the hard work you put into this gift. Excellent, make that happen! There are numerous ways to do that, one of which (16) may be making a wedding gift basket – simply pick something such as a movie night theme they can both. For one couple, we bought them a zombie movie related theme—they love B-grade zombie movies—with a couple of bad movie, popcorn and other refreshments. It was one of their most favorite gifts!
- You want to buy them an event, like a hot air balloon ride. Make it happen! If you can find a way to get a memento for the experience (a picture is the easiest), that’s going to be the best way to link the memory to a specific gift. As a result they’ll enjoy the experience and the memory (to get more detail on why these are a good idea, take a look here).