My mother refuses to purchase a wedding gift from the registry. “Impersonal,” she calls it. I think instead I would go for: “easy gift that you know the couple wants and will not return.”
But trying to tell a Southern woman to change her ways is tough, which is why I am uniquely schooled in the wedding gift world. So, if you happened to wait until the last minute (and the registry is sold out), do not panic. Pick out one of these gifts, sure to put a smile on the bride’s face — and hey, in terms of wedding etiquette, it is better than giving a gift card (the horror).
For the Classic Couple
With a Waterford piece, you can do no wrong. The crystal company based out of Waterford, Ireland, has long been a staple in weddings (or celebrations of any kind). And while it may seem old-fashioned or outdated to gift a pair of crystal candlesticks, know one thing: keeping traditions alive is important. Your newlywed couple will spend years to come hosting dinners or family celebrations around the table, and as they go to place the candlesticks, smile at the memory of their wedding. And, I guarantee you they will be passed on to the next generation. The Lismore pattern is one of the most recognizable of the Waterford collection, making it a great investment purchase.
For the Romantics
Nothing says “I love you” like a surprise picnic in the park. An underrated pastime, picnicking is a great way for a couple to spend some alone time together after a whirlwind wedding. And it is definitely not something that most would add to their registry. Give the gift of never-ending meals together and treat the happy couple with a decked-out picnic basket — you can even add in some of your favorite goodies.
For the Dinner Party Couple
Everyone loves cheese — but that doesn’t mean they have a fancy cheese board. And what better time to get a semi-useless but definitely swoon-worthy gift than a wedding? Michael Aram is known for his craftsmanship, creating timeless, elegant pieces. This platter is sure to set them up for their first dinner party — and many more to come. Add a book like “The Art of the Cheese Plate: Pairings, Recipes, Style, Attitude,” for a complete and thoughtful gift.
For the Bar Cart Couple
Every new couple wants to stock the bar. (There are even engagement party and shower themes on this exact concept.) Needless to say, anything bar cart approved is a safe bet for the wedding. And while the couple may have wine glasses or high-balls on their list, a decanter might fall lost to the allure of shiny, copper Moscow mule mugs. This is where you come in. Personalize the decanter with the couple’s wedding date, and give them a gift they can use forever.
For the Tailgating Couple
Yes, it is a little out of the box — but isn’t that what we are going for here? Something memorable. Are your friends die-hard tailgaters? Or maybe their new house has a giant backyard? Outfit the couple with their own cornhole set, complete with their last name. The personalized game is sure to be a crowd favorite — not that flatware set. Help keep their marriage fun with a little friendly competition playing one of America’s favorite outdoor games.
For the Grill Masters
Picking out wedding china is a rite of passage for an engaged couple, filling their registry with plates, cups and bowls that somehow fit both their aesthetics. But what they often forget about is outdoor gear. Melamine plates are perfect for summer patio nights, and the newlyweds will be sure to thank you for this creative gift. Go for a pattern that matches the couple’s personality or even ties in their wedding colors.
For the Foodies
Perhaps, your couple has chosen to add Vietri to their registry for everyday china — it is a popular choice. But with every platter and canape plate, they didn’t add one very important thing: an olive oil holder. If the couple likes to cook, this is a must-have — regardless of the brand of the rest of their china. The easy-pour container meshed with the luxe clean white Vietri design will add the pop they didn’t know they needed in their kitchen until now. And if you want to make the gift a full cooking experience (if that KitchenAid is already snapped up), tie it together with his and her aprons.
For the Jet-Setters
Chances are, your couple has suitcases on their registry. But they love to travel, and you want to get them something to feed their wanderlust. And while donating to a honeymoon fund is an option, you could get innovative and give them the gift of constant travel with an Assouline coffee table book. One of the most highly regarded companies, Assouline is known for their pristine and high-class books (making this a great option for a wedding present). Pick up “Chic Stays,” “Mykonos Muse,” or “Ibiza Bohemia” — or make it a bundle with all three — to feed their travel desires all while adding a pop of color to their new living room.
For the Sentimental Couple
While simple, a picture frame will literally remind them of their big day (and how much they love each other as the years go on). Help them mark the momentous occasion with a sleek, yet elegant, frame. Once the wedding pics start to roll in, your gift will be one of the most treasured — trust me on this, it is my particular go-to gift.
For When You RSVP No
It happens — you can’t make it to the wedding. But that doesn’t necessarily get you out of sending a gift. If you choose to help the couple celebrate in spirit, give them a gift they can use on the big day, marking your presence at the event. My choice? Mr. and Mrs. champagne flutes that they can use to toast each other at the ceremony. These will remain one of the most treasured items they own, marking their first moments together as husband and wife.