Tegan and I will have been married nine months tomorrow, so while the day of our wedding is still fresh in our head, I thought it’d be nice to share our thoughts on how to give a really terrific wedding gift from the perspective of a couple who received some outstanding gifts… and some less-than-stellar ones, too.
First and foremost, do whatever it takes to get ahold of the couple’s gift registries as soon as possible. You can ask the couple directly, but it’s a little more proper to find out from someone else. The sooner you get their registries, the more of a selection there will be left from which to choose. Don’t wait until the last minute or you may be forced to buy something expensive, something you don’t want to give, or something from outside the registries.
Once you know where the couples are registered, try to view their registries on the stores’ websites. Most chain stores with registries provide this option, and it’s a great way to save you from making trips to several stores.
Next, whether you got the registries online or from the store, use those registries to find the gift you would like to give. Order the gift online or in store and either have it shipped to the bride’s residence or hang on to it until the wedding day.
Sounds simple enough, right? And it is! If you follow these steps exactly, you’ll make the bride and groom very happy and grateful for your wonderful gift.
But what if you waited too long and the registry withered down to a few items you don’t want to give the couple? Or what if they didn’t have a registry in the first place? From our own experiences and tastes, as well as those of other couples we’ve talked to, here are your best options for buying gifts not on the couple’s registries. They’re listed in order of preference starting with the highest.
- Cash. The only gift guaranteed to be appreciated just as well as any gift on the couple’s registry.
- Gift cards. If you decide to give a gift card, try to buy it for a place from which you know the couple will soon be making purchases. Home improvement stores work nice if the couple just bought a house, while grocery stores and big chains like Target work well for any couple. Also be sure that for whatever store you give a gift card that the couple has a location near them.
- Wedding/honeymoon fund. Helping out financially with the wedding is probably best left for closer relatives, but you could offer to help purchase flowers or another small component of the wedding. Another alternative would be to get together with others and chip in to provide the couple with a honeymoon, especially if the wedding will leave the couple low on funds and unable to honeymoon on their own budget.
- Something you know for certain the couple needs. While most couples will load their registries full of the things they need, there’s a chance they could use some other items as well that weren’t available as a registry item. Talk to friends and family of the couple to see if there’s something they know the couple could really use. Just be sure you’re not duplicating a registry item!
- Anything with a receipt. Failing all of the above, try to make sure that whatever you give the couple has a receipt. This way, you know that you’re either giving something the couple can use or something the couple can exchange for cash or something they can use.
Most importantly, don’t break your own bank when shopping for a wedding gift. Especially if you can stick to their registry, the couple will appreciate even a small gift. And if you’re encountering particularly rough financial times, don’t feel terrible if you must show up to the wedding without a gift. A good couple will understand your situation and be happy that you were able to attend their wedding.