Wedding Party Gift Guide
It’s Wedding Season! And you're invited! It's a joyous occasion that your closest friends and family want to share with you. If you’ve been invited to a wedding this summer be sure to know the proper etiquette when it comes to giving gifts to the happy couple. Depending on the couple and your relation to them you could be invited to additional events aside from the wedding itself, such as a bridal shower and/or an engagement party honoring the soon-to-be newlyweds.
Knowing the do’s and dont's of wedding gifts is important for every wedding guest to know. So in addition to helping you pick out the perfect gift, this etiquette guide can help you become the perfect wedding guest. We've done all the research.
Wedding gift basics
Even with parties and events before the big day, the wedding is the main event and bringing a gift is a must according to proper social etiquette. When it comes to picking a gift, the Bride and Groom make it easy by having a wedding registry or even multiple ones for their guests. With online wedding registries it’s never been more convenient for both the guest and the bride and groom, but of course unique and one of a kind gifts will always be appreciated. Even if you are not able to attend the wedding, remember to send a gift. Here are the facts on Wedding Etiquette:
What to give:
Traditional wedding gifts are centered on the home as the bride and groom start their lives together. This includes kitchen items, flatware, cutlery, glassware, appliances and decorative objects. Most couples register at various stores and department stores.
By picking something off their registry you know they won’t be given multiple gifts of the same thing. It is usually listed on the wedding invitation, however if it is not, there are multiple websites that will search for wedding registries. If the couple does not have a registry, use this Wedding Gifts guide for unique gifts that the newlyweds will be sure to treasure.
Giving money instead of a gift:
Aside from the traditional registry, it has become more common for couples to request that charitable donations be made to a charity of their choice. Perhaps you are familiar with where they are going with on their honeymoon? Why not treat them to a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant there or a cute boutique? In addition, money is always a gift that will be appreciated. You can always include a personalized note; perhaps you want them to spend it on a romantic dinner on their honeymoon?
When to give:
Do you have the perfect white gold diamond stud earrings for the bride-to-be? When it comes to giving a wedding gift the traditional rule allows the wedding guest a year to give the newlyweds a gift. However, it is best to keep it to a maximum of three months. Unless it is common practice, try to avoid bringing a gift to the reception. Lots of things are going on and it’s only one more thing for someone to keep track of and transport after the reception. Sending wedding gifts directly to the Newelyweds is the best route to go. It is convenient for both the guest and the new couple.
How much to spend:
Depending on your own budget and relationship to the couple, decide how much you’re willing to spend. Many suggest that at least $50 should be spent on the wedding gift. However, according to Etiquette Queen Emily Post, there is no rule governing how much should be spent.
Best gift for your budget
Let’s face it: sometimes, we just don’t have $500 dollars laying around for a 10-speed stand mixer. The recession may have affected a lot of people’s bank accounts, but it doesn’t have to stifle your creativity when it comes to wedding gifts. We've got the wedding gift guide for you! Try these fun, budget-friendly gift ideas:
DIY cheese and wine basket:
Throw together a bunch of the happy couple’s favorite wines and cheeses. We recommend pairing liver with fava beans and chianti. This will be a great welcome back gift when the newlyweds return from their honeymoon!
Digital picture frame:
Here’s an idea — Wrap up a nice digital picture frame, then bring your digital camera and act as the impromptu wedding photographer. Capture the laughs, the tears, and the drunken relatives on camera. Then import the pictures on a digital SD memory card. Tape it to the inside of a blank greeting card with the words “Enjoy” written in the card. Classic.
Got special talent? Offer to paint their portrait, put on a play or compose a song for them.
Get an iPod Shuffle and fill it with a wedding MP3 playlist for your best buds!
Wedding gifts by personality types
Nothing says you care like a personalized gift for the newlyweds. You’ve watched them say “I do,” now watch them say “Wow” as they unwrap your wonderfully thoughtful gift. And don’t worry, we won’t tell them you had a little help from us!
Foodies love to involve themselves in every aspect of food such as growing herbs, cooking and handcrafting new recipes! Send the newlyweds on a culinary adventure with award winning All Clad cookware sets and Shun Steel knives (like the ones used on Bravo’s reality TV show Top Chef).
If you want to get specific, the Japanese brand Global, and German brand Wusthof, produce what many critics hail as the “best” kitchen cutlery available. Even the most contemptuous cook will appreciate a new spice rack filled with exotic spices such as Himalayan pink salt, Cajun spice, and saffron. If the couple is more hands on, you could always give them a fun Chia Herb Garden.
Got a baker in the house? They might appreciate a Kitchen Aid stand mixer—the absolute best out there! Kitchen Aid bakeware comes in a variety of colors (even Tiffany blue) to match any household. Finally, try getting them a recipe box!
Crafty couples enjoy making things! So cultivate that habit by supplying the blushing bride and groom with a bounty of new art and hobby supplies like tempura paint, stickers, and crazy scissors. Get personal by getting them supplies specific to their interest.
Antique furniture restorers may appreciate a bucket of white glossy paint for transforming old and weathered dressers or bed frames into a beautiful shabby chic work of art. Scrapbookers welcome all sorts of trinkets and knickknacks. Help them break out from their two-dimensional life into 3D with shadowbox kits!
Shadowboxes are deep set wooden frames with a glass cover; perfect for combining sea shells, pictures, flowers and other non flat objects into a coherent “scene”. They can convey a memory much more powerfully than a page in scrapbook.
Environmentally responsible couples take pride in living a sustainable, organic, and sometimes vegan lifestyle. It’s a thought process that permeates throughout all aspects of their life—so it makes sense that you put as much thought into their wedding gift.
If the couple is big on gardening, they may enjoy a compost bin to reduce waste and create all-natural compost. Or if the couple loves cooking, they may appreciate a set of bamboo utensils and tableware. Bamboo is one the most versatile, sustainable products around. Used for food, clothing and shelter; bamboo can grow up to four feet each day!
Don’t forget that eco friendly, organic cotton bedding collections can also be a great gift. An otherwise overlooked option, your eco friendly comforter and sheets will wrap the couple in luxury and give them peace of mind after a hard day of fighting for the environment.
Sporty couples enjoy doing athletic activities together so it makes sense to get them new fitness gear in pairs. Got a couple that love cycling? Then they’ll definitely appreciate a pair of matching bicycle helmets and aerodynamic cycling shorts.
Get creative and map out a hidden trail for them to take after (or on) their honeymoon. Or perhaps the bride and groom are the long distance, marathon runner types. Be supportive, literally and figuratively, by surprisingly the two with two new pairs of running shoes and a donation to their favorite charity!
Present the bride-to-be with a pair of Asics women's shoes. These comfortable shoes are great for running, walking or running errands. The bride-to-be will love these new shoes for all of her future marathons.
Gift in relation to relationship
Picking out the perfect wedding gift for the lucky couple means striking a balance between their expectations and your relationship with the lucky couple. While you don’t want to seem cheap, you also want to avoid upstaging any of the other guests’ gifts. Most couples may take the strain off of their guest by registering all desired items at a major department store like Target or Nordstrom’s. Wedding registries vary from couple to couple.
At one end of the spectrum you have the super practical couple asking for a shower curtain and at the other end you’ll get the frivolous couple asking for a crystal cake stand with a matching punch bowl. However, there are many wedding gift staples that manage to make it on every registry. Then again you don’t want to be “that person” who sent the happy couple an electronic trash can. Let us help you decide which items off the registry are appropriate for your relationship to the bride and groom.
Relative (brother, sister, cousin, etc):
Naturally, the bride and groom are going to expect a little more from their respective siblings (and sibling-in-laws). Be prepared: Though you love your siblings unconditionally, these gifts may put a big dent on your wallet.
A new sofa set, dining room set, or bedroom set are traditional wedding gifts from families members because it is easy to pool money together for these big ticket items.
If you’re more of a lone wolf, single pieces of accent furniture such as a suede chaise, rocking chair, or a nesting table set are suitable gifts. New furniture will help usher in a new era of the bride and groom’s lives.
Your beloved coworker is tying the knot! You probably know how much money you both make. It’s safe to say that both parties will be comfortable with modest gifts. Tableware is the answer! A four piece tea cup and saucer set often costs less than $100. A silver flatware set often ranges between $30 to a reasonable $150.
If you want to go for the gusto, we suggest getting a crystal punch bowl for them to use at the inevitable house-warming party. You’ll be happy to see your gift in use!
Best friends forever? Always! You’ve known your friend for as long as you can remember and now you get to see them off on their journey to marriage. Pick a gift that symbolizes your love for them and shows just how much you know about them. Look at our “Wedding Gifts by Personality Types” section for a more in-depth personalized wedding gift guide.
Are you the "plus one" to the wedding? You don’t necessarily need to get a wedding gift if your relationship to the couple is very new.
But as a sign of good faith for the invite (and the free food), you may want consider a practical and inexpensive gift such as a countertop wine rack, a crystal butter dish or a beautiful picture frame.
These gifts are heavy on the class and light on the pocket book.