Wedding Planning Guide

wedding gift ideas

wedding getaway car

Photo: Jose Villa

You’ve received a wedding invitation in the mail. Now what? There are a lot of outdated rules and traditions when it comes to wedding gifts, so we’ve assembled this guide to the what, when, and how of wedding gift-giving.

Wedding Gift Etiquette

You should give the couple a gift if you received an invitation to their wedding, even if you can’t attend. However, if the couple expressed that they prefer not to receive any gifts, you aren’t expected to give one. In this case, if you’re close to the couple and still want to give them a present, consider making a donation to a favorite charity in their name or giving them a gift in person after the honeymoon. If the invitation, wedding website, or a member of the wedding party doesn’t expressly state ‘no gifts,’ use these tips for gifting success.

1. Buy from their registry. This will ensure the gift is something they’ll actually use and will prevent any duplicate gifts. Check the couple’s wedding website or ask a close friend or family member for their registry information.

2. Contribute to their honeymoon fund. These days, many couples already own the basic home essentials, especially if they already live together. So instead of a traditional wedding registry, many brides and grooms these days are opting for a honeymoon fund registry that allows guests contribute to a fund that the couple can use for big-ticket items, like honeymoon travel costs. If that’s the case, consider this the couple’s way of indicating that they would appreciate money in lieu of a gift.

3. Spend what’s right for your budget and appropriate for your relationship to the couple. If you aren’t close to the couple or the registry gifts are out of your price range, consider going in on a group gift with several friends or coworkers. But as a general rule of thumb, here is a gifting breakdown:

  • Coworker, distant friend, distant relative: $50–$75
  • Friend, relative: $75–$150
  • Close friend, close relative: $100–$200

4. Instead of bringing gifts to the wedding, send your gift directly to the couple, the hosting parents, or to the return address on the invitation. That way, you won’t risk your present getting lost in the shuffle at the wedding (especially if it’s a small envelope) and the couple won’t have to haul it home.

5. Send your gift to the couple within three months of the wedding. There’s a popular myth that you have up to one year the send the couple a gift. But imagine if you got married and didn’t receive a gift after a few months—wouldn’t you assume it wasn’t coming? So avoid any confusion by sending your gift soon after you receive your invitation or within three months after the wedding.

Wedding Gift Ideas

The best thing to do is purchase gifts from the couple’s wedding registry. But if you prefer to go rogue, then make sure your present is something the couple will actually put to good use. Here’s a list of popular wedding gifts with thoughtful ideas for adding a personal touch.

  • Bath towels - Turn your gift into a romantic spa kit by adding bathrobes, bath salts, and candles.
  • Bedding - Opt for resort-quality pillows and sheets the couple may not invest in themselves to transform their bedroom into a luxurious retreat.
  • Dinnerware - Adding candlesticks, a bottle of wine, and DVDs of classic movies will turn the gift into an ultimate date night.
  • Glassware - Start their wine collection with a splurge-worthy bottle or a monthly subscription.
  • Barware - Toast the happy couple with handwritten cocktail recipes and a top-shelf bottle of booze.
  • Mugs - Pair them with coffee beans from their favorite roaster, hot cocoa (or indulgent drinking chocolate), or tea, along with wishes for many cozy mornings and evenings together.
  • Entertaining essentials - Include a custom playlist for the couple’s future dinner parties.
  • Stand mixer - Handwritten recipes (gathered from friends and family of the couple for an extra personal touch) transform this registry essential into a meaningful gift.
  • Waffle iron or toaster - Add a tray and bud vase for future breakfasts in bed.
  • Pots, pans, and other cooking tools - A couple’s cooking class will give them an activity to enjoy together and many more home-cooked meals to come.
  • Camping gear - A constellations map hints at a night under the stars, while a guide to local hiking trails will get them ready for adventure.
  • Luggage - Personalized travel journals, romantic destination ideas, or must-haves for their honeymoon will get the couple excited to pack their new bags.
  • Garden tools - Include flower, herb, or vegetable seeds, along with a note that you can’t wait to watch their love grow.
  • If you know the couple well and want to give a gift that stands out (perhaps as an accompaniment to a smaller gift purchased from their registry), here are some ideas for thoughtful wedding gifts from Minted that the couple will love:

    • Art styling services - A Minted stylist will personally choose art pieces and style a wall or room for the newlywed’s nest.
    • Photo art gifts - Create an artfully framed gift of photos of the happy couple.
    • Commissioned original art - Commission a member of Minted’s artist community to take a favorite photo of the couple and turn it into a piece of original art.
    • Serif Date Memento art print - Commemorate their wedding date with this modern art print for their living room wall.
    • Custom map - Have a custom map created of couple’s wedding or honeymoon location, where they met, or where they live.