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Off-the-Registry Wedding Gift Ideas

Fall weddings are upon us! I’ve come to find that weddings typically happen in waves, many at once or none at all. This means that it could be a mad scramble to buy gifts. While a registry can give you an idea of what to buy the happy couple to celebrate their marriage, sometimes you want to give them more than just a toaster or a fistful of cash (although both would be welcome - the latter especially so).

Typically, a wedding registry is designed to be more practical, filled with items like matching sets of towels, kitchen equipment and vacuum cleaners. These types of items are all useful for those entering wedded bliss, but there are other great ideas for guests who’d like to go off-the-registry when it comes to their gift giving - ideas that make the gift seem more personal and from the heart. If the thought of searching for items listed on a wedding registry isn’t inspiring to you, read on.

Honeymoon Contributions
With many couples now getting married in their 30s or 40s, they most likely have the basics of what’s needed to make a home, which is what a registry is meant for. Honeymoon contributions are a modern way to help the couple start their marriage off in a fun way. Depending on where they’re going for their honeymoon, this can include a romantic dinner, breakfast in bed, or transportation to and from the airport. Look up ideas on honeymoon-exclusive registries and be creative in how you want to present your contribution to the couple.

Speaking of the honeymoon, new luggage is a good gift for couples who travel. It doesn’t have to be a full set. It can be a carry-on, garment bag or a plastic case that holds all the essential toiletries in the right-sized bottles that can be carried on the plane. Luggage tags with their initials or passport covers are also a cute idea for travel-savvy friends or family.

Cooking lessons
Many stores and organizations offer cooking lessons, which can be a way for couples to learn how to whip up delicious meals for two. Another culinary-based idea is to collect recipes within their families or among their group of friends and put them together in a recipe box or book.
Unique Wine
Give them something they can toast to after the wedding, and get them some custom etched wine bottles. The bottles can be personalized with a congratulatory message, their wedding date or a quote about love. Make it unique to the couple, like inscribing their nicknames for each other. Even after the wine has been drunk, they’ll still be able to have the bottle as a keepsake. If they prefer wine or a certain type of liquor, those tastes can be accommodated as well.

Special Frame
Choose a pretty frame to hold their wedding invitation, ceremony program and/or a candid photo of the bride and groom on their big day. Most likely they’ll have a frame in mind for their wedding portrait, but this creative idea will be a good present to commemorate their special day.

Date Night
A much-appreciated gift would be a built-in date night, especially after all the activity (and expense!) of a wedding. Buy them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, concert tickets, or another activity you know they’d enjoy. After the honeymoon period is over, they’ll be happy to have a date night already planned out for them.

These are only a few ideas to help you get started if you want to stay away from the wedding registry forever. Wedding registries are valuable because they serve as a guide for things the couple needs for their new home. They’ve selected them, so it’s the safe way to go. But, if you’re buying a gift for a close friend or family member, you know them well enough that a more personalized gift is a better option.

You can always decide to buy a smaller gift from their registry and have your main gift be one that is meaningful for both of you. Whatever gift giving route you take, make the message of the gift be that of the journey they’ll have together as a married couple. Be the cool guest who skipped over the registry and picked out a present that was both unexpected and perfect for their big day.

This post is brought to you by Sarah Bauer.