The Wedding Gift Conundrum

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Wedding GiftIf you are getting ready to attend a wedding – whether you’re the mother of the bride, grandmother or another close member of the family – it is customary to give a gift to the bride and groom.  Unfortunately, one of the more confusing things for many people is how to determine an acceptable wedding gift.  Yes a bridal registration will solve this problem by default, but you’d be surprised how many couples don’t get this set up.  Thus, in the absence of a wedding registry, here are some ideas for wedding gifts that will hopefully help.

Of course, money is always a good choice, but it is impersonal and as such demonstrates a lack of creativity.  If you want to be more creative, it is usually better to give a physical wedding gift of some sort.  Again, assuming the couple has not registered, try to keep the bride’s and the groom’s tastes and interests in mind – what kind of décor do they like, what mutual hobbies do they have, what kind of items might be appropriate for their given stage of life, etc.  For example, you don’t want to give them a modern piece of art when they are partial to country décor.  Giving a gift that is inappropriate will demonstrate a lack of creativity and effort.

Some of the common household items that are usually safe bets include small appliances, kitchen items, and floral arrangements.  Personalized experiential gifts, such as a gift card to their favorite restaurant or theater, also make excellent wedding gifts.  Alternatively, if you are an arts-and-crafts kind of person, you could make the gift (sculpture, vase, collage, gift basket, etc.).  However, only go this route if you have advanced skill in your craft of choice, as you want it to be a keepsake that the bride and groom will cherish for many years to come.

In general, the more you know the couple, the farther “off the track” you can go in terms of finding an acceptable wedding gift.  But if your relationship with them is more casual in nature (a friend’s daughter, co-worker, teacher, etc.), then stick to the basics.  Also, if you are tempted to buy more than 1 wedding gift, make sure they go together and/or are meant to be used together (i.e., a comforter with a set of matching silk sheets).  But avoid the temptation to break the bank, as that is simply not necessary.

The bottom line is that wedding gifts should demonstrate that you know the couple, and that you put some thought and effort into it.  Do not wait until the last minute, and avoid the temptation to give cash unless you’re ok with the lack of personalization.  Good luck!

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