There was a time when buying wedding gifts was a no-brainer. Couples were leaving their childhood homes or apartments full of old college stuff, and that meant they needed the essentials to make a home: flatware, toasters, towels—you get the picture. But these days, many couples establish their homes before walking down the aisle, and guests have to get more creative with their gift-giving.
What do you get newlyweds who seem to already have everything? My suggestion is to stray from practical gifts and get something thoughtful and fun. Your friends will love it (and they won’t have to exchange three toasters for store credit). Here are a few ideas you can use to get your gift-giving juices flowing.
1. A Beautiful Bar Cart
There’s something so classy about a house with a well-stocked bar cart. It’s a piece of furniture that just oozes old-school elegance—and having the ingredients on hand for the perfect cocktail never hurt anyone! There is a wide range of bar carts out there, from antique-looking to glass and metal minimalist designs. You can easily find one that matches your friends’ decorating style.
This is the perfect gift for the entertaining couple in your friend group. You can give them something that looks great in their home and helps them up the ante at their dinner parties. Best of all, this is the kind of gift that keeps on giving to everyone (including you, if you score an invite to their next soirée).
2. Personalized Home Décor
My husband and I lived together for four years before getting married, so when it came time to register for gifts, we were at a loss. We already had all the kitchen gadgets and linens we wanted… but you know what we didn’t have? Wall art. It simply hadn’t been a major priority! Thankfully, our loved ones leaped at the opportunity to help us beautify our space.
Home décor, like wall art, potted plants, or figurines can be a great way to help your friends make their house a home. And the gift is even better if it’s a personalized one. Framed calligraphy of the lyrics to their wedding song, a wooden sign with their names and wedding date, or a painting recreating a beautiful moment from their big day will really make their hearts melt.
3. Custom Cologne or Perfume
They say that smell is the sense most closely tied to our memories, so why not give your friends something that smells great for their special day? A gift of custom cologne or perfume is a great way to pamper your friends and make their wedding even more special. Every time they wear that scent in the future, they’ll be reminded of the great time they had at their wedding (and the great friend who gave them the gift).
Admittedly, this gift requires a pre-wedding presentation, so it may be best to give it if you’re a member of the wedding party or the couple’s family. It’s also a good idea to know which scents the couple likes best (you don’t want them grossed out when you spritz it on their wrist). But if you are careful and thoughtful with your selection, you can give a gift that’s really, really special.
4. Luxury Luggage
After the wedding comes the honeymoon, but not every couple is prepared to pack for that adventure. If your friends are new to the travel game (or if they’re experienced jetsetters with worn suitcases), it might be time to give them a nice luggage set.
This gift is a great option for wedding guests who really want to give something practical. Your newlywed friends will be able to use their new luggage for their honeymoon, visits to distant relatives, road trips, or even as extra storage at home! With this gift, you can give your friends something beautiful and useful—which, if you ask me, is one of the best kinds of gifts a pair of newlyweds could receive.
5. A Couple’s Adventure
Sometimes, the best gift you can give someone is a good time. If the newlyweds already have all the décor, furnishings, and gadgets they could want, why not give them a chance to try something new? One great way to surprise your friends with an unexpected gift is by foregoing “stuff” altogether and giving them an experience.
An “experience” gift can range from concert tickets to a gift card to a restaurant or spa, or something like a wine cork map (which encourages them to try wines from different vineyards around the country). These gifts will help your friends expand their horizons and make memories together. Plus, they’ll definitely have great stories to share with you when they get back!
So, the next time you have a wedding gift to buy, don’t head straight for the housewares section of your local department store. Instead, look for something unusual and unique—I am willing to bet that the couple will love it!