It’s that time of the year again! Spring is looming, flowers are blossoming and wedding bells are just around the corner. Newlyweds will enjoy their honeymoon then come back to their new homes, where we will greet and shower them with gifts. In a culture where a couple basically prepares and gets everything they might ever need before they get married, buying wedding gifts is often a difficult and daunting task. Recently, department stores and smaller shops alike have accommodated wedding gift wish lists, giving couples the chance to point out things they haven’t gotten around to getting and making things a lot more convenient for us friends and family. And if you know a couple getting married soon, suggest that they do this, for everyone’s benefit!
What if there’s no wedding list, though, and our minds are completely blocked? How do we ensure our gifts are appreciated and helpful rather than meaningless trinkets that will sit on shelves collecting dust for years to come? We talked to several newlyweds to know what they would have liked to get for gifts but didn’t, and their thoughts on the items they did get. From their answers, we’ve compiled this list of Dos and Don’ts for when you’re buying wedding gifts this season.
When there’s no wedding list to consult, the next logical step is to ask the new couple if there’s something they specifically want. Sometimes there’s this thing they’ve had their eye on for a while, or something they need but haven’t gotten around to getting. They know you’re on a budget, so they’ll probably give you options.
Many of the couples we talked to said they would have actually preferred getting money instead of gifts they probably didn’t need. They didn’t see it as rude or impolite, but rather as giving them the opportunity to choose and prioritize for themselves. They could put the money together and buy something big they wanted, or they could keep it to help save up. Giving newlyweds money allows them a lot more flexibility and ensures that your gift will truly be worthwhile.
Fresh out of Dubai, MyList is a new website for gift registry that also has a collection of stores you can purchase one gift card to gain access to. You can either buy a MyList gift card for your bride and groom and they can pick their own gift from the stores associated with MyList, or the couple can register their own gift list and you purchase it for them through the site. With stores like BTech, Tradeline and Signe on board, the new couple are sure to find something. If someone close to you is getting married encourage them to use a site like MyList in advance to create a registry and help them get only what they want or need. It’s a perfect way to make bad gifting a thing of the past.
Several couples suggested they could use it to travel somewhere. One of them mentioned that a trip was the gift they really wanted but never got. Obviously, this is not a gift from one or two people, but rather from pooled resources. Get the gift as a group and give the couple a holiday somewhere new and fun. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the Maldives, but even a long weekend or a short flight out of the city can be heaven sent once real life responsibilities kick in for the new couple. Can’t gather as many people as you wanted to pitch in? You can always give them the money and explicitly tell them to save up and use it on some quality time together somewhere!
Outside the Box
If the above options don’t seem suitable for you, think outside the box! Instead of getting them the same old stuff everybody gets, be creative. Stay away from the things you know they must have bought for themselves and the stuff somebody else has probably already got them. Does your friend have a sweet tooth? Buy her a waffle maker or a small chocolate fountain. Are they coffee addicts who need their daily dose before they start their day? Maybe a Nespresso machine! Does the couple enjoy doing something in particular together that you could get them? At the end of the day, it’s always the thought that counts, so put some effort into making your gift usable and unique.
This is probably the most cliché wedding gift you could get someone, and the one on which we got the most consensus. Yes, it gives a variety of options and different price ranges. Yes, it looks nice. And, yes, it’s the most convenient – for you. If it’s not explicitly on the couple’s wish list, though, chances are they already have enough vases to last them a lifetime, and then some.
House Utensils and Appliances
This couple has literally started their home from nothing. It’s highly unlikely that they might have had a temporary lapse of memory and forgotten to buy a set of cooking pans and/or pots. They also probably have all the basic electronic appliances. A fridge, a dishwasher, a microwave and a television are all things they don’t need any more of. Neither do they need 7 blenders and 5 toaster ovens. Sometimes, they might want smaller appliances for their kitchenette if they live in a multi-story house, but unless they explicitly state that they need it, you’re safer staying away from these.
Another typical wedding gift. Silverware is pretty, nice and comes in all shapes and prices, just like Crystals do, but that makes it also come to everyone’s mind when they’re buying wedding gifts. There is such a thing as too many silver plates, ornaments, cutlery and saucers, no matter how intricate or detailed their designs are.
Gift vouchers seem like a good idea. You’re not giving the couple direct money and you’re allowing them to choose what they want themselves. Turns out they’re not a good idea, because you’re actually confining the couple to a specific store that might not cater to their needs and/or tastes. Because gift vouchers can’t be taken back to the store, it’s a better idea to just give them the money if you want to. Then, they really are at liberty to do whatever they want with it.