Buying a wedding gift is an important decision because a gift carries many messages. Often couples will set up a gift registry so that their guests choose gifts that will be useful. But sometimes the gift registry can be all bought out before you have a chance buy a gift. Even so, there are plenty of thoughtful last minute wedding gifts that will be both appealing and useful.
When choosing last minute wedding gifts, you want to pick something that congratulates the happy couple on their big day and also wishes them a happy future. If you know the couple very well, you can pick almost anything you know they’ll like: old silver, home decor or a valuable first edition. If you don’t know them very well, you can pick a more typical wedding gift which can help them set up house or in some way start their life together.
How to Choose a Wedding Gift
Over time, some conventions have evolved about what makes an appropriate wedding gift. Gifts must commemorate the day and congratulate the happy couple. They must also be useful in some ways, especially if the couple will be setting up house together. Or, gifts could help the couple celebrate the new stage in their relationship with some together time, like holiday and travel vouchers.
Even if you don’t know the couple very well, gifts should be personalized if possible. This could mean monogramming on household linens and china or silverware or just picking a case of wine that you know they will enjoy. Gifts should reflect the tastes and interests of the couple, whether they love music or nature or wine and cooking.
Gifts can be brought to the wedding reception, and sometimes the invitation will specify that. It may be easier, however, to send the gift to the home where the couple will be living to save them trouble in transporting it after the ceremony. In terms of timing, the gift can be sent a couple of weeks in advance or up to three months after the wedding. So even if you find yourself looking for last minute wedding gifts and your gift arrives days after the wedding, you won’t be breaching wedding etiquette.
While many people think that giving gift coupons or cash for a wedding gift is a cop out, the couple will probably not feel the same way. With gift coupons or cash, they can get exactly what they want for themselves. Finally, it’s important to remember to always include a gift receipt. That way, if the gift is duplicated or if you made a wrong choice, they can exchange it without any difficulty.
Should I Stick to the Wedding Registry When Possible?
Many couples set up a gift registry to help their guests choose the right gift. The gift registry typically lists household items that they will find useful, and many also list items in varying price ranges to suit all budgets. Gift registry ideas can vary from fine china to kitchen towels and now often include less conventional items that the couple will find useful, like camping supplies.
Another advantage of gift registries is that they prevent duplication of gifts, and there’s no danger of your couple starting their newly married life with five brand new toasters or five identical sets of silverware. A registry also makes it easier for the couple to write thank-you notes, since there’s an accessible record matching guests to gifts.
It’s not mandatory to stick to the registry when choosing a wedding gift, and you may prefer to pick your own gift. Even so, looking at the registry will help you get some idea of the kinds of things the couple is looking for to set up their new home and new life. It will also tell you about the kinds of things they enjoy doing together, which can be another way to choose a gift.
Some Last Minute Wedding Gift Ideas
It happens to everyone: you’ve been invited to a wedding months ahead of time, but for some reason you never managed to find time to go through the gift registry. Or you couldn’t make up your mind what to choose, and when you went back to look a day before the event the registry was all bought out. But all is not lost.
There are some good gift ideas that you can fall back on when the wedding registry is all bought out. You can also use these gift ideas if there is no wedding registry. As we said above, wedding gifts tend to fall into some conventional categories, such as household items, personalized gifts, experiential gifts like vouchers for travel or cooking classes or wine tastings, and edible gifts. You can also get creative and put together a gift basket.
When choosing last minute wedding gifts you can still use the registry as a guide even if the gifts are all bought already. The items listed on the registry will give you an idea of the interests of the couple as well as the kinds of things they need to start their married life. You can also use the registry to help you avoid duplicating gifts others have bought.
Linens for the kitchen and bathroom are a safe bet because they will always be useful. If they can be monogrammed, that adds a thoughtful and personal touch. Wine glasses and cocktail glasses are also always useful, as are pitchers and serving dishes of unique design. Other useful household items like bath towels or bathrobes can also be personalized with monograms.
Special items like champagne flutes or cut glass or old silver also make good wedding gifts and may even become heirlooms. Picture frames are another small item that can be very useful and will be treasured for a long time.
This works best if you know the couple well and can find gifts that connect to places and events that have a special significance. Personalized wedding gifts could even include a collage of pictures from college, a chopping board in the shape of their home state or the state where they will make their new home, or a home brewing kit for beer enthusiasts.
If you know the couple well enough, you can get them something that will suit their interests. If they are enthusiastic campers and hikers, quality sleeping bags and tents will be appreciated and put to good use. Gardening tools likewise will be welcomed by those who enjoy working on the yard.
These include gift coupons and vouchers for all kinds of events, travel, classes and other things that the couple can do together. A weekend trip, a camping holiday, a music event, or wine tasting or cooking classes all help them to enjoy their time together and remember you and your part in their lives. A gift certificate for a weekend hotel or spa stay is a thoughtful gift.
If you know the couple and their tastes well enough, you could get them a museum membership, season tickets at the opera, or gift certificates for their favorite restaurant. Or you could sign them up for a monthly wine or cheese club, and they’ll have your gift delivered to their doorstep every month for the next year. It really doesn’t get more thoughtful or personalized than that.
Experiential gifts are a great choice for last minute wedding gifts because you can literally buy them at the last minute, on your phone on the way to the ceremony.
These are always a safe choice and can be personalized if you know the couple’s tastes. Flowers, fruit and chocolate make a great combination, or you can put together food baskets with meats, crackers, cheeses, spreads, jams and drinks. Miniature wine or champagne bottles can be added for an extra festive touch.
While money is not the preferred gift when it comes to choosing wedding gifts, it may be one of the most useful. Cash or a prepaid card is the best way to give a monetary gift, but you can write a check for a close relative or friend.
Make Your Own Wedding Gift Basket
This is another classic idea for last minute wedding gifts because it’s almost fail-proof. You can also have a lot of fun putting together your gift basket. Get a couple of bottles of wine, some flowers, a scented candle or two, candy or cookies, speciality tea bags or bag of good coffee, a couple of pretty china teacups and put it all in an attractive gift basket. This is truly a gift that gives happiness, and you can be sure that they’ll save these for a special occasion.
When choosing a wedding gift, there are some unwritten conventions that you must follow. But even within these rules, you can get creative, especially if you’re not sticking to the wedding registry. Last minute wedding gifts can also be thoughtful, personalized and useful to the couple on the next stage of their journey together.