So what's the deal with Wedding Gifts?

Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
So one of my friends from work is getting married in October and I've been invited to come.

The thing is... I've never been to a wedding. I've been to more funerals than I have years on this Earth, but never a wedding. So I know there is a thing about wedding gifts and I want to get her and her husband to be one but I'm not sure what you give people? So what makes a good wedding gift? Something useful, something creative, or something just pretty? I'm out of my element here (as I am in most social situations!)

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  • FaranguFarangu I am a beardy man With a beardy planRegistered User regular
    All of the above that you listed are good options. You ultimately know them(or at least your work friend) best, so you know what they'll find useful/creative/pretty. If you can't find anything that you think they'll like, though, cash is always a great fallback considering how much most weddings go for nowadays; the go-to rule for that is give them about how much your plate at the reception costs.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Ask if they have a registry. If you got an official invite (physical or digital), there should be a registry listed - it's basically a wish list of stuff from a store or a vendor, such as Nordstroms or Bed Bath & Beyond. They are almost all online now, too. So if you can get a link, you just pick something that's in your price range and they will ship it directly, no hassle.

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  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    A big thing nowadays seems to be having a Honeymoon fund, where people either contribute to the honeymoon or buy them certain activities (dinner, excursions, etc).

    I think they tend to be a more popular option for couples who already live together and really don't need any more stuff.

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  • LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    Just find where they are registered/where the honeymoon fund is. Can't go wrong that way.

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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    theknot.com will search a bunch of common registries as well.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Straight up money is always appreciated as a gift at weddings.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    just stick to the registry, or inquire about the easiest/tasteful-est way to give money

    the general idea behind wedding gifts is that these people are combining lives and growing a household, and need a bunch of stuff. Unless you know them very well and can get something you know will be personally meaningful, don't try to get creative with it. What couples don't want is a big pile of 'creative' gifts that they don't have anything to do with

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    I remember the first time I heard of a wedding registry. It blew my mind. "That... Is so organized!" So yeah, just get something from the registry. If they do not have a registry, though (often the case in second marriages or between well-off professionals), it is okay to coordinate with them on an appropriate gift... I do not think any wedding custom calls for guest gifts to be a surprise.

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  • lunchbox12682lunchbox12682 MinnesotaRegistered User regular
    As others said, registry if possible.
    For the last couple, I've been to the wife and I have given Target gift cards as everyone (that we know at least) shops there.

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    I second or fourth the Registry. as Eat IT said above, unless you know the couple EXTREAMLY well, like your in the wedding party well, dont buy them something off the registry.

    It may seem impersonal to buy something off of a list, but remember that they have put a lot of thought into the list and don't want 6 gravy boats or a super special antique wooden salad bowl and tongs.

    Also, unless they are rich. Strait up cash is even better as they are going to have a lot of new expenses to cover as a young married couple.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    So, a viewpoint from the other side of the fence (I'm getting married in October):

    Basically, we're really looking for things for having our own place (we're looking at buying a house once we get through the wedding gauntlet), and we both have a good bit of stuff that we will be going through once we do have our own place. So unless you really know what we like or something we could actually use, getting something off-registry winds up being "one more thing we need to store".

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  • SixSix Ask me about my butthole Registered User regular
    If they have a registry, get something off that. If they don't, give them money.

    Easy peasy. If you try and over-complicate it you run a big risk of getting them something they don't need or want. The only exception I think would be is if you want to make or give them something incredibly personal that only you can make or give. Even then, I'd tend to err on the side of "just get something off the registry." When you get married, you create a registry because it's a really easy way to say, "here's the shit we need, thanks!"

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  • Gilbert0Gilbert0 North of SeattleRegistered User regular
    When I had my wedding too, to be nice to friends and family, we held the service closer to them. This is out of town for us. If everyone got us something physical, we'd had to rent a UHaul just to get it home! We purposefully put on our registry less "stuff" but more cash with printable coupons saying things like "$50 towards our Honeymoon". Sure there was a couple physical things from parents and close relatives but overall it cut down on the stuff a LOT.

    I would ask. The couple has so much other stuff going on, a simple question can clear things up and it's one less thing they need to worry about. Cash becomes a perfect thing for the Honeymoon or anything else they want.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    I always buy people the most utilitarian thing possible so they're forced to think about me in their daily lives. Napkin rings? Not gonna really use that often. Vacuum? Toaster Oven? You will be constantly reminded of my generosity.

    Of course, I'm a terrible person, so there's that, but also people often put a bunch of more "fluff" things on their registry, when really they need to be able to toast their bread.

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    I always buy people the most utilitarian thing possible so they're forced to think about me in their daily lives. Napkin rings? Not gonna really use that often. Vacuum? Toaster Oven? You will be constantly reminded of my generosity.

    Of course, I'm a terrible person, so there's that, but also people often put a bunch of more "fluff" things on their registry, when really they need to be able to toast their bread.

    You're not a terrible person for doing this thing, because you're getting them something they'll use. And you put thought into what they need.
    Now, if you got the thing, opened it and affixed an engraved plate to it saying "You're welcome. ~Schuss" right next to the power switch or something and then reboxed and wrapped it before gifting it, then maybe you edge up the terrible scale, but only by a handful of miliHitlers at most.

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    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
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  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    You could always go with the traditional wedding gift of a large overly specific kitchen appliance that will just end up in a cupboard somewhere forever.

    But really, they should have a registry and if they don't then everyone loves cash.

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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Not knowing your relationship with either the groom or bride I'd say pick something off the registry. If this is one of your mates though, I wouldn't buy them plates or bed sheets. I'd talk to the wedding party and look into some kind of group buy of something significant. If you're not willing to put in the time and consideration I'd just go with the registry or cash (tenth of an ounce gold piece also nice depending on culture). Go big or pick off the list.

  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    Advice in this thread is difficult to parse because "getting something off-registry" and "getting something off of the registry" mean opposite things.
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  • BobbleBobble Registered User regular
    see317 wrote: »
    schuss wrote: »
    I always buy people the most utilitarian thing possible so they're forced to think about me in their daily lives. Napkin rings? Not gonna really use that often. Vacuum? Toaster Oven? You will be constantly reminded of my generosity.

    Of course, I'm a terrible person, so there's that, but also people often put a bunch of more "fluff" things on their registry, when really they need to be able to toast their bread.

    You're not a terrible person for doing this thing, because you're getting them something they'll use. And you put thought into what they need.
    Now, if you got the thing, opened it and affixed an engraved plate to it saying "You're welcome. ~Schuss" right next to the power switch or something and then reboxed and wrapped it before gifting it, then maybe you edge up the terrible scale, but only by a handful of miliHitlers at most.

    Now I'm upset because my best friend already got married, or this would have been a perfect idea for my gift.

    Also, OP, google the bride and/or groom's name with "wedding" to see if they've got a wedding website (all the kids these days, etc.), that'll get you to the registry if they have one, or give any specific information they may have about gifts (sometimes people just ask that the guests donate to charity or something).

  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    edited May 2016
    Thanks guys, you guys are great. They live together but I'll ask her next time I see her if they have a registry. I know they aren't going to do a Honeymoon right off the bat because she's going to Israel for some archaeologist thing some time after and he's getting deployed in late November.

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  • SixSix Ask me about my butthole Registered User regular
    Also if they're not doing a registry ask why and if they just want money or want you to give to Save the Hippos or something. Getting wedding gifts can be a pain and a registry is as much for the convenience of the guests as for the couple. You can register on Amazon and it's awesome and easy.

    Just don't be the kind of person who registers for your housewarming party.

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    I'm thankfully out of the primary wedding seasons of my life (thank god), but these days it's pretty common to see honeymoon items and/or gift cards to places like home depot or target.

    Also - around that plaque - I really should have done that.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Six wrote: »
    Also if they're not doing a registry ask why and if they just want money or want you to give to Save the Hippos or something. Getting wedding gifts can be a pain and a registry is as much for the convenience of the guests as for the couple. You can register on Amazon and it's awesome and easy.

    Just don't be the kind of person who registers for your housewarming party.

    We decided on an Amazon registry, mainly because it makes it easier for guests to buy things.

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  • SixSix Ask me about my butthole Registered User regular
    Six wrote: »
    Also if they're not doing a registry ask why and if they just want money or want you to give to Save the Hippos or something. Getting wedding gifts can be a pain and a registry is as much for the convenience of the guests as for the couple. You can register on Amazon and it's awesome and easy.

    Just don't be the kind of person who registers for your housewarming party.

    We decided on an Amazon registry, mainly because it makes it easier for guests to buy things.

    It also makes returning easy.

    We did about 50/50 Amazon vs other places and I really wish we'd gone 100% Amazon. Yeah the couple of days we spent getting drunk at Pottery Barn or whatever were kind of fun? I guess? But mostly I kept thinking "This is cheaper online."

    We ended up retuning a ton of the non-Amazon stuff anyway.

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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Six wrote: »
    Yeah the couple of days we spent getting drunk at Pottery Barn or whatever were kind of fun? I guess? But mostly I kept thinking "This is cheaper online."

    Wait...getting trashed in PB is only for new couples? Boy, am I embarrassed now.

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    They serve liquor at Pottery Barn? I've been gypped, as we've spent $Texas there in the past year outfitting our nursery and buying a new couch.

  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Cambiata wrote: »
    [lime]Straight up money is always appreciated as a gift at weddings. [/lime]

    Sweet Merciful Christ, yes. As someone who got married 8 months ago, cash. Cash is king.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • FryFry Registered User regular
    Thanks guys, you guys are great. They live together but I'll ask her next time I see her if they have a registry. I know they aren't going to do a Honeymoon right off the bat because she's going to Israel for some archaeologist thing some time after and he's getting deployed in late November.

    Pith helmet for her, body armor for him.

    (someone needed to meet the "terrible advice from the internet" quota)

  • TeeManTeeMan BrainSpoon Registered User regular
    MegaMan001 wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    [lime]Straight up money is always appreciated as a gift at weddings. [/lime]

    Sweet Merciful Christ, yes. As someone who got married 8 months ago, cash. Cash is king.

    A cash-gift to me says that they understand the financial burden of putting on a wedding and would like to directly help that part of their lives. Don't think it's impersonal to give cash, it's a knowing nod-and-wink between yourself and the newlyweds.

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  • Grunt's GhostsGrunt's Ghosts Registered User regular
    Fry wrote: »
    Thanks guys, you guys are great. They live together but I'll ask her next time I see her if they have a registry. I know they aren't going to do a Honeymoon right off the bat because she's going to Israel for some archaeologist thing some time after and he's getting deployed in late November.

    Pith helmet for her, body armor for him.

    (someone needed to meet the "terrible advice from the internet" quota)

    He's Navy so I doubt he's getting off the boat.

  • lessthanpilessthanpi Registered User regular
    I once gave a somewhat dear-but-dumbassed friend a copy of "Divorced for Dummies" and a life-sized ceramic bust I pulled out of the trash outside my apartment. They did a give opening with close family the next day at the hotel. I wished I could have been there because it had to be goddamn hilarious.

    My wife likes to make very time intensive handcrafts such as blankets or shawls. They show a great deal of care and concern along with the added benefit of not being returnable for cash. It pisses off brides and wins over mothers and grandmothers forever.

    In other words, don't listen to me.

  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    edited May 2016
    As a newlywed, count me down for "check their registry. If no registry, then giftcard or money."

    It's the little things. My best man gave us a $25 giftcard for Waffle House. After the reception, my new wife and I went up to our honeymoon suite, and you know what we did?

    ...we got changed and went to Waffle House and tore. It. Up.

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  • lunchbox12682lunchbox12682 MinnesotaRegistered User regular
    For my one friend, I made a My Condolences card for his wife along with a regular wedding card. I never did ask if that went over well. I assume not as much it did in my head.

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