I tend to go with a picture frame myself…with a $20 (or $50) dollar bill inside. Cash may be somewhat tacky, but I’ve never heard anyone complain about it. The frame is something they can keep forever, the money they can use to get the last china setting they need to complete the table, or whatever else they wanted and didn’t get.
When my brother got married last year, I didn’t know WHAT to get them. I ended up getting them a classy pair of champagne flutes made of Bulgarian stained glass (a pair of nice champagne flutes is a terrific fallback gift for a couple).
But the great gift I got was for my brother alone. I was the best man, so I didn’t feel “off” getting him a separate gift.
When he and I were kids, in Atlanta, we were both HUGE Atlanta Falcons fans. Back then, Steve Bartkowski was the Atlanta quarterback, and he was my brother’s hero in a big, big way. So when he was getting hitched, I did a little research on the Internet and found a site where I could get Bartkowski to personalize a photograph. I got him to sign an 8"x10" of himself (in the old, red Falcons uniform, taking a snap and dropping back), and had him write:
“To Shawn - Your little brother Adam rules!” And sign it.
Shawn started crying when I gave it to him, and it cost me $45, with shipping.
A suggestion that I got (from my mother!) that works well (at least for young newlyweds) is…
lamps (table, floor, etc…)
Reasoning being that lamps are so mundane that very few people think of giving them, yet most new households NEED them. The first time I tried this I actually got a phone call from the bride thanking me, as it turned out that my lamp was the only one they had received - so the only light they had in their new place, apart from windows, was my lamp which they were moving from room to room. SCORE!
It’s important to consider, are these people starting a new household for the first time? In this case they need things for the house, like lamps and hangers.
But if they’ve been living together for 7 years, they’ve already got all the toasters they need.
If they are combining two households, then they’ve got two toasters.
**Practicality and Humor …b]
When one of our best friends married, the wife suffers from really bad allergies (she was my maid of honor) and I gave her a large box of the good Puffs tissues, like 25 boxes in a large box. Then for her husband, he got a large box filled with good toilet paper. In them both, a note that said *think of us when you use it. *
They loved it.
When another great couple finally married and wanted money ( this is hubby’s best friend, so it was ok to grouse for $) I made some spectacularly crappy tasting fortune cookies ( that did not resemble anything like the chinese ones) and put $20’s in them, along with really funny fortunes ( You will get laid real soon.) They hated the cookies, per se, but loved everything else in it.
When another great couple married ( they had lived in sin for three years and she is the daughter of a multi millionaire) we did not want to give them money and they really did not need stuff. So, at the wedding I took candid black and white pictures of the party and the important guests. Four rolls of film, single print the pictures and give them the negative and the one " oh one more picture…" that I took was the *one * that they display for their friends and family. Cost: Less than $30 (done this with five weddings now and it is always a big hit.)
Wow, lots of cool ideas here. As the bridesmaid in one medical student wedding, and attendee at a couple others, I know what a crunch this time can be!
I love the cookbook idea. I got a few when I got married (1.5 years ago). I’d recommed this one. It’s an aphrodisiac cookbook, with truly declicious recipes and gorgeous photography. It rocks.
If you’re artistically inclined at all, make something. Or have a friend do it. One of my favorite gifts was a beautiful colored pencil piece of our names and wedding date, done in a range of greens and yellows (which coordinated with our wedding colors).
We also really appreciated having our invitation matted and framed.
Burn a CD of songs that remind you of them.
Does their wedding have a theme, or some other element to pick up on? Our reception was held at the Science Center, in the building adjacent to the butterfly house. We had a simple butterfly motif on the invitations, and lots of people picked up on that in wonderful ways. One of the best was a selection of Christmas ornaments, all unique butterflies made of different materials. Loved it, and made celebrating our first official Christmas together more fun.
If they have a fireplace, how about some kindling or pinecones treated to burn in different colors?
Along with the cookbook idea, collect favorite recipes to start a recipe box for them.
Are they honeymooning? If they are and you know where, maybe try to get something to prepare them for their adventure-- a guidebook, Pepto Bismol, beach towels, fancy chopsticks, whatever. If they’re not, give 'em a honeymoon in a box: a good DVD, candles, a bottle of wine, massage oil, gift certificate for flowers…
That’s all I got for now.
Along the lines of rock and sock em robots, the coolest gift we got was a his and hers set of nerf guns, with a note that said marriage was not all happy times, and sometimes we’d have fights, and we were supposed to use these.
I also got, from my broke friends:
Lots of bottles of wine (unfortuantely, my husband doesn’t drink wine)
Lots of picture frames (which I loved)
Three picnic baskets, two we returned, the third we’ve never used, its now decoration in the kitchen.
Candles with holders, massage oil, and poetry.
(I always give either cash or something off their registry. A wedding is no time to get creative and decide for your friends what they are going to decorate with. Although the thought is nice - I have a ton of the “local artisan” stuff (my mother in law is a sculptor, my father in law a painter) that doesn’t fit my taste or decor. Worse, because its all gifts from them (and much of it their work) I have to display it.)
Mr. Stargazer proposed to me in the PSC’s butterfly house! (unfortunately, butterflies don’t really work for a fall wedding, otherwise we’d have done that theme, too.)
Wow! You got engaged in the very building we held the reception in! How cool is that? We put the food stations all around, including one beneath that giant praying mantis. We got TONS of comments from the guests about what a fun reception it was.
We were married September 9 (my parents’ 33rd anniversary), for what it’s worth. I say if I want butterflies, then damn it, I’ll have them whatever the season!
Gave a cousin and his bride a set of pink plastic flamingos. After 17 years, they are still part of their living room decor and one of the few wedding presents they still have. She says it was the best gift they received, it was unique and totally unexpected.