You’ve got the dress, organised the venue, booked the wedding cars and bought the ring. Maybe it’s time to think about your wedding gifts. Your guests are going to want to buy you a wedding present, but what would you prefer? Many of you might be thinking you’d much prefer cash. But how do you tell your guests? Quite simply word of mouth is the best way to discuss wedding gift ideas with your guests.
The usual wedding gift ideas will focus heavily on the items a newly married couple need for their home. Bed linen, tableware, glasses, cutlery, kitchen equipment, towels etc. If you’ve been living together for a number of years already, it’s likely that you’ve already got most of what you need. Which is why cash has become a favourite alternative. But if you feel a little uncomfortable about asking for money for your wedding gifts, ideas are a plenty for suitable alternatives.
You might be thinking that your guests would prefer there to be a specific purpose to their gift. In which case, why not say you’d like the cash as a contribution towards your dream honeymoon? There are also certain gift experiences that can be bought for the couple while they’re away. Such as swimming with dolphins, cocktail cruises, exotic car drive, rock climbing class or champagne brunch. That way the newly married couple will have something to look forward to when the excitement of the wedding day and honeymoon has passed.
What do we mean by “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue”?
It is largely a British custom, but still has significance wherever you might be holding your wedding celebration. The saying comes from an old British rhyme, and requires the bride to collect 5 different items.
Something old – to represent continuity
Something new – to represent optimism for the future
Something borrowed – to represent borrowed happiness
Something blue – because blue represents fidelity, love and purity.
And one final part of the tradition was to place a sixpence in the bride’s shoe. All the other items must be worn on the bride’s special day for good fortune.
Should You Create a Gift List for Your Guests?
This is a debate that has been going on for years, and there’s really no simple answer. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s look at the problem in a bit more detail. For many guests, coming up with useful wedding gift ideas can be a bit of a nightmare. After all, not all the guests will be intimate with the happy couples home life, and have a knowledge of the things that they need.
For many, having a list that they can use for inspiration will be a god send. And for the soon to be newly weds, allowing guests to choose their gifts at random may mean that there are some unwelcome surprises. Some of the people attending the ceremony will know what your favourite brands are, whether you’re in desperate need of an espresso maker, toaster or pile of fluffy towels. But there are others who won’t have a clue, and some who quite frankly, don’t buy gifts that are in the best possible taste. We’ve all got relatives and friends who give gifts for lots of other occasions that end up in a drawer.
Some may say that using a gift list is considered a bit naff. But consider the alternative. A cupboard full of vases you really can’t bring yourself to use, several cutlery sets that you’ve no alternative but to try and sell them on Ebay, or gifts that you’ll have no problem using, or giving pride of place in your marital home. No contest really.
And one final thought on the subject…
Research has shown that newly-weds get rid of 2/3 of their wedding gifts. This according to research by the popular UK store Debenhams, and reported in the Daily Mail newspaper. The store’s research shows that only 1 in 3 wedding gifts are kept by the newly-weds, the rest are sold online.
Wedding Gift Ideas for the Bride and the Groom
You might be wondering whether you should be thinking about wedding gift ideas for your spouse. Well yes you should. It’s become common practice nowadays for the bride and groom to exchange gifts on their wedding day. So why would you want to buck the trend?
It’s up to you both when the gift exchanging takes place. It could be before your wedding day, on the morning of the ceremony or once the wedding is over.
Dependant on the type of wedding gift you’re giving. For example you might want to give your other half something they can wear on the day, such as a necklace or cufflinks. Or it could be something that can be enjoyed when on your honeymoon. It doesn’t have to be an outrageously expensive or an over the top gift either. It is meant to be a small token of your affection for each other, not some grand gesture. Why not a picture frame, ready for your wedding photo, or a book of poetry? It is completely up to you.
Wedding Gift Ideas for Your Husband-to-Be
Gifts you give your soon to be husband for your wedding day, should show him how much he’s loved and appreciated. How about we give you a few ideas.
- A handwritten love note, in which you can express exactly what it is that you love about him. Tell him how much you adore him, and appreciate he’s chosen to spend the rest of his life with you.
- A gift you can experience together after the wedding celebrations are over. What about tickets to a concert he’s been longing to see, or for the upcoming games of his favourite team?
- Wedding morning breakfast. If you’re being very traditional in the arrangements for your nuptials, you’ll be spending the night before and the morning of the wedding apart. So why not order him breakfast from his favourite brunch shop? It’s sure to calm those butterflies in his stomach, and all those pre-wedding nerves.
- A piece of jewellery – not forgetting the all important personalization. Practical and memorable options include a money clip, tie-pin, watch or cuff links.
Wedding Gifts – Ideas for the Bride-to-Be
For all you soon to be husbands, this is an important part of the day. You might think that you’ve done all you can to make your dearly beloveds day special, but there’s one vital thing you must not forget. But don’t panic, because we’re here to help with some wedding gift ideas for your lovely wife-to-be.
- A locket, so she’ll always be able to carry a picture of you
- Charm bracelet, with a few sentimental charms to start the
- Gold dipped rose, from Eternity Rose
- Pearl necklace
- Box of chocolates
- Something she’ll be able to wear on your honeymoon
Tips on Picking the Best Wedding Gifts
If the bride and groom have decided to make use of a wedding list, then your quest is pretty simple. Take a look at the list and pick something you like, and that you can afford. If the gift giving is being left open for guests to decide, then you might be needing a few hints and tips. So here goes…
- The gift that you give should be a reflection of the couple’s interests and needs. Something useful for their home will be more than acceptable. But you might want to ask around, to make sure you’re not copying someone else’s idea.
- How well you know the bride and groom will have significance. If you know them well then you can be a little more adventurous, otherwise you’d be wise to stick with the more classic kind of gift.
- Don’t feel obliged to spend hundreds of dollars. It’s the thought that matters most with any kind of gift.
- Talk to friends and family members to get a better idea of the gifts that they’d prefer.
- Consider the age of the couple, as a gift for a young couple will be different than one for those who are slightly older, or getting married for the second time around.
Wedding Gift Ideas for the Bride and Groom’s Parents
It’s highly likely that your parents have played a big role in your life. After all, without them you wouldn’t be here at all. Through thick and thin, they’ve been by your side, held your hand and been a shoulder to cry on. So why not take the opportunity to say thank you? And of course remind them that they will always be important to you, however far away you may be.
You’re going to both be showered with gifts on your wedding day, so why not give something back to those you love dearly? Embroidered handkerchiefs for your dad, and a silver pendant for your mum. Make your mum feel special by incorporating something from her wedding dress into the handle of your bouquet. Or if you’re not that keen on cutting a piece out of her beautiful wedding dress, put the dress on display.
And maybe your grandmother has treasured her dress, so it can go on display too. Why not include a photo of your mum and dad when they got married, in the snaps taken for your wedding day? And what about the tune for your first dance together at the reception? Have you got a favourite? If not, borrow the tune from your parent’s special day.
Who Thought up the Whole Wedding Gift Idea?
Now that we’ve looked at wedding gift ideas for brides, grooms and in respect of the guests, let’s explain where the idea came from. Has it always been traditional for the bride and groom to receive gifts? And should they be thinking about giving gifts back to their guests?
It all started out with the tradition of “bride price”. Later called a dowry, it was paid to the bride’s family in order to be sure she was secured for marriage. The groom’s family made the payment, and it could include land and livestock. A practise that is still true today for some cultures. Guests weren’t expected to give gifts on the day, because an exchange of material goods had already taken place.
Over the years the tradition changed. One example is during the Renaissance period, when a bride came to the marriage with a “hope chest”. This would contain all that she needed to run a successful home, such as tableware and linens.
We’ve got Macey’s to thank for the modern idea of wedding gift giving. In 1928, probably after a brainstorming session, they came up with a brilliant marketing ploy, and introduced a gift giving registry. Back then, it made a bit more sense than it does today. In that the couple would likely have been living with their parents before getting married. So wouldn’t have accrued all the necessities, and needed some help getting started on their life together. Unlike today, when many couples looking to tie the knot, have already been living together for what can sometimes be a substantial length of time. Or they could be getting married second, third or even fourth time around.
For this reason the nature of gift registries has changed. No longer do they include the essentials. Today’s gift lists can include luxuries, as well as more elaborate gifts not considered basic necessities.
Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas for the Future
Wedding anniversaries? Hang on a minute we’ve haven’t said our vows yet. Yes we realise you might be thinking this, but we thought this was an appropriate time to think about the future. After all you’re not entering into this union without the hope that you’re going to spend a lifetime together. Over the coming years the exchanging of gifts should become an important part of your relationship. And indeed its success will depend on it.
There is no better reason for the giving and receiving of gifts than the anniversary of your special day. The day when your life together
For every year that passes, there are lists that you can refer to and use for inspiration. Various different symbols have become associated with the passing years, such as paper for a 1st anniversary, wood for the 5th, silver for a 25th anniversary and gold after 50 years of marriage.
You shouldn’t feel obliged to follow the lists, but they’ll certainly give you some great wedding anniversary gift ideas, and the opportunity to give your spouse a different gift each year. Let’s face it, even after a couple of years, your gifts are likely to become a little samey.
Wedding Gifts – Ideas From Across the World
- Wedding Gift Ideas From Japan – in Japan it’s traditional to give money as a gift, contained in an envelope called shūgi-bukuro. The guest put an amount of money into this shūgi-bukuro, write their name on it and hand it to the receptionist at the reception party. The amount of money is influenced by the relationship the giver has with the couple, their social status and the venues style. It is common for the amount to have an odd number at the front, such as ¥30,000 or ¥50,000, because this symbolizes that the married couple can’t be divided.
- Wedding Gift Traditions in Sweden – here the bride’s mother puts a gold coin in her right shoe, and her father puts a silver coin in her left. This ensures that she will always be provided for.
- Wedding Gift Traditions in China – in China they also put money in an envelope, which is usually colored red. The gift amount should contain a combination of the numbers 6 and 8, because these particular numbers are considered to be lucky.
- Wedding Gifts – Ideas from Malaysia – here they also give money as wedding gifts. But it is usually folded into origami flowers and cranes. There is also a tradition called bunga telur, which involves giving eggs decorated with flowers and presented in a decorative box. Fertility is the reason behind this gift, and the hope that the couple will have lots of children.
- Wedding Gift Traditions from Puerto Rico – in this country things are done a little differently. Wedding favors are given, but here it involves a “bride doll’. A doll, dressed very similarly to the bride, is covered in charms called capias. They are usually folded ribbons that have the couple’s names and the date of the wedding printed on them. The bride hands them out to the guests as she greets them.
Giving Wedding Favors – Is this Necessary?
There might be some of you reading this that have never heard of wedding favors, and there will be those that have, and are wondering whether they are a necessity. So let’s look at the whole idea of wedding favors – why they’re given, where the idea came from and the sort of wedding gifts that can be chosen.
Wedding favors are small tokens or gifts that are basically a thank you.
Given to the guests, by the bride and the groom, to express their appreciation and gratitude. They also serve as a reminder of the special day. As if the ceremony, cake, food, entertainment and best man’s speech wasn’t enough. But all joking aside, wedding favors have become part and parcel of many modern wedding celebrations.
Wedding favors are actually quite traditional. The first were very common among European aristocrats, and were known as bonbonniere. It would be a small trinket box made from crystal, precious stones or porcelain. Inside the box were sugar cubes, or dainty confections, that were used to symbolise wealth and royalty. Sugar was used because back then it was a precious commodity, and only the wealthy would be able to afford it.
Sugar became more affordable over the years, which led to almonds taking its place. By the time the 13th century came around, the almonds were coated in sugar, and earned the name confetti. It was traditional for 5 Jordan almonds to be contained within the trinket box, as they represented fertility, wealth, health, happiness and longevity.
Wedding gift ideas for guests, still known today as wedding favors, are popular all across the globe, but particularly in the United States and Canada. The choices on offer are diverse, ranging from the obvious sugared almonds or chocolates, to candles and scented soap. There are more modern options too such as shot glasses filled with sweet candy, a CD with the favorite tunes of the bride and groom, or picture frames with a photo of the happy couple.
Some Celebrities go All out With Their Wedding Gift Ideas
Celebrities aren’t know for letting special occasions pass without making a song and dance about it, and when it comes to getting married, there have been some pretty unusual wedding gifts that were exchanged. Let’s give a few examples, and you can either choose to be inspired or realise that money doesn’t buy happiness.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt – was originally looking at buying Brad a typewriter that belonged to the Tennessee Williams, but instead forked out $250,000 on one used by iconic American writer Ernest Hemmingway.
Amal and George Clooney – knowing that George loves the Hotel Cipriani, Amal bought her new husband 12 Venetian handmade cocktail glasses, along with 12 matching silk napkins and napkin holders, at a total cost of $3,700. They are identical to those used in his favourite hotel.
Keira Knightley and James Righton – James gave his new bride Keira a 100 year old olive tree. It was planted in the back garden of their French farmhouse. The finishing touch? He engraved their initials into the trunk of the tree.
Danielle and Jamie O’Hara – a Bentley was the order of the day for this lucky lady. Studded with crystals of course.
Kate Holmes and Tom Cruise – when the underground, taxi or bus just won’t do, Tom gave his new wife a £13 million Gulfstream jet, with added the extras of a cinema and internet.
Stella McCartney and Alasdhair Willis – for their wedding gift list, this couple asked guests to give them trees. Reportedly because they wanted a forest in the garden of their Worcester home.
We hope that we’ve been able to give you a few helpful ideas, and that your gifts are appreciated. The important thing to consider, when looking for perfect wedding gift ideas, is to give a gift that will suit their preferences, and one that comes from your heart.