How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Gift

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Do you hear that? 

It’s the sounds of wedding bells, or the classical hum of Bach or that incredibly cheesy pop song from the early 00s your favorite couple swears is their “song”.

Whatever the music, one thing’s for certain; wedding season is upon us!

And with it comes the age-old question: what on earth do I get the happy couple as a wedding gift? 

Fear not, for we are here to guide you through the treacherous waters of wedding gift-giving. 

Gift gifting may seem arduous in a world where anyone can get anything next-day delivery.

And given most couples live together BEFORE marriage and have therefore acquired their own collection of combined “stuff”, the act of wedding gift-giving can seem redundant.

But we assure you it’s not, and it’s still common practice, so don’t skip the details unless the happy couple has specifically asked you to!

Okay, enough rambling on. 

Shall we dig into wedding gift etiquette and how to choose the quintessential gift?

Let’s go shopping!

What is a wedding gift registry?

First things first: what is a wedding gift registry? 

You’ll have seen them in the movies, where couples and their families walk around expensive department stores zapping fine china sets and arguing over cutlery. 

Such a joyful time!

Well, that’s one form of gift registration, and we know Hollywood loves to make everything dramatic.

A gift registry lists gifts the couple has picked and registered for at various stores. 

This makes it easier for guests to choose a gift and ensures the couple receives something they want or need. 

It's kind of like a Christmas list for adults, except there's no Santa Claus (or is there?).

It may seem a little beyond the point. After all, aren’t gifts supposed to be a surprise?

But we’re sure you’d much rather spend your hard-earned cash on a gift the couple will use rather than something that’ll sit at the back of a cupboard gathering dust for the next 50 years. 

As we mentioned, most couples have a period of cohabiting before marriage and generally have acquired all the necessities, usually given as wedding gifts.

One additional perk to buying from a wedding registry means you can set a budget, know you’ve bought something the couple wants, and avoid getting something someone else has bought.

Win-win!

Now, the big question…

Do you have to abide by the gift registry? 

Bit of a rebel without a cause, are you?

We like that!

If the status quo ain’t your thing, then technically, no. But if you go off-registry, you risk giving the couple something they don't want or need.

You may get them something they already have or, worse, someone else has bought them. 

Then you put them in the sticky situation of deciding whose stained glass fruit punch bowl to return - yours or Aunt Susan’s.

And we hate to break it to you, but Aunt Susan has better odds of no return!

So, unless you have a really good reason to go rogue, it's probably best to stick to the registry.

However, it could be argued that if you're close enough to the couple to be invited to their wedding, you probably know them well enough to know what they like.

So, we guess, edge on the side of caution and do what you think is best!

But what if everything on the registry is way out of your budget? 

Weddings can get SO expensive!

You’re talking to a luxury jeweler, we know!

Is it acceptable to pay for part of a more expensive gift in the registry? 

Absolutely! 

In fact, most registry websites allow multiple guests to chip in on larger gifts, so you can go in with a group of friends or family members to give the couple something extra special. 

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Make sure you coordinate with the other gift-givers so you don't accidentally buy the same thing three times.

We all love those home speaker assistants, but two for every room can be a bit overboard!

What if the couple doesn't have a gift registry? 

Uh-oh, the great abyss of the unknown - no gift registry!

The idea of a pre-select list of gifts to choose from sounds favorable at this point, right?

This is where things can get a little tricky. 

You could always go the cash or check route, but that can feel impersonal.

Although you’d be strapped to find anyone not happy to receive free cash - but consider the situation and how close you are to the couple. 

They may be dying for some extra cash after the cost of the wedding and may want to put it towards fixing up their house or making memories together.

Others may feel you’ve opted for the easy way out and haven’t thought about it. Ah, so complex!

However, if you decide to give cash, be sure to do so tastefully (e.g. in a nice card or envelope) and avoid making a big show of it at the wedding reception.

Okay, so if you want to avoid throwing literal money at the couple (we’d advise not throwing anything but confetti - the environmentally friendly kind, of course), what can you get them? 

Ideas for wedding gift-giving without a registry

Ah, you're a detail-oriented person!

Here are a few more tips and tricks for choosing the perfect wedding gift without a gift registry.

Consider what the couple likes as a couple. This bit’s important; just because the groom loves skydiving and thrill-seeking doesn’t mean the bride will appreciate being thrown out of a plane from 30,000 feet. 

Do they have any shared interests or hobbies? Are they into outdoor activities, cooking, or traveling? 

Knowing what they like to do together can give you some great gift ideas. Not 100% sure? 

Thank heavens for social media! People love sharing what they’re up to and what they love to do. A quick stalk of their Instagrams could reveal what they like to do together!

Another factor to consider is whether they're planning to move in together. If so, practical gifts like kitchen appliances or linens could be very useful.

If not, you might want to focus on something more personal, like a piece of art or a unique experience they can enjoy together.

Are they big foodies? A fancy dinner or cooking class would be a great gift. 

Do they love to travel? Consider getting them a gift certificate for a weekend getaway. 

This is one situation where money could be the answer.

Sometimes, couples request money to go towards a honeymoon and, in that case, stuff the notes or check in a card with love and send them on their merry way!

The possibilities are endless!

Classic wedding gift ideas

You could always opt for a classic wedding gift if you feel traditional.

You can't go wrong with a set of alcohol decanters or some fancy wine, whisky, or champagne glasses. 

If you want to go the more traditional route, china sets or homeware items are always a safe bet.

But don't be afraid to think outside the box - a personalized photo album can be just as meaningful.

Choosing a wedding gift doesn't have to be stressful or overwhelming.

Consider practicality, consider what the couple likes, and don't be afraid to ask for guidance from friends and family if needed. 

And above all, remember that the most important thing is to show your love and support for the happy couple on their special day.

Can you simply ask the couple what they want? 

Okay, can you avoid all the drama and hours spent searching “how to choose a wedding gift” on Google (hello, we see you!) and just ask the couple what they want?

Of course! 

It might take away some of the surprise, but giving a gift you know the couple will love and use is always better.

They might even have a specific charity or cause they'd like you to donate to instead of getting a physical gift.

Gotta love those kind-hearted folks!

What if they say, “no gifts”? Is it a trap?

I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where someone has said they don’t want a gift and then has been slightly disappointed when they don’t receive one!

But rest assured, if a couple requests no gifts, honor it.

Many couples don’t want a bunch of extra stuff; they just want you to join them in celebrating their union. 

The next question on everyone's mind…

How much should I spend on the gift?

Life. Is. Expensive.

We feel you! And weddings come with all sorts of associated costs, from outfits to travel and accommodation - so what should you spend on the gift?

It really depends on your relationship with the couple, as well as your budget. 

Generally, spending at least enough to cover your plate at the wedding (if you're attending) is a good idea, but you don't have to break the bank.

A thoughtful, heartfelt gift is always appreciated, no matter the price tag.

When should you give the couple the gift? 

Ideally, you should send or bring the gift to the couple before or just after the wedding.

If you're sending it, try to send it a few weeks before the wedding to ensure it arrives on time.

If you're bringing it, either send it ahead to the couple's home or bring it with you to the wedding reception. 

Avoid bringing it to the ceremony, as this can be inconvenient for the couple and their families. And well, you.

No one wants to be standing in a church clutching to a heavy toaster while singing hymns!

You’ll likely find there is a place to deposit gifts before the ceremony anyway, so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Keep the Receipt!

And last but not least, don't forget to keep the receipt! 

While we all hope the couple will love and cherish our gifts forever, sometimes things don't work out. 

They might receive multiple versions of the same gift, decide they don't have room for it in their home, or simply not like it.

Keeping the receipt makes it easier for them to exchange or return the item without any hurt feelings.

The Gift of Love

Giving a wedding gift is a great way to show your love and support for the happy couple. 

Just be sure to consider practicality, timing, and the couple's preferences, and don't forget to keep that receipt in case. 

Remember, the most important thing is to give something from the heart. And if all else fails, just stick some cash in a card and call it a day. 

After all, who doesn't love money?

Almost as much as we love diamonds - but that’s a story for a different time!

Visit us at our Buffalo, NY store today. Not nearby? Not to worry - chat with our wedding experts online 24/7, call us on (716) 631-1584, or text (716) 574-0966. 

Peter Manka Jr

Peter Manka Jr. - Owner at Ben Garelick

Peter Manka Jr. is a passionate member of the family business who joined Ben Garelick in the early 2000s after working in product licensing for Sesame Workshop & The Jim Henson Company for many years. He obtained a degree in diamonds and jewelry from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in order to sharpen his jewelry skills. He takes great pride in providing exceptional customer service and helping clients find the perfect piece of jewelry.

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