You want to give your soon-to-be-married friend something thoughtful. You know, a gift that feels more special than the three bath towels or a single candlestick that’s still available on her registry.
If you plan to buy off the registry, know the bride well recommends Sharon Naylor, author of more than 35 wedding books, including The Bride’s Guide to Freebies. If your friend would appreciate a gift you come up with all on your own, here are some ideas that are so cute and creative, all of the other guests will be jealous they didn’t think of it themselves.
1. An extravagant appliance. Remember when you were college roommates, always drooling over the Williams Sonoma catalog? “If you didn’t have the money back then to get a martini set or panini maker, give it to her now with a note explaining the significance,” says Naylor. “Your card might say something like, ‘Remembering how we used to dream of this? Wishing you all of your dreams come true—including Cuban melt paninis on Sunday mornings!’”
2. A unique wedding guestbook. Buy a coffee table photo book of a place the couple really loves—whether it’s the city where they met, the place they currently live, or somewhere they love to go on vacation. Wrap it along with some really nice writing pens and include a note suggesting they use the gift as their guest book at the wedding.
3. A honeymoon gift card. Even if the bride and groom get a load of cash for their wedding, they might not splurge on some of the pricier indulgences when they’re on a vacation, such as diving lessons or a cooking class with the hotel’s chef. “If you get them a gift card, it lets them enjoy an experience they might not otherwise have shared,” says Naylor.
4. A time-saver. If you’re a bridesmaid and have access to the wedding invitation list, buy a beautiful box of thank-you notes, then address and stamp them for the bride.
5. A practical gift. Print out all of the forms the bride-to-be will need to change her name after the wedding. Sites like www.imamrs.com are a one-stop spot for these, and it’ll save your pal time and trouble after she’s back from her honeymoon and settling into married life.
6. An experience. Buy tickets for a concert, the theater, or another big event you think the bride and groom would love to attend, suggests Naylor.
7. A charitable donation. This is a great choice for the bride who has everything, says Naylor. If you don’t know which charities or organizations she supports, give a donation to the local animal shelter where the bride got her pup. “You can then give her a puppy-themed little item with a note saying you’ve donated in her name to get the animals at her favorite shelter new toys,” says Naylor. If you’re helping to plan the shower, you might even put a call for donations on the invite, so all of the guests can contribute to this gift.
8. A gift to be opened later. Choose a few nice bottles of wine and wrap them along with little cards that say when to open them. For example, you can buy a bottle of bubbly with a note suggesting they pop it when they come home from their honeymoon. A bottle of their favorite white could be for their first dinner party. A bottle of red that ages well could be opened on their first wedding anniversary. For a gift like this, you’ll want to opt for nice bottles that the couple wouldn’t splurge on themselves. No Three Buck Chuck! (Sorry, Charles Shaw.)
9. A thoughtful food-themed gift. If you know the bride follows the Paleo diet, you could go in with a few other friends on a cow share. Or if the couple is gluten-free, stock a basket with all of their favorite snacks so that their pantry isn’t bare after the wedding. Pair this with a fave cookbook of yours, or a few small kitchen items off her registry, for a gift that is sure to put a smile on her face.
10. A lingerie fitting. Instead of buying sexy lingerie that you think is the bride-to-be’s style, give her a gift certificate to a swanky shop where she can have a bra fitting or buy something special for herself.