Wedding Wednesday | Personal gift-giving


For most weddings, giving a gift from the registry is easy, thoughtful and leaves little room for error. After all, you are purchasing something that you know the couple needs and likes. But in some situations, we want to put more thought into our gift and give something unexpected, adding a more personal touch to the gift-giving process. If you’re married yourself or have friends who have said “I do”, you know all about those non-registry gifts gone wrong. It happens.

This week on Wedding Wednesday, I have asked five of my “Mrs.” girlfriends to share what their favorite non-registry gift was, hoping we can draw some conclusions about what works and what doesn’t. We want to steer you in the right direction for those times when you want to veer off the registry path.


Handmade – If you have a skill or a craft, create something specifically for the couple. It will be unique and something that they can share and talk about for years to come.

“The best non-registry gift that we received was a painting by my Aunt Barbara. She actually painted an original work for us, based on the colors in our apartment at the time & what she thought we would like! She had it professionally framed, too, so it’s like our own amazing, inspiring gallery piece.” ~ Molly

Etsy – If you are not crafty or artsy yourself, don’t worry, there are plenty of people who are! And they will help you create something custom and unique for your gift.

“We received a beautiful burlap pillow personalized with “Parker est. 9-15-12″ and it is on constant display in our home.” ~ Chelsea

Seasonal – Think about the time of year in which your friends are getting married. Is there something that you can give them to commemorate the season in which they will always celebrate their anniversary?

“The gift I feel like I always talk about is the Christmas nativity set we received from close family friends. Because we got married in November, it was a very seasonally appropriate gift that came as a total surprise. It is so beautiful and so special that I believe it will be a family treasure that we will enjoy for years to come and eventually pass down to our kids. It is my favorite decoration to unpack every year at Christmas and it always reminds me of the wonderful people who gave it to us.” ~ Kelsey

Tradition – Think of family traditions that the newly-weds will want to start or carry on in their new home. Can you get them started on their own version of this tradition?

“We received a Passover sedar plate from family friends for our engagement. It’s not something you can easily register for at most places, but it’s important to have if you plan on hosting Passover, and the plate they picked out is beautiful.” ~ Carly

Time & Talents – Don’t discount the non-material gifts that you can give. Planning and executing a wedding is a large job and the couple will need help, whether they ask for it or not.

“The most special gifts were ones of time and talent. The cantor and organist at our ceremony were family friends and being a professional musician myself, their gifts were especially meaningful. The DJ at the reception was a friend who stepped in at the last minute when our original plans fell through, and my aunt, who used to work at a flower shop, stayed up late the night before our wedding putting together every bouquet, boutonnière, and reception centerpiece. Their help meant so much to us.” ~ Rachel

Honeymoon – Don’t forget about the honeymoon. This is a trip they will remember forever and any gifts that support experiences and memories will be greatly appreciated. Almost everyone mentioned monetary gifts, special gift certificates and other surprises from friends and family that allowed them to do much more on their trips than they originally planned.

Did you receive a gift that wasn’t on your registry that you treasure? Or are you a creative gift-giver with additional ideas to share?


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