I feel like I’ve been to a slew of weddings over the past couple of months of 30-ish to 40-ish couples who are already well-established in their lives together. Which is lovely, and I totally dig it. I find myself at these weddings have a much better time because the newlyweds are usually freaking out a lot less and just enjoying having all their friends, family and colleagues around them.
But I have to say buying wedding presents for older couples is a bitch.
What do you get for a wedding gift when the bride and groom probably have most all of the typical wedding present gifts — linens, appliances, silverware, stemware, etc.? The answer that the retailers would like you answer with is, of course, gift certificates.
I’m of two minds on the giving of gift certificates.
On the one hand,
they make perfect sense to give to someone you don’t know very well.
They are specific enough to let the person buy a book, clothing item
or kitchen gadget that you know the person will like, as opposed to
just giving them cash. They are compact and quick to get if you are in
a hurry and don’t like shopping.
But I really don’t like getting gift certificates. I find them to be a
lot of pressure actually. I often sit on gift certificates that I’ve
been given for months before I can come up with something that I want
from Bed, Bath and Beyond or the Apple store. And when I do come up
with something, I typically pick something that is of more value than
the certificate, so getting it involves me having to pay
something for it. So it starts to feel less like a gift and more like
(And I have had my own well-documented nightmare with buying gift certificates in the past.)
So here are some ideas in between the gift certificate cop-out and getting the couple something that they might not need or want:
- A Meal: Everyone has got to eat, and there are often more restaurants around us than we have the time or inclination to explore. Get the couple a gift certificate for a fancy or exotic restaurant near them that you think they would like to try. If the restaurant doesn’t have a gift certificate per se, talk to a manager who I am sure would be happy to hook you up with a prix fixe or tasting menu that you could pre-purchase.
- A Trip: If the couple likes to travel, you could purchase them miles on their favorite airline, or get together with some friends and get them a free trip somewhere you know they would like.
- An Experience: Some friends of mine put on their registry stuff like canoeing, scuba diving and a night of jazz at a local music venue. Much better than getting them candlesticks.
- A Service: Who wouldn’t like a massage or a sauna treatment after their wedding? Find a local venue close to them and get them a voucher for some service there.
- Arts and Crafts: If you are fortunate enough to be artsy or crafty, make the couple something unique and personal. I’ve given couples a poem I wrote just for them. My friend Tomo often gives knit goods that she makes.
- A Charitable Donation: Does the couple have a soft spot for a particular cause or charity? A charitable donation to a non-profit might be really appreciated. You could buy them a tree in the rain forest to help fight global warming. or buy some books for an orphanage in Sudan. Or help the local animal shelter.
Anyone have any more non-traditional wedding gift ideas? Post them in the comments. Cause my friends just keep getting older and finding soulmates. So I’m sure I’ll keep needing help with this.
Now I’m off to Nordstrom’s to get a gift certificate for the wedding I’m going to in two hours. I wish I was joking.