Choosing a Great Wedding Gift

When you get married, one of the perks is all the awesome presents you receive. Almost all of your household items get an upgrade, from your trash can (thanks mom!) to your bathroom towels. And of course, you get a lot of cash to help pay off the wedding and start your new life together.

When you’re a guest at a wedding, it can be hard to figure out what a good gift is. I was reflecting the other day on what my favorite presents were and noticed they all tended to fit a few criteria: unique, special, practical and thoughtful.

Here are a few of our favorite gifts:

Wedding Memories

My sister and her husband were a huge help during my last few weeks of wedding planning because they offered to handle our guest book as part of their wedding gift. You have no idea how much these little details can be a thorn in a bride’s side!

They came to Chicago with this gorgeous frame, printed photo from our engagement session and everything we needed to create a “guest book” that we can show off in our home forever. We have it hanging in our living room now and I love looking at all the notes we got from guests.

Unique Registry Items

I am all about buying someone something off their registry- they really need those things to build a new home together. Instead of buying the typical items listed though, I like to purchase one of the few odd items – like a neck massager or a set of bathrobes – you can find on a couple’s list.

These less common items are often times the gifts that the bride and groom are secretly most excited about. For us, it was our ice cream maker. This is the one kitchen item I am absolutely in love with. I use it literally once a week to make delicious, homemade ice cream like this:

Personalized Home Decor

My best friend Julia gave us this gorgeous, hand-painted vase that features the Chicago skyline.

It was made by a popular artist in our hometown and I know Julia put a lot of thought into matching the blue with our new dishes. I love this gift because every time I look at it, I think of my beloved Chicago and where we fell in love and eventually married.

Another personalized present I loved came from my friend Jaime. She had a bottle of wine branded with a picture from our wedding dance, and paired it with some gorgeous Tiffany’s wine glasses.

Trust me- anything that comes in that blue box will be adored by the bride!

Group Purchases

We had a few items on our registry that were significantly higher in price than others- like our bathroom towel set and pots and pans. We really needed them, but weren’t expecting to get them since they cost a lot for one person to buy.

So we were happily surprised when my parent’s friends coordinated together to get us some of these more expensive items. Buying gifts with other people definitely takes more time and effort, but the extra level of thoughtfulness doesn’t go unnoticed by the bride and groom.

A Honeymoon Surprise

Luke and I spent our honeymoon in Maui, HI and when we checked into the hotel, were greeted with a wonderful surprise: our friends Gary and Serena had arranged for us to have breakfast “in bed” on any morning we chose.

Enjoying a gourmet breakfast on the balcony of our room ended up being one of our favorite moments from our honeymoon and definitely a memorable gift.


Of course, you can never go wrong with money. Checks, gift cards, cash- these are ALWAYS appreciated by a newly married couple. Luke and I used some of the money we received to splurge on some big ticket items like a new bed, camera and computer.

We were lucky enough to receive many thoughtful, special presents for our wedding.

What do you typically give the bride and groom at weddings you attend? If you’re married, what is your favorite wedding gift?