It’s wedding week here on Dear Wendy and to celebrate, I have some handy-dandy wedding-related gift guides to help you find the perfect gift for the brides, grooms, bachelorettes and bridesmaids in your life. When it comes to wedding gifts, you can play it safe by shopping a couple’s registry or giving cash, but if there isn’t a registry and cash seems too impersonal or you’d simply like to give something a bit more unique, keep reading for some of my favorite wedding gift ideas of 2013. Whether your budget is less that $25 or more than $200, I’ve got you covered.
Trunks Full of Taste Shaker Set
Who doesn’t love elephants? Especially elephants who are so sweet and adorable together? Maybe they’re newlyweds too!
“All My Love For You” drinking glass set
This set is so sweet — and dishwasher-safe — and could work equally well as a juice glass or a summertime Gin and Tonic.
Home Tweet Home Key Holder for Two
A perfect gift for two love birds setting up their nest together.
Chalk-A-Doodle Ceramic Jar
Write “cookies” on the label and fill with homemade cookies for a sweet, personal, and budget-friendly gift.
“Your Coffee” and “My Coffee” vintage silver-plated spoon set,
Paired with a stovetop espresso maker, this gift is perfect for the coffee-loving newlyweds.
Gourmet a Day of It Picnic Throw
This is probably my favorite product on the whole damn list. Folded up, it looks like a cute hand bag, but unzip the bag and it’s a fleece-lined picnic blanket! Love, love, love.
Natural Olive Wood Snack Bowl
Decorative and practical, this hand-made bowl was carved out of a single piece of wood so it’s as rare and special as the sweet, sweet love of a newlywed couple. Also, it just looks cool.
Pretty Chevron Vessel. For the design lovers who already have everything, these gorgeous vessels have multiple uses: vase, tea cup, pen holder, toothbrush holder, or making everyone jealous because you have a pretty chevron vessel and they do not.
The Fifty Shades of Chicken Cookbook
Perfect for the new married couple who likes spice — and laughs — in the kitchen and the bedroom. A parody on that other Fifty Shades, this true cookbook includes 50 chicken recipes to entice and titillate. Pair it with the well-reviewed Newlywed Cookbook: Fresh Ideas and Modern Recipes for Cooking With and for Each Other for a thoughtful and practical gift.
Out to Sea Beach Towel
Because a beach towel is one of those things you forget you need until it’s the perfect day to hit the surf and you realize all you’ve got is your stupid bath towel. Save their perfect day — or honeymoon! — with a set of sophisticated beach towels.
Trail Remix Radio
This super cute retro portable AM/FM radio can connect to an iPhone or headphone and features an illuminated blue display, which gives the date, time, day, and temperature. Did I mention how cute it is?
Gourmet Sea Salt Sampler Collection
Did you know that artisinal salts are a thing now? Well, they are (as is artisinal mayonnaise). And they are a great gift to the cooks, foodies, hip sophisticates in your life. They look pretty too.
Cocktails bitters and Cocktail Recipe Book
Great gift for the couple who likes to entertain … especially if they like to entertain YOU.
Black Walnut Cutting board with Seashell, apatite, lapis and golden mica
I am in love with this cutting board and want to marry it. I will be sure to include it on the wedding registry. That’s all.
Fujifilm Instant Film Camera (plus film and case)
Because instant photos are so retro and fun! And how often do people actually get around to making prints of their digital photos? With this camera, the newlyweds can have instant prints of their honeymoon trip for the album and cross one more thing off their to-do list.
Take Your Turntable in Blue
Does the couple enjoy riding fixed-gear bikes, drinking craft beer, and growing mustaches (him) or fire escape herb gardens (her)? Then they will totally love this vintage-inspired turntable, trust.
Hand Embroidered State Pillow
What better way to celebrate the state of their wedded union? This beauty is destined to become an instant family heirloom.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Round French Oven
Even if this item is not on the couple’s registry, they will thank you for getting what is one of the most essential kitchen items of all time and a must-have for anyone who plans to cook family meals for decades to come.
Firestar May 13, 2013, 12:07 pm
Can I just say, we got the cast iron French oven as a wedding gift – that we never registered for – and I love it! I think about the couple that gave it to us every time I use it …and it is perfect for comfort food types of dishes. By far one of my best gifts.
lets_be_honest May 13, 2013, 12:14 pm
Seems like those La Cruesets and the Kitchenaid mixers are the “it” items for wedding gifts. I feel like I’ve bought a million of both.
theattack May 13, 2013, 12:19 pm
Umm, damn LBH! Those are some big gifts! We haven’t finished opening our gifts yet, but we definitely haven’t gotten stuff like that.
lets_be_honest May 13, 2013, 12:39 pm
Betcha wish you invited me now, biatch! 🙂
I feel like everyone gets those though, so I didn’t think they were over the top big gifts.
theattack May 13, 2013, 12:47 pm
hahaha! If I could have invited all my DW friends I definitely would have!
I don’t think they’re over the top gifts at all, but they’re definitely generous.
Firestar May 13, 2013, 12:58 pm
I agree – very generous.
Send me your address LBH – I’ll invite you to my vow renewal – it’s tradition after 4 years right? and I register for that, don’t I? I think I read about it somewhere….
lets_be_honest May 13, 2013, 1:04 pm
I’ll just bring them when I come to clean out your cabinets 🙂
Firestar May 13, 2013, 1:06 pm
I think I might love you.
Pamplemousse Rose May 13, 2013, 2:30 pm
I got a Kitchenaide Stand Mixer (a bunch of relatives went in together to get it for me, I mean us…) and I LOVE it. It really is one of the best gifts we got.
katie May 13, 2013, 12:23 pm
yea, dutch ovens are like the best kitchen tool, after a knife, maybe. they are those old school things that people think they dont need anymore/dont know how to use, but really they are amazing and useful year-round. we use ours all the time! …and it wasnt even a really expensive one like this one. haha
CatsMeow May 13, 2013, 12:26 pm
What do you use it for? God I need to learn how to cook.
katie May 13, 2013, 12:30 pm
well, its like the perfect marriage of a saute pan and a sauce pan. so you can saute your meat, take it out and then make a sauce perfectly. and then of course all of the stocks, soups, and braises. and also its just a large pot, so like.. big batches of pasta or something. they are very useful. jake just used my mom’s this weekend to make pulled chicken for tacos, actually.
CatsMeow May 13, 2013, 12:36 pm
Cool! Maybe I’ll get one. Someday.
Firestar May 13, 2013, 12:38 pm
We use ours for stews, curries, lasagna, baking chicken…everything really. In winter butternut squash soup – we roast the squash in it in the oven and then move it to the stove and add the extra liquids and spices (and bland) to finish off the soup. So satisfying. It definitely gets the most use in our house.
katie May 13, 2013, 12:48 pm
oh yea- thats the other amazing feature- you can just put the whole thing in the oven! so its a saute pan, sauce pan, AND a baking dish in one.
Firestar May 13, 2013, 12:51 pm
*and blend… not bland – we like our soup spicy.
lets_be_honest May 13, 2013, 12:51 pm
dutch oven. lol.
(how am I the first to laugh at this. don’t tell me bc I’m the most immature!)
MaterialsGirl May 13, 2013, 1:03 pm
i got one for christmas a few years ago and i USE IT ALL THE TIME! it’s the best, plus it will literally last a lifetime
Wendy May 13, 2013, 12:14 pm
It really is great, isn’t it? I only included it on our registry per a friend’s recommendation (she’s a wonderful cook), and I am so glad I did.
honeybeenicki May 13, 2013, 12:12 pm
I love the elephant salt and pepper shakers. I might have to get those for myself! They are just too cute and would fit in with… well, our living room decor instead of our dining room… but that’s ok 🙂
lets_be_honest May 13, 2013, 12:15 pm
I have elephant salt and pepper shakers (not those ones, though), and they make me smile every time I use them. You should get them!
Jess May 13, 2013, 12:12 pm
Awesome list! I love the beach towel idea, especially if it relates to the couple’s honeymoon plans. Actually, anything honeymoon related is a really nice gesture and tends to be off-registry for those that want to do something personalized.
GatorGirl May 13, 2013, 12:44 pm
We got two beer mugs with our fav NFL teams and a monogrammed LL Bean boat and tote bag- both off registry and both very much loved.
We did get a crock pot off registry which was odd. And some dish towels that don’t match anything, and two rectangle table cloths (we have a round table). Oh and a moon poster… So, if you’re going off registry (or there isn’t one) please think long and hard and don’t just pick up a crock pot at wal-mart! (Le Cruset is always a win 🙂 and I love the elephante shakers.)
theattack May 13, 2013, 12:52 pm
Agreed. We’ve opened up so many off-registry gifts where my immediate thought is wondering how I can squeeze them into the bottom of our storage closet. That sounds awful, but if you go off-registry it should either be something you KNOW the couple will love or something that’s time-tested (like Le Creuset). The huge box full of cartoon reindeer Christmas items from great Aunt Sally was sweet, but it’s not really the best idea.
lets_be_honest May 13, 2013, 12:55 pm
Crock pots are time tested too, but GG still didn’t want one because she already had one. What if she already had a Le Creuset?
Anyway, we’ve discussed this before but I think a gift is a gift and no one should be dictating what you want to give someone as a gift.
theattack May 13, 2013, 1:01 pm
I don’t really think crock pots work across the board like Le Creuset. But you should always include a gift receipt, especially when a gift is off the registry.
Also, I’m not saying that a couple should dictate what anyone gives them, but the reality is that some gifts are amazing, some gifts are good, and some gifts you will just have to figure out what to do with instead of getting to use. Presumably people want to give good gifts, so I’m just saying… Take special thought if you veer from the registry.
Firestar May 13, 2013, 1:02 pm
Agree!!! It’s always nice to give a gift receipt I think if you are going off of registry. But you are right a gift is a gift – do whatever you want with it after it is yours (give to a family member if you have two or sell your old one/the new one – whatever). My brother used to drive me crazy – if he gave me something, he felt I should keep it forever. After you give it – it is mine. As it is now I have to fight against genetic hoarding tendencies – I can’t keep everything ever given.
lets_be_honest May 13, 2013, 1:11 pm
Haha, I don’t think I’d be upset that someone gave away a gift I gave them, but I hoard gifts even when I hate them.
GatorGirl May 13, 2013, 12:57 pm
Please tell me you got cartoon reindeer!?
We got some yellow butterfly dish towels (our kitchen is red). And some candle sticks with Ben Franklin on them. Yeahhhhh.
kerrycontrary May 13, 2013, 1:03 pm
My only explanation for the candle sticks is that you two like philadelphia. Otherwise, that’s insane hahaha.
theattack May 13, 2013, 1:04 pm
hahaha, That sounds like stuff we would love! So funny!
And yes, last night we opened a really big gift that was FULL of Christmas stuff with cartoon reindeer on them. It’s not in our taste at all, and we really don’t have room for it. I’m not sure if she just thought it would be sweet to get us started on Christmas stuff (and it definitely is sweet!) or if she just picked up a bunch of stuff on clearance, but the amount of cartoon reindeer stuff we have now will take up a whole shelf in our storage closet. No joke.
Firestar May 13, 2013, 12:56 pm
The moon poster is odd – art is so personal I find.
But the crock pot? Those are pretty standard wedding gifts… and it’s a gift – so wherever anyone wants to shop for one should be okay by the recipient. I trust it isn’t used ?
FWIW We got ours at Costco for under $50 (that came with a baby sauce crock pot) and it works like a dream.
GatorGirl May 13, 2013, 1:02 pm
For the record, I think a crock pot is a lovely gift. But this was the second one we received, as the one on our registry was purchased. Duplicates are always difficult to deal with no matter how nice the gift. So if you’re going off registry I think it should be super personal, not a generic kitchen item.
theattack May 13, 2013, 1:06 pm
I think some people just don’t know how to use registries. We had several duplicates, and we’ve had registry gifts that weren’t checked off the registry. We also had people read it as a list of stuff that we want generally and they picked out different brands or styles instead of what we asked for. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s always interesting.
bethany May 13, 2013, 1:41 pm
I agree! People don’t know that when they buy the item they need to tell the person at the Register that it’s off a registry, so it gets crossed off.
honeybeenicki May 13, 2013, 2:23 pm
Our family is big on cash gifts (which of course I didn’t complain about) and the few off registry gifts we got were awesome. My matron of honor got us some great Ireland art and some other Ireland things because our plan was a belated honeymoon on our 1 year anniversary to Ireland. But then someone ruined that whole plan for me!
When I shop based on registries, I always go to great pains to get the exact thing that is on it. Because that’s what the person really, really wants. But I’m just cool that way.
katie May 13, 2013, 1:08 pm
oh dang, i wonder if they didnt get registries or made a mistake and meant to get you the one on your registry? lol. because thats weird, if you had one already, and then you got another one. that had to be some sort of mixup…
GatorGirl May 13, 2013, 1:36 pm
Yeah, one was a Cuisinart and one was an Oster or something. Pretty different leagues. I think the gifter of the off registry one just went to the store and picked something nice out. Which it was a very nice gift. Just hard when you end up with duplicates!
kare May 13, 2013, 10:36 pm
Wedding registries confuse me…the old high school friend that invited me to her wedding registered at two places and for the same thing at each place. I don’t get it. Who registers for two toasters, two blenders, etc?
Wendy May 13, 2013, 1:01 pm
A Crockpot is a great gift and I can understand why someone would choose it as a wedding gift, even if it isn’t on a registry. If you have the space, having two crockpots could actually come in handy during the course of your married life — for things like Superbowl party prep, Thanksgiving, etc. And if you don’t have the space, a crockpot is easy to re-gift. I like the idea of filling it with a home-cooked meal for a newlywed couple who has just returned from their honeymoon, or even for brand new parents coming home from the hospital.
Wendy May 13, 2013, 1:02 pm
The moon poster is weird though.
Jess May 13, 2013, 2:34 pm
We have two actually. I fought my fiancee about keeping both but they come in handy at parties like you said. I’ve even used one to keep mulled wine warm while the other was used for cocktail meatballs (yes, our annual New Year’s party IS that awesome).
Wendy May 13, 2013, 2:55 pm
Yes, mulled wine!
kerrycontrary May 13, 2013, 1:01 pm
Love all these ideas! I think the first 4 would also make good housewarming gifts for couples who are moving in together. Or just housewarming gifts for me because I like them.
mylaray May 13, 2013, 1:24 pm
I love, love Le Creuset. I have the French oven, and it’s great. I want a whole kitchen of their products. I also want my close friends to get married-I just love wedding gifts, I don’t know why.
mainer May 13, 2013, 1:32 pm
I (ahem, I mean “we”) just received a nice glass whiskey decanter and some proper whiskey glasses. This is a good alternative to fine china (which we both had zero desire for) – it acts as a nice display piece and is functional. I’m pretty excited to pretend I’m some hot shot CEO who owns a plane and drinks during meetings. There’s always going to be people (usually older guests) who are going to want to give you traditional wedding gifts, like china, silverware, etc, so it’s good to beat them to it and give a more modern-yet-classic alternative.
AliceInDairyland May 13, 2013, 12:53 pm
I told The Boy the other day that we should get married just so we can get a Le Creuset. Hehehehehe…
Anyone have any suggestions for something similar but not quite as expensive? Something that could hold me over for a few years until either I can afford it or I get married? I love the fact that it can go from stove top to oven and vice versa
lets_be_honest May 13, 2013, 12:55 pm
Idk if they are good, but Martha Stewart has similar looking ones. I think they are cheaper.
GatorGirl May 13, 2013, 1:17 pm
The martha one’s where recalled last year (the one’s a few years earlier) becuase the coating chipped. It might be fixed now, but I would personally throw down the extra money for the quality brand. Le Crueset has outlets which are much more reasonably priced and the “defects” are things like a ripple in the coating on the bottom of the pot…not anything that truly affects the quality, useablility or appearance.
lets_be_honest May 13, 2013, 12:56 pm
katie May 13, 2013, 1:01 pm
all you need is one that is made of good materials- cast iron, right? thats what they are made out of? we got one, at freaking walmart i think, and its great so far. i think it was emeril brand or endorsed by him or whatever.
katie May 13, 2013, 1:03 pm
im almost positive its this one:
MaterialsGirl May 13, 2013, 1:06 pm
you can also try vintage or antique shops. Look for a Dansk. As long as they don’t have any chips in them, you’re good to go.
theattack May 13, 2013, 1:08 pm
Anything Lodge cast iron. I’ve been cooking outdoors with my Lodge dutch oven for years. Just note: the dutch ovens with legs and a very flat top are for cooking outdoors over coals, and the ones without the legs can be used inside.
Wendy May 13, 2013, 1:05 pm
Here you go:
MaterialsGirl May 13, 2013, 1:07 pm
oo I have the lodge cast iron one (non-enameled) and it’s great for frying chicken among other things.
Firestar May 13, 2013, 1:38 pm
We just have an old-fashioned cast iron skillet we got for $10 somewhere – we season it ourselves though. I love it. It is perfect for jalapeno corn bread for summer time BBQ’s. Also – as a weapon. You hit someone with one of those – they are never getting back up.
AliceInDairyland May 13, 2013, 2:15 pm
Oooooooh, Wendy this is awesome. We have a cast iron skillet that we use sometimes but it’s like from 100 years ago (I actually have no idea, we found it in my grandma’s basement and did the whole reseasoning thing). This is much more in my price range, and I know what I am asking for in a month for my birthday!! (I will make someone buy it through the amazon link… )
katie May 13, 2013, 4:07 pm
its like groupon KNEW YOU NEEDED A LE CREUSET!!
Taylor May 13, 2013, 4:36 pm
Crap. I was just about over my Groupon habit.
AliceInDairyland May 13, 2013, 4:57 pm
OMG OMG OMG. But still… so expensive. Maybe The Boy and I can go in on one together.
mandalee May 13, 2013, 2:05 pm
Okay the elephant shaker set is so stink in cute! I want it for myself!
I think the best bet for going off the registry for a gift is know your audience. We had a few off-registry gifts that I loved more than the gifts we registered before, because they were so personal and not just random stuff. My one friend made a picnic basket full of recipes, canned jam, homemade pasta, sauce, pancake mix, and taco seasonings, and because she knows that I’m a terrible cook, “dummy directions” for each of them. I love it! I still tell pretty much everyone how awesome it was. Also, another got me kind of a gag gift, which was a toaster that prints the logo of my school on it when it toasts, and I freakin love that stupid toaster. I use it all the time!
MaterialsGirl May 13, 2013, 1:09 pm
there is nothing better than a good chef’s knife, even if they are already registered for a block of knives. This is one that I have (and i have a heavy german chef’s knife), but this is a light, all-purpose, very easy to handle tool
kerrycontrary May 13, 2013, 1:23 pm
My boyfriend and I already have a lot of kitchen stuff, so nice knives is going to be the first thing I register for when I get married. I can’t believe what a difference good knives make.
katie May 13, 2013, 1:25 pm
please please please if you get nice knives learn how to sharpen AND edge them! because no matter how good your knife is, if you dont take care of it, it will become a shitty knife.
so add a sharpening stone and a diamond steel to that list with your nice knives.
MaterialsGirl May 13, 2013, 1:55 pm
good call katie, i actually need to take my knives to the farmers market to get them sharpened soon. My shun has a nick in it that i need ground out. waaaaaah
katie May 13, 2013, 1:59 pm
ugh nicks are the worst too because by the time the guy sharpens out the nick your knife is like a half inch smaller lol
MaterialsGirl May 13, 2013, 2:40 pm
seriously I know. i think now that we have just gotten our wedding set, the man will use those instead of my shun so we wont’ have to deal with nicks anymore. I do have a good Messermeister, but that’s so heavy and i use it for different stuff than the shun
katie May 13, 2013, 2:51 pm
haha, does he have to use the “shitty” knives and you get the nice ones? because thats how my house is, mostly. jake gets the good ones. lol
theattack May 13, 2013, 1:36 pm
Do you think this would work? I got one of these as a gift.
katie May 13, 2013, 1:40 pm
speaking as a sort of chef, i have to say no. the only thing that will keep your blade good are sharpening stones and a steel.
but, maybe they work? we were always told they a big no-no, though.
mainer May 13, 2013, 1:41 pm
I have that. It’s nice and acts similar to a steel in the sense that it just straightens the blade (which makes it cut smoother, but is not necessarily “sharper”). Over time, the edge of a knife will slightly mini-warp in places, get small dings, or become less-straight just from natural use. That is what makes a knife feel dull. This thing, plus a steel, will just re-alight the blade to be straight.
To properly sharpen a knife you either need to use a stone (which there is a slight learning curve to), or send it out to a pro. But if you use a steel or that “sharper” then you can get a good life out of the knife before needing to sharpen it.
GatorGirl May 13, 2013, 1:51 pm
Oh I registered for that! Did you get the Kuhn Rikon knife? (They also have them at Kohls right now.)
theattack May 13, 2013, 1:56 pm
We got one of the Kuhn Rikon paring knives. I was really happy about having a green knife. Still haven’t washed it yet, but I’ll let you know how it works since I know you’re not using any of your gifts yet. We also got a block of Kitchenaid knives.
GatorGirl May 13, 2013, 2:15 pm
Oh, we have a ton of the Kuhn Rikon knives already. I just buy them for myself becuase I’m obsessed. I think we have…5 now? And their veggie pealers. My favorite is my red and white polka dot butcher knife 🙂 I just got this cute little green mini butcher knife thing too. And we have 3 pairing knives. I love them.
mylaray May 13, 2013, 2:21 pm
What do you all think about experience gifts for weddings? I tend to get people things like this for birthdays or other occasions and they love them, but I wasn’t sure how people feel about them for weddings. I know the purpose of wedding gifts traditionally is to help a couple stock a home, but people tend to have so much stuff these days-I know I do. My boyfriend and I are getting some friends some at-home cooking lessons from a chef for their wedding soon, and we know that they will both love it, but now I’m wondering if that’s a good wedding gift or not.
theattack May 13, 2013, 2:23 pm
That sounds like a wonderful gift, as long as you think they won’t mind having a stranger come into their home. I think experience gifts are wonderful! It’s especially perfect when a couple has everything they need already, but even if they are struggling, throwing in movie tickets for a date night they otherwise couldn’t afford would be a real treat!
Pamplemousse Rose May 13, 2013, 2:40 pm
I would have loved that as a gift. We had recently combined households before getting married so we really needed nothing for our tiny house – especially if this is the case for your friends, I’d think they would enjoy it. We also got a number of gift certificates to some of the great restaurants in our city – some for our favourites and a bunch of new ones to try.
GatorGirl May 13, 2013, 2:49 pm
I think experience gifts are awesome. I would be a little weirded out personally having someone come into my home, but I would LOVE cooking classes with my man.
bethany May 13, 2013, 3:14 pm
I love experience gifts!! I would have liked something like that as a wedding gift!
mylaray May 13, 2013, 11:56 pm
Classic May 13, 2013, 2:48 pm
This list is fantastic. I want the beach towel, the camera, and the blue turntable. Oh and I love my Le Creusets– I keep them out all the time because they are so pretty, and they last forever and ever…
Taylor May 13, 2013, 4:44 pm
I loved our wedding gifts. From the goofy blue elephant to the gag soap to the AWESOME knife sets. At the end of the day, it was like Christmas morning, x 100. I miss getting stuff in the mail =)
That being said, I now exclusively give cash, because the wedding was pricey, and every time I opened an envelope and there was a check, I felt just a little lighter.
Taylor May 13, 2013, 4:46 pm
Wendy, the bitters should go on your next guy gift guide – I’m getting my plus one a set for his birthday.
Friend of Beagles May 13, 2013, 5:15 pm
Our favorite wedding gift, receiving and giving, was an ice-cream maker (ours is a Krups, but it doesn’t look like they’re making them anymore. Still, plenty of options out there). Throw in the Ben & Jerry’s cookbook to round the gift and the couple out. 🙂