10 Creative Wedding Gift Ideas (that work with their registry)

posted by Andrea | 05/14/2015

(This post is updated from one I wrote 4 years ago… and yes, I actually wore those bright pink high heels for my sister’s wedding!)

It’s officially wedding season!

During the months of May – September, it’s not uncommon for Dave and I to attend SEVERAL weddings for various relatives, friends, co-workers… and even some of Dave’s former students (yes, that makes us feel old!)

Of course, along with the weddings come bridal showers, bachelorette/bachelor parties, etc. etc. and yes, gift-giving is always involved!

Obviously, I don’t mind bringing gifts to a wedding or shower, but I will say that it gets old just bringing the same purple and white Bed Bath and Beyond gift bags to every single event.

That said, I know from personal experience how frustrating it is to get something that’s not on my registry (both for wedding and baby items). Not only do I most likely NOT want or need it (otherwise I would have certainly put it on my registry), but it’s also very difficult to return these items as many stores have very strict return policies without a receipt or registry log.

So when it comes to buying gifts for a wedding (or a baby), I will ALWAYS buy something directly off their registry. The only exception is if I give them a gift card or cash.

However, I do try to get a little bit creative with my gift giving. Not “crafty” or time-consuming, but I’ll often try to create a theme to the gifts, maybe wrap them nicely, and put my own special touch on them so they are just a little more exciting than the purple and white Bed Bath and Beyond bags 🙂

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite creative wedding gift ideas… I’d love to hear some of your ideas as well!

By the way, our “record” for most weddings in one wedding season is 14!

wedding gift ideas

photo source

1. Wine Gift Set:

This is an easy one because almost everyone I know registers for wine glasses — and you really can’t give wine glasses without giving them wine to go with it!

Purchase the wine glasses off their registry and then add in a few bottles of your favorite wine, and a wine stopper.

If you really want to treat them, you could purchase a wine and cheese of the month club registration for them so they can be sure to use their wine glasses every month!

You could also do something similar if they register for margarita glasses or beer mugs.

2. Pizza Kit:

Purchase the pizza stone/ pan and pizza cutter off their registry and add in a bottle of homemade pizza seasonings, a nice bottle of olive oil, and your favorite pizza recipes.

You could also include a gift card to your favorite pizza restaurant to round out the gift.

3. Baking Supplies:

Purchase cupcake pans, bread pans, cookie sheets, mixing bowls, or any other baking supplies; then include the dry ingredients and the recipe.

I’ll often stack the measuring cups they registered for (with dry ingredients in each cup), attach the cookie scoop they registered for to the side, and then tie some handwritten or printed recipes.

measuring-cups

recipes

4. Picnic Set:

Assuming that most people won’t register for a picnic basket, this might be a time when you buy them something that’s not on their registry.

We didn’t register for a picnic basket but we got one, and although we’ve never used it to go on a picnic, it was a cute enough basket that we’ve found other uses for it throughout the year.

Our picnic basket was filled with all sorts of paper products {napkins, paper plates, paper cups, plastic silverware} and non-perishable condiments. The contents of the picnic basket definitely came in handy, and now we have a cute picnic basket too!

5. Coffee and/or Tea:

Purchase the coffee maker (and coffee grinder) or tea pot off their registry and then add in a bunch of fancy coffee beans, a variety of tea, hot chocolate packets, or Keurig cups (depending on what they registered for).

You could also check to see if they registered for any travel coffee mugs, a set of ceramic mugs, or any other coffee/tea accessories.

And of course, a gift card to a local coffee shop would be a nice addition to this gift.

6. Date Night Package:

This is a great idea if you are willing to spend a bit more, or if you want to “go in” on a gift with a group of people.

If you can find a decorative basket or cute container on their registry, you can then fill it with movie theater gift cards (or even a Netflix subscription), mini golf passes, gift cards for various local restaurants and fast food places, bags of popcorn and candy, various beverages, and anything else you think might make a fun date night for the new couple.

7. House Cleaning Kit:

Purchase a few of the household cleaning products off their registry (broom, mop, toilet brush, trash can, etc.) and then include some of your favorite cleaning products.

I also know people who have given a years worth of professional maid service (one a month) or even a “coupon” for their own cleaning services.

8. Laundry Kit:

Purchase the laundry basket and hangers off their registry and then fill the basket with detergent, fabric softener, stain removers, garment bags, dryer balls, a roll of quarters (if they will be using a laundromat), or maybe even a gift certificate for a local dry cleaners — if you think that’s something they might need.

9. Lawn and Garden Kit:

If they registered for yard tools, get them a couple and then add in his and hers gardening gloves, a bag or two of lawn fertilizer, and maybe a cute wind chime.

You could also give a small tree with money tied to various branches (think ‘money tree’) that they can plant in their new yard.

10. Gift Wrapping Kit:

Find a cute container on their register and fill it with tissue paper, a set of gift bags, various ribbons and bows, tape, a big box of miscellaneous cards and gift tags, and a few rolls of wrapping paper.

Another idea (if you are more crafty) is to hand-make a set of gift cards and gift tags and put them in a nice box or basket.

These are just a few of my semi-creative wedding gift ideas that honor the couple’s registry but still allow for a bit of creativity and my own personal touch 🙂

Of course, if you’d like to give cash, I don’t think anyone will complain! Here are a few creative ways to give the gift of cash!

What ideas would you add to my list?

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38 comments

  1. Jody

    05/22/2019

    When a friend was getting married her fiancée’s family hosted a bridal shower and each person brought at least one recipe for a dish her fiancée liked to eat. Most came with a card sharing a memory of when the fiancée first had the dish with them. The other gifts were a recipe box with engraving on it, kitchen towels etc.

    This was before people commonly lived together before marriage. The bride to be was ecstatic to have recipes for things her husband to be enjoyed and he was ecstatic that they had recipes to make together.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    We had a shower like this too — not with Dave’s favorite recipes, but just general recipes. It was at my home church and people only spent about $5 for the gift. So instead of getting lots of little gifts, I asked people to bring a recipe with $5 worth of non-perishable ingredients for that recipe.
    We got SO many groceries and SO many simple, family friendly recipes. It was a huge success and one of my favorite showers!

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  2. Vonnie

    05/22/2019

    Maybe someone mentioned this already but a Hello Fresh certificate (or some other meal kit) is also a great idea. My son got one recently for his wedding and loved it!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, this is a great idea! Thanks for mentioning it!

    [Reply]

  3. Stacey

    05/22/2019

    Sticking to the registry is great. However, my mom and I have both said some of our favorite gifts were things we never registered for or would have even thought of buying for ourselves. Our most used and probably favorite gifts were Denali blankets for our couch. We happened to get two of them thankfully because otherwise we would fight over them. They are slightly larger then a regular throw blanket. Super thick and get better every time you wash them. For baby gifts I sometimes stay away from those registries too because I have found some favorite baby things that that are far more fun to give then the typical things asked for. You always run the risk of maybe they won’t like it but many people register for things they never end up using either. Your ideas were great though!

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  4. Lori

    07/03/2015

    When my son got married, I bought a beautiful 3-ring binder style blank cookbook that came with matching blank pages. I typed all of our favorite family recipes (including the special holiday ones) and printed them on the paper. It also came with page protectors so they could easily be wiped off. When I wrapped it, I also included some of the more unusual spices and ingredients. It was such a hit that my daughters and all of my nieces have asked for one. It was a lot of work the first time, but since all the recipes are saved on my computer, it’s really simple to put one together now. With the 3-ring style, they can also add more recipes in the future. I wrote a special note in the front of each, so it is a little sentimental, but it really is a practical gift as well!

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  5. Ellen

    05/16/2015

    Does anyone have any ideas what to ask for when you don’t need anything? My fiancé and I are getting married soon and of course people are asking for what we want as gifts.
    The problem is, we already have everything people usually ask for. We’ve been living together since 2008 and own all the classic things – we even own glasses for cognac, whiskey and champagne…
    So, do you have any ideas? I’ve been telling people we’d like experiences but some people really want to give stuff…

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good question Ellen,
    My cousins had a similar situation and they asked for money to travel — yes, just straight-up cash (and they got it). Pretty much everyone gave cash!
    Another idea would be to have a food pantry shower where people give you recipes and the non-perishable ingredients to go with them. At least you could use those up eventually!

    And finally, as a last resort, you could always create a registry somewhere and then return the gifts you don’t need after the wedding. Some people just feel the MUST buy a tangible object to give as a gift, so I’ve found it’s often just easier to let them buy the gift and then I’ll return it later. That might sound harsh or rude to some people, but I personally feel it’s the easiest solution when someone is insisting on buying me an object I don’t need or want. 🙂

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  6. Sandy in MD, US

    05/14/2015

    I have 2 weddings to attend in 2 months and while I am a practical person, I always feel a bit bored choosing gifts just off the registry. Adding to something they have asked for is darn near brilliant!!

    [Reply]

  7. Michelle

    05/14/2015

    I am loving all the ideas presented here in the post and in the comments. I am always looking for fresh ideas for these types of events.

    I have always thought the gift registry was just a convenience to the guests invited to the showers if they have no idea what to buy for the recipient(s). I don’t always shop off the registry because I like to give items that either have sentimental value, could become an heirloom, is personalized, or something I have found to be very useful in my everyday life they may not even know the exists. I like to give something unexpected. One item I love to give for a wedding gift is a framed print of the poem “I Do” by Bonnie L. Mohr. It’s something they can hang on the wall of their new home and is a reminder of ways to keep the relationship strong. I, also, like to wrap my gift in a unique way, sometimes using towels instead of gift wrap or attaching a “first” ornament instead of a bow. I live fairly close to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, MI and they will personalize ornaments. I also make handmade cards instead of buying them. I have found wrapping paper, bows, and cards can cost almost as much as the gift itself…why not make your wrapping part of the gift?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michelle!
    I guess I’m a big stickler for abiding by the registry because I know how much of a hassle it was when we got gifts that were not on our registry. As someone who doesn’t value sentimental gifts at all, I just wanted what I wanted and needed off my registry and really nothing else. It was so much trouble to try to return the things that were not on my registry that I ended up donating many of them because we didn’t need or want them.

    In general (at least where we live) I’d say it’s expected that all wedding and shower gifts are purchased directly from the registry to avoid extras, duplicate, and unneeded items. It takes a decent amount of effort to set up a registry, and it makes returning anything SO much easier.

    Also, as a gift-giver, I figure that if I’m going to put time, thought, and creative efforts into a gift, I want to make SURE it’s something they actually want and need (a.k.a. something off their registry).

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    tina Reply:

    I think the gift ideas in the article were great but…

    honestly, I just plain don’t agree with this. As some one who is unable to buy off the registry, I really hope my gifts are more well received and appreciated than was stated.

    My husband and I live paycheck to paycheck right now(even with couponing and going without, we still squeak by). There is really no budget for gifts-literally.

    So in order to still give, my husband and I set a limit of $5 or less out of pocket money to spend on a gift. This forces you to get creative. So I will usually give a gift basket of cleaning products or toilietries or baby care items that I got for free with coupon or rolling extrabucks and the $5 is used toward the actual basket.

    One time we didn’t have money for even the basket so we made a cute little car out of cardboard box and baby blue colored duct tape and had a dollar store bear driving it filled with baby care items from cvs extrabucks.

    I write all this to say. It is not always in someone’s budget to buy off registry. I would rather give a basket full of items they didn’t request than one $10 can opener off the registry because that would embarrass me to just give that.

    We didn’t have registries for our wedding or baby shower because we don’t believe in telling people what to get for us. So when we received multiples or things we couldn’t use it wasn’t too big of a deal. We just returned without receipt, exchanged, yard saled, or regifted later. And the stuff I wanted we bought ourselves or waited till we could afford it(sometimes years later).

    But whatever was given we always appreciated. It really should be the thought that counts.

    [Reply]

    Michelle Reply:

    Andrea,

    Not to create drama, cause hard feelings, or be disrespectful because I really enjoy your blog. But in your post you stated “Today I’m sharing some of my favorite creative wedding gift ideas… I’d love to hear some of your ideas as well!”

    I shared my gift ideas but your reply gave me the impression my ideas were not welcome and one should strictly shop off the registries or their gifts would not be appreciated. Maybe you were only looking for ideas to creatively present registry gifts only?

    Where I come from a gift is a gift and should be appreciated because it meant someone thought enough of you to spend their time and money picking out a gift for you out of love.

    Tina makes some valid points in her comment and I know there are lots of people in situations as hers.

    Thanks for listening, and again, this comment is not meant to be argumentative or cause hard feelings.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michelle,
    I’m not really sure how to respond without sounding defensive — so I won’t say much, except that I appreciate your point of view and I don’t think your ideas are bad ideas at all. They are just different from what I would choose to do, and not off the registry (which is what I was trying to get at in this post).
    Happy weekend!

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    Nicola Reply:

    Love the personalised ornament idea! Would never have thought of that for a gift tag, wish someone did that for our wedding.

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    Thrifty Mom In Boise Reply:

    Michelle,

    I love your idea about the poem. If you don’t mind I may “borrow” that idea next time I need a wedding gift. I also like to give picture frames and candles. Quite often registry gifts are not within my budget so I am always looking for great ideas.

    Andrea these are clever ways of wrapping items together. Now I have all kinds of fresh ideas swirling around in my little melon. 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Jacquie

    05/14/2015

    For a recent shower, I purchased the spatulas and other kitchen tools off of the registry. Then, I added a gift certificate for Blue Apron (meal prep kit). You could do a gift certificate to any of the many meal delivery and meal kit services.

    By the way – I have never seen a purple and white BB&B bag. I am going to have to keep my eye out now!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Love it Jacquie! Did you see that I JUST posted about Blue Apron earlier this week?? That would make an awesome gift idea for a newly wed couple!

    [Reply]

  9. Rachel

    05/14/2015

    If the couple registers for a Pyrex dish set, you can etch the new couple’s name (with a glass etching set). Something like this: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2010/06/glass-etching.html. I’ve also etched a beer mug/tumbler set which the couple loved.

    [Reply]

  10. JJ

    05/14/2015

    My husband appreciated a barbecue set we got. It came in a yellow bucket(which I appreciated!) and also included an apron and dish cloths. So fun!

    [Reply]

  11. The Busy Brunette

    05/14/2015

    I LOVE THESE IDEAS!! We have several weddings to attend this season, so I’m always looking for budget-friendly yet meaningful gift ideas. These are so neat. I’m actually printing out the list right now so I don’t forget any of them.
    Thanks, Andrea! Oh, and we need a bump update soon! 🙂
    “The Busy Brunette”
    http://thebusybrunette.blogspot.com/

    [Reply]

  12. Natalia

    05/14/2015

    Thank you for resurrecting this article just at the right time to help me out!
    I’ve been invited to the strangest wedding so far, and I needed some inspiration for a gift, as the couple does not have a registry. Besides, I think they already have pretty much everything they need, already…. She is 82, he is 83 years…young! I like the Picnic Basket idea, and the Date Night collection. I think I can make this happen;) Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh how sweet — love that they are having a wedding at their age!

    I like the date night idea or the picnic basket. I think either of those would make great gifts for your happy couple!

    [Reply]

  13. Kellie

    05/14/2015

    I LOVED this article! Great job, Andrea! I especially love giving gifts to people and making them special/memorable. Since you’re a very good gift-giver and equally good at managing money, how do you budget for gift giving when you’ve got 14 weddings in a season? I come from a very large family and we are blessed with a wide circle of friends. I don’t want to skimp on gifts for anyone (like you I am a firm believer in buying off the registry) but it’s costly. I would so appreciate your thoughts on this! Maybe a future blog post? 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kellie!
    First of all, it was just ONE summer that we had 14 weddings. Usually it’s only a couple each year — so that makes it easier to budget. However, I find that by using the Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, plus adding a few less expensive personal items, I’m able to give a sizable gift for much less than “full price”.

    [Reply]

  14. Janice

    05/14/2015

    I once gave Christmas tree decorations to a young couple for their first Christmas together.

    [Reply]

    Janice Reply:

    I think I have repeated myself from a previous year’s post. Hahahahahaah.

    [Reply]

  15. Janice

    06/21/2013

    I have bought Christmas decorations when they were on sale after the holiday was over, put them in a large Christmas gift bag and took them to the bridal shower of one of my daughter’s friends. The gift was a real hit with everyone. I included an ornament I had made. It really helped with my budget that year, especially as so many of our children’s friends were all in their 20s and getting married as well as our own son and daughter. Weddings and showers can put one over the financial edge if budgeting is not followed.

    [Reply]

  16. Sue

    05/19/2011

    WOW 14 weddings ! that is amazing.. I don’t think I have even been to 14 weddings in my lifetime.
    Gifts are not a big thing here with weddings. Most people just give money. But I love these ideas for Wedding shower gifts.
    Sue in NJ

    [Reply]

  17. Stacey

    05/18/2011

    Such cute ideas!! All of my friends are married now so i hardly ever get to go to weddings or showers anymore. Totally miss going to them!

    A friend and i once made a gift wrap kit for a bridal shower gift. We bought one of those tall gift roll wrap totes and filled it with all types of wrapping paper rolls (wedding, birthday, baby, etc..), bows, tape, scissors and things like that. Everyone oohed and aahed over it! That is the cleverest ive ever been, lol.

    [Reply]

  18. Jaci

    05/18/2011

    Love the design on the recipe cards. Do you use a certain program? How did you make them?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jaci!
    the recipe cards are actually free to download here: https://andreadekker.com/2010/07/31/free-recipe-cards/
    I just print them on card stock and cut them out!

    [Reply]

  19. Karen @ Abundance on a Dime

    05/18/2011

    Wow, 14 is a whole lot of weddings in one summer! I’m trying to remember the last time I went to a wedding – I think it was my best friend’s wedding back in 2003!! Although I have a lot of cousins in their late 20s and early 30s none of them has gotten married yet.

    I think my most favourite bridal shower gift that I ever gave was a “Romantic Picnic Basket”. I filled a large wicker hamper with all kinds of yummy picnic treats (homemade bread, assorted cheeses, condiments, a dessert, a bottle of wine etc) plus a couple of other items like a book of romantic poetry. It was a big hit and so much fun to put together!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    That sounds like a great gift Karen!! and yes, 14 weddings IS a lot!

    [Reply]

  20. Tammy aka @Tammy_Skipper

    05/18/2011

    Love the design of the recipe card! I think the way we deliver gifts can be even more fun than the gift itself, awesome package.

    [Reply]

    Karen @ Abundance on A Dime Reply:

    Tammy, I totally agree. The package/presentation can elevate even the humblest gifts to “something special”. Since my gift budget tends to be on the small side, I like to get creative with the wrapping part 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Totally agree Tammy!! I ALWAYS take the time to wrap my gifts in a creative way…it make them more fun to open and it shows that I put time and effort into the gift.

    [Reply]

    Tammy aka @Tammy_Skipper Reply:

    yes, now share that recipe card design! LOL

    [Reply]