Best Bet Wedding Gifts

May 6, 2009
Antique Chest

Picking the perfect wedding gift that is both useful and pleasing to the couple can be a difficult task. Once upon a time, a bride prepared for marriage by filling a hope chest with hand-sewn linens. Today, couples traditionally register for gifts, mainly household items. One rule of etiquette that has not changed is that the couple should never mention gifts on their wedding invitations.

If you're at a loss for an appropriate gift, Emily Post has a few ready suggestions:

For the couple just starting out:

  • Carving set
  • Microwave cookware
  • Food processor
  • Mirror for entry or hall
  • Crystal vase
  • Set of folding tables on rack
  • Lamp
  • Wooden salad bowl
  • Large pepper grinder or salt-and-pepper set
  • Items of the silver or china selected by the bride and groom

Second-marriage gifts, for couples who have already set up house:

  • A plant, tree, or shrub
  • A selection of fine wines or champagnes,
  • A picture frame containing a meaningful picture
  • Ceramic or copper molds for cooking or decorating
  • A painting or print (if you know their tastes)
  • If either one has small children, sitter service for a specified period (either yourself or hired)

How Much Does the Thought Count?

We asked readers of The Old Farmer's Almanac to share stories of wacky wedding gifts they received. Here are a few:

  • A yard ornament that reeked of mothballs, from an older couple who are friends of our parents. It must have been a “re-gift” from their own wedding.
  • A bottle of Jim Beam whiskey and two glasses. I wondered if the guests thought that we were alcoholics or that my husband would need a stiff drink after the wedding!
  • A life-size statue of a seagull. Where do you display such an item? In a dark space in the closet where no one can find it!


The 1997 Old Farmer's Almanac

Reader Comments

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A pink quilt from a garage

A pink quilt from a garage sale that was heavily perfumed and I STILL can't get the smell out four years later.

How much does the thought

How much does the thought count? More then the cost. It is that wacky used gift or mothball smelling one that you will always remember. Some spend thrift or pennyless guest knew the importance of reuse. The reuse of a not used gift and the reuse of memories that will always be treasured and shared with many.

I received a wedding

I received a wedding invitation that included where the bride and groom were registered and the registry number. I thought it was tacky. That information was already made public on the bridal shower invitations.

Nothing can beat the gift my

Nothing can beat the gift my parents received from an ancient relative in Virginia: an old book (from her own shelves, no doubt) called "Richmond in Bygone Days." Mom said it was the most difficult and delicately phrased thank-you note she ever wrote!