What should I give a friend and her husband as a very late wedding gift?
November 16, 2010 2:48 PM   Subscribe

What should I give a friend and her husband as a very late wedding gift?

Someone I've been friends with since high school (we are now in our early 30s) got married in July 2009. At the time, I had been unemployed for almost a year and wasn't able to give a gift. While I was able to help logistically with the bachlorette party, shower, and other various weddingy things, I was not able to afford a wedding gift. I tried not to make a Big Deal about the fact that I couldn't give a wedding gift at the time but I obviously did mention it. My friend was very understanding and gracious about the whole thing, and hasn't mentioned or alluded to it since.

In the past year and a half, I've nailed down steady employment, and I'm now finally in the position to be able to give them something. If they were getting married tomorrow, I probably would get them something off their registry or cash (in addition to helping out where needed), but 1.5 years after the fact, it seems a bit like I'm paying a debt or getting caught up on old bills, which I know is not the case at all.

So...how should I handle this? I've thought about buying them a nice meal at a restaurant...or they travel a lot, maybe something they can enjoy on their next trip? Aside from the actual "what" to give them, how should I handle the unspoken awkward about "hey, this is a year and a half late!"?
posted by socialdrinker to Human Relations (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Give them an extra nice Christmas present?
posted by estlin at 2:53 PM on November 16, 2010

Response by poster: We don't really do Christmas presents in my circle...it's more of a "lets spend time together, yay" sort of thing since we are all scattered about the northeast. I should also say that I would kind of like to acknowledge that this is for their marriage - I'm very happy for my friend and her husband, yay wedding! Although if that would be weird for them, then I can scrap that.
posted by socialdrinker at 2:58 PM on November 16, 2010

What's your budget? $100? Less, more?
posted by HeyAllie at 3:00 PM on November 16, 2010

Response by poster: Budget is $150-200
posted by socialdrinker at 3:03 PM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: Instead of trying to "make up for" a wedding gift you didn't give, why not get them a restaurant gift certificate for their next anniversary? If you don't want to wait that long, give it to them for Valentine's Day! (As a celebration of, you know, their luuuuurve....)
posted by DarlingBri at 3:03 PM on November 16, 2010 [9 favorites]

Love DarlingBri's advice, and I don't think you have to feel awkward about it at all. I'm sure your friend understood your circumstances at the time and will be touched that you want to make it up to her.
posted by something something at 3:06 PM on November 16, 2010

My friend in a similar situation as you gave a two-year belated wedding gift of a homemade card. On the envelope was "To: the newlyweds  old married couple!" The card itself had heart bubbles with "A bit late..." and inside "but worth the wait!" along with $100.

Or maybe you could write "For your wedding  first anniversary  second anniversary!"

The recipients were long-time friends from college, somewhere around 10 years removed from graduation, so this exchange wasn't awkward and everyone thought the whole thing quite humorous. Granted, the reason for the strikethroughs was because my friend is a bit of a procrastinator, so YMMV.

Of course you could write up your own witticism, and likely if your friends are as close and with your long history, something like this may go over quite well.
posted by CancerMan at 3:25 PM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]

I'd give them something that is uniquely about them as a couple and why you like them as a couple.
Examples: If they're outdoorsy, some climbing equipment or something. If they're movie geeks, a poster of their favorite movie (or a Polish version of it. Awesome.). If they've got a kitchy sense of humor, have a Mexican velvet painting of them commissioned or buy them an Archie McPhee colossal surprise box. If they both love The Grateful Dead, see if you can find a poster from a concert that shares the same date as their anniversary or a case of Grateful Dead wine.

OK, so none of my examples are tasteful because I'm tacky, but you know your friends better than most people. What do they have in common with each other that you like? Now, how can you celebrate that?
posted by Gucky at 3:29 PM on November 16, 2010

You could call their wedding photographer and find out how much a sitting fee would be -- $150-200 is about right unless they hired someone really fancy. A lot of photographers do nice environmental portraits now (not those ugly portrait studio sittings of decades past); they probably had something like this for engagement.

Photography isn't something people usually buy for themselves but it's really something they cherish and look back upon often.
posted by red_lotus at 4:20 PM on November 16, 2010

I wouldn't give them a gift at this point. It's not a debt to be paid.

When they married, you gave freely of your time, energy and good wishes. They probably didn't want or expect a gift from a financially strapped pal.
posted by 26.2 at 4:21 PM on November 16, 2010

I would not do this. It could be read as implying your friend was not really understanding at the time, and bears grudges. If the situation was reversed, would you still have a mental "they owe me" in your head? This sounds to me like excluding her from your "true friends" list.

A nice anniversary gift celebrating where they are now does sound good. But keep the budget non-embarrassingly in the normal range for such gifts.

Maybe you are trying to retrospectively erase your own embarrassment at the time. "Pay it forward" seems a better idea -- maybe look for an opportunity to help a hard-up friend by suggesting you make a joint gift when another of the circle marries. Or think of other ways to help those in the circumstances that you were in.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:29 PM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: Yeah, count me among those that say you don't really owe a gift. You gave of your time and your presence. And I think going extravagant at this late date might make them feel awkward. If you must send them a token, I think a nice bottle of wine with a heartfelt card would be appropriate. And, yes, sending it on their anniversary makes the most sense but since that's so far away, maybe Valentine's would be best. A bottle in the $30-$50 category would be about right, in my opinion.
posted by amanda at 4:47 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I agree that it would be nice to do as an anniversary gift; I'd go with either a gift certificate to a nice restaurant (or a movie theater, or tickets to something or whatever), or check to see if you can still access their registry and find something left on it. I think it's a nice gesture.
posted by dpx.mfx at 4:48 PM on November 16, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks guys...I'm going to either get them a nice dinner at a local restaurant or a good bottle of wine for Valentine's Day. They're truly some of the Good People in this world, and I'm glad to do something nice for them, whatever the reason. I know they're not keeping track, but still, I'm happy to have the opportunity to be in this position :)
posted by socialdrinker at 7:23 PM on November 16, 2010

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