The wedding gift for the couple that has everything?
January 8, 2011 3:24 PM   Subscribe

The wedding gift for the couple that has everything?

I am going to a wedding out of country (I am in the US they are in India), for a lovely couple I've known for a while... it's going to be a very large wedding, and they are going to get a LOT of gifts. That, coupled with the fact that they simply have more than I do as a rule, makes it quite hard to think of a good gift... anything practical is going to be covered in spades, and I've really drawn a blank on anything beyond that, as they seem to have more or less all the things they want.

Any ideas? I am closer to the groom, and his interests are business, poker, all sorts of movies, classic rock (especially Pink Floyd), that sort of thing.

I would get them a nice bottle of something, but alcohol is a bad idea because his grandfather looks down on alcohol and it would make everyone involved look bad.

Anybody have any ideas? My budget is ideally under $100, but I'd go up if I found the ~perfect gift~. At the very least, I'd like something that they at least think is nice. Above that, I'd like something that doesn't get thrown away or forgotten immediately, but given the size of the wedding (HUGE.), that may be hard to do.
posted by wooh to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you know them well enough, an experience gift (lessons, rides, spa sessions, etc.) in line with the couple's interests might be a good idea, and would have the added benefit of not taking up unnecessary space.

If they do have a registry, I would take a look at that, since it'll keep you from buying something they don't want or already have.
posted by jennyesq at 3:38 PM on January 8, 2011

Are your friends involved in any philanthropic activities? Donations in their honor might be well-received, as would something like a trust fund for a particular charity or cause.
posted by patronuscharms at 3:51 PM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Something nice that speaks to the recipients' interests is always a way better gift than that stand mixer the couple easily could've bought themselves. So something like an antique/unique poker set, or a few box sets of good movies for the couple to watch together would be thoughtful and most enjoyed.
posted by ldthomps at 3:53 PM on January 8, 2011

Traditionally, Indian people give/receive cash at weddings and I understand your desire to buy something unique, but cash is easier, and, hey, we used all the cash we received to buy a unique cabinet that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford. Also, and especially if your friend lives in the US and the wedding is overseas, cash is much easier to deal with than taking a gift with you over there and them having to bring or ship it back.

If they have a registry, just buy off of there - again, I appreciate that people want to buy unique gifts that a couple will remember, but a registry allows a couple to receive as gifts things they want and need, as opposed to random gifts that they won't use or don't like.
posted by echo0720 at 4:03 PM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hand-embroidered pillow cases are a nice gift. They are kind of intimate and also practical. Being hand-made they are thoughtful (compared to buying a serving platter). They will think of you every time they use them. Newlyweds always need bedding and linens.

Caveat: if you order on Etsy you have to have a plan B in case they don't arrive on time. But look at these, they are only $20.
posted by cda at 4:10 PM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

An experience gift would be cool, but tough given that they are in another country... still not a bad idea.

Something philanthropic probably would be in the "that's nice," I can't think of ~the perfect charity.~ Going to ruminate on that more though, it could be personal if maybe I donated to a cause that is near to them?

I have no problem doing cash, I just feel my sum will be so much smaller than everyone else's...but not a bad idea.

There is no registry.

Thanks for the help everyone! Lots to think about. I am thinking cash+donation might be the way to go, at least to be a little thoughtful. Maybe I'll give them a little ticket that says "$x off your next trip to the US"..
posted by wooh at 4:20 PM on January 8, 2011

An iron skillet, Griswold preferably.
posted by Leezie at 4:32 PM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, charity wise - how about Heifer International?
posted by Leezie at 4:33 PM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

It sounds as if they are currently living in India? Have you asked them if there is anything they would like that is not readily available in India? That may well be silly things that are inexpensive but they'd appreciate them, perhaps together with a donation to a favourite charity. Again ask them what causes they support - after all a registry specifies what a couple wants and thus there's no reason not to ask in the absence of one.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:39 PM on January 8, 2011

I have no problem doing cash, I just feel my sum will be so much smaller than everyone else's...but not a bad idea.

I am assuming that everyone else will be giving Indian rupees so if you do the conversion from US dollars, your sum will be pretty substantial. Also, if they dont live here, US dollars may be a novelty for them. If you know that they are honeymooning in some other country then you can give them that currency.
Alternatively, you can give them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant in India. Also, anything personalized with their names on it or something should go over well because that's not very easily found in India.
posted by cynicalidealist at 4:58 PM on January 8, 2011

Give them my standard wedding present: a fire extinguisher.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:13 PM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not clear if they're Indian, or just living in India; but if they celebrate Christmas, a nice gift is a tree stand, a tree skirt, and some meaningful ornaments that you select. If you celebrate Christmas, the first few years you're married you often have a pretty bare tree, and those are keepsakes they'll have for the rest of their lives. My parents still mention the college roommate who gave them 15 or 20 ornaments every year when they decorate the tree!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:14 PM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I recently bought a family tree for my girlfriend when we moved in together. I had our names put in the middle, and instead of children's names on the leaves, I put significant dates for us. You could get one of those for them & frame it. The same person offers customized pillows that I find really charming. Next time I'm invited to a wedding, if appropriate for the couple, I'm going to go for a gift like that.
posted by studioaudience at 5:21 PM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cash, definitely. It doesn't matter that it's a smaller amount than others may give them, it still helps. Weddings are hugely expensive, and I can guarantee that they're counting on cash gifts to help cover part of the cost of hosting the event itself.
posted by Eshkol at 5:30 PM on January 8, 2011

If you give cash, don't give an even amount. $101 instead of $100.

For Jews, the typical etiquette is to give in multiples of $18.
posted by charmcityblues at 6:37 PM on January 8, 2011

My mom's favorite wedding gift to give is one of these:

It is totally novel but fun and comes in a beautiful box. Very American.

When the pitcher is filled with liquid and then pored the jug makes an "gluging" sound.
posted by momochan at 7:43 PM on January 8, 2011

One of my favorite gifts from my wedding was a sign similar to this.

It was inexpensive, not on any registry, but I see it everyday.
posted by miscbuff at 7:55 PM on January 8, 2011

The thing for people who have everything is shelves, they have to put it all somewhere.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:13 PM on January 8, 2011

In my experience, Indian wedding = cash. $75 to $100 for a friend is perfect. I gave $100 plus a nice bottle of champagne for recent very lavish Indian wedding of a very good friend and apparently that was on the very high end (I felt weird just giving cash since it was such a good friend, felt impersonal, but once I got there I reLize that was silly. Everyone gave cash.).
posted by whoaali at 11:19 PM on January 8, 2011

It's an Indian wedding? Just give cash. It's the norm and totally appropriate. And, as said upthread, add one dollar to whatever amount you give for good luck. If your pockets aren't bursting, just give what you can - even if you can't give as much as other people, it's not like you're really going to disguise that by giving them an object instead. Not a problem - your friends will understand, and appreciate the money you spent to go to the wedding, too.

I think booze would be a terrible idea as a stand-alone wedding present no matter what culture. A wedding gift that's not cash should be something more permanent, for their lives together (and the idea behind cash is they can spend that on something useful to them as a couple). A bottle of scotch is fine as a birthday present, not a wedding present.

I would also urge you not to make a donation unless they've specified an organization that they welcome donations for, especially when (without meaning any offence) you're giving a relatively small amount in the first place. The thing about a donation is that it's not actually a gift for them, and trendy as it is to give to charity, it makes the gift about your virtue rather than something with which they can start their lives together. I guess what I'm trying to say is that gifts are supposed to be about giving something to the couple, not just about the fact that you've spent money. A donation, unless solicited, is not appropriate because it doesn't actually go to the couple, and hence is not actually a gift, but rather a donation in their honour. Not the same thing.
posted by Dasein at 12:41 AM on January 9, 2011

Agreeing with cash, if you can't manage an experience gift. Put, say, $51 or $101 in a nice envelope, preferably one of those fancy red-and-gold things- that should do nicely. The 1 rather than 0 at the end is important, it's a harbringer of good fortune.

Speaking as someone who is a) Indian and b) has been involved in a lot of huge weddings? One more damned thingamajig I didn't have to help haul home to gather dust would be much appreciated.
posted by Tamanna at 3:44 AM on January 9, 2011

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