What should I give - if anything - to my good friend as a wedding gift?
April 15, 2014 7:50 AM   Subscribe

One of my best friends from college is getting married this week . The ceremony is small (just family) so I was not invited. I'd like to give her a gift but I'm not sure what.

I was thinking I'd make them a set of personalized placemats (they like to cook at home a lot), with their names and the date of the wedding. Does this seem like enough without going overboard? Was thinking of giving money along with that, as I typically would, but I don't want to go overboard and/or make her to feel bad about not inviting me or anything like that.

For what its worth, another friend from the same circle got married last summer and I gave her a handmade lingerie bag + money. If I was indeed invited to this upcoming wedding, I would probably give her something similar, a handmade gift + money. (Both are NYC/NJ area weddings where money isn't generally considered tacky like it might be in some places). I don't feel like the gift should be dependant on the nature of the wedding...

Also - they are expecting a baby this summer (hence the low key wedding). My boyfriend suggested just getting a combo present since we weren't actually invited to the wedding, but it didn't seem like enough to me.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated (even to the tune of "You're way overthinking this")! Thanks!
posted by Shadow Boxer to Human Relations (13 answers total)
I think that's a fine gift. (Frankly, I'd never use those placemats, but if that's your gig, good on ya!)

It's fine to send a gift, even if you weren't invited to the actual ceremony. In fact, to me, it's prefeable!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:54 AM on April 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think the placemats is a fine gift. I personally wouldn't send money unless I had been invited or received a wedding announcement after the fact, but I can't imagine anyone would turn it down.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:02 AM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think placemats would be a good idea if you used some stunningly beautiful fabric and kept the monogram pretty low key. Like small embroidered font on the upper right or left. Placemats are such a creative idea!
posted by gt2 at 8:03 AM on April 15, 2014

Oh yeah, the placemats would be reversible with a fun pattern on one side, and a little design in the corner on solid fabric on the other side with their names/date.
posted by Shadow Boxer at 8:06 AM on April 15, 2014

Handmade placemats for a household with a child that will be flinging food within a year? I'd say no.
posted by bfranklin at 8:07 AM on April 15, 2014

I think the placemats are a really sweet, thoughtful gift, especially if they are something that can be placed on a shelf either to show off later, or as a mat underneath something else.

My husband and I eloped while he was in the military, so no one was there except the minister. My close friend sent us a small, beautiful statue.

If it were me, I would probably get them a second present to help them prepare for the baby rather than cash (I'd save the cash for the baby shower, unless I knew they had other specific needs).

I gave this book to our close friends when they got pregnant: The Expectant Father. The mother to be was a doctor who had herself delivered very many babies, but if it were another couple, I'd buy them the Father book and "What to Expect", as a nice book for the expectant mother.
posted by mitschlag at 8:14 AM on April 15, 2014

I do think its a sweet idea, but some pretty handmade hot pads would probably be far more useful than placemats.
posted by florencetnoa at 8:20 AM on April 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

I probably wouldn't give money as a gift for a wedding I wasn't invited to. Not that anyone resents money, but it feels like an obligatory present to me, not one that says "I love you so much I wanted to celebrate your wedding even if I couldn't be at the actual thing."
posted by jacquilynne at 8:24 AM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Someone gifted us a dinner out at a nice local foodie restaurant. That was really nice. People also gifted us money with the "instructions" for us to use it on a nice dinner out, which also was very nice.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:12 AM on April 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

A personalized gift would be great, but since they're having such a low-key wedding, I wouldn't put the date of the ceremony. In this situation, the date seems not as important of a detail as it could be. They might be planning on having a reception at some future time, they might not want that written date for little baby to see later on... There's a lot of different factors that could make the important date not this one.

Personalized placemats on their own could work.
posted by RainyJay at 9:58 AM on April 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would advise against a combo gift (wedding and baby). As a current preggo, I would really prefer a reminder that I am still a unique person and not just valuable to the world as someone attached to a small child.

On the other hand, something consumable like a gift certificate to a local restaurant would not only be good for them to use as a couple but really useful in a time when their lives are full of upheaval. It gives them a chance to take a breather AND celebrate -- without adding a Thing to their home while they're probably trying frantically to deacquisition. (Again... not that I know anything about that...)
posted by Madamina at 10:52 AM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much everyone! Might have to do some recon work to see if they'd actually use the placemats (which I will be leaving the date off if I do them. I don't think its going to be a secret that she was pregnant when they got married, but doesn't need to be embroidered on a placemat either).

The restaurant gift certificate is also a great idea!
posted by Shadow Boxer at 7:51 AM on April 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the helpful answers! I just wanted to follow up to say that I did do the placemats, with just the couple's names and not the date. My friend loved them, but did ask if it was cool if she used them as decoration in the baby's room instead...of course! :-)
posted by Shadow Boxer at 5:36 PM on May 17, 2014

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