International wedding gift
September 25, 2014 7:48 AM   Subscribe

What to get for a couple getting married in New York but who live in Moscow?

So my close [American] friend who lives in Moscow just surprised me with the news that he and his [Russian] boyfriend will be visiting and getting married in New York in two weeks! I'm very excited and will be joining them at the courthouse downtown for their Thursday morning ceremony. I very much want to get them a some kind of nice gift, but have no clue what to get that will travel well or be useful in Moscow.

They will be here for a week and already have their arrangements made for lodging and dinner celebrations so I don't think I have anything I can contribute to their stay--maybe a bottle of nice champagne in their B&B room? I would think they would probably have already thought of that for themselves, but I don't know.

Also, they will most likely be moving back to New York together sometime next year, so I could also maybe give them something to make their transition more enjoyable when the time comes? American friend lived in New York before and they have been here multiple times together, so "Welcome to New York" kind of stuff probably isn't helpful. Any ideas there?

I don't want to give them a gift card, because I want to give them something more sentimental and they are not wanting for money or stuff really. I don't want to give them something that won't travel in their suitcases (something large or fragile).

It's hard to say what they are into because they are just regular dudes without particularly focused hobbies or interests (not musicians or athletes or movie nerds or big readers or anything like that). They travel a ton, go out and eat and drink and dance with friends, Russian guy likes to work out. Pretty much they are just very social, fun-loving, jet-setting guys. They are both in their early 30's and employed in the marketing and comp-sci fields in Moscow. I've only met his boyfriend a handful of times so I don't know him super-well so I don't have cute photos of them together to make an album or anything like that.

I'm giving myself a $100 budget. Thanks for your help!
posted by greta simone to Shopping (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I also got married at the NYC marriage bureau. Do you know if they've arranged for a photographer? Maybe take photos for them, and then have them printed and burned to a disc (or other medium). Also, pick up the NYTimes from that day and save the front page to give to them.

A paperwork tip for them: They should consider handling the apostille for the marriage certificate while they're down there. It requires going to 2 more locations after the marriage bureau (all downtown), but will be needed for any international purposes (I'm not picturing Russia being particularly interested that they're married, but European countries will need this for any visa or whatnot down the road). The whole thing, including walking between locations takes about an hour, but it so much easier to do in person than via mail.
posted by melissasaurus at 8:53 AM on September 25, 2014

I'd do something to make the day really special.
- very cool boutonnieres from a chic local florist
- does one of your friends have a nice camera and a good eye? Would they be willing to take some photos for $100 or a nice meal? Or can you do this?
- take a few of those photos and have them printed nicely. A frame might be too difficult to transport back to Russia but they can keep it in a cardboard folder until then.
- definitely tell the B&B they are coming to get married - they might have a bottle of something for them, or you could add a little gift basket of snacks
- arrange a really lovely breakfast or brunch for the day after, maybe with flowers

If they will be moving back after the new husband applies for a green card, offer to write a letter in support of their application. You can include the date of meeting him, how long they'd been together, include snippets of emails from your friend mentioning him over the course of their relationship, and photos from their wedding. Verify they have been together for X amount of time, etc. Be warm but truthful and include lots of facts. These letters can be really useful.
posted by barnone at 9:10 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Other gifty ideas:
- leather passport/document holder with their initials on it
- matching leather luggage tags with their initials or names on them

But really, even if they've hired a photographer, I'd suggest taking great photos of the process for them. It goes by so quickly, with so many emotions, and I cherished our friends' snapshots as much as I loved the official prints from our photographer. If you don't have a decent camera, borrow or rent one. There are lots of places you can rent one for a day or two, and it'll give much better results than your iphone in low light.
posted by barnone at 9:18 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is a "secret" upscale restaurant called МариВанна/Marivanna that has locations in Moscow and NYC. It's super swanky (photos) and scenester-y. You could get them two personalized visa cards, each with a picture of the respective door, so they could enjoy a meal at both places, along with a card listing the two addresses? You can title it "So Nice You'll Do It Twice".

Спиридоньевский переулок, д. 10а
+7 (495) 650-650-0

New York
41 East 20th Street
+1 (212) 777-1955

About the photos. I got married at the downtown city hall in NYC and it was exactly like the DMV. Crowded waiting area with a long line of brides and grooms, followed by (literally) seconds in front of a well-intentioned but harried judge. It was not a great photo opportunity. To be fair, this was in 2008 and I've heard that they'd since built some sort of a new area for the getting-married's that is more celebratory.
posted by rada at 10:23 AM on September 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

A nice frame for the license? They don't give you anything to hold it in when you get married. There, they should definitely use the Brooklyn Bridge City Hall one it's been redone and has an awesome really fun vibe. We just went there to pick up the form the officiant sets up but there were lots of different people getting married and then taking dorky pictures in front of a phot-realistic replica of city hall.
posted by edbles at 10:27 AM on September 25, 2014

I gave a similarly well-traveled, has-a-lot-of-stuff-already couple a paper-cut map of the city of their destination wedding from this Etsy shop. I included a card with some clunky metaphor about being able to find their way back to the start of their marriage (and all the best intentions and good wishes with which they embarked upon their union) for all the days to follow. It is small/flat and would travel well, I think.
posted by handful of rain at 11:52 AM on September 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

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