Wedding gift filter
November 10, 2014 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Please suggest some good generic wedding gift ideas for a couple with no registry.

I'm an old friend of the groom but we haven't been in close touch for a while. They've been together for ten years and living together for half that; they just had a baby this year, which is probably why they're finally tying the knot.

When I asked the groom if they had a registry he said "nah, we've been living together so we've got all that stuff." They are very well off and could buy whatever they need, but they're both fairly practical and frugal people so I could imagine there are obvious nice-to-have items that they don't have but would like. But I haven't seen their apartment, and as a clueless bachelor myself I cannot begin to imagine what these things are. Can you help?
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Your friend is politely asking for money. If your personal culture finds that untoward then no big deal and you can get them whatever, but they want money.
posted by brainmouse at 3:10 PM on November 10, 2014 [8 favorites]

Cash. They want nice, generic cash.
posted by juniperesque at 3:13 PM on November 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

Cash. Seriously.
posted by joan_holloway at 3:13 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nobody minds getting expensive consumables - wine, mustard of the month club, whatever you think they would like. That way they don't feel stuck displaying a plate or whatever just in case you come by.

FWIW, I didn't register because I didn't want to seem like I was begging for gifts - I certainly didn't want money, either. One's mileage may vary.
posted by ftm at 3:13 PM on November 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

If they're very well off they probably don't want money. I'd do a Kiva gift card or a croquet set or fancy consumables as ftm said.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:17 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm the first one to say cash, but I would only give a family member or close friend cash. Or a young person who was recently out of school and still on the broke side.

People who have started a family and who have been keeping house together for ten years...yeah, not so much.

I like the idea of elegant consumables.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:19 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is how you ask for cash now.

If you are just opposed to that, you can get them something but you really should at least respect the lie and give them a consumable, experience, service, or other thing that does not take up shelf space (or at least lets them choose what it is).

If I was going to offroad in a case like this, I would give them a gift card to a photo-printing or framing service. Shutterfly, for example, prints books and cards and calendars and prints on canvas or metal, so they can make some nice home decor from their wedding photos. Or, if they're in the US, I'd either find an indie frame shop near them or (if no indie) an Aaron Brothers and get them a gift card. They're going to be in need of framing services in the near future.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:23 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

If they have a baby and live in an apartment, I agree that they probably would appreciate cash over a physical object. You could also get them a gift card to a nearby restaurant or gourmet market so that they can get a nice dinner out after the wedding (when everything will still be a mess and crazy). Add in a bottle of wine or fancy six pack if you want to include something physical and if they drink, or maybe fancy coffee/tea if not. If you want to send a physical basket of gourmet items, I would schedule it for at least a couple of weeks after the wedding/honeymoon, because at least in our case, we were surrounded by some leftover food from various pre-wedding events, everything was a confusing mess of floral arrangements and dress bags, and we still had a metric ton of leftover wine/alcohol. The week afterwards was way less confused.

Many gourmet places also have nice by-the-month selections (condiments, beers, sausages/meats), though I would make sure they love whatever it is enough to eat/drink all of it. If they like cooking, Penzey's (and local spice stores probably) do really nice gift kits of fancy spices they might not have invested in.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:25 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Gift certificate for a nice restaurant. If they have babysitting, it'll be nice for them to get away for an hour or two.
posted by pennypiper at 3:26 PM on November 10, 2014

Reiterating that no registry may not equal a request for cash (it didn't in my case). Consumables would have been nice but personal usable gifts are the ones I remember and cherish almost fifteen years in. Since you don't have a good sense of their needs, I would definitely consider consumables/experiences, keeping in mind that new parents may not be able to go out with the baby easily.
posted by immlass at 3:56 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

If they live near a fun museum, garden or something of that nature that offers membership, you could get them a family membership for a year. But I agree with others that his non-answer may mean that they'd prefer cash.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:56 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I know your friend told you they didn't have a registry, but have you checked Amazon and The Knot ? (Or even the Babies  Я Us Registry?) They may have put one together for in-laws etc. who will insist. My wife and I did that, though we didn't publicize it. It ensured that if people really, really felt they had to give a gift, mostly they gave us things we genuinely liked. And yes, there was a $300 croquet set on on that list because why not?

I would not interpret "we have no registry and are set for housewares" as a request for cash. From me, it would genuinely mean "please, gifts are weird, let's just not hey?" which is my general position on them, though I'm happy if people insist. But really, none is fine too. And cash is weirder if it's not coming from a relative.

If you must, and they have no stealth list, luxe consumables are a great idea, particularly a subscription that keep on giving. Sounds like you may not be super in touch with his lifestyle these days, so picking a simpatico set of crystal old fashioneds or something could be hard.
posted by mumkin at 4:01 PM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just got married! We didn't have a registry because we already have stuff and the idea of coming up with a list of crap we don't need was horrifying! I'm Asian, and the no registry thing = cash for me, but more because I couldn't think of what we would want - we also hoped for things that reflected the tastes and stories of the givers.

So we got a mix of cash (particularly from the Asian side of the family), a couple of dinners (THUMBS UP) and lots of ceramics, which we love. Probably a couple more salad bowls than we needed but what the hey. Someone gave us fancy sheets and wrote us a little story about why which was the loveliest thing. There were a few people who gave us things they'd made which I found really touching. A few gave up their time and talents to help us put the wedding together. A few spent $$$ travelling from overseas to come. A few gave nothing at all. It was all great.
posted by scuza at 4:04 PM on November 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

Living together for five years + practical-minded = they've probably had everything they needed for a long time. And with a baby, they're probably not thinking about fine china or whatever. A lack of registry isn't necessarily a veiled request for cash; it could easily mean "we can't think of anything we need."

Cash, consumables, or a gift card. Seriously, it's better to give an "impersonal" practical gift than a fancy thing they have no use for.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:08 PM on November 10, 2014

We just did this in August, and for us, no registry really was "please, we don't want anything but for you to come and support us and have a good time."

Is there anyone in closer touch with the groom that you could query about whether this is a "we'd like cash" or a "no, please, just come have a good time with us" situation?
posted by joycehealy at 4:08 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

(That said, a set of crystal rocks glasses is my go-to)
posted by mumkin at 4:11 PM on November 10, 2014

N-thing cash. These days, I skip the registry and always give cash, no matter who the couple is or how I'm connected to them. I can't be bothered getting some rando impersonal gift off a registry. I'd rather give specific impersonal cash.

If you want to give a gift, I'd go for something related to something they like. For example, a membership in the local wineries club. Or a membership in a zoo (zoos are GREAT places to take babies/toddlers for a walk or a stroll). Or gift certificates for a fancy restaurant.
posted by OrangeDisk at 4:16 PM on November 10, 2014

When my now-wife and I said this, we meant "cash, please."
posted by ewiar at 4:25 PM on November 10, 2014

Fire extinguisher is my go to wedding gift. Everyone needs one, not everyone has one.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:52 PM on November 10, 2014 [6 favorites]

Some really good wine (as many bottles as you like) and two lovely wine glasses.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 4:55 PM on November 10, 2014

I got a coworker some really nice, expensive scissors. Everyone needs good pair (or two- or three) of scissors. And/or a great set of pens and notebooks.
posted by Crystalinne at 5:24 PM on November 10, 2014

I did the same thing and would have actually been bothered by cash - very impersonal. Best unrequested gifts? Gift certificates to fancy potter/glass blower and restaurants. Would have never gone for it ourselves. Nice treat! Very thoughtful!
posted by Toddles at 5:57 PM on November 10, 2014

Cash. Or, a gift certificate to a talented photographer to do a family photoshoot.
posted by RingerChopChop at 6:03 PM on November 10, 2014

With a new baby in the house a gift certificate to Shutterfly is an excellent idea. Otherwise my go-to is usually a beautiful picture frame or a really nice vase. I have seen suggestions for luxe bath towels. All of these if you are uncomfortable with the idea of giving cash. Fwiw, if you gave cash or a significant gift for the baby shower I probably would focus on something more wedding-y, but ymmv.
posted by vignettist at 6:38 PM on November 10, 2014

Cash, or something they can do together - like have a nice dinner, couples massage, etc.

Something I used to do was called "date in a box", where I would put a gift card to a nice resturant, a gift card to a movie theater, and a visa gift card or cash with some candies. Simple, but something a couple with a new baby would love.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 5:44 AM on November 11, 2014

Baby? Some cash on a account. Knock knock; diapers and wipes!
posted by buzzman at 11:51 AM on November 11, 2014

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