Suggestions for wedding gifts?
April 27, 2019 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Looking for suggestions for wedding gifts for a close family member's wedding. Please help!

I am trying to figure out gifts for the upcoming wedding of a close family member.

The couple likes hiking, traveling, cooking, cool experiences (they both made their own wedding rings guided by a professional smith). They both work in tech / business development for tech in SF. They have been in SF for a few years; used to live in NYC for many years previously.
They are quite practical and thrifty in that they don't spend much day-to-day, but they do value quality experiences/useful items (e.g. ergonomic work chairs) and spend on those once in a while. They also recently moved to a new apartment. They don't have a wedding registry.

I'm trying to figure out 2 gifts for them (descriptions + explanations below).

Gift #1:
- must be small/flat enough to fit in an envelope.
- must be 2 items, not 1 item to be shared between the couple. (because there will be 2 envelopes; 1 for each of them)
- budget: probably not more than $50 per item, although willing to spend more if it's a really nice idea.

Gift #2:
- something that the couple can keep and use - that also has some practical value.
- at least some leeway for being visually/aesthetically pleasing (an idea to get an instant pot was vetoed mostly for this reason)
- budget: up to ~$300-$400; again willing to spend more if it's a good idea.

Gift #1 has the criteria it has because it will be presented in an envelope during a wedding tea ceremony (we are Asian). (Basically I want to put little tokens/gifts into my personal red envelopes for the couple, alongside the lucky money.)

Gift #2 is/can be a bigger item or set of items; will probably be given to the couple by myself and maybe 1-2 other family members. It can be more along the lines of a typical wedding registry gift.

Any suggestions for either/both gift categories would be super appreciated!
posted by aielen to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Calligraphy for tucking into envelopes -- look on Etsy.
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 10:00 AM on April 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Gift #1 Ideas
Yearly national parks pass ($80)
Credit card-sized multi tool ($15-$20) or this one.

"San Francisco Experiences" via AirBnB like a
- Rooftop History & Lore Tour
- Ice cream tour
- Mochi making class
- Crystal Bowl Sound Bath & Tea Ceremony
posted by cocoagirl at 10:02 AM on April 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

For #1, vintage enamel pins relevant to their interests or wedding location.
posted by vunder at 10:23 AM on April 27, 2019

Vitamix all day and twice on weekends.
posted by supercres at 10:31 AM on April 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Not having a registry, however, signals “give us cash” to me. (New apartment backs this up.) This might easily be culturally specific.
posted by supercres at 10:34 AM on April 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Best answer: For the second item, what about a Le Creuset or Staub cast iron dutch oven? They are aesthetically gorgeous and practical.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:58 AM on April 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

Not having a registry could also signal feeling that they don’t need gifts or that they’d prefer more personal gifts instead of telling people what to get (Miss Manners is anti-registry and not because she thinks people should give cash).

I got family in Oakland a gift certificate for classes at the Institute of Urban Homesteading, which seems like something these people would like. Classes include cheesemaking, fermentation, and soap making. I see there’s a San Francisco Wine School that has some classes in your budget. If you google classes with city names, there are probably lots of other similar options.

(I love the cast iron Dutch oven idea. Those are useful and gorgeous.)
posted by FencingGal at 11:06 AM on April 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for the ideas so far! I really like the national parks pass idea (not sure if they already have one though), and the dutch oven (those are beautiful!). And thank you for the tip on googling urban homesteading classes.
I also liked the location-specific enamel pin idea. The wedding's at Carmel - wondering if that area has any nice tokens/souvenirs. I tried to search for Carmel-related pins/souvenirs online but so far the google search has mostly shown a lot of touristy-looking postcards.

re cash vs registry/gifts: I'm already giving some cash, definitely (it's... culturally mandatory for me to do so). In this case I know my cash obligations, given that the family member is an immediate and very close one, we're all from the same culture, and various other family members have also reminded/advised me on the cash gift specifics (cash amount, # of envelopes, when to give, etc).

But I know I'd also like to give them a bigger gift (hence gift #2) with one or two other family members, and I'd also like to personalize my cash envelopes (hence gift #1). I'm just stumped for the non-cash gift aspect, and it's been more challenging to think up useful/meaningful ideas for those gifts.

Thank you again for your suggestions so far - so many good ideas I never would have thought of.
posted by aielen at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

For gift #2, Trekking poles?
posted by msbubbaclees at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2019

The wedding gifts that I still use (but we like to cook and entertain) but that I might not have gotten myself include:
— a pretty serving platter (we have some in various sizes, one for meat, one for cheese or vegetables, one that’s more sized for cookies, etc)
— an interesting serving dish/large bowl/salad bowl
—I wish I had a nice tray, for bringing appetizers/drinks from the kitchen to the sitting room
—glassware can be nice (wine decanter, fun cocktail glasses, etc)
—a nice, big cutting board
—a really good knife

(I actually now have my mother-in-law’s family silver tray, but it must weigh 15 lbs unloaded, so it’s somewhat less useful. Pretty, though.)

If they don’t have one already, I enthusiastically recommend a stand mixer or a food processor. We’re still using the food processor we got as a gift 17 years ago as a wedding gift.

Please do not give them a plastic bonsai tree. Or a drum. Or an ugly handmade kaleidoscope made out of stained glass.
posted by leahwrenn at 2:07 PM on April 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

The wedding present Dr Bored for Science and I get the most use out of is our ice cream maker. If that's the sort of thing they'd use, go for one of the good compressor models (we have the one Wirecutter recommends).

That said, I'm another vote for stand mixer / food processor if they don't have one already. I'd lean more towards the stand mixer as a wedding present, particularly if it's a joint gift (good food processors are relatively inexpensive; good stand mixers aren't).
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 2:12 PM on April 27, 2019

Best answer: Since the wedding is in Carmel, I strongly suggest you get them 2 day passes to Refuge. I have yet to talk to anyone who has gone and not been utterly delighted.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 2:22 PM on April 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here's something practical and beautiful that I just splurged on for our house - a large, Amish-made, wooden woven laundry basket. We use it every day, it's really beautiful, it feels good to support a cottage industry, and it's one less hunk of plastic. As soon as I got I decided it would remain high on my list of wedding presents.
posted by Miko at 3:50 PM on April 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Consider a Tiffany glass bowl. To begin with, they are high quality, elegant, last forever, etc. They also have that added Tiffany mystique blue packaging, which still has resonance .

Here are a list of their bowls from $250-$500

Although actually the one I think is the most elegant is the Georgetown bowl for $135, which is one of my "goto" low-mid range wedding presents.
posted by jeremias at 6:13 PM on April 27, 2019

Response by poster: Thank you so much for all the helpful suggestions!
I marked the suggestions we ended up using as best answers. The couple appreciated the gifts and I'm so glad for all your input!
posted by aielen at 1:15 PM on May 18, 2019

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