Do Millennial couples actually appreciate wedding gifts? Many would say no. The New York Times argued earlier this year that Millennials are more likely to want cash and honeymoon contributions than traditional kitchen, dining and home items.
This assumption stems from the fact that the majority of couples now choose to live together before marriage and have therefore already purchased everything they need. For my husband and me, this definitely wasn’t the case: Everything from our cooking utensils to our bedding was a mix of cheap stuff from Walmart left over from college, and weathered hand-me-downs from family members. We actually did want home items more than a lavish vacation.
Yet we were, initially, uncomfortable with the idea of making a wedding registry. We didn’t want anyone to feel pressured to buy us something just because they were invited, especially given that most of our guests were traveling from out of town. But when I heard through the grapevine that some guests (especially those of our parents’ generation) were planning on getting us gifts anyway, I realized that we were in danger of getting duplicates or receiving items we may never use.
In the end, we put together our list using Thankful Registry, a service which enabled us to register for gifts at a number of different places rather than being limited to just a couple of stores. The whole process made me think about what our married life was going to be like, and what types of gifts would make each day easier, happier and more special.
Whether you are getting married and making a registry for yourself, or trying to find the perfect wedding gift for a friend, I hope these ideas will inspire you.
1. Honeymoon Fund
A wedding is a huge expense and for many couples, it’s just not possible to follow it up with an exotic vacation. Creating or contributing to a honeymoon fund ensures that the couple will have money for some much-needed downtime, whether the location is abroad or close by. Sites such as Honeyfund and Honeymoon Wishes make the whole process easier; the latter even lets you register for activities.
2. Charitable Donations
Some newlyweds already have a fully furnished house and a honeymoon all paid for. What do you get for the couple who has everything? One way to show your appreciation is to make a charitable donation in their names to a cause that’s dear to their hearts. (I personally registered for friends to donate to Pug Rescue since I can’t adopt all the pugs myself. Yet.)
If you like to cook, a wedding registry is a good opportunity to ask for kitchenware. You don’t have to register for items you’ll really never use, of course—but think about whether there’s anything you’d like to have that you’ll probably never get around to buying on your own. The easiest way is to consult a list, such as this one on BuzzFeed, and take note of anything you want.
Despite the fact that I spend many hours in the kitchen every week, I used the same pan for literally everything, so I registered for items like a griddle pan, a soup pot and a wok, which will make my life much easier when I try to make certain recipes.
Because I live in the ever-traditional South, as soon as I got engaged I heard a whole lot about “wedding china.” Millennials don’t tend to throw as many formal get-togethers as our parents, so fine china is not such a necessity these days. However, if you do like to entertain for birthdays or book club, you may enjoy owning cute serving platters or drink decanters, such as this oversize Mason jar. And you can never go wrong with a fancy teapot, my friends.
5. Home Accessories
One of the reasons my husband and I weren’t immediately interested in making a registry was because the items on other people’s lists tended to be expensive. Instead of registering for a $500 juicer or whatever, we picked out home accessories that were $30 or less, such as vases, ornaments and posters by Obvious State. Etsy was my best friend in this endeavor.
If you’re not married, allow me to let you in on a little secret: A lot of marriage is actually just sitting at home together. If you want to save a couple from another night of arguing about what to watch on Netflix, provide them with a shared activity. This could be a chess set, jigsaw puzzle, Scrabble board or even a sushi kit. One of our most exciting gifts was from my husband’s coworkers, who gave us a gift card for an outdoors store to help us achieve our dream of getting our own kayaks.
7. Books and DVDs
This may sound dull, but Disney movies are pricey, y’all! Find a movie which you know was a childhood favorite, or one which means something to the couple, such as a movie that they saw when they first began dating. Bonus points for including popcorn and soda.
My husband and I share a love of books and writing, so we registered for a joint journal. I also loved receiving a cookbook and a book of ghost stories in honor of the fact that we got married on Halloween.
8. Food and Drink
A lot of people gave us food-and-drink-related gifts, and I am definitely not complaining. My English friends brought me my favorites from home, my husband’s friend made us Kombucha, relatives gave us whisky and beer, and our neighbor friend gave us a gift card to the local restaurant that we’re obsessed with.
If you’re a talented chef, you could also offer to cook the newlyweds a meal yourself, especially while they’re still decompressing after the wedding.
9. The EZ Bed
The EZ Bed is perfect for young couples who don’t have a fully-furnished guest room but still like to have out of town friends to stay. The EZ Bed inflates and deflates automatically and is significantly more comfortable than your run-of-the-mill air mattress. If it feels too expensive for a wedding gift, note that some registries allow you to set up a split-cost option. Besides, this is really a gift to benefit your friends, right?
10. Holiday Items
If the wedding is close to a holiday, find something to help them celebrate, such as baking supplies for Easter, patriotic decor for Fourth of July or a personalized Christmas ornament which commemorates their first year as a married couple.
Some guests used our registry, some surprised us with something they thought we would like, and others did give us cash towards a future honeymoon. Their generosity was overwhelming and, more than anything, I’m so happy I get to think about all my friends and family every time I’m at home, whether it’s cooking a meal, working at my desk or dreaming about our honeymoon.
What’s your idea of a great wedding gift? Tweet us @LitDarling!