“There is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving” ~ Henry Drummond
Are you shopping for a bride who already has everything? Or how about shopping for a bride whose registry is already filled? Look into these options for a creative and practical alternatives to the standard gift registry. These items last a lot longer than the average dish towel and can satisfy bride and grooms regardless of their personality or style.
1. Movie Rental Subscription: Netflix offers gift subscriptions for monthly membership and couples can decide to extend the subscription. Monthly fees are as little as 7.99 and givers can sponsor the entire first year for under $100.
Presentation: Wrap up the membership gift with a must have romantic comedy and your gift is complete!
2. AAA Membership: This membership gives in multiple ways, your bride and groom will be able to thank you when their AAA card gets them discounts at hotels as well as bailing them out when they’ve run out of gas. This gift is a practical option for the parent or grandparent who wants to lend a helping hand.
Presentation: Attach the membership forms and gift certificate to a handy emergency kit (another great gift that is often overlooked) and you’re a life saver!
3. Cooking classes: Nothing pokes fun at the bride to be like a cooking class. Localcookingclass.com has a list of local cooking classes.
Presentation: Simply print off a gift certificate and tie with a spatula or kitchen set.
4. Costco Membership: Nothing says bridal like a giant bulk supply of toilet paper. It sounds impersonal but guests tend to overlook the necessary items such as food, TP and cleaning supplies. These items are expensive to buy in small quantities and are cost effective to buy in bulk. Individual membership costs $50 per person and couples can renew on a yearly basis.
Presentation: Poke fun at the industrial gift with a 24 pack of toilet paper tied together with a bow and a gift membership. Your guests will laugh, tease and be secretly jealous of your TP.
5. Harry & David Fruit Baskets: What else is there to say? Harry & David fruit baskets have delivered many fresh baskets to grandparents and college freshman, it just makes sense that the newlyweds would love fresh seasonal fruit as well. You can pick and choose which fruit to send or go with a standard seasonal arrangement. Baskets range from $100 to $400 and fruit vary by season.
Presentation: If you haven’t planned ahead to have the first month arrive around wedding time, presenting the monthly gift is easy- simply buy a selection of fruit from your local grocer and wrap together in a basket. Make sure your newlyweds know their real gift will come monthly via their local shipping company.
6. Forever Stamps: Growing up, every holiday I was given thank you cards from my mom as a subtle reminder that if “you want to receive a gift next year you send a thank you this year”. Stamps are probably the least remembered item from a wedding check list but thank you cards are crucial to receiving good karma. The US Postal Service just released new Garden of Love forever stamps (above) and they’re perfect for bridal thank you notes.
Presentation: The combination gift of thank you cards and forever stamps will help take the stress off by eliminating something from the bride’s never ending to-do list. Just bundle the two items together in tissue paper and a bow and you’re done!
7. Gas Cards: Gas cards are available at any local gas station and in any amount you’d like. Some gas station cards are also available at Costco or in bulk options.
Presentation: The best way to deliver a gas gift card is with a brand new car! But since you probably don’t have that much investment in the newlywed couple, settle for slipping the gift card into a nice card and your practical gift will speak for itself. No fancy Audi or BMW necessary.
8. Amazon Kindle or similar E-readers: This gift is perfect for the gadget couple, assuming they don’t already have one (if so, this eliminates the need for sharing)! The Kindle goes great with an Amazon gift card so the bride and groom can pick which books they’d like to read on their honeymoon. Couples can relax in the sun with a Kindle because the e-ink is fully visible in direct sunlight!
Presentation: The effort you put into delivering your Amazon Kindle is completely up to you. You could give a gift card for the amount or if you’re gadget friendly buy the Kindle and set it up accordingly. However, most people would settle for purchasing the Kindle, attaching a gift card to the ribbon and calling it a day. I suggest, unless you’ve got your own technical department, that’s the route to go.
9. Magazine or newspaper subscription: Nothing makings you more grown up than your own newspaper subscription. Keep your newlyweds up to date with the latest trends or news stories with a subscription to their local paper or favorite magazine. Studentmags.com offers great introductory prices and boasts up to 85% of cover prices. I know I’d love any and every Martha Stewart magazine!
Presentation: This is probably the easiest gift to purchase. Simply head to your nearest pharmacy convenience store and pick up the magazine that you’ve previously ordered the subscription for. Take the subscription card (you know, the annoying post cards that fall out whenever you’re in the middle of an interesting article), fill out the To: section with a clever title and your small gift will get a big laugh.
10. Honeymoon Fund: I know this is a tad bit trendy and I’m still undecided with the etiquette of the whole asking for cash gifts but I’ll jump on board for any useful alternative to the cliche wedding registry. Honeymoon funds such as 1800Registry and Traveler’s Joy are offering great incentives ($200! ) just for joining their site and registering for a honeymoon. They give you suggestions and ideas for what things cost as well, as a variety of typical activities other couples put on their lists.
Presentation: There is really no necessary follow up with this gift, just sign a card with your name and no one will question you.