China and crystal may be traditional wedding gifts, but unless the happy couple lives at Downton Abbey, they probably won’t have much use for such finery.
Instead of sticking with tradition, consider a gift the couple can actually use. Or, better yet, one that will save them money.
Give the gift of good eating
Everyone’s got to eat, and a food-centric gift can be both personal and practical at the same time. Consider the couple’s age, dietary restrictions and preferences, and then consider one of these good-eats gifts:
- Membership to a wine, beer or fruit-of-the-month club
- Gourmet or specialty cooking classes
- A food storage system
- Membership to a warehouse club
- A share in a community supported agriculture (CSA) program
- Gift cards to a local grocer
Give the gift of saving money
Many newlyweds are cash-strapped. They have just splurged on what is likely the biggest party of their lives, and now the bills are rolling in. Here are some gift ideas that may put a little money back in their pocket:
- Amazon Prime membership for free shipping and free video streaming
- AAA membership
- Netflix subscription
- Coupon savings booklet
- Water filter for those who would otherwise drink bottled water
Give the gift of cheap utilities
Your favorite newlyweds would probably rather spend their money on more exciting things than electricity and natural gas. Help them out by giving gifts that will drop their utility bills. An appliance is pricey, we know, so consider combining resources with other guests to make the gift affordable.
- Energy-efficient appliances
- LED or CFL lights
- Programmable thermostat
- Smart power strips
Give the gift of adventure
The traveling doesn’t stop just because the honeymoon ends. Help the couple get away on the cheap during the upcoming year. Here are some gift ideas that will get them out of the house without breaking the bank:
- Gas cards
- Camping gear
- Gift certificate for a bed and breakfast
- Membership to a local museum, zoo or botanical garden
- Tickets to a local performance
Give the gift of service
If you’re cash-strapped, there are plenty of gifts you can give that have value but won’t cost you a cent. If you’re a professional, consider offering a gift that utilizes your experience. For everyone else, consider one of these gifts:
- Baby-sitting if the couple have children
- House cleaning
- Yardwork or landscaping
- Home-cooked meals delivered to their doorstep
Give the gift of lifelong learning
Finally, self-improvement may be the most valuable gift of all. Consider the couple’s goal,s and give a gift that helps further their education. However, be careful in how you package and present the gift. You don’t want to look tactless or arrogant, and these gifts might be best reserved for couples you know very well.
- An investment account if you know college or grad school is on the horizon
- Professional development classes
- Sessions with a career coach
- Gift certificate to a resume writing service
- Books on finance, marriage or self-improvement
- Gift certificate to learn a new skill, whether it’s yoga, knitting or learning a foreign language
There you have it. Thirty unexpected, yet thoughtful, gift ideas for the weddings you’ll be attending this year. These are gifts that are destined to be put to good use, rather than stored in a cupboard somewhere.
Which ones would you be inclined to give? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.
Marilyn Lewis contributed to this post.