How to Pick the Perfect Wedding Present

Style The Aisle Helps Us Pick Out the Perfect Wedding Present

wedding present guide

Spring marks the start of wedding season, and in between all the excitement, fun events and invitations, you start to wonder how to give the perfect wedding gift.  There are so many options and buying a gift for a co-worker is going to feel completely different from buying a gift for your best friend since age 5.  While there is no right way to give a gift, there are definitely some tips that can help make wedding gift giving a bit easier.

>>Buying From the Registry

Getting a gift off the registry is obviously the safest way to go.  In a survey from The Knot, 85% of couples prefer receiving a gift from their registry – they’ve spent a lot of time putting together a list of items that they would love to use in their home.  But, if you’re close with the couple, it can sometimes feel impersonal to buy them a cheese grater from a website (though they will use it, I promise).  Have no fear, there are absolutely ways to send a personal gift, while still staying within the confines of a wedding registry:

  • Do you have regular wine nights together?  Or share a love of Cabernet?  Pick out wine glasses from their registry and send them with a bottle of wine for the couple to share on one of their first nights as husband and wife.
  • Make buying the kitchen gadgets (which are so useful but can feel boring) fun by including one of your favorite recipes with the gift.  If you have a stellar cookie recipe, buy cookie sheets, measuring cups, or anything else related from their registry and wrap it with your recipe tucked inside.
>>Picking Your Own Gift

Selecting a gift that is not on the registry can be very tricky.  You may think you know the couple’s personal style or what they like, but they could easily end up with eight mismatched serving dishes from too many wedding guests who go rogue with the present purchase.  That’s not to say you can’t pick out a great gift – just make sure you know the couple very well if you go this route.  And don’t forget to send a gift receipt for an easy exchange in case what you picked out isn’t quite what they need.

Great non-registry gifts are best when they reflect the couples personalities or interests.  Some great examples I’ve seen are:

  • For the wine lover: a wine club membership to their favorite winery.  They’ll think of you every month with their new shipment arrives.
  • For the art lover: a gift card for buying art to decorate their new home.  The gift card route is crucial with this gift – don’t try to pick out a painting you think they’ll like.
  • For anyone: a gift card to a framing shop so all their new wedding photos can be beautifully displayed.

Cash and gift cards are also completely appropriate ways to go off the registry.  It may feel like the easy way out of gift giving, but the couple will be so happy to receive these easy to spend options.  Sending it with a nice card will help it feel more personal.

>>Gift Budgeting

Determining how much to spend is very personal.  There is no hard-and-fast rule about a certain dollar amount you should aim for.  It really comes down to your personal circumstances and your relationship with the couple.  You will probably naturally want to spend a little more and put some extra thought into a gift for a very close friend, while for someone who you’re not as close with spending a little less and not including a personal touch will be just fine.  Regardless of the dollar value, a gift just needs to be thoughtful to be nice!

If you’re invited to multiple events that require a gift, it’s best to set a total gift budget and allocate to each event so you’re not feeling too cash strapped by the time you get to the wedding.  A good budget breakdown would be 20% for the engagement party, 20% for the bridal shower, and 60% for the wedding. 

If you are on a limited budget, try getting a group together to go in on a big present that the couple would really love.  They are sure to remember – and appreciate – their friends coming together to buy them one of their big ticket items.

>>When to Buy

Most of us have heard the rule that we have up to a year after the wedding to buy a wedding gift for the couple.  While true, it’s best to try to give your gift earlier than later.  Most items will have been purchased from the registry and you’ll be left piecing together a gift from the random leftover items such as a spatula and meat thermometer.  That’s not quite the heartfelt gift you were going for.

>>Destination Wedding

Most couples understand that if you’re spending a considerable amount to join them on their exotic Caribbean vacation, it can be difficult to also buy an expensive gift.  But make sure you don’t skip out on the gift entirely.  Get them a thoughtful gift, but it’s completely acceptable to spend less than you normally would.


After all of the gift giving, be sure to enjoy the wedding!


Erica G.

wedding gift guideErica is the 1/2 of the dynamic duo behind Style the Aisle, a sensational new site that is revolutionizing the weeding industry by allowing makes it possible to rent bridesmaid dresses.  See their collection of designer dresses and read more of Erica’s great tips at or reach out to Erica at




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