Engagement rings, dresses, dress codes, venues and menus – there are many things to consider when planning a wedding. There is no wish for gifts between them. (Opening gifts, though, is another story.) But whether you’re a newly minted registrant or host or hostess, it never hurts to have a little inspiration.
Experts have already told The New York Times that foodie wedding gifts, new parents, people who have enough stuff and people with friends are more socially conscious. The opinions in this article were solicited from a variety of authors, namely 108 couples whose weddings were featured in The New York Times, each of whom was asked by email what was the best wedding gift they had received and why they loved it.
Read on for the choice of gifts, as well as for gift tips and trends we’ve observed in couples’ responses. Among those takeaways: Personalizing certain items (glasses of whiskey, cutting boards, even monopoly editions) can make them more special; withdrawal into a group is a gift equally significant as it can be given by itself; and the thought behind the gift, as the saying goes, refers both to the recipients and to the gift itself.
Don’t be afraid to leave the Registry
Registries are always good for getting a sense of recent wishes, but 55 couples told us the best gift they received wasn’t from their registry. One of those couples, Bridget Summers, 34, and Andrew Wicks, 33, received hand-made marble toys patterned after their grandparents’ version that belonged to their maternal great-grandfather. “The couple said they were totally surprised and incredibly grateful.” “It wasn’t something that could even be thought of.”
Bianca Turetsky, 43, and Peter Bach, 58, did not request a monthly cheese subscription from Artisanal Premium Cheese (various prices), but Ms. Turetsky said the gift to her husband “goes back to his Wisconsin roots.” She added that the signature “provides an opportunity to leave without a home.”
A Chinese maid teapot ($62) and tea set for Sarah Santucci and Kevin Zhang, both 28, said the couple said they would never think of asking for anything. “The tea ceremony is a total sensory experience that forces participants to slow down and savor,” the couple said. “When we do this, we not only taste the taste, but also the smells, the texture of the pottery and also clean and put it carefully.”
China sets Basic
China seems to be as desirable as ever, with many couples naming sets purchased from their registries as their favorite wedding gift.
Lauren Weaver, 36, and Burnell Holland, 39, put together a blue and white five-piece set from Wedgwood ($245) that the couple hopes to pass down to posterity. Eric Leibovitz, 32, and Dara Leibovitz, 31, also joined the debate. Bernardaud’s salad plates with 24-karat-gold accents ($95 for one) that the couple said fit the bill.
For something simpler, Caitlin Thompson, 36, and Richard Thompson, 39, suggested the Iuliskas were given a four-piece white Berry & Thread set ($156). The pieces, they say, are “incredibly well-made, wash and stack well, and are much more practical than formal sets that can only be worn on holidays or special occasions.”
Happy, Mix-and-Glass match
The couple said their favorite gifts came from Estelle Colored Glass, a black business.
Alexander and Bryan Scotland, both 35, set six wine glasses in mixed colors ($185) and six flatware sets in mixed colors ($205). “It’s fun to choose which color you want for the season, according to the season, the holiday or even your mood,” they said.
Chelsea Crowder-Luke, 30, and Emerson Luke, 35, also received six brand new sparkling wine glasses, which include blush pink, cobalt blue and mint green. They describe the pieces of the glasses as worthy and said that the glasses are particularly fun to use at parties.
Air Fryers seem foolproof
The air fryer came in higher than any other kitchen appliance, with five couples naming it as the best service they received. (Three of them had been included in the treasury registers; two had not).
The gift of one fryer, Robert and Anessah Williams, both 42, is also a free gift. “Our day goes from sitting at the table to meditating, waiting an hour or more to run out and cook dinner,” said the couple, who received the Ninja Air Fryer Max XL ($170). “After a long day, our food, prepared quickly and well, is more and more.”
Ninja was one of several characters mentioned. Sue Jin, 33, and Amit Seth, 43, Kalorik Digital Air Fryer XL ($100); Joseph Iervolino, 35, and Meghan Louttit, 36, their Ultrean Air Fryer ($70); and James Miles, 31, and Meron Miles, 29, recommended the Cosori Pro Smart Air Fryer ($130), which via app. Wynne and Christian Hendry, both 32, said the couple lives in “a small apartment with not a lot of counter space,” so they evaluated the Cuisinart air fryer-toaster oven ($230) they received.
Newlyweds Like Pizza …
The two couples — Olivia Barket and Cory Yeffet, both 29, and Jacob Rowton and Morgan Wolfe, both 26 — nominated the Ooni Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven ($399), which they both had as their favorite gift.
“This gift gave us a new hobby to do as a couple,” Mr. Rowton and Wolf said. Ms. Barket and Mr. Yeffet, saying that the oven was “a fatal way to bring people together.”
For a couple who loves pizza and wants to visit (or visit) New York, Emily Maretsky, 34, and Isaiah Bryant, 36, suggest tickets to one of Scottsdale’s Pizza Tours (prices vary). The price wasn’t on the register, but they loved it. “So unexpected and funny,” Ms. Maretsky said.
… and caffeine
An appliance as popular as the air fryer: the espresso machine. “This wedding gift has changed our morning — putting smiles on our faces, connecting conversations over coffee and providing a daily energy boost,” said Lindsay Martuscello, 33, and Jason Martuscello, 34, of the Breville Barista Pro ($850) they bought from the registry.
There are also two less expensive machines recommended by De’Longhi. Jennifer Valdes-Skogen, 37, and Brian Skogen, 41, recommended their 15-Bar Pump Espresso & Cappuccino Machine ($200), while Blake Song, 27, and Bailey Kinsolving, 28, recommended the Dedica Deluxe Espresso Machine ($380).
Coffee drinkers can trade subscriptions and appreciate the MistoBox (prices for both vary), gifts that Ryan Watzel, 35, and Matthew Sipe, 32, didn’t name but called “very convenient.”
Hobbies see Inspiration
Several people recently said that the best gifts they had received were items from their registries that called for their favorite studies.
Eva Maria Janerus, 38, and Gautam Mukunda, 43, have a garden, and Ms. Jane said the Worx Aerocart Yard Cart ($230) was a nice addition to the couple’s equipment arsenal.
With their Yeti Hopper M20 Soft Backpack Cooler ($325), Elizabeth Conway, 36, and Kyle Manley, 35, said they could think of few excursions where we didn’t put our backs on or load them in the car.
Jordan Hart, 32, and Sean Bredbenner, 41, the other couple on the market, suggested they got the North Face Eco Trail 3 Person Tent ($300), which provides “some luxury when we spray it,” the couple said. “It’s great for new couples because it encourages shared love and unplugged time together.”
First of all, Brand kept the linens up
The thing from Brooklinen, the tape that our colleagues at the Wirecutter have done, has been mentioned more than anything from any of the lines.
Valentina Stackl, 37, and Alexander Campbell, 35, called the brand’s Hardcore sheet set ($363), which includes a cotton sateen duvet cover, flat sheets and four fitted pillows, “probably not a treat.” Emily Black, 34, and Anais Ovalle, 32, also recommend satin sheets, which come in a variety of colors and sizes, from twin to California king.
Two couples praised the brand’s Super-Plush Robe ($99), which is available in four colors. “It was so nice to wear those dresses, and some Netflix when we got married,” said Gabi Conti, 35, and Daren Johnson, 34. Deborah Levitsky, 34, and Matthew Levitsky, 32, wore their dresses. “almost every day,” adding that the items “have held up incredibly well.”
Memorialize the Invitation
Many couples put a lot of thought and time into their wedding invitations, and some newlyweds have recognized their favorite creative gifts.
Heather Hwalek, 35, and Taylor Washburn, 41, said that such a gift was as simple as “a beautiful combination of our wedding invitation and a high-resolution photo” that they received. For a more functional option, Mosheh Oinounou, 40, and Alexandra Sall, 33, recommended the Current Home acrylic tray ($250), which shows the invitation. “We will cherish it in years,” they say.
A particularly unique tile was printed with the invitation of Candace Tucker, 36, and Jam Tucker, 39. “We absolutely loved our wedding invitations, and this was the perfect way to celebrate and celebrate that day in our home.” Mr. Tucker said of the custom tile from Artstones by Heavenly Delights (price on request).
Airbnb Gift Cards as an Alternative to the Honeymoon Package
For a gift that’s a little more personal than a honeymoon fundraiser, consider an Airbnb gift card that can be used on a post-wedding trip or the couple’s next getaway. “We were able to use the Airbub gift cards on our wedding and on a future trip together,” said Jamie Drucker, 35, and Scott Huber, 36.
Adam Dalva and Alana Salguero, both 36, said their gift card “immediately gave us something exciting and new to look at after the wedding, and we talk about the future and how we want to spend it together.”
Jack Kramer and Geordon Wollner contributed research.