It can be stressful to figure out what to wear to a wedding, and to coordinate your travel plans and all that, but it's really the whole gift-giving thing that takes the wedding cake when it comes to the forethought of being a guest. Yes, thoughtful wedding gifts can be difficult to come by, but with a little extra mind (and heart) power you can bring along something that really touches the happy couple for years to come.
And hey, a great thing to remember is that, while gifts are a wonderful way to celebrate the big day, showing up to be a part of it all is no small potatoes to the celebrants. As Aubrey, 36, tells Bustle, "Everyone coming to Costa Rica for our wedding was the real gift. That thing people say about having everyone you love in one place really is the best gift."
But she did say that if you are totally at a loss for what to get, there is nothing wrong with just following the lead of a registry! Aubrey says that when it came to material stuff, she really did appreciate when people just got something off the registry.
"We put a lot of thought into that and when we use things I still remember who got them," she says. "So while material gifts aren’t the point, it’s still a reminder of the love surrounding you."
Below, 10 women share the most thoughtful wedding gifts they received, items and experiences they will never forget. Ain't celebrating love grand?
"The most thoughtful gift we received was a crepe pan from my high school guidance counselor. It was not on our registry, but she and her husband loved theirs. When she gave it to us she said it was something she thought we would love — and she was right! Just that she put thought into it, and imagined us making crepes on Sunday mornings, which we sometimes do, was really lovely."
"My wedding was very small (only 30 guests, mostly family) so my girlfriends surprised me with a day out at a pottery studio about a week before my wedding. We drank mimosas, listened to tunes, and snacked on chocolate while we painted and laughed. It was a great way to blow off steam right before the wedding day jitters kicked in, and very therapeutic to paint and be creative.
But the best gift of all was all the women giving me what they painted after. I just celebrated my 20th anniversary this past April, and still have the beautiful vases, platters, picture frames, and even a butter dish that I use daily. Each piece is unique and tells a story of my relationship with that particular girlfriend. Every time I pull one from the shelf, I can't help but think of how my friends went out of their way to make me feel special, cherished and showered with gifts that day."
"The most thoughtful wedding gift I received was an engraved, wooden plaque from my parents with parts of the love passage from 1 Corinthians. At the bottom our names and wedding date are engraved. This gift is meaningful because it was personalized and reminds me every day of the type of marriage I'm striving for. Plus in all three of the places we've lived it's always been one of the first things we hang up on our wall."
"Even though my mother thought this was tacky, I think the most thoughtful gift I got for my first marriage was a toolbox all filled with tools. I thought it was nice because it was practical, and it was something we could literally use to build our home."
"I would have to say the gift I cherish most is the album we got filled with photos from our wedding," Donna tells Bustle. "It is something I still look at all the time." She also adds that the real gift, was, of course, her husband. Thanks to the universe!
"Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my best friend’s house, and her mom (AKA my second mom) always made the best food. I'm talking everything made from scratch [...] I was truly spoiled to be able to enjoy her food over the years. Plus, she taught me a thing or two in the kitchen, so I could make great food myself.
Anyway, when I got married my best friend and her parents gave me a baking 101 cookbook (this one specifically) and a recipe box. In the recipe box, they shared several recipes of their family’s favorite dishes and sweets and left the remaining recipe cards for my husband and I to make our own favorite recipes as a new couple and family. It was such a simple gift, but I found it so thoughtful because it paid homage to our relationship growing up and nodded to my future family dinners with my husband. Hopefully, we can pass on this recipe box in the future."
"My shower and 'bachelorette' weekend to me was the most thoughtful thing ever. And honestly, I'd say cash, as well. It's not cheap to get married and build a home!"
"Definitely the most thoughtful gift we received for our wedding was a framed and matted copy of our wedding invitation. My maid-of-honor took her copy of the invite and had it double-matted with coordinating colors and framed. She later told me a friend had done the same for her wedding and it was her most cherished gift, too."
"My friend Julianne gave me a handmade picnic basket, and she put things like a hand sewn table cloth and glasses and stuff. And her mom gave me a handmade inlaid wooden tray. It still stands out in my memory after 40 years. I still have all her gifts."
Again, while just showing up for your loved ones and celebrating is the best gift of all, thinking about their lifestyle, what they might need in their home, and what they love to do, all goes a really long way when it comes to giving a thoughtful gift.