With every wedding you attend, you probably have to spend some time and money figuring out what present to purchase. Knowing
what wedding gifts not to give the happy couple can help you avoid wasting your money, creating an awkward situation, or even offending or hurting the gift recipients. According to experts, anything from monogrammed towels to kitchen knives can be a pretty bad idea, unless the couple has explicitly asked to receive these gifts.
You don't have to put a whole lot of thought into the present you're buying unless you really want to. If the couple doesn't have a wedding registry or you just decide you really don't want to buy something they've requested, there's one gift option that will never fail. You really can't go wrong with giving money. Everyone has bills to pay, little luxuries they've been eyeing, and trips they want to take, so money will literally never go to waste. "If the couple is young and just starting out, money can help them pay much needed expenses," Megan Hurst-Carter, wedding planner at
Stressless Weddings, tells Bustle. "Money is a gift that says, 'I care and I am thinking about you,' while also letting the couple use the money for what they really need or want."
Here are some gifts you probably shouldn't give a newlywed couple, plus some suggestions for better alternatives, according to experts.
buying the couple getting married something monogrammed, you might be thinking about how special it could be for them to receive a gift like that. But unless they requested this specifically, it's probably not a great idea.
"Although monogrammed items are a personalized gift, the couple may not have a need for what you're gifting, or it's not their style," wedding planner and designer
Lindsay Jani, tells Bustle. "If it's monogrammed and not something that they asked for, they won't be able to return the gift and they're stuck with something they don't want," she says. This doesn't mean you can't get a little creative though. If you don't want to stick to the registry, consider giving an experience gift like tickets to a show or passes to a local amusement park.
Depending on how well you know the couple, giving them obscure artwork or sculptures that do not fit in with the couples taste or home, probably isn't a great idea, wedding and event planner
Lynne Goldberg, tells Bustle. If they've talked about wanting a specific piece, that might be a different story, but otherwise this is definitely a risky gift option. If you want to give something unique, try to find something that truly defines them as a couple. "For example, if they love board games, buy them a collectors version of their favorite board game," Goldberg says. "If they love wine, buy them that special bottle they would never treat themselves."
"Skip the matching S&M outfits — even if it's meant to be a joke,"
Katherine Frost, wedding planner and owner of A Frosted Affair, tells Bustle. "Ditto for any lubes, toys, explicit videos, or other sundry items meant to enhance sexual intimacy," she says. You're better off sticking with a gift that's intimate but not sexual at all. For example, she says, consider giving a gift card to a meal kit delivery service. This will give the couple one less thing to worry about after all the wedding planning stress is over, and is the perfect option to let them choose a box that corresponds to their dietary preferences.
Although the wedding couple won the lottery by finding each other metaphorically speaking, that's the only way that the lottery should factor into the big day. Unless the two have asked to receive lottery tickets, don't give them, Frost says. This could be interpreted to mean that you ran into a gas station to
get a wedding gift at the last minute on the way to the wedding or that you think they have money problems, she says. Instead, consider sticking to their registry or giving a thoughtful gift that you are positive that they would love.
"Weddings symbolize a new beginnings, fresh starts, and a beautiful new life together, so the last thing you want to
give a couple is something that will inevitably die," Caitlyn Gilfoil, a wedding and event planner for Mavinhouse Events, tells Bustle. Even though potted plants can be beautiful and food you've made them can be a thoughtful gesture, no couple wants to come back from their honeymoon only to have to throw out dead flowers or spoiled food, she says. If you'd really love to give a plant, consider having a tree or bush planted in their honor at a local park or botanical garden, Gilfoil says.
Anything sharp is probably not a great idea for
a wedding present. "Although popular items on a wedding registry often include knife sets, scissors, and other pointy kitchen tools," Gilfoil says, "in many cultures across Asia, Europe, and the Americas, it is considered bad luck to present these items to a [couple]." Try going for a less dangerous kitchen item like a beautiful serving dish or a set of ornate drinking glasses. WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock
Some people might assume that after getting married, a couple without children will then want to have children. But giving them something like
The Joy of Parenting book or any baby items is an absolute no-no, Olga Reznikova, a wedding planner at with Wedding Forward, tells Bustle. "A couple may not want to have children or want them too much, but can't," she says. Giving a gift like this can be useless to them at best and deeply sad to them at worst. Instead, if you'd like to honor their future together, give a portrait of the happy couple in a custom frame engraved with their wedding date, Reznikova says. "It is a sweet gift and a welcome addition to home decor."
No need to be stressed about accidentally
giving the wrong thing. If you're ever really worried, just get a gift receipt so that the couple can swap out your gift if it's really not something they like or will use. Just do your best to match your present to what you know about them.