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11 Thoughtful Off-Registry Wedding Gifts

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Generally speaking, if the bride and groom took the time to make a gift registry, you should give the couple what they ask for. But what if the only items left are dish towels and mixing spoons? If you truly feel like household items don’t fully express your love for the newlyweds, it might be appropriate to think outside the registry. Opt for one of the more creative options below, and you’re sure to make the happy couple smile.

1. GIFTLY GIFT CARD; YOUR CHOICE

After spending a ton of time and money preparing for the big day, the newlyweds will undoubtedly need a little “me” time—and perhaps a cash infusion. Instead of handing the couple an envelope of cash or a check, purchase a gift card from Giftly. You can customize the gift card (with a photo of the couple, their pet, or something else they love) as well as make recommendations for how they can spend it—a spa day or restaurant are smart picks.

Find it: Giftly

2. HERSCHEL ROSWELL NOVEL DUFFLE; $89.99

This roomy weekender from Herschel Supply Co. (which is best known for its trendy backpacks) will take the couple from the wedding night through to the honeymoon. Have it delivered before the big day, and they can pack it full of essentials they’ll need at the venue (a change of clothes, make-up for touch-ups) and then use it to tote their gifts home. Our favorite parts? The Limited Lifetime Warranty and separate shoe compartment.

Find it: Herschel Supply

3. LOCAL GIFT BASKET; YOUR CHOICE

Know the couple has a favorite local bakery, coffee house, or cheese shop? Check to see if they have gift baskets available for purchase. Fill it with the couple’s favorite goodies so they can indulge as they celebrate the end of their wedding diets.

Inspiration: Bklyn Larder; Murray’s Cheese

4. IRVING FARM COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION; $72

If the newlyweds love their morning coffee almost as much as they love each other, a monthly coffee subscription is the gift that keeps on giving. The New York City-based Irving Farm Coffee Roasters work directly with farmers around the globe to source beans that are sustainable as they are delicious. Three shipments of coffee will run you $72, and you can choose whether to have them delivered weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on the couple’s java addiction.

Find it: Irving Farm Coffee Roasters

5. MOUTH SNACK SUBSCRIPTION; $60 PER MONTH FOR 3 MONTHS

Does the couple prefer noshing to sipping? Have a sack of tasty snacks delivered each month that are sure to satisfy both salty and sweet cravings. The offerings change each month, but a recent delivery included white corn tortilla chips with smoky Peruvian pepper salsa, caraway and garlic dill pickles, black truffle popcorn, Korean BBQ beef jerky, and a peanut butter nougat chocolate bar. Know your friends’ tastes? You can also hone in on a single snack, choosing a popcorn, jerky, pickles, or cookies subscription, to name a few (price varies by subscription).

Find it: Mouth

6. CHATBOOKS CUSTOM PHOTO BOOK; STARTS AT $8 FOR A 30-PAGE PAPERBACK

Gift the couple a beautiful book of photos from their love story. Before the wedding, gather photos of happy moments from throughout their relationship and upload them to the Chatbooks app. Chatbooks automatically arranges photos in chronological order and allows you to edit captions, move photos, and pick the book’s cover. You could also offer to turn the couple’s professional wedding photos into a custom book, or upload photos you took at the wedding to share a few moments they might have missed during their own big day.

Find it: Chatbooks

7. GUESTERLY LOOKBOOK; $99 FOR AN E-GUESTERLY

With a little foresight and planning, you can add a personal touch to the wedding itself. Also created by Chatbooks, a guesterly® is part directory, part scrapbook, part program. Include a welcome letter from the couple, bios about the wedding guests and key players (family members, wedding party), answers to a personalized questionnaire sent to guests, or a schedule of the weekend’s events—it’s up to you (and the lovebirds). Print them out as palm-sized guides wedding guests can carry with them (pricing varies by number of pages) or send as a digital file.

Find it: Guesterly

8. MAPIFUL CUSTOM MAP; STARTS AT $60

Choose a place that’s meaningful to the couple—be it where they live, where they fell in love, or where they’re from—and turn it into a piece of art. Mapiful let’s you customize the location (zoom in or out as much as you like), text, and layout of your sleek black and white map. Plus, it ships for free.

Find it: Mapiful

9. ANNIVERSARY JOURNAL; $85

Help the couple celebrate their marriage, not just the wedding, with a gift that lets them record their memories for years to come. This classic, hard-bound keepsake includes space for the couple to record reflections and aspirations as well as add photos and mementos on their first through 60th anniversaries.

Find it: UncommonGoods

10. MY FAMILY COOKBOOK; $35

The couple that eats together, stays together (someone wise must have said that once, right?). Get them started by gathering recipes from their friends and family members—Mom’s dumplings, Grandpa’s borscht, or maybe the lasagna they shared on their first date—then leave the rest of the pages blank for the couple to fill in together.

Find it: UncommonGoods

11. CUSTOM IDEAL BOOKSHELF PRINT; STARTS AT $110

Is the couple on a first-name basis with Harry (Potter), Anna (Karenina), and Jane (Austen or Eyre, take your pick)? Then there’s a good chance they’ll swoon over an illustrated bookshelf print from the artist Jane Mount. Pick up to 15 of the newlyweds’ favorite books from a list of over 1500 titles that range from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to The Sound and the Fury.

Find it: Ideal Bookshelf

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Cheese Wheel Wedding Cakes Are a Funky Twist on an Old Tradition
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Nom & Malc, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If there’s ever a time you have permission to be cheesy, it’s on your wedding day. What better way to do so than with a pungent wedding cake made of actual wheels of cheese? According to Elite Daily, cheese wedding cakes are a real option for couples who share an affinity for dairy products.

One of the trailblazers behind the sharp trend is Bath, England-based cheese supplier The Fine Cheese Co. The company offers clients a choice of one of dozens of wedding cake designs. There are bold show-stoppers like the Beatrice cake, which features five tiers of cheese and is priced at $400. For customers looking for something more delicate, there’s the Clara centerpiece, which replaces miniature wedding cakes with mounds of goat cheese. Whether your loved one likes funky Stilton or mellow brie, there’s a cheese cake to satisfy every palate. Flowers are incorporated into each display to make them just as pretty as conventional wedding cakes.

Since The Fine Cheese Co. arranged their first wedding cake in 2002, other cheese suppliers have entered the game. The Cheese Shed in Newton Abbot, England; I.J. Ellis Cheesemongers in Scotland; and Murray’s Cheese in New York will provide cheese wheel towers for weddings or any other special occasion. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from clearing out the local fromagerie and assembling a cheese cake at home.

[h/t Elite Daily]

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11 Brilliant Wedding Gifts That Won't Cost You Anything
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Most modern couples make it easy for you to pick out a wedding gift (thank you, wedding registries). But if you're going to disregard the preferred gift list, what you give has to be good. And you're in luck—because some of those gifts won't cost you a thing.

1. BONUS GIFT CARDS

Gift cards and cash are great gifts because they let couples enjoy a nice dinner out or pick up household needs that didn't make it onto the registry. But how do you get them without doling out greenbacks? Look for gift card deals and bonuses at places you already shop or dine (so long as it's a place the couple might also enjoy). In many cases, restaurants and stores will run promotions that give you free gift cards when you buy a pre-determined amount of gift cards. Stores such as Kohl's, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond have all run similar promotions (and are also popular wedding registry destinations). If it's a store you already visit frequently, you can purchase gift cards to shop for everyday expenses, then wrap up the free bonus gift cards as wedding gifts.

2. FAMILY HEIRLOOMS

Weddings are the perfect time to pass on a family treasure. In most cases, these gifts don't cost a thing (except if it is in need of repair, restoration, or cleaning), but that doesn't make them cheap. In fact, marketing professor Utpal Dholakia suggests that heirlooms, like grandma's wedding ring, have more worth than a pricey crystal picture frame or kitchen appliance because of the emotional connection and significance that the item holds.

3. THE CLASSIC REGIFT

Single present wrapped in red on table.
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Regifting is never quite ideal, but in the right scenario, it’s not such a faux pas, especially if it’s an item the couple really needs or wants. But before you go digging through your closet or basement for the "perfect" wedding regift, you'll need to consider Emily Post's rules for appropriately passing on a present. The recycled gift shouldn't be personalized or handmade, should be brand new in original packaging, and something that the couple really would like. Oh, and don’t rewrap a gift that they gave you in the first place. That's just tacky.

4. WEDDING PREPARATION HELP

If you have useful wedding-prep skills, it might be worth exchanging some hard work in place of a wedding gift. In most cases, brides and grooms are stressed about the final cost of their big day (the national average came in around $35,000 last year) , but if your skills—such as floral design, dress alterations, or invitation design—can lower the cost, they'll likely be happier getting your help instead of a coffee maker. Of course, you'll have to work out the details in advance, but then again, that's one less gift you'll have to haul to the reception.

5. THE GIFT OF TRAVEL

Honeymoon registries have become a popular alternative to dishtowels and potholders. If you want to go for Guest of the Year, you can one-up the cash gift with airline miles. Instead of cashing in your unused miles or points for magazines, opt for gift flights or hotel stays instead. With some airlines, it’s cheaper to purchase tickets for the couple outright (avoiding mile transfer fees), so confer with them before the big day to make this gift come true. And don’t forget the important travel rule for the newly married: always use given names on tickets and any bookings that require matching ID, since any potential name-change paperwork won't be filed until after the happy couple gets home.

6. PET SITTING

Small dog sitting in a packed suitcase.
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Wedding planning is hectic and expensive, so help your favorite couple stress (and spend) a little less when it comes to making all of their final arrangements for their pets. Well in advance of the big day, offer to pet-sit when they leave town for their honeymoon—they're sure to stress less if they know the daily dog walking, mealtimes, and kitty cuddles are being attended to by a friend. But before you jump in, make sure you're a good match with the couple's beloved pet; putting high-energy pets in a low-energy environment, for example, won't make for a compatible (or enjoyable) experience.

7. CASH-BACK GIFT BUYING

You can use this hack to purchase something the couple has their hearts set on, and it still won’t cost you a dime. If your bank account or credit card offers cash-back on purchases, plan in advance to save up the rewards from everyday purchases to put toward a wedding gift. While you're technically exchanging money for a gift here, it's the equivalent of using a free gift card to pick up that wedding present. Some credit card companies even offer the option to put cash-back rewards toward discounted gift cards, which also works for stores the couple frequents.

8. HONEYMOON HOUSESITTING

Being away from home for an extended period of time can make anyone nervous, so ease the couple’s worries by offering to housesit while they drink margaritas on a tropical beach. Depending on their digs, you may be in charge of everything from picking up the mail on a daily stop-in to actually spending the night while caring for pets and plants. While this gift is free for you, it’s a big budget saver for brides and grooms: on average, housesitting can cost between $25 and $50 per day.

9. PRO-BONO SERVICES

If you're an accountant, lawyer, or have some other kind of professional specialty or skill, consider giving free services as a wedding gift. You can offer to help the couple through the name change process, write their joint will or prenup, give them financial advice, or even just give them a couple of months worth of haircuts (but only if you're a professional stylist—we don't recommend this for just anyone with a pair of scissors and a trimmer!). You can create a gift certificate and deliver it with a card on the wedding day, and follow up afterward to see when they'd like to schedule an appointment (but note: if they decline your services because they already have a financial advisor, for example, then you need to graciously congratulate them again and send a gift).

10. SOMETHING GREEN

Large colorful potted plant.
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Thinking of a gift for a green-thumbed couple? Consider sharing your favorite plant or a starter garden kit. If you're already a gardener, you can compile seeds from your existing stash, get seedlings growing, or transplant a portion of your favorite plant into a new pot. Just remember that this gift needs to be delivered after the wedding, avoiding the chance that the couple comes home to dead plants.

11. POST-HONEYMOON MEALS

Getting back into the flow of everyday life is a little strange after such a big event, so help the couple out by stocking their freezer with post-honeymoon meals. You can host a meal-making shower in lieu of a bridal shower, getting other friends and family (and their specialty recipes) in on the gift. Even better, consider coordinating with their honeymoon housesitter to drop off some early freezer meals that the couple will have ready for when they get home jetlagged. Chances are, they'll really appreciate the thoughtfulness of your gift—which is really the best kind of gift to give, regardless of cost.

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