Ah summer. . . the sun, the sand and the surf.
And the weddings.
Yes, warm weather is synonymous with dragging out the formal wear and putting your dancing shoes on. Now, I'm not complaining - I love me some formal wear and dancing, but after more than a few weddings under our belts the same ole registry items look a little blah. How to add some creativity to what you are buying the happy couple? Especially if they are a close relative or friend - for some reason the matching towel set just won't cut it.
Here's a few ideas I've culled from google searches and my own thoughts on how to spice up the wedding gift into something that will make the bride and groom really mean the words in that thank you note!
A Gift for the Long Term
A bottle of scotch, a piece of art or a long-lasting plant . This will be something they can always turn to and remember who they got it from. Caution - know the couple's taste well or else that piece of art might just find a home in their closet on the days you aren't visiting.
Take some work out of the honeymoon - find a restaurant or spa option where they'll be staying and call ahead to get a gift card in their name. If you've got frequent flier miles up the wazoo see if you can get them an upgrade at the airport for their flight out. Of course, you'll probably get charged a fee. Side note: my latest favorite airline fee was Ryanair's attempt to create "vertical seating" and pack in more people by charging for those who stand the whole flight.
Sometimes an experience can be worth a lot more than a physical gift. Encourage the couple to keep going on dates long after the wedding day by giving tickets to a play series, movie gift cards, baseball games or other activities you know they will enjoy.
Breakfast for Two
Sure you could just give a waffle maker or a blender, and the couple would probably like it. But give a more thoughtful registry gift by making it into a package. Along with the appliance, add a favorite waffle recipe or brunch cookbook, a breakfast tray and bud vase.
Cater to the couple's good nature and make a donation in their name to their favorite charity. Pull some strings to get their name on an engraved brick of a new exhibit or walkway in an area that means something to them. Donate the new wing of the art museum in their name. . . oh wait, that might fall a bit out of budget.
Wedding Day Saviors
Offer your services as they plan the wedding - calligraphy expert who can take on the invitations? Connections to an amazing band or photographer? Graphic design specialist who can create their programs? As long as you make sure to keep them informed of your decisions. Last thing they want is the bagpipe surprise like Ross was planning on giving Monica and Chandler on Friends. (actually a pretty funny video I found of the scene showing a blooper of them all cracking up.)
So there you have it, a few ideas for mixing up the usual wedding gifts. Of course, it's always good to not go too far from what the bride and groom may be able to actually use and enjoy - it can be a fine line between "off the registry" and "off the mark."