Thursday, July 5, 2012

How to: Give the Perfect Wedding Gift

To continue my unsolicited advice posts for a second week, I will focus on a common theme for this time of year.   WEDDINGS!   I feel like I have been involved in a wedding in some capacity every summer for the past 5 years and assume this will continue for the foreseeable future.  I am an expert, I tell you!   (Not really)

Anyway- when you are invited to a wedding, you are supposed to give a gift.   Even if you can't make it, proper etiquette -which is admittedly ignored frequently- states that a gift should be sent.

What to give?   That depends.

My personal choice is to send everyone the same type of gift and not worry about registries.   Registries kind of bug me.    They are a great option for those who need some guidance, or for couples that need a lot of stuff.   But I do not like stuff.  Or clutter.   (I have a sign on my fridge: Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.    I try to live with that in mind; less is more!   (In case you're curious, we did have a registry when we got engaged because our guests would have been confused without one.  We included only items we needed and did not yet have.   Such as a complete set of dishes.  We did not have a quesadilla maker, but who needs that, really?))  I also don't really like sifting through other people's wish lists.  For me, it's easier to do my own thing, so I tend to not shop registries.

Now, if you are a registry person, I do have a bit of advice.    Take a look at the couple's registry.   If they have received 10 out of 12 sets of dishes, and the remaining 2 sets is the amount you were wanting to spend anyway, go ahead and complete that item.   Or find something that is, by itself, a wonderful gift.   A beautiful vase.   A fluffy blanket.  A board game.    A set of nesting mixing bowls.  For the love of all things holy, do not decide to be the first guest to give them the first silverware place setting and leave the other 11 on the list.  Especially if it's the week before the wedding.   Upon returning from their honeymoon, the newlyweds will end up running to the store to complete the dishes and wonder what the hell they're going to do with only 1 salad fork.  Don't be that person.

Speaking of what not to do.    Please do not look at the couple's registry and find an item they like, and then go somewhere else to buy a similar item.  I was going to share this story in detail but it takes too long.   I got 3 immersion blenders at my bridal shower.  Why?  Because 2 people noticed the on the registry but did not buy it from the registry.  They found a similar item elsewhere  So no one else knew an immersion blender had been purchased.   At least I got the one I wanted, but of course the 2 others were superfluous to me, and did not contain gift receipts.  I am not trying to seem ungrateful, really I am not.  But if you are going to use the registry.... use the registry.

For those of you wondering, my go-to wedding gift is a set of spices from Penzey's.    It is clutter free in that the spices will, in theory, get used up.   I don't have to know a couple's personal style of decorating,  nor do I have to worry that Aunt Mae bought all the wine glasses I was going to send and now I have to create a hodgepodge gift out of measuring cups, coasters and barware so I won't look stingy.

Everyone has to eat.   Even people who don't cook (I am raising my hand) still have to eat.   A set of basic spices is often a welcome gift.   Even if you have cumin in your pantry, who knows when you bought it?  Penzey's offers gift boxes and crates in a variety of price points as well as a wide selection of spices.   The grill box!   The baking box!   The starter kit!  The wedding crate!   If you know a little something about the happy couple, you can adjust your box.   Totally clueless?  The wedding boxes are all pretty great.  Wouldn't it be nice to start off your life together with potent, fragrant flavorings and aromas?  I think so.

So, full disclosure.   If you invite me to your wedding, you will probably get some nice spices.

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