SailboatWhen you’re planning to attend a wedding, it is usually appropriate to bring along some type of gift for the bride and groom. Usually the couple will have created a gift registry at a nearby department store with a huge list of items they’d like to receive, or you can give them a card with a gift card or cash to help them get their lives started. However, some of the best gifts you can give at a wedding are completely unique, original, and unexpected. I happen to know first-hand how tough it can be to come up with thoughtful wedding gift ideas because I just had two daughters get married a few month apart. I thought I’d share some of the ideas I had on my list to kick start your brainwaves into a more creative mode.

Gift Registry: This is an obvious one that ensures the couple will get exactly what they want. There is nothing wrong with going this route, but if you are very close to the couple or want to give them something they’ll truly cherish, buying from the gift registry can be a bit bland.

Cash: Giving the gift of cold hard cash is always a welcome token to any newlywed couple. Since they are just starting their lives together and probably forked out a pile of cash for their wedding, cash can be a nice treat. However, like the gift registry, cash is a thoughtless gift that doesn’t really convey how much you care or that you spent some time thinking about your gift.

Personalized Gifts: My personal favorite way to go is to give them a gift that is totally unexpected and very overwhelming. Don’t go into debt trying to impress the couple, just do something on whatever scale fits into your budget. Some of the best ideas that made my personal list are as follows:

  • Charter the couple a private sailboat for a day. There is nothing more romantic than giving a newlywed couple a private escape for a full day. Usually this is done with a gift certificate so they can choose a day that works for both of them.
  • Rent them a lake house for the weekend. This is also a great way to give the couple a weekend away from the normal grind of life.
  • Buy them a wine club membership. Nearly everyone loves a good glass of wine, and enrolling them into a wine club will let them taste new varieties and develop their palettes.  Also, a nice glass of wine can help them unwind after a long day of work.
  • Charter a hot air balloon adventure. This one isn’t a good idea if one or both people are afraid of heights, but if you know the couple well enough a hot air balloon adventure can be a once in a lifetime treat.
  • Buy them a new computer or television. Most couples won’t put anything too expensive on their gift registry because they know they probably won’t get it. If you know the couple either wants or needs a new high-end electronic device, you can really leave them speechless.

Regardless of what type of gift you choose to give the couple, the worst thing you can do is add another useless gift like a bread machine to their pile of gifts from their registry. Though the couple probably picked out those items themselves, they really don’t convey how much you care. Set aside a little time and really think about something the bride and groom would either appreciate or need, and you really can’t go wrong. Good luck and happy shopping!