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If the bride/groom are foodie, Relais & Chateaux gift certificates, which come in various denominations. Then, they can have meals at Le B or various other places in the US. If they travel in Western Europe a lot, the R&C certificates are particularly useful. They can be utilized towards R&C rooms as well as many restaurants.

 

If the bride/groom are interested in wine, Sherry Lehman gift card. I also like giving Riedel Sommelier glass sets of 6-8 (you buy them typically in twos or singles), such as the Grand Cru Burgundy. Hermes also has a nice set of champagne flutes with polka dots -- I have a set myself and like to give them. The set of two is less expensive than 6-8 Riedel Sommelier glasses. The Riedel glasses may not be refundable. If the Hermes glasses are like Hermes scarves (?), they may be exchangeable for Hermes credit.

 

Otherwise, Tiffany photo frames as discussed, which are fully returnable for exchange merchandise.

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Simple, so that although it might not be anyone's favorite, no one could possibly loathe it.

unless you're my sister. Neither silver nor displaying family photos is their taste, but it was given to them by a very good friend so they have to display something in it. They, however, are notoriously picky.

Well then, they could put a mirror in it, and add it to some sort of grouping, which, if it doesn't work tucked away in a spare bedroom, might be the least offensive to them in a guest bathroom.

 

Also, the types of silver frames I give are simple and sleek. And they work fine as a frame for modern artwork. Perhaps your sister has a notecard, watercolor, or other small print that she could use in lieu of a family photo. Of course, if the frame has baby shoes or wedding bells or other such silly frippery on it, guess she's stuck.

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My favorite wedding present to give anyone is a GIANT stock-pot filled with pantry items; wooden spoons, whisks, hot-mits, pasta, beans (Rancho Gordo, of course!)  miniature jars and bottles of mustard, jam, olive oil, maple syrup, etc... Wrap the shiny new stock pot in a giant red ribbon and it becomes the centerpiece of the gift table -- I kid you not. The newly married couple has a great new pot and gets the fun of going through it, discovering goodies to work with later.

I've done that sort of thing frequently for kitchen showers. Also a selection of herbs and spices and cookbooks in the pots. I think, though, that these days one has to discover whether or not the happy couple has been happily living together for years, and already has things like giant stockpots.

 

Just not as simple as it used to be. I remember the olden days when you could count on newlyweds having nothing. These days they often have everything. Including a dog and a cat and a couple of kids. Sigh.

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A selection of kitchen linens: various types of dish towels (terry, linen), pot holders, oven mitts, pure cotton napkins for straining stuff -- you can never have too many of these. And nobody else ever thinks to give them. :blush:

 

To get really fancy (since the above might be viewed as a cheapie -- it was by my cousin's fiancee's mother :unsure: -- pack the lot into a nice specialty pot or skillet.

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My favorite wedding present to give anyone is a GIANT stock-pot filled with pantry items; wooden spoons, whisks, hot-mits, pasta, beans (Rancho Gordo, of course!)  miniature jars and bottles of mustard, jam, olive oil, maple syrup, etc... Wrap the shiny new stock pot in a giant red ribbon and it becomes the centerpiece of the gift table -- I kid you not. The newly married couple has a great new pot and gets the fun of going through it, discovering goodies to work with later.

I've done that sort of thing frequently for kitchen showers. Also a selection of herbs and spices and cookbooks in the pots. I think, though, that these days one has to discover whether or not the happy couple has been happily living together for years, and already has things like giant stockpots.

 

Just not as simple as it used to be. I remember the olden days when you could count on newlyweds having nothing. These days they often have everything. Including a dog and a cat and a couple of kids. Sigh.

The bold is mine -- how can you ever have too many giant stock pots???

 

Okay, freaks like us can never have enough... I have come up against that problem and usually go the same route, but put the stuff into a picnic basket with additional picnic items. Even long-standing live-ins can enliven their relationship with a romantic picnic!

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I think of utilitarian gifts like stock pots or linens as good bridal shower gifts. For the formal ceremony, however, I think it sould be something more...formal, I guess. And I may be way off on this, I don't think its an etiquestte thing so much as my personal perception.

 

Anyway, I agree with crystal, silver, stemware, or something indulgent. the exception to this would be if I knew the people to be very unformal, casual and anti-brand name...then, I'd go with cash. or a GC to a speicalty store that would appeal to them ( ie, a ski store)

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  • 3 months later...

NY Times has an article about updated wedding and shower invitations, and the evolution of the wedding industrial complex.

 

A FRIEND of mine was recently invited to a wedding. Instead of the usual ornate paper invitation, she received a card with a link to a Web site that contained all the details of the couple's high-end destination wedding.

 

"They rented a castle," my friend said.

 

The Web site offered guests the opportunity to buy the couple various wedding gifts, right there. In one section you could find the housewares they had registered for. In another, you could buy the newlyweds breakfast or a massage during their stay. "You had to be careful what you clicked on," my friend said. "You could spend a fortune."

 

Never mind cost-of-living increases — has anyone been tracking the rising cost of being invited to the happiest day of someone's life?

 

"There's no question that weddings are an expensive proposition for the bride and groom, but they're also expensive for the guests," said Thomas P. Farley, a senior editor at Town & Country and author of "Modern Manners: The Thinking Person's Guide to Social Graces" (Hearst, 2005).

 

As a couple's expectations rise for their special day, the financial pressure on those invited to join the festivities likewise tends to escalate, what with engagement parties, multiple showers, bachelor and bachelorette nights, oh my!

 

Andrea Lawson, 44, who works in television production in Los Angeles, is still reeling from the year or so after 9/11, when work was scarce but she and her boyfriend attended nearly two dozen weddings. One bride, with whom she is no longer friendly, "commented on how little we spent on her presents," Ms. Lawson said, "and she knew we were out of work!"

 

While few people would be so insensitive, Ms. Lawson's story is emblematic of the pressure-cooker mentality that has been born of the wedding industrial complex. For some, the ceremony and attendant fetes have become an artfully disguised quid pro quo, with the couple hoping for gifts that will match what they have spent on their nuptials — and stressed-out guests who feel they have no choice but to give in to the pressure or be branded cheap or uncaring.

 

 

Gifts

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Candlesticks are a good wedding gift - romantic dinners, etc. They actually get used, and I don't think anyone can have too many. We received about five pairs when we got married, and we still use all of them 15 years later (not all at once, mind you).

 

Fly

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i gave two of my dearest friends in india very nice candlesticks and candles when they got married many years ago. unfortunately the ambient temperature in their home in delhi destroyed the candles. i don't know who got the candlesticks but they got divorced a few years later. i blame myself.

 

some of our wedding guests never got around to buying us presents. and we never sent anyone "thank you" notes either. so, breaches of protocol all around.

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