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Five Off-Registry Gifts

There's only one way to get out of the obligation to give your friends wedding presents: They have to divorce within a year of the wedding. Rather than waiting to see if the marriage lasts, try these five usual gift … Read More

By / March 5, 2007
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There's only one way to get out of the obligation to give your friends wedding presents: They have to divorce within a year of the wedding. Rather than waiting to see if the marriage lasts, try these five usual gift ideas. After all, if the gift is clever enough, they might forget it's a year late.

1. The dinner date

You can’t go wrong with a dinner for two at a top restaurant in the couple’s town. If you don’t live in the same city (or don’t know what places would fit the bill) look on Citysearch. Call ahead to get a gift certificate for, say, $100 or $150, which should cover it even if you live somewhere expensive like New York. If the couple has children, you could really dig yourself out of the hole by offering to baby-sit.

2. The starter wine cellar

A case of wine (12 bottles) is a creative and infinitely useful gift. Even if the bride and groom don’t drink it, they’ll be covered for dinner parties for the next few months. This gift will most likely set you back over $100, but your local liquor store will usually give you a 10-20% discount. (Who has to know?) Since many states won’t let you ship wine, this works best if the couple lives in your city, or if you’re planning on driving to see them. If it’s awkward to suss out the couple’s favorite kind of wine, then just buy your favorite or ask the clerk for a recommendation. You could also try my favorite: Francis Ford Coppola’s Diamond Claret.

3. The gift that keeps on giving.

Charity can ease everyone’s conscience—which benefits not only you but the couple, after that ludicrously expensive wedding. Network for Good and Just Give are clearinghouses for charitable gifts, both with easy-to-navigate websites, that make giving in the couple’s name easy and offer a wide range of causes. Donate whatever amount you were planning to spend on the gift.

4.) The updated trousseau

My save-the-day wedding gift to give comes from Basiques, a cute Manhattan shop which recently relocated to Houston, Texas. At $199, this present is simple but swank. It’s a set of insanely plush terry towels: two bath, two hand, and two washcloths presented in a toile hatbox that the couple may like as much as what’s inside. The towels are white and the washcloths are monogrammed in whatever color you want. Who doesn’t need monogrammed white towels?

5.) The one-size-fits-all

Sending them a gift certificate for wherever they registered is just plain efficient. Stores tend to close registries not long after the wedding, but a certificate allows the couple to fill in whatever they wanted and didn’t receive. Plus it won’t involve the couple having to return anything. Think about this: You were already late with the gift and now you’ve made it worse by giving them some vase (you love it; they think it’s hideous) that they now have to schlep back to the store? Not exactly the best way to make amends.

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