– Ask a Real Bride – What Makes a Great Wedding Gift?

Is it just me, or does anyone else do a little happy dance by the mailbox when they receive a gorgeously addressed envelope with a wedding invitation inside? There’s nothing I love more than a beautiful wedding invitation and the anticipation of a joyful celebration!

Like any good wedding guest, I know my responsibilities: first, RSVP. Next, send a gift! Thankfully, it’s easy to find where couples are registered, and once you’ve located the registry, all you have to do is choose a gift.

But wait.

That process isn’t always as simple as it sounds!

We all want to “wow” the couple with our gift, but is it better to go with something practical?



And is it ever ok to “go rogue” and choose something the couple didn’t register for?

That’s where our Real Brides come in! Using Instagram, we polled around 40 brides (and a few grooms) to see which types of wedding gifts were their favorites–and we polled wedding guests too, just to see if their selection process lined up with what the couples loved.

Hopefully these results will help you the next time you find yourself scrolling through a wedding registry!

The Questions:

I started by polling the brides: were their favorite gifts the ones that get the most use, the ones that were the most expensive, or things they didn’t register for, like sentimental gifts or gift cards?

Brides Poll

Then I turned to the guests. What makes an item something they “add to cart?” Is budget the determining factor, or do they look for an item they personally like and enjoy? Or do they ditch the registry altogether and go with something they find meaningful? Or, is a gift card the most convenient option?

Guest Poll

The Results:

Brides AND guests love practical gifts

30% of respondents chose the answer “something I use every day.” While gift-givers might worry that some items don’t look “gifty” enough (think: trash can, mop, pots), brides love receiving items that will get a lot of use.

And guests prefer to give a gift that they already use and enjoy! 60% of the guests we polled said they scan the registry for a product they already own.

coffee maker bridal gift
Cuisinart Perfectemp 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker with Glass Carafe

“I like to give couples their coffee maker–that way they think of me every morning!” -Andrew B.


Dinnerware as a wedding gift
Crate and Barrel Mercer Dinnerware

“My favorite gift is my plate set. 24 and a half years later, and I still love using them!” -Tania L.


Dutch Oven - wedding gift
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven

“Le Creuset Dutch oven! I love it and use it all the time!” -Toni A.


Dyson Ball Multifloor 2 Upright Vacuum

“My husband loves his Dyson vacuum!” -Rachel P.

Tied for first place: Splurges

27.5% of the guests we surveyed said that budget was their only determining factor in selecting a gift–and 30% of brides said they appreciate when guests use that budget to buy them something they might not splurge on for themselves!

Here a few of our brides’ splurge-worthy favorites:

Shun Premier 5-Piece Knife Block Set
Shun Premier 5-Piece Knife Block Set

“My Shun Premier knives!” -Amber R.


ice cream maker
Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker

“Ice cream maker!” -Sarah K.


KitchenAid Artisan Design Series Stand Mixer
KitchenAid Artisan Design Series Stand Mixer

“My Kitchen Aid mixer! It’s an item that’s so pricey, but you will use it forever!” -Tiffany P.


Belle Epoque 420 TC Supima Sheet Set with Hem Stitch
Belle Epoque 420 TC Supima Sheet Set with Hem Stitch

“My expensive bed sheets!” -Katelin H.

Going Rogue: A Risk that’s Sometimes Worth It!

Only 5% of guests said they give sentimental or handmade gifts, but 22.5% of our brides said their favorite gifts were sentimental, meaningful, or personalized (granted, they may have registered for gifts that were monogrammed).

The takeaway here: it’s always safest to stick with the items on the registry, but the risk CAN be worth it if you stick to these rules for going rogue:

  1. Only do it for couples you know very well, especially if it’s a monogrammed or non-returnable item
  2. Feel free to upgrade or tweak an existing item on the registry
  3. If you are very passionate about a product you love, go for it–but it’s best if that item can be returned later.
Mark and Graham monogrammed dipped ceramic pitcher
Mark and Graham monogrammed dipped ceramic pitcher

“A ceramic vase my cousin had personalized. It’s beautiful and I loved having a decor piece.” -Alyson R.


Pottery Barn Schott Zwiesel Classico Stemless Wine Glasses
Pottery Barn Schott Zwiesel Classico Stemless Wine Glasses

“We were gifted stemless wine glasses with a ‘T’ monogram and we use them all the time and love them. The funniest thing was that we didn’t actually register for them (we had registered for regular wine glasses with a stem) but we are obsessed!” -Grace T.

Always an Option: Gift Cards

While 17.5% of brides like receiving gift cards, only 7.5% of guests say they like giving them–and I totally get that. Personally, I prefer giving a tangible gift I think the couple will enjoy, but I can rest assured that if I find myself giving a gift card or writing a check in a pinch, the couple will appreciate that too!

Make any Gift “The Best”

No matter what gift you choose to give, make it “the best” by including a meaningful note filled with your expressions of love and support for the newlyweds. And brides and grooms, be sure to write thank-you notes that convey your appreciation for not just the gift, but more importantly, the giver!

Looking for more registry tips and gift-giving etiquette? Be sure to subscribe to the GiveIt blog for weekly posts filled with gift ideas, party planning trends, and wedding-related advice! And as always, you can find all of your friends’ registries by visiting RegistryFinder.com.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The ideas are ours, but we may be compensated if you make a purchase by clicking on one of the links. Thanks for your support!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected

Keep up with our latest news, tips and advice. Sign up today!
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.