Gifting with Purpose
Hillary Ferguson Photography
Choosing a wedding gift can be a daunting process, both for the guests and for the couple, as there’s much to consider. Aside from the gifts guests give the couple, the bride and groom often exchange keepsakes with one another and give gifts to their bridal party, parents and those who participated in their special day.
Fortunately, all these gift-givers have a number of options—and numerous companies sell thoughtful and memorable items.
The reality is that many couples now live together before tying the knot. And those that opt for separate homes during the engagement are still likely to possess many of the typical registry items—cookware, linens and so on. But the modern gift registry still serves as a handy resource and helps guide guests purchasing wedding presents.
While you may initially balk at the idea of creating a comprehensive gift registry that itemizes your needs and wants, most guests would rather purchase that deluxe kitchen gadget you’ve always wanted instead of a chocolate fountain that will sit unused in the back of a cupboard. It’s good to remember that creating a registry isn’t about demanding gifts; it’s about developing a useful guideline for guests to follow if they so choose.
When you’re beginning the registry process, register at a few places—this gives your guests a variety of options and a range of price points.
Macy’s, Pottery Barn, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target are all popular registry stores due to the vast amount of household items and gifts they carry. Honeymoon Wishes, honeyfund.com and Traveler’s Joy are popular honeymoon registries.
Classic Meets Cool
The classics are classics for a reason, but while you can’t go wrong with the tried-and-true favorites, many couples are now seeking locally made and one-of-a-kind gifts. This is especially true for brides and grooms hoping to really wow their guests with a special wedding-day treat.
Such is the case with clients of Camelot Cellars. You can turn the table wine at the reception into a conversation piece and the favors into something guests will never forget. Given enough time—six months prior to the wedding is ideal—you can visit Camelot Cellars and make the wine for the reception with your very own hands. You’ll meet with a wine steward, learn about the wine-making process, taste a variety of vintages and then design your own bottle. Choosing from 70 grape juices from throughout the world and working alongside a wine expert, you’ll add the ingredients needed to turn the juice to wine.
“They can pick the bottles and customize the labels,” says Janine Aquino, proprietor of Camelot Cellars. Aquino, a fourth-generation wine professional, grew up working in the wine business and living on a vineyard in New York’s Hudson River Valley. Aquino says creating a wine from scratch is quite an experience. Couples with a little less time can still have a special experience by choosing one of Camelot Cellars’ wines and having it bottled and labeled especially for the day.
Small, 375-milliliter bottles are available to give as favors, and standard-sized 750-milliliter bottles are perfect for display or for serving at the reception. The wine is made in batches of 15 or 30 standard-sized bottles and makes a great keepsake to share not only on the wedding day, but also each year on the wedding anniversary. This memory-making process sounds luxurious but is surprisingly affordable, with 15-bottle batches typically running from $150 to $400.
Many couples want to show their gratitude to the people who support them on their wedding day. Guest favors may range from leather bookmarks to charitable donations made in the guest’s name. Among the most popular choices, though, are edible gifts.
“The options are pretty much limitless,” says Brian Hinebaugh, manager of the Polaris location of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. “It just depends on how much they have to spend.”
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has a line of bridal creations that includes chocolate-covered pretzels, Oreos, cherries, strawberries and caramel-coated apples. Drizzled in dark and white chocolate, these treats come in pairs and represent the bride and the groom.
A line of gourmet apples is also available, with flavors like apple pie (white chocolate, cinnamon sugar and a graham-cracker crust), Snickers (peanuts, caramel and chocolate) and the ubiquitous Ohio buckeye.
“Everyone in Columbus loves a buckeye,” Hinebaugh says. Whether it’s the combination of peanut butter and chocolate or the tie to the city’s beloved team, buckeyes are sure to stir up positive feelings among guests. The buckeye apple looks like a giant buckeye candy on a stick.
Traditional buckeyes also are available, and the size can be customized. Salted caramels have recently been in high demand, as have sea-salted peanut-butter fingers and gourmet truffles. Many of Rocky Mountain’s items are made in full view of visitors at the store, and all items can be customized to meet the client’s needs. You can opt to have your chosen items packaged in cellophane envelopes, small boxes in a range of colors or even in Chinese-food takeout boxes.
As for those who support you throughout the entire engagement—the bridal party and family members—special keepsakes are a necessary “thank you.”
Jenny Knapp, manager of Things Remembered at Polaris, says couples often opt for photo frames for their parents. Many add an engraving that offers thanks for their love and support, along with the date of the wedding.
Gifts for groomsmen are trending toward the classic. “Right now, many grooms are choosing cufflinks, money clips and pocket watches,” Knapp says. Often, the gifts are engraved with a simple monogram.
“Women are lengthier in their messages,” Knapp adds. Brides can have their heartfelt sentiments engraved on items from jewelry to jewelry boxes. Engraving can be completed the same day, but ordering ahead of time ensures that the desired item will be in stock. Things Remembered will also engrave items purchased elsewhere.