If you're reading this, you're probably getting ready to attend at least one wedding in the coming months. And you're probably not just shopping for a wedding guest outfit and wondering about seating arrangements; there's also the age-old dilemma of what present to pick out for the happy couple.
Your mind may jump immediately to home and kitchen goods — and that's a great place to start, says Matt Graham, a gifting expert and co-founder of gifting company Shadow Breeze, located in Kaysville, Utah. Perhaps the newlyweds are in their 20s, just moving into their first home together, and they may have more of a pressing need for those essentials.
But, Graham adds, "with the average age of marriage in the USA now about 30 years old, many couples already have most of the items that used to be considered the basics for wedding gifts, like flatware [and] cookware."
In those cases, he advises checking the couple's wedding registry (if they have one) so you can get an idea of the types of items they'd like to receive.
Situations vary significantly from couple to couple, so it is always a good idea to check the couple’s registry, if they have one, to get an idea of the items they have indicated they would like to receive.
Matt Graham, Co-Founder and Gifting Expert, Shadow Breeze
But what if your giftees' registry is already full of several versions of the same items or, even worse, other guests have already bought everything on the list?
Monetary gifts, in the form of cash, check or gift card, is one fool-proof way to cut down on the guesswork. While it may seem impersonal, two of the gifting experts we spoke to say it's a perfectly fine present — and one that'll likely please its recipients. And at least one of the newlyweds we spoke to wholeheartedly agrees.
"Ninety percent of people gave cash for [my] wedding, which was definitely appreciated," says Shop TODAY branded commerce editor and newlywed Francesca Cocchi Zabloudil. She adds that some people even get creative with honeymoon funds like Honeyfund — though make sure to read the fine print, as some of them take a portion of the money.
Another piece of gifting advice? If you happen to be close friends or family with the bride and groom, you may want to tailor your gift to suit their hobbies or interests (especially if it's an interest you share), Graham says. For instance, one of Cocchi Zabloudil's standout gifts was a deluxe Scrabble set: "My husband proposed to me while we were playing Scrabble, so this gift was such a thoughtful and meaningful one!"
Still truly stumped? Keep scrolling or use the links below to see our 30 best and most useful wedding gifts to get the lucky couple. We also highly encourage you to check the FAQ section for our experts' answers to your burning questions — from how much money is appropriate to give as a gift to how to make less costly gifts extra-special.
How we chose the best wedding gifts
To compile our list, we tapped celebrity chef Elena Besser, who previously stopped by the 3rd hour of TODAY, as well as two gifting experts: Lindsay Roberts Schey of The Gift Insider and Shadow Breeze's Graham. They share their favorite home, kitchen and lifestyle essentials to gift or add to a wedding registry.
We also added a few more of Cocchi Zabloudil's favorite wedding gifts and asked other newlyweds for their top picks to round out our list.
Best wedding gifts, according to newlyweds
For a unique gift alternative to dining sets, Cocchi Zabloudil recommends this creamer and sugar bowl set, one of her favorite wedding gifts.
The porcelain pieces have a timeless, elegant design, with thoughtful details like the scalloped cup rim and rustic stripe and leaf prints. Plus, they're versatile: In addition to using them for tea, one reviewer says they bought two sets — one for dessert use and another for gravies.
Audience development analyst Halle Proper has these wine glasses on her registry. They're the perfect white wine glasses to have in your cabinets when you're ready to have a dinner party and entertain guests. They are dishwasher-safe and made with chip- and scratch-resistant glass.
"Believe it or not, this is one of the best gifts I've received so far," former NBC News Shopping Editor and newlywed Morgan Greenwald tells us. "My [partner] and I regularly make our own pizzas, and this stone has allowed us to actually shape them into circles. The stone itself is easy to clean and relatively lightweight."
This gorgeous two-piece silverware set from Wedgwood was actually the first thing that came to mind when we asked Cocchi Zabloudil about her favorites.
"It's a gorgeous set and we used it to cut the cake at our wedding. I love pulling the set out now for special occasions and being reminded of that moment!" she says.
For such an elegant-looking pick, this sterling silver set is surprisingly affordable, and we love the romantic little detail of the "love knots" on the handles to remind the couple of their special day for years to come.
Newly engaged couple Oralia Lainez and Jakub Tutka are filling their wedding registry with what they call "household luxuries," like this Crock-Pot slow cooker. "These are things we'd like and would use but aren't necessities," Lainez says.
A slow cooker is a low-effort way to make a hearty meal. Just set the timer — for up to 20 hours! — and do anything else you need while the machine does all the work. It even keeps food warm when the timer goes off.
Air fryers are a kitchen must-have. Anything from cookies to steak can be made in an air fryer with ease and little to no mess. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in minutes, and with dishwasher-safe parts, cleaning up is just as easy as cooking.
"If I could pick my favorite kitchen appliance, it would probably be this. Not only does it make cooking so much easier and faster, but it’s a healthier way of making all the fried foods that I love," Proper says.
We already knew that Cocchi Zabloudil is a coffee lover, and specifically a Delonghi fan, so it's not surprising she also shared this pick as one of her favorites.
There's plenty to love for the espresso-loving couple. It's got an elegant design (reminiscent of an Italian cafe) that'll look great on their countertop, as well as a 15-bar pump, built-in milk frother, stainless steel boiler and two filters, so they can make either a single or double espresso and channel their inner barista.
When the party is over and the glasses are away, it's time to preserve the leftover wine. Proper has seen the Ivation 12-bottle wine refrigerator (which rings up at around $200) across many friend's registries and decided to add it to her own.
But for a more affordable wine fridge with a smaller footprint, and one that will still show off the bride and groom's favorite vino, we recommend Wine Enthusiast's six-bottle option. It uses energy-efficient cooling technology and boasts removable metal racks and an LED touchscreen display so they'll be able to easily see and control the internal temperature.
Bonus: Its sleek and compact frame makes it equally at home on the countertop and under their bar cart.
This 320-thread count sheet set includes one flat sheet, one fitted sheet and two pillowcases for full-size beds and larger.
"Admittedly, I've never really splurged on sheets, even though I know I should," Greenwald says. "These West Elm sheets were one of the first things I added to my registry because not only do they have a silk-like texture, but the Tencel Lyocell fabric is also designed to keep you cool."
"One of my favorite [wedding] gifts is the KitchenAid Stand Mixer," says one of the newlyweds we spoke with. And, honestly, who doesn't want a KitchenAid mixer?
But a mixer can be used for more than just baking. With KitchenAid's pasta press attachment, all it takes is the quick change of a disc to make six different pastas. It also has a built-in wire cutter so you can customize the exact length of pasta to your liking.
"I already had a KitchenAid mixer before I got engaged, so I thought I could use my wedding registry to get some accessories I might not otherwise buy — like the pasta press," says Greenwald.
This dual-purpose Keurig coffee maker brews six 12-ounce single-serve mugs of coffee or a whole carafe. It can also be programmed to make a carafe up to 24 hours in advance, so each day can start with the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
"The only thing my fiancé added [to our registry] was the Keurig because he wants that the most," Lainez says.
"I'm handy enough around the kitchen, but I don't know the first thing about sharpening knives," says Greenwald.
"When I came across this knife block set with built-in ceramic sharpeners, I immediately added it to my registry and made it a must-have. It looks super sleek on my kitchen counter, and so far all of the knives have stayed perfectly sharp!"
For a splurge pick that'll look gorgeous in their kitchen and will last them for years to come, foodie Cocchi Zabloudil recommends renowned cookware brand All-Clad's D3 Tri-Ply Cookware Set. A super-conductive aluminum core is bonded to two layers of durable (and easy to clean!) stainless steel, and the handles are riveted and comfortable to hold.
"Cooking for my fiancé is a daily stress because the man is literally always hungry," says Proper. "I love this bestselling Dutch oven because it is durable and will help make extra servings for leftovers. Not to mention, I don’t think I’ve ever seen prettier cookware."
Best expert-recommended wedding gifts
Besser recommends these glasses for their chic, ultra-thin appearance and low price point — a pack of six for under $17, or $2.80 each!
Available in clear and patterned styles, these cups are classy enough for couples to throw a dinner party with. When it's all over, you can put them in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
To accompany the glassware, Besser recommends flatware with a lustrous finish and hefty weight. This 20-piece set from tried-and-true premium silverware brand Zwilling J.A. Henckels is vouched for by over 150 reviewers who have bestowed it an average rating of 4.9 stars — and it's now available on Sur la Table for almost half off.
Complete with a set of five tablespoons, teaspoons, salad forks, dinner spoons, dinner forks, dessert forks and table knives, this silverware allows newlyweds to serve a three-course meal from the comfort of their home.
Besser knows many people often overlook the merits of a quality electric kettle. Whether newlyweds want to make a quick cup of tea, whip up some pourover coffee or boil water quickly, Besser highly recommends them.
We like this electric one by stand mixer brand KitchenAid because it has the best of both words: the cozy aesthetic and familiar silhouette of a stovetop kettle and the accessibility and efficiency of an electric one.
We also adore the sleek, stainless steel finish, which adds a touch of modern to its classic shape, but you can also get it in four other colors.
Besser is a fan of Material's reBoard cutting boards because of their quality — and she's also a fan of the founders, who are Northwestern alumni. The reBoard comes in five different colors: Sand, Coral, Tide, Deep and To Pó-Po, With Love. It also comes with a cute mini version if counter space is a concern (and it doesn't hurt that it's $10 cheaper).
The cutting boards are sustainable; they're made completely from recycled kitchen plastic scraps and renewable sugar cane, according to the brand. Besser recommends placing a damp kitchen towel under the board if it slides during use.
Personally, I've long been singing Material's praises: I use my Coral reBoard all the time (at the expense of my five other chopping boards), and I also swear by the brand's Trio of Knives if you have the extra cash to spare.
The set is made from Japanese stainless steel and high carbon, and it comes with a chef's knife, paring knife and bread knife — the only three I ever really need. They're sharp and durable, and the chef's knife is one of my favorites in terms of weight, aesthetics and handle comfort.
When a couple first gets married, Besser admits, most cooking is primarily for each other. She recommends this small, oven-safe and dishwasher friendly cookware collection from cult-favorite Great Jones. It includes a Dutch baby oven, small frying pan and little sheet pan.
Although she recommends this set for new cooks, their colors — Blueberry, Broccoli or Taffy — as well as appearance will please chefs of all levels who appreciate bright colors in their kitchen.
Best home and kitchen wedding gifts
Are they budding home (top) chefs and looking to build their kitchen collection? Follow a pro chef's lead: Carla Hall's Sweet Heritage kitchen collection, available on QVC, is full of gorgeous and high-quality yet functional pieces — and with each piece below $50, gifting one or two won't put too big a dent in your wallet.
The six-piece ceramic measuring bowl set comes in three vibrant colors and includes capacities from 0.25 to 2 cups. The bowls are also safe for the fridge, freezer, microwave and dishwasher (and heat-safe up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit!). And did we mention they nest for those newlyweds looking to save on kitchen storage space?
The handy hand blender, which comes in two lovely pastel colors and has a subtle flower pattern, is a multi-tasker: It comes with a blender, whisk and frother attachment, meaning they can immersion-blend, whisk batter, froth milk for lattes and more.
If you want to make sure you give them a meaningful gift without breaking the bank, Schey recommends taking advantage of online marketplaces like Etsy that offer cute, customized gifts from small businesses.
"[It] is a treasure trove of creative and inexpensive gift ideas that show how much the couple means to you," she says, highlighting the above neon wedding sign and custom portrait as some of her favorite examples.
We love the custom portrait in particular because you can add their beloved pet (or pets) for an extra fee — which will probably get you extra brownie points for uniqueness.
For more practical-minded couples for whom function matters more than aesthetics, you can't go wrong with a quality set from trusted home cookware brand Farberware.
This 10-piece set is made from polished stainless steel with an aluminum core, and the pieces are compatible with all cooktops (including induction). They're even oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. (Plus, they're a great alternative to the more expensive All-Clad set we recommended above.)
If you're looking for a unique gift, Graham suggests going for something your recipients probably don't already own — things like HappyPicnic's all-inclusive wicker picnic basket set above. It comes with everything they'll need for park dates, including a waterproof picnic blanket, tableware for two, napkins and wine glasses.
Another example Graham recommends is a charcuterie board the recipients can use for both the above picnic dates and entertaining guests in their home. Schey likes the personalized cheese board set above from Etsy because it offers an extra-meaningful touch that won't cost you too much.
Best lifestyle and experience wedding gifts
Another way to give a wedding gift that's both unique and inexpensive? DIY it, says Schey.
"Head to a stores like HomeGoods and find a practical yet pretty basket or box, and fill [it] with a grouping of themed items they can use together," she explains. "There are some great finds you can put together to make an inexpensive yet thoughtful gift."
For instance, you can buy some gourmet pasta, pasta sauce and olive oil (perhaps from their favorite store), and find gorgeous appetizer plates to go with them to make a cute Italian-themed dinner basket.
"It's all about the presentation and the thought behind [it]," Schey says.
No time? We found some ready-made gifts above, including a shopper-favorite pasta-making kit that has all the tools they'll need to make gnocchi or fettuccine at home; and a curated crate of three authentic handmade pastas and two sauces. Plus, both are under $100!
Are the newlyweds budding sommeliers and love learning about wine varietals as a hobby? There are unique ways to tailor your gifts to their taste, Graham says: It can be as simple as wine-tasting tools to something as extravagant as wine-tasting excursions.
We recommend this elegant Luigi Bormioli decanter — no red wine lover should go without it. Made from lead-free and break-resistant crystal glass, this carafe was intentionally crafted to bring out the best of both young and mature red (and white!) wine alike.
And if full-on destination wine excursions are beyond your budget, there are plenty of more reasonably priced virtual tastings you can gift the happy couple, like our pick. Maker Wine is a woman-owned company that works with small wine producers to make high-end, small-batch varietals more easily accessible. The giftees will learn about tasting notes, food parings and more from Maker's in-house wine expert and co-founder. What's more, the tasting pack, which includes a Zinfandel, Rosé of Grenache and Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, are all vegan and come with zero sugar.
You can also choose to gift them just a mixed pack of natural wine, which features lbariño, Orange Vermentino and Carbonic Sangiovese varietals (all zero-sugar and low-carb, the brand says) in packs of six cool-looking cans. (Or you can opt for the 12- or 24-packs.)
What to consider when shopping for a wedding gift
If you've exhausted your options — for example, if other people have already snagged all the kitchen and cookware items on the couple's wedding registry — our experts offer a few more gift categories you could consider:
Unique home and kitchen gifts
"Consider items that they are unlikely to already have, like a picnic set, a charcuterie board for entertaining guests [or] a wine decanter," like the ones we recommend above, he suggests. You can even get as detailed as, for instance, gifting them a seasonal wreath for their front door.
Gifts based on (shared) hobbies and interests
If you happen to be very close with both the bride and groom, you'll probably have an even better idea of the categories of gifts that'll get them really excited — especially if it's based on a hobby or activity you've done together. "For example: hiking or camping gear, carry-on suitcases, a large beach shade umbrella, something for their four-legged friends if applicable, etc.," Graham explains.
In addition to the Etsy custom portrait we recommend above, we also like these adorable custom pet portraits by Max & Modern.
"Giving experience gifts for weddings is growing in popularity," explains Graham. "Some ideas might include a cooking class or art class for the new couple, a guided tour (perhaps where they will be honeymooning) a wine-tasting excursion, a hotel stay, etc."
Yes, cash gifts are OK
If you're worried that giving cash or a gift card will come off as impersonal, don't — the couple will probably very much appreciate it, Graham says. But what'll make it even better is if you get creative with it. For instance, both Graham and Schey advise pairing the cash gift with another small physical item to make it more meaningful.
Graham suggests adding a "story or theme" to the gift: "For example, [get them] cash along with an umbrella and a note that reads, 'We want to help you start to build your rainy-day fund.' [This] is better than just giving cash in a card or envelope."
Similarly, Schey likes gift pairings that the newlyweds can enjoy together as a couple, "[like] a cutting board with a gift certificate to a meal delivery kit, or wine glasses with [a] 'wine of the month' club," she says.
Should I gift money in the form of check or cash?
Our two experts were somewhat split on the best way to gift money, however.
Schey recommends using checks instead of bills if you can: "It's so easy for small envelopes to get lost in the shuffle on wedding day."
Graham, however, says, "Stay away from checks. Too much of a hassle. ... Cash and gift cards are OK, but stick to the suggestions above to make it more memorable and fun."
So we'll leave it up to you to decide depending on your unique circumstances.
When giving cash or a gift card, make it part of a story or theme: For example, cash along with an umbrella and a note that reads, 'We want to help you start to build your rainy-day fund.'
Matt Graham, Gifting Expert, Shadow Breeze
Both agree, though, that gift cards, certificates and subscriptions are solid gifting options. "For example, season tickets to the local community theater [or] an Audible subscription along with a book about strong marriage," Graham suggests.
But Schey advises going the gift card route only if the couple lists specific brands they love on the registry — otherwise, it's likely safer to stick with cash.
Frequently asked questions
How much money is a decent amount to give as a wedding gift?
Both experts say that anywhere between $75 and $150 counts as a generous wedding present.
Graham says, "That [range] could go up or down, depending on the relationship you have with the couple and your financial situation." Schey adds that the location and extravagance of the wedding could also shift this range.
Do I have to physically bring my gift to the wedding?
Short answer? No.
"Many couples prefer you send the gift directly to their home these days, especially with so many destination weddings," Schey explains.
Shipping is becoming increasingly common, especially because many wedding registries now list the new couple's preferred delivery address. If that's the case with the new couple in your life, Schey says to always adhere to that.
"Keep in mind where the couple lives; if they live in a downtown city apartment [for example], they may have a preferred address where they are storing larger gifts," she adds.
Graham says, "If you are giving a gift outside of the registry, you could bring it to the wedding, but it is easier to just have it delivered to the couple before or shortly after the wedding."
If I can't afford an expensive wedding gift, what are some smaller gift options that I can still make special?
You may have to get extra creative with a less pricey gift, but luckily, our experts say there are several ways to approach this:
Curate a gift box. As Schey mentions above, "Make an on-trend gift box. Head to a stores like HomeGoods and find a practical yet pretty basket or box and fill [it] with a grouping of themed items they can use together."
Go in on a group gift. "You might consider going in on a gift with someone else attending the wedding," Graham suggests. "That way the new couple doesn’t know how much you spent."
Lean personalized or interactive. Just because it's a smaller, less expensive gift doesn't mean you can't have fun with it. Graham offers the following gift ideas:
- His and Hers (or His/His, Hers/Hers) coffee mugs
- A package of their favorite coffee (or maybe a coffee box subscription; we're a fan of Atlas Coffee Club), along with "a cute note about giving a jolt to their new life together"
- An "Our first year together" journal that prompts the newlyweds with questions they can answer during their first year of marriage
- A popular board game and some snacks for a game night at home
For any inexpensive gift, Graham advises to always include a personalized note to make it that much more special, like "a fun card with a brief explanation as to why you are giving that gift."
But most of all? "Don’t let the fact that you can’t afford a nice gift be the reason you don’t attend the wedding," he says.
Meet our experts
- Elena Besser is a celebrity chef and TV host based in Brooklyn. In addition to being a personality on various Food Network/Cooking Channel programs, Besser also regularly appears on The TODAY Show, where she offers advice and hacks on how to be resourceful in the kitchen.
- Matt Graham is a gifting expert and the co-founder of professional gifting company Shadow Breeze. He's based in Kaysville, Utah.
- Lindsay Roberts Schey is a lifestyle and gift-giving expert and founder of The Gift Insider, where she's been sharing gifting advice for the past 13 years.