HomeMoneyFive Wedding Gifts You Shouldn't Buy For A Friend

Five Wedding Gifts You Shouldn’t Buy For A Friend

How many wedding invitations have you found inside your mailbox the past few months? It’s no coincidence that summer is the most popular time of the year for weddings – after all, the beautiful weather is a big reason why Lauren and I chose June for our own wedding. We’re not the only ones, though; according to The Knot, 13 percent of couples tie the knot in June, the month during which summer kicks off. That’s second only to September; the month that marks the end of summer sees 14 percent of American weddings.

Recently, I delved into the issue of whether or not it’s appropriate to give money as a wedding gift. I also discussed some of the best wedding gifts to get friends. Now, I’m going to give you another lesson on wedding gift etiquette: five gifts that you shouldn’t get for friends. That’s not to say they’re not great gifts, but maybe they’re for relatives or people who don’t know the bride and groom all that well. When you’re a friend, you want to give something they want and use regularly.

Fine China

We love our fine china. We use it almost every Friday night. We received most of it from close relatives. But since china is crazy expensive (it took several months for me to learn that having china was important and that we couldn’t just use our regularly dishes every night. I also learned that we needed a special cabinet just to house these special dishes.),  getting china for a friend usually means just one or two plates. That’s great and all, but compared to all the other gifts, it will get lost in the shuffle. For friends, get something that stands on it’s own (unless you’re splitting a gift with others)

Extremely Specialized Kitchen Electronics

We love our popcorn machine, our blender, and our food processor. These are our kitchen staples and we use them all the time. Sometimes couples register for things they don’t want because they think others shop at price points. If you’re looking to spend $200 and you see some kitchen electronics, it’s very easy to be drawn to it. But stop before you buy that ice cream maker or that deep fryer. How many times are they really going to use that? We have no room for any more large electronics, and after a batch of ice cream, we likely would have had to return an ice cream maker anyway. Plus, how often would we have used it?


Everyone has different tastes, what’s beautiful to one person could be trash to another. Unless you’ve been given the OK from the bride or groom (let’s be honest, the bride’s opinion is all that matters), stay away from giving art. You don’t want to have your piece of artwork sitting in the attic for the next 20 years. So while art could be be a great gift, it must be vetted first!

A Faux Wedding Gift Registry Purchase

The bride and groom registered for $65 bath towels – yes, as in $65 each. You’ve found a towel at Kohl’s that looks pretty much the same, and is only $6.95. The newlyweds won’t know the difference, right? Probably not best to chance it. After all, there is a word for people like you: cheapskate. Gift registries are for items that you wouldn’t necessarily buy yourself, but since people are offering, why not treat yourself nicely? That means getting what people actually ask for. If you’re on a budget, there are always cheaper options. But don’t try to fool anyone, because if they try to return or exchange it and can’t, you will end up looking very bad.

Anyt Wedding Gift That Isn’t On The Registry

I must say that we were very fortunate with the wedding gifts that we received. We had heard horror stories about gifts that weren’t bought off the registry and just didn’t belong anywhere and couldn’t be returned. Thankfully, we got some awesome gifts off the registry that we never thought of bus use all the time: A hand-crafted backgammon set, a personalized welcome mat, and a personalized “Mrs. Packer” coat hanger for Lauren, among others.

There are some wedding gifts you can’t have enough of (vases and picture frames, for example). But going off-registry can be very dangerous. There is a reason why engaged couples create a gift registry: to educate guests on their style and taste. If an item didn’t make it on to their registry, there’s probably a reason for that. So, no matter how beautiful you think those gaudy crystal candle holders are, put them down and step away from the display. If the bride and groom had wanted you to buy them, they would have added them to their registry. If you can’t find anything on the gift registry that suits your style (which really isn’t important, considering the gift isn’t for you) or budget, simply buy them a gift card to the store they’re registered at or give them cash. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

Readers, what’s the worst wedding gift you ever received? Have you ever given (or re-gifted a truly horrible wedding gift?



  1. I don’t really think there’s much “should” or “should not” with wedding gifts aside from on- or off-registry. Based on our experience with receiving wedding gifts (why no towels?! we really need towels!), we try to buy the most practical items available even if they are not glamorous.

    We received a handfull of off-registry gifts but they aren’t terrible. They’re just things we don’t want or need and will probably eventually get rid of. Mostly decor (though not art).

  2. I always just do gift cards. It’s so much easier, and that way they can round out what they didn’t get from their registry and I can stay more inline with my budget. Some may consider this crass, but a gift card only costs .45 cents to “ship”. Great post!

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