Wedding Gifts that Wow: What to Buy for your Newlywed Nephew or Niece

June 8, 2016

The ink is barely dry on the sheepskins of May’s graduates and we’re on to the Season of Weddings. Or, as is commonly heard at the registry kiosks of home goods dealers everywhere, “Twenty-five pages of registered gifts and I still don’t know what to buy for your sister’s son and daughter-in-law-to-be. Can’t we just write them a check?”

Cash-Wedding-Gift

Credit: weddingpaperdivas.com

If you’re at all sentimental about weddings and marriage, No, you can’t. A wedding gift is one that inspires a prompt note of thanks (hand-written, on stationery please) and, like wine and cheese and the spouses themselves, grows more complex and interesting as the years pass. After a number of years, the gift is worn indelibly into the couple’s lives, and wedded to it is the fond memory of its thoughtful donor.

thank you note

Credit: Theribbonjournal.com

That’s a tall order for a set of bath towels celebrating your nephew’s marriage. And do you really want Zack and Megan to remember you as they exit the bath? Better to leave the gifts that support activities of daily living for a bridal shower and focus your thoughtful energies on something in one of these categories:

Credit: bumblebeelinens.com

Credit: bumblebeelinens.com

Table Linens: A fine lace tablecloth with starched linen napkins echoes the wedding dress itself, demands to be used only on special occasions, and inspires elevation of the ordinary dinner party into a sophisticated affair. Soak the napkins in Restoration  powder overnight to keep them stain-free until the next generation’s dinner conversation: “These were a wedding gift to my parents from Grandma Memma. We spent every Thanksgiving with her for years.”

Freedom From Want, Norman Rockwell. Credit: artchive.com

Freedom From Want, Norman Rockwell. Credit: artchive.com

Serveware: A large serving platter, capable of holding a 20-pound turkey, hors d’oeuvres for 20, or a weeknight composed salad crosses the boundary between everyday and occasion without becoming tired or quotidian.

Credit: epicurious.com

Credit: epicurious.com

Investment Tools: A high quality chef’s knife, cutting board, and sharpener is a practical heirloom set that introduces the bride and groom to culinary competence as well as seeds a collection of indispensable implements for occasions to come. For example, a Medical School Graduation paring knife, a Hanukkah bread knife, or a House-Warming boning knife.

Surely every bridal registry includes something from one of these categories. And if your longtime babysitter who is now a grown woman has curiously left all of these off her list, buy them anyway. You can be secure in the knowledge that, as her mom, aunt, or grandma has told her often enough, “you’ll thank me later.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,