Choosing the Perfect Wedding Gift

If you're having trouble committing to a wedding gift, you may want to ask the bride and groom for advice-by checking their registry.

A recent survey of 15,000 brides-to-be and newlyweds conducted by The Knot ( and Kohl's Bridal Aisle ( found that nearly 85 percent of today's to-be-weds want guests to select a gift from their registry-and 98 percent of couples said they've created at least one wedding gift registry list. Most brides surveyed also indicated that they registered before the bridal shower, giving guests plenty of lead time to shop off their wish lists.

If you're a friend of the groom and you're not sure which gift will suit his taste, don't worry: Over 90 percent of grooms are involved in creating the gift registry list today, with over 60 percent having participated in every single decision.

Carley Roney, editor in chief of The Knot and nationwide wedding expert, provides these additional tips for choosing wedding gifts:

What They Want

Some of the most wanted gifts this year hail from kitchen electrics, cookware, bakeware, casual dinnerware, bedding and bath departments, according to survey respondents. Couples said everyday cooking and entertaining was a favorite activity, and ranked their gifts accordingly. Among top gift choices mentioned were:

• Kitchen electrics such as stand mixers, food processors, toasters and coffeemakers

• Bedding such as 400 thread count Egyptian-cotton sheets

• Bath items such as luxury towels and bath accessories

• Outdoor items including BBQ items/accessories, patio furniture, gardening equipment and supplies.

How Much To Give

Only 10 percent of brides agreed that gift value should be based on price per plate. According to the survey, guests should never spend less than $50. A good rule of thumb may be to spend an amount that seems appropriate to your relationship with the couple. Here's a guide based on national averages from the survey:

• Co-worker and/or a distant family friend or relative: $50 to $75

• Relative or friend: $75 to $100

• Close relative or close friend: $100 to $150+.

Group Gifts

The majority of the newlyweds polled said the gifts that topped their list were the big-ticket items purchased by groups of guests, including the super-popular Dyson vacuum, complete sets of professional cookware and the KitchenAid stand mixer. Other favorite items include full sets of formal china and sterling.


One of the most common complaints among newlyweds polled was that they received a recycled gift. The urge to save a penny by giving an unwanted item as a wedding gift can be compelling, but you may be better off just saving for a special gift. If you do regift, beware: Several newlyweds said they received gifts with the original cards still enclosed.

Online Registries

Seventy-seven percent of newlyweds said they relied on their moms and bridesmaids to tell people where they were registered. However, four in 10 also used a wedding Web page to get the word out-a seven percent increase from last year. (A note of caution: Wedding etiquette experts say it's still not a good idea to list registry details in wedding invitations, but it is OK in your bridal shower invitation.)

When To Give

Long-standing etiquette states that wedding guests have a year to send a gift, but be sure not to forget to send something. Two out of three newlywed couples polled said they still hadn't received all of their wedding gifts. Try taking advantage of the modern conveniences of online shopping, and send a gift within two months of the wedding.

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