It’s the beginning of Wedding Season 2012 and Books & Co has a few unconventional gift suggestions…

With May comes spring and nicer weather and inevitably that also – in our winter dominated city and country – means wedding season begins.  A few years ago, it felt like I had a wedding a week, as if all of my friends and family were getting married all at once and it was hard to figure out imaginative gifts for each couple (Travis and Carrie wanted a gravy boat, right? Who doesn’t want a gravy boat?).  Sure I could have found something on their registries (if I hadn’t left it to the last minute and everything except a cork screw and a $500 bbq) but for a lot of weddings I wanted to give something personal that said I actually knew something about the bride and groom and had thought about what they as a couple would like or need as their lives became more entwined.

To that end, Books & Co wants to help you pick out some unconventional, thoughtful and unexpected but practical wedding presents as wedding season 2012 gets into full swing.  We’ve compiled a list of gifts that probably won’t appear on any wedding registries, but which will probably end up used and loved throughout the lives of the bride and groom.

1)    A copy of a cookbook you use a lot yourself.  Some people swear by The Joy of Cooking, others couldn’t live without The Silver Spoon and still others find themselves referring to Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking whenever they need to make something extra special.  So, think about the cookbook you regularly turn to and give the couple a copy of that.  Include a gift card to a grocery store, or wrap it in a basket with some wine and delicacies you know the couple likes.

2)    A journal or scrapbook they can use to record the highlights of the first year of their marriage.  Like a baby book, a journal dedicated to that first year will be something the couple will look back on fondly for years to come.   Include notes and suggestions on which landmarks to write about (on our honeymoon we…, moving in was…) and make it personal to the couple.  You can even start it for them by pasting in a wedding invitation, save the date card or a copy of the engagement announcement from the newspaper.

3)    A collection of do-it-yourself books, home repair manuals and a housekeeping hints book, especially if the couple is moving into their own home for the first time.  Include a Home Depot or Canadian Tire gift card and wrap with a tool box outfitted with your standard hammer, screw driver set and duct tape (you can’t go wrong with duct tape).

4)    For your friends that met in Bible college, how about a nice family Bible that they can record important events in.  It’s old fashioned, but an ornamental family Bible where births and marriage can be recorded is a lovely gift for a couple who are serious about their commitment to each other and to God.

5)    If your friends are of a poetic bent, how about a collection of love poetry?  Shakespeare’s sonnets, or a collection of Emily Dickinson, or a more general anthology of love poetry.  You can include tickets to the theatre, or a gift card to a restaurant and wrap it in a picnic basket or with a nice set of sheets.

6)    A travel book for your hometown with notes suggesting they take mini-vacations and play tourist at home once their honeymoon abroad is over.  The type of travel book is up to you, maybe one highlighting hikes and mountain bike trails, or perhaps a guide that includes restaurant reviews. Include a gift card for a local restaurant, or tickets to some local attractions and wrap it in “I love x-city” t-shirts (or custom t-shirts of your choice).

Only you will know what’s appropriate for each couple, but looking beyond the registry and the traditional gifts of linen and china will make sure your present stands out.  And like any gift, they can always return it.

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