Wedding Gifts That Keep On Giving

John’s close friend/cousin Travis is about to marry my best friend Cat, so my best buddy of almost nine years is about to become a bona fide relative. Insane, right? The prospect of seeing each other at Christmas every year gets us beyond giddy, and John and I cannot wait to attend their nuptials this weekend. But when two super fantastic people find each other, fall in love, get engaged, and plan a wedding… the pressure to find the perfect gift for such fabulous friends (and soon-to-be family!) is officially ON.

So we put our heads together to come up with a fun and fitting wedding gift for Cat & Travis. We really wanted to get them something personalized for their home, so when we came across these vintage maps at a local flea market (from each of their home states: West Virginia and Iowa) we sprung for them on the spot. Then all it took were some sleek black frames to create meaningful and personal art for our besties:

But we also wanted to give them something super practical and useful, so we used their Hawaiian honeymoon as inspiration to create the ultimate Hawaiian Honeymoon Care Package chock full of goodies for their trip to paradise. From luggage tags and snacks for the plane to rain ponchos and postcard stamps we snagged anything and everything we thought might come in handy:

And for an extra dose of personalization, we tagged each item with a little note to explain its significance:

  • Bright green luggage tags for fast bag-grabbing
  • Tropical Typhoon Mike & Ike for some exotic plane snacking
  • Essie nail polish for beach-ready feet
  • Bath confetti for celebrating as husband and wife
  • Post card stamps for sending Hawaiian hellos
  • Flip-flop-shaped air fresheners for the rental car
  • Straws with little umbrellas for a few celebratory drinks- preferably from a coconut
  • Two emergency ponchos for rainforest drizzle
  • Frizz-Ease for beating the humidity
  • Aveda hair sunscreen for keeping their locks protected from the elements
  • Bug spray for telling the bugs to bug off
  • Lotion for their famous foot massages (they’re always rubbing each other’s feet)
  • Exotic perfume to keep Cat smelling sweet in paradise
  • Dove soap for coming clean after all the activities (biking! hiking! scuba diving!)
  • Exotic Island chewing gum for a taste of paradise at all times
  • An island inspired photo album for all the pictures of an unforgettable trip

We’re happy to report that Cat and Travis loved their framed vintage maps and their Hawaiian Honeymoon Care Package (they already opened ’em so this won’t ruin the s’prise). Whew. So now the only thing left on our to-do list is to thoroughly enjoy ourselves at their wedding this Saturday (and of course share all the pics with you guys). And speaking of you guys, do you have any fun and creative wedding gifts that you love to give? How about a favorite wedding present that you’ve received. Spill the beans!

For more wedding gift ideas, check out the comments on this post along with this post over at


  1. izabela says

    Hello there!
    I love your gift ideas and I am sure that your friends will as well!
    My favorite wedding gift to give is a cookbook “for newlyweds” and a pair of personalized aprons. I have given this gift three times now and it has been a big hit for each couple.
    Thank you for all of the wonderful inspirations that you have given me over the past 6 months. Ever since I discovered your blog I have been reading it daily!

  2. Julie says

    I love to take pictures of flowers so my new go to wedding gift is to take a picture (close up with the macro function) of the flowers of the day, enlarge the picture and put in in a classy black frame. It seems to be a nice memory with a personal touch from me. Fairly easy on the wallet too, which helps a lot.

  3. Elizabeth says

    What a great idea! One of my best friends got us a pizza stone and beer steins and her parents got us a huge salad bowl and tongs. We always had that friend over for pizza and beer and salad, so she knew we would love it even though it wasn’t on our registry.

  4. says

    I think the besh wedding gift I ever gave was also the cheapest. . . my cousin got married back when I was in college and beyond broke – so I thought about framing her wedding invite, but everyone does that so instead I scanned the invite (which featured a lovely lily) and took out the text and played with the image a little then printed it on parchment paper and framed it in a small, square, silver frame. I didn’t know it at the time but lilies were the whole theme for the wedding. Years later they still have that picture sitting on their bookshelves with their wedding ablum.

  5. c says

    The best wedding gift we received was a handmade wood salad tongs. They are absolutely beautiful, and there is only one like that in this world! (the gift was from our family friend, he is carpenter). Ah, another good one was a shop vac. We used it a lot since we are also big on remodeling! ;)

    It’s funny, we are also going to our friend’s wedding coming Saturday :), and this time we picked a beautiful bamboo cutting board set and carrying tray. These are very handy when you have party (use as a big dish for appetizer), or have BBQ outside. Another simple gift we gave before was a cast iron pan w/cooking book. A cast iron pan will last forever, wishing their marriage will last for a long time as well. :)

  6. says

    One of the most fun gifts we received were his and hers gift cards with the sweetest card. His card was to Best Buy and mine was for Bed Bath & Beyond. Also I think sheets/bedding were some of my favorite gifts.

  7. Kirsten says

    I think the best present we (read I) received, above and beyond the fancy dancy dishes, was a gift card for a local nursery in our new city. We moved from our home city on Vancouver Island to the huge Canadian metropolis of Toronto just days after our wedding and being able to distract myself by gardening helped to quell the freak out and feed my creative soul.

  8. says

    My favorite gift, if I can get it, is a living Christmas tree from the town where the couple was married. I usually head to a nursery or tourist spot, which often have young trees available. My best find? I convinced the owner of a church where a friend was married to let me DIG UP a young tree and pot it for them. That Christmas I delivered a three foot decorated ad potted tree from the property they were married on. They’ll be using that tree until it gets too big, then planting it in their yard.

  9. Tatyana says

    Most of the weddings I have attended in the last few years had registries without table linens. I LOVE embroidery, so I usually buy a plain white set and embroider the couple’s initials on the corners. Everyone has loved it so far.
    The best present we have received (and keep receiving) is from my mother-in-law. Because china is so expensive, none of our friends really bought any pieces (not that we expected them). We only received one set from a co-worker so my husband’s mom decided to keep buying the pieces for us for birthdays, holidays and anniversaries until the whole set is complete. She doesn’t have to think about what to get us, and we keep getting the china pieces that we need over time. Hopefully after she is done, she said, we’ll have kids and she can buy them stuff. :)

  10. says

    My favorite wedding present was an “A few of our favorite things,” customized cookbook adapted from a family cookbook of family friends of ours. It was made in Publisher and incorporated all of the recipes that my friends and family contributed at my bridal shower, and is full of pictures of my husband and I, as well as pictures of my friends with me over the years that they submitted as a surprise! The pages were put into a half-size three-ring binder into plastic sheets (so I can spill things!). I have used it SO much, and it makes cooking such a joy because as I’m always smiling as I flip through the durable pages at the pictures I see.

  11. says

    Being a fellow Iowan myself who currently resides in Colorado, I adore this thoughtful gift you guys put together for your besties!

    Our favorite wedding gift was from my sister-in-law & brother-in-law–a big, beautiful stone professionally carved with our names and wedding date. That stone has travelled with us (the house we used to rent, our first condo we bought and now our new-to-us house) and lives happily in our yard.

  12. says

    I think my favorite wedding gift to give is “name art” – I letter his and hers names and give the meaning and origin behind the name, and the different forms it could take worldwide. For example, “Erin” is Gaelic and means “peace” – and the original Gaelic spelling is Eireann. Then I frame them together, with matting in their wedding colors, since now the two are together.

    I love these so much, yet I have not made one for my husband and myself, and we’ve been married for four years.

    My favorite gift received when we got married was actually twelve little gifts – friends of ours put together a little gift for every month of the year. So I have mugs with hearts for February, and little stuffed pumpkins for October, a sweet egg plate for Easter, and so on. So clever and creative and I think of them all year long when I change out my seasonal decorations.

  13. Elizabeth says

    My favorite was the box of wine, with personalized labels from a local vineyard, a deep fryer, and a samurai sword (from a friend in Japan).

  14. says

    Love these ideas! I’ve done the vintage framed map twice as a gift — both times for housewarmings. One of the coolest wedding gifts I was a part of was being “assigned” a “reason” to buy a bottle of wine for the couple (I think I was assigned “Drink this when you watch your first movie together as a married couple”). There were like 20 people in on the gift, so the couple got 20 bottles of wine (we all made fancy tags to tie around the neck describing when to drink them), and we all chipped in for a wine refrigerator to keep them all in. The couple had already lived together for quite a while so didn’t really “need” anything, so this was a unique gift that they could actually use.

  15. says

    Back when we were quite often short on cash (hey…some things never change!) I would always take my camera to the wedding and shoot a lot of candid shots of the wedding party, the bride & groom, the guests, the food – everything about the day that I could see. After the wedding, I would have the photos printed and give them, along with a cd that also contained the photos, to the couple. They are always so appreciative, especially since I usually capture moments they missed out on while doing other wedding-y things. One friend had a professional shoot her wedding, who then lost all of the photos. I’m so glad I had my camera that day!

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