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Sometimes, you accidentally wait too long to send that wedding gift and the registry is cleaned out. Or worse, all that’s left is that turkey baster you know the bride’s grandma made her register for. Or maybe you simply want to send a surprise, something personal and unique! Tony and I are calling this “The Year of The Wedding” (by the time we walk down the aisle, we will have watched 12 – and counting – couples we love take the plunge first), and so I’m starting this new series of off-the-registry gift ideas. Here are a few of our favorites we’ve given and received:

All marble, all the time. My girlfriend Christie recently came over on a Sunday afternoon for cocktails and snacks, and these made a quickly thrown-together spread seem so much more elegant:

{Cheese dome and 2-tier server}

Museum gift store treats. Many even offer registries! It’s a great way to support the arts and local and smaller artists whose work isn’t carried by a major store. We received these beautiful coasters from the Art Institute of Chicago:

{Beaded Edged Glass Coasters}

Cake decorating class. Tony gave me a gift certificate for us to take a class at Duff’s Cakemix together as a Valentine’s Day present to get me even more excited about wedding cakes, and we’re finally doing the class this weekend! It’s the perfect gift for any dessert-loving couple, or as a bridal shower present.

{So I can learn to do a better job than I did here for Tony’s birthday in 2012.}

Aperitivo glasses. For all the fancy dinner parties we’ll be throwing now that we’re (almost) grown up and married!

{Paola Navone Italian aperitivo glasses}

Light up their life. Candles are a classic gift for a reason. My Maid of Honor Katierose swears by Candle Delirium, my mom is obsessed with Jo Malone, and we always love candles, especially these gorgeous gold candle votives:

{Similar votives here and here}

A “Wedding Date” pillow. My sweet bridesmaid Julia had this made for us! It makes me happy every time I see it.

{Personalize yours here}

A date night. A gift card to their favorite restaurant, or better yet, your favorite restaurant that you know they’d love! My parents’ friends treated us to an incredible dinner at Katsuya, and our friend Jonathan gave us a certificate to Terroni, an Italian restaurant we’ve been wanting to try forever – this is the perfect excuse to finally go.

A cooking class. My friend Jason is an incredible cook, and I was thrilled to see this on his wedding registry! I, of course, gave this selfishly so he can invite me and Tony over to eat more of his delicious food. Check your local Sur la Table calendar for classes, or if you’re in L.A., learn how to make pizza at Mozza or jam at Sqirl.

The cutest salt & pepper shakers you ever did see. Our friend Brandi (who also got us my favorite mug) sent these and the tray to us:

{Kate Spade salt & pepper shakers and tray}

Party cups. Functional, fun and beyond adorable.

{Mason Jar Tumblers Party Kit}

A lovely ring holder. So pretty, it serves as room decor, too!

{Similar ring holder}

Lanterns. We can’t wait to decorate our house and wedding with these!

{Beautiful lanterns}

A cookbook. For my Matron of Honor Jacquelyn’s bridal shower, we all brought our favorite family recipe and made her a cookbook. A friend also recently sent Tony and me a s’mores cookbook, and wrote her own personal recipe for delish S’mores Bites on the front page!


Calligraphy lessons. A perfect engagement or bridal shower gift that keeps on giving when the bride can learn how to address her own invitations/write her own escort cards, and save on the astronomical costs of a wedding. I’m dying to take Jenny Sanders’ class, next time she offers it in L.A.!

{Jenny’s beautiful work}

What are your favorite wedding gifts (to give or receive)?

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