I've had an interesting life adventure where I launched a company where one of the services was offering gifts for couples. I’ve spent an awful lot of time thinking about what couples could want.
Below, I share my tips for how to find memorable, useful and incredibly cool and romantic gifts for couples—especially newlyweds. Follow my tips, and you will give the couple a gift they will remember.
First rule for gift buying: personalize it
Apart from buying within your budget, there’s one rule you need to know when gift buying: personalize it.
Here’s the deal: everyone and their dog will bring the usual gifts. The china, the wine, the weekend getaways, the kitchen gadgets…some will be corny, some really thoughtful (i.e. the couple really needs them) and some flashy. The trick to making the gift memorable is to buy something that is a uniquely personal gift.
Is the couple really into horses? Traveling? Bar hopping? Mixology? Cooking? Fashion? Hopefully there’s something both of them are into, or two things that are closely linked, among their personal favorites.
Once you’ve found your theme(s), gather little trinkets for them. Let’s say they like sailing—ocean, beach, waves, boats, seashells, fishing nets, sails—you can easily gather cards, wrapping paper and little things like seashells that are connected to this theme. Maybe even photos of the couple sailing. That means that you have the wrapping/presentation sorted.
If you need inspiration for this, check Pinterest for boards related to your theme as well as shops, such as Save On Crafts, where you find everything you cold possibly need for a gift basket. I also love the blog Shop Secret Diary, which gives plenty of ideas for gifts and celebrations. Chances are, you can’t buy from them as they are in South Africa, but I like them for the ideas!
Next, you will be looking for something related to sailing that will also be useful for the couple. For example, if they love cooking and are moving house, you can find almost anything for the kitchen with a sailing motif on it.
Beware not to make it ridiculous though as you want classy things—not things that end up hidden away in a corner. Also, remember that not everything has to have something related to sailing on it, but together it needs to make up a totality that alludes to it. Blue glasses might have nothing to do with sailing save from matching a plate you bought with a sailboat on it and the color of the ocean.
Second rule for gift buying: make it fun (and romantic)
As this is a gift for newlyweds, possibly even on their wedding day, it should be a romantic gift. How do you make kitchenware romantic? You add romantic quotes about the ocean, sailing and cooking.
– “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” – Alan D. Wolfelt
– “Cooking is like love: It should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.” – Harriet van Horne
– “hark, now hear the sailors cry, smell the sea, and feel the sky, let your soul & spirit fly…” – Van Morrison
To make something fun, you can throw in some sailing/love poetry for the fridge if it’s a gift for the kitchen. Toss in a bottle of wine to go with the first meal they cook.
Try to find a wine for seafood—ideally one with a label alluding to the ocean (they exist; I’ve seen them). Or, add chocolate for dessert; there’re even truffles shaped like seashells! Or, why not cooking classes, and learn to cook fresh seafood!
If you want to take it one step further, add some sailing-related lingerie and boxers or even a sailor’s costume—just ensure that’s something they’d appreciate. Simply try to spice it up—it shouldn’t just be useful; it should also be fun and/or indulgent.
Cool ideas in general
Do they like wine? Perfect. Get them a date at a vineyard where they can make their own bottle, or put together a wine tasting itinerary—a night at a local wine bar, a wine tasting event and a few bottles of wine. You can do something similar with whiskey.
Are they into cocktails? Get them a mixology starter kit, cocktail classes, books about cocktails and seeds they can plant to grow their own indoor herbal garden for fresh herbs for their cocktails (there are books about this, too).
Do they like arty and romantic things? Get them a set of quills and special pens, their very own letterhead and accompanying papers and envelops, as well as some quirky stamps. Now they can write each other love letters. If you used a monogram for the letterhead, why not have some towels and handkerchiefs embroidered with it, too.
Here’s another one for art lovers: a limited edition print and tickets to art galleries across town and/or an art fair. If you want to send them to a fair, you can join up with others who pay their flights/train tickets, their hotel, restaurant visits, etc. You can also buy them some art classes and combine it with an easel, paint brushes and paints.
Are they buying a home that they’re looking to refurbish or simply decorate? Get them a couple of books about interior design, a subscription to a magazine like Elle Interiors and set up a special Pinterest board where you’ve created a few boards for them that they can add to. If there’s an interior design fair coming to your town, you can get them a ticket to that, too!
Do they love food? Then cooking classes, cookbooks, cookware for the kitchen (like Le Creuset), herbs for an indoor kitchen garden and so forth are a great gift—a little date night dinner challenge where the two of them have to cook a set menu can also be put in there. Or, why not simply buy them all they need for a date night—the candles, the glasses, the china, the napkins, the recipes, the wine, the dry ingredients and so forth.
Can’t afford much? Buy two special plates and pack them down together with date night recipes, some love poems and a bottle of red and label them “Date Night Plates.” Write a funny card to go with the gift, saying they must remember to still date now that they’re married!
I sometimes find inspiration in pricey stores like Anthropologie (they also have a great blog for inspiration!), then I go to Ross and secondhand stores and buy it….
When shopping for wedding gifts, or gifts for newlyweds, think of themes they can enjoy and then get creative about it. Add little details that will make it stand out and don’t cost the world, like printed recipes and poems. Then, wrap it all up nicely.