The Best Off The Registry Wedding Gifts

This post has been sponsored by American Greetings. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Charmingly Styled possible!

It’s been wedding-pa-looza this summer, and it started with a serious bang with two destination weddings in a row earlier this summer. I’m a big fan of weddings, and I can’t help but feel all those fuzzy feelings all weekend long {and I totally cry like a baby every single ceremony – even if I don’t happen to know the couple very well.} For awhile after college, one of my friends was a photographer and I would tag along as her second shooter for a few weddings a year. Even though I didn’t know the couple until the day of the ceremony, I would always find myself trying to hide my tears when the bride walked down the aisle, trying to act professional as I wiped them away and hope no one noticed the mascara streaming down my face. Anyway, I clearly have a soft spot for weddings, and even though they can be a little crazy to plan around during the summer, there’s nothing more wonderful than celebrating two people crazy in love. Obviously the free cake and dance floor are a big bonus too.

One thing that is always a challenge is finding a perfect wedding gift, especially for close friends and family. You always want to balance coming up with something personal, thoughtful, but also useful too. And this is probably terrible to admit, but I’m not a huge fan of wedding registries. I totally get that it makes shopping easier for guests, but I always love thinking about a more personal gift that is a little more meaningful than salt and pepper shakers. This summer, I’ve been all about the unconventional wedding gifts, so I wanted to share a few of my favorite thoughtful gift ideas for your upcoming wedding celebrations too! Even though wedding gifts can be super stressful, these three easy ideas will make gifting a breeze {and your friends and family will be super impressed by your thoughtfulness!}  Close To Home Gifts:

Maybe it’s because I live in Chicago and I’m bursting with pride about my city, but there’s something special about paying homage to the place you met someone you love. I have so many friends who’ve gotten married and added some special homage to where they met their partner – whether it’s a Chicago hot dog making it on the menu, a map of where a couple lived together, or even photos that they have framed on tables around the reception. If I have friends where I know that their city is important to their love story, I love getting them personalized gifts that feature their favorite place. I’ve bought off the beaten path guidebooks {like the cute one above!}, framed maps of the city where they met, or even a gift certificate to where they had their first date if they still happen to live in the same city or town. Finding something that’s both personal and thoughtful is a little easier when you can give them something that reminds them of their favorite place.A Memorable Way To Remember Their Day:

I have a penchant for pictures, and I love surrounding myself with pretty frames of people I love around my home and even my office at work. I rarely ever think to buy myself a photo frame {getting a picture printed seems like such a hassle!}, but whenever someone gives me one as a gift with a photo in it, it immediately becomes one of my most cherished possessions. I love the idea of giving a pretty framed photo of your newlywed friends of an image from their engagement session or even one a few weeks after their wedding of their big day. While it seems like a small gift, it’s something that they’ll hold onto forever, and always think of you when they look at it.Something to Cheers to:

Finding a little something to brighten the ordinary is always the perfect gift idea, and I love putting together a little gift set that’s speaks to something the couple loves. Whether it’s bar cart accessories for the novice mixologists, this wine opener with glasses for your wine-o friends, a set of polka dot placemats for your friends who are always the perfect host – a gift that speaks to their interests and passions is always a good idea.

And of course, you need a thoughtful card:

My mother always instilled in me the importance of writing thoughtful cards with every gift, so I always try to find a wedding card that speaks to the couple without being too overly cheesy 😉 I stocked up early this season at Target and found a ton of cards that were perfect for all my summer wedding festivities {can you say #TargetDoesItAgain?!} and tried my best to not cry over my pens as I wrote a mini-love letter to my favorite couples. Gifts are great, but honestly – sometimes a super thoughtful card is the best part of any gift you receive. Hopefully my friends enjoyed the cards as much as I loved writing them…even if I was taking a feels-trip the whole time.

Okay, now I’d love to hear what you’ve been gifting during the summer wedding season! Do you dare to go off the registry, and if so – what’s your go-to gift? I have a few more weddings before the summer is out, and I could definitely use all the help I can get! xx

If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out the American Greetings Pinterest page for more fun ideas!