Image courtesy of Jeremy Wong
More and more people are marrying in their late 20’s and well into their thirties. They’ve been working for a few years. They’ve already bought furniture and appliances for their apartment or home.
So what do you get for the couple who has everything and if you ARE that couple...what can you ask for from friends and family that will bring you more joy in your new marriage than the latest, most trendy coffee maker?
There are dozens of articles promising to give wedding guests ideas for the perfect wedding gift.
Let’s face it, though. Most of the time, the newly marrieds don’t need another toaster and they don’t eat on fancy china. Millennials and younger Gen Xers are more likely interested in experiences than more things -- experiences and financial security.
Want to give a wedding gift that your sister or best friend will be truly grateful to receive? Here are some suggestions:
- Give them a gift that can empower their future, such as stock. They hold it for the long term -- just like their new spouse. There’s a company called sparkgift that makes this easy: http://about.sparkgift.com/
- Do your best bud and their future spouse have a bucket list that includes travel? Definitely jump at the idea of giving to someone’s “travel fund”. Do this through Honeyfund.com (https://www.honeyfund.com/Destinations) and get gift-giving options that fit their goals and your budget.
- Know the couple are art lovers? Consider buying them a piece of art -- they’ll appreciate it and, perhaps, the piece itself will appreciate in value. Maybe they like a certain style of artwork. Maybe they love the idea of investing in emerging artists. For the art lover, a gift of artwork is not only something that will cause them to think of you every time they look at it, it could also be a great investment for them.
- Does the couple have strong charitable intents? Are they animal lovers or do they work to help end world hunger? By donating to an important cause in the name of the couple, you: 1) show the couple that you care about them and what’s important to them 2) join them in supporting the mission-driven work of a charitable cause and achieve double karma points, 3) will receive a tax deduction for the amount you donate to the charity on the couple’s behalf. Win Win Win!
And if you are the blushing spouse whose job it is to handle how you and your soon-to-be-forever partner will ask for gifts, we’re betting you’d like to avoid standing in long lines at the return/exchange counter. If we’re right, you’d rather your guests help celebrate your nuptials with something other than a champagne toast and a beautifully wrapped toaster oven, but feel funny about asking for cash.
Look at it another way. You’re not asking for cash, you’re asking friends and family to help you reach life goals that are meaningful and will have lasting impact on your new lives together.
Make a wish list. Write it with humor or play it straight -- whatever fits your personal style, but don’t be hesitant to let guests know you’d rather them help you celebrate your big day by inviting them to an alternative registry and asking them to make a gift to:
- Help you build your investment portfolio so you can establish a financially secure life together;
- Help with the down payment on that dream home;
- Allow you to open IRAs so you can invest cash to grow in low cost index funds and lower your tax bill in the process;
- Enable you to invest in experiences now – such as an exotic trip that you might not get down the line if kids or work play larger role in life. Travel registry websites like honeyfund.com or http://www.travelersjoy.com/ make this easy;
- Help you and/or your spouse acquire a skillset that you’ve been meaning to learn in order to find more fulfillment. Think of activities you and your partner enjoy doing together and list some possibilities you’d love to try.
- Help you save money for your kid’s education. If your guests know you’ll be using their gifts to help fund Johnny or Jane’s college expenses, they might just bump up their gift to help. You can use the cash to contribute to a College Savings 529 plan.This plan grows tax free and if you live in certain states (such as NY or CT), you can even get a tax deduction on the contribution!
Most importantly, no one should overspend just to ‘make an impression’. Weddings are supposed to celebrate love and lifelong commitment. The best gifts are all the memories you’ll make sharing the day with friends and family.