Wedding Shower TableIt’s wedding season, and brides and grooms everywhere are being outfitted with new toasters, blenders, dish towels, sauce pans … you name it. Happy couples have spent hours poring over and scanning home goods in chain stores and department stores, awaiting the day they can unwrap the goods and thank their loved ones.

But registries, while a nice guide, merely provide gift suggestions for guests who might not know what items the couple needs or likes. There’s certainly no rule that you have to purchase something from the registry. And showing the couple that you really put some thought into their gift will make it all the more memorable.

So what do you buy if you don’t want to follow the registry? Or what if you procrastinated till the day of the shower and find that the registry’s fresh out of gifts in your price range? Fear not; a gift card is not your only option. Here are some thoughtful wedding shower gifts the couple might not have thought to ask for.

A Post-Wedding Treat

Milestone Wine Basket

Image: RuralLifeStory.com

At a shower I recently attended, the bride received a cute gift basket with three fancy bottles of wine. Each bottle had a label that specified when it was to be opened. For instance, one was for the first date night, one was for the first fight, and one was for the first anniversary. You can even up the “awwww” factor by wrapping the bottles in pretty fabric or twine. With a gift like that, the almost-newlyweds can celebrate their marriage and remember their guests long after the wedding reception has ended.

A Custom Cutting Board

Custom Cutting Board

Image: Etsy

You can rest assured that the bride will receive pots, pans and dishes galore. And chances are, they’ll be ones that were purchased off her registry. Take the kitchen theme a step further with a cutting board that’s customized with the couple’s names, monogram or wedding anniversary, like this one from Etsy.

Some Dry Ingredients to Pair with Registry Items

Spice Rach

Image: Etsy

A thoughtful friend of mine bought me the chip and dip set I asked for, but she gave it a personal touch. The serving dishes were packaged with the dry ingredients for some of her favorite chip dips, as well as a recipe book full of sweet and savory dip recipes.

If a spice rack is on the registry, you could add your personal touch by filling it with spices. RealSimple.com has a basic spice checklist that makes a good jumping-off point for filling those little bottles. If you want to personalize the gift even further, you could turn it into a themed basket with oils, vinegars and your favorite spice mixes or rubs.

A Family Recipe Book

Family Cookbook

Image: HeritageCookbook.com

If one of your close relatives is getting married, a great way to welcome their new spouse into the family is with a personal family cookbook. Maybe you have recipes that have been passed down through the generations, or maybe there’s that one casserole that’s in high demand at every holiday. Gather the family’s chefs and recipes together and write them all down. Sites like HeritageCookbook.com can help you and your family members gather your recipes, photos and stories. You can print recipe photo books on Shutterfly for as little as $19.99. Or, for the thrifty wedding guest, a photo album filled with index cards or printed recipe cards might just do the trick.

A Piece of the Wedding

Photo Booth Sign

Maybe there’s that one aspect of the wedding the couple hasn’t been able to afford. For some, it might be videography services or a DJ. For others, it might be professionally arranged flowers or centerpieces. Or maybe the bride really has her heart set on a photo booth for the reception. If you go in on the gift with a few other wedding guests or family members, you just might be able to contribute to the couple’s dream wedding day in a big way.

What is the most meaningful shower gift you’ve received or seen at a shower? Share your off-the-registry gift ideas in the comments section below!

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