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Never go off registry—but if you do, avoid these 18 wedding gifts

Step away from the baby clothes!

The worst wedding gifts Credit:

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Wedding gifts can be tricky. On one hand, choosing a random pot or pan off the couple’s registry seems impersonal and thoughtless. On the flip side? It’s so easy to commit a faux pas when you go off-registry.

If you do want to pick a unique gift for the newlyweds, there are some things that are almost never a good idea. Unless the couple has specifically told you otherwise, you’ll want to avoid these 18 bad wedding gifts.

1. Off-registry linens

Bathroom towels
Credit: Stone & Beam

Stick to the registry when it comes to towels and sheets.

Even if those super cute towels totally remind you of the couple’s style, it’s not a good idea to give them as a wedding gift. Why? Most people want their linens to match, and if you buy a set of random ones, they probably won’t get used much—if at all. So stay away from towels and sheets, unless they’re on the registry.

You might be able to get away with a pair of cute kitchen towels, if you’re really keen on gifting linens. Just make sure they’re not corny (see #17) and try to pick a set that will match the couple’s decor.

Get the Meema Cotton Kitchen Towels on Amazon for $22

2. Regifted items

Regifted basket
Credit: Body & Earth

Don't pawn off unwanted gifts on the newlyweds.

If you didn’t like the set of weird-smelling body products your aunt gave you for your birthday, chances are the couple won’t either. Regifting is never a good idea, even if you’re sure there’s no way the newlyweds (or the original gifter) would ever know. It’s rude and even more impersonal than sending something off the registry.

3. A half-gift…

Salt and pepper shaker
Credit: OXO

Don't just give one part of a set.

Some wedding gifts come as a set—like salt and pepper shakers, or wine glasses. As such, it should go without saying that just sending a solo pepper grinder as a wedding present is a big no-no. If you do this, chances are the couple is going to have to finish off the set themselves, which is frustrating and counterintuitive. So, if you’re not ready to buy the whole set, choose something else.

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Get the OXO Salt and Pepper Grinder Set on Amazon for $49.35

4. Or an item for half the couple

Manicure kit
Credit: Modelones

Try to choose a gift both people will use.

On a similar note, wedding presents should ideally be something that the couple will use together or at least equally. Buying a gift for just the bride or just the groom is frowned upon—even if you’re much closer to one of them.

Bottom line? Save that gel manicure kit for the bride’s next birthday.

5. Artwork and other home decor

Artwork
Credit: Target

Most couples want to make their own decor choices.

Decorating is a fairly personal thing, especially for a new couple, so it’s best to avoid buying newlyweds wall art or any other type of home decor. After all, you don’t really know how they’re planning to decorate, so it might be better to just give them a gift card to a home decor store instead.

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Baby clothing
Credit: Gerber

They just got married; they're probably not thinking about kids yet.

Cute onsies. Baby shoes. Baby books. Fertility idols. Any and all of these things are a hard no as a wedding gift (even if the bride is pregnant—save it for the baby shower).

Newly married couples inevitably get asked about when they’re having kids, but these questions are often imposing and could very well be a sore subject for them. To avoid making anyone feel awkward, skip the baby gifts—even if they are wicked cute.

7. Gag gifts

Ball and chain
Credit: Forum Novelties

Don't risk insulting the couple.

Sure, gag gifts can be funny (emphasis on “can” because sometimes they’re just rude or offensive), but they’re better suited for a bachelor/ette party. So please, for the love of marriage, do not bring a ball and chain as a gift to the wedding.

Even if the couple has a good sense of humor, it may be offensive. It’s also a waste of money, since it will probably get thrown away shortly after.

8. Self-help or relationship books

Relationship books

Opt for a novel instead of self-help books.

There are lots and lots of books about marriage out there. There are books on how to make a marriage succeed, how to love your spouse on bad days, how to set boundaries in your marriage, and much much more.

While these kinds of books may seem like a useful gift for newlyweds, it might come across like you’re insinuating the couple is going to have problems—and no one wants to do that. As an alternative, why not get them an e-reader and let them find their own books to read?

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9. Something that could go bad

Cookie basket
Credit: Barnetts

Perishable foods might go bad before they're eaten.

This is especially true if the couple is heading out on their honeymoon right after the wedding. Avoid buying them a food basket or something perishable, as they might not open your gift right away! If you want to go the food route, get them something with a longer shelf life, like wine or candy.

Get the Stonewall Kitchen New England Breakfast Gift Basket on Amazon for $72.95

10. Exercise equipment

Stationary bike
Credit: PYHIGH

What are you implying here?

Hopefully this goes without saying, but it could be quite insulting to give exercise equipment as a wedding gift. Whether it’s a cool stationary bike or gym membership, you risk sending the message that you think the couple needs to exercise more… which is not what people want to hear on their wedding day.

11. Live animals

Turtle cage
Credit: Tetra

No one wants a pet forced on them.

As a general rule of thumb, you should never give someone an animal as a gift—not for weddings, birthdays, holidays, or ever. Animals are a whole lot of work to take care of, even if it’s just a fish, and it should be a decision that the couple makes for themselves. So go return that poor hamster to the pet store.

12. A homemade gift

Homemade craft
Credit: Craft-tastic

Unless you're 10 or an artist, say no to homemade gifts.

You run the risk of coming off as cheap if you give the couple a homemade gift for their wedding. Whether it’s a portrait you painted yourself or a hand-sewn stuffed llama, homemade gifts typically aren’t the best way to go.

There are two notable exceptions here, however. First, if you’re a bona fide artist or tradesperson, you might be able to get away with gifting homemade ware. Second, children who want to give a present to the couple can obviously get away with something handcrafted, such as a sweet card or DIY wind chime.

Get the Make a Wind Chime Kit on Amazon for $9.77

13. Cleaning supplies

Cleaning Mop
Credit: O-Cedar

This is kind of like giving cleaning supplies for Christmas...

As cool as that easy-wring microfiber mop may seem, it probably won’t make a good wedding gift—you never know if they already have one, and it’s just not a fun present to open.

Plus, most couples include cleaning supplies that they want on their registry, so check their list to see if there are any vacuums or other tools on there.

14. Any kind of… inappropriate gift

Karma Sutra
Credit: Peter Pauper Press

"Mature" gifts can be really awkward.

Yes, newlyweds typically spend a lot of, ahem, quality time together, but most couples would greatly prefer to keep their private life private. So before you buy them a sexy book or adult toy, consider if there’s a more appropriate gift you could give in its place.

15. A check that’s going to bounce

Writing a Check
Credit: Getty Images

Don't give a check as a wedding present–send a card or bring cash instead.

This is arguably the most awkward gift for the happy couple. If there’s even the slightest chance the check you give them will bounce, simply don’t give them the money. It will only create an awkward situation for both of you! Plus, some banks even charge the recipient a bounced check fee, so you could inadvertently be costing the couple money. Bottom line? Send cash or just a card instead.

16. Random kitchen gadgets

Breakfast sandwich maker
Credit: Hamilton Beach

Unwanted appliances will only collect dust.

There are lots of random kitchen appliances out there, from breakfast sandwich makers to automatic potato peelers, and everything in between. Many of these gadgets are quite expensive, and while you might think they’re cool, you never know if the couple has any use for them or even the place to store it. As such, it’s better to stick to registry items if you want to send a kitchen tool.

17. Corny his-and-hers items

Mr and Mrs Mugs
Credit: Gelid

Cute, but corny.

When you search for “wedding gifts,” the first results you’re going to see are likely his-and-hers items, whether it’s a pair of coffee cups, aprons, or pillowcases. While some are undeniably cute, a lot of these items are corny and will get limited use. It’s better to give the couple something that they’ll use for a long time, like a smart speaker (assuming they like tech) or a fun board game.

Get an Amazon Echo for $99.99

18. Cheaper versions of registry items

Cheap knife set
Credit: Farberware

This will make you look cheap...

Have you ever seen one of the memes about “what you ordered” vs. “what you got”? That’s how the couple will feel if they put a nice set of knives on their registry and you get them a cheap knife set instead. Even if you’re sure the alternative is just as good, it’s better to just stick with the registry items—the couple picked that product for a reason, so you should trust that they know best.

No matter what? Always get a gift receipt.

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