1. Gift cards for indulgences
Forget about that whole "but they’re so impersonal" worry when it comes to gift cards. The real gift you’re giving here is a guilt-free shopping spree. To quote the movie Love, Actually—“Something I want, not something I need.” If she’s living on a budget and skipping little indulgences like lattes as she builds her wedding fund, she’s going to love the gift card you get her for the local beauty salon. Now, she can get those mani-pedis. Or, gift one to her favorite clothing store, where she can buy a stylish new top or some trendy necklaces.
Photo Credit: Kraus McFarland
2. Gift cards for wedding details
If your bride is DIY-savvy, consider giving her a gift card to a craft store, which can help her get supplies to make her own favors, wedding programs, or other fun projects. And did you know that many pros like photographers, videographers, and floral designers now offer gift cards for their services? Share this idea with other friends and family members—you might just help make one of her wedding dreams come true.
Get the instructions for DIY ceremony programs
3. A wildly funny book
The stressed-out bride needs a good laugh, and in her downtime, she can curl up with a good book. If you know that she loves Tina Fey, and hasn’t gotten around to picking up Bossypants, there’s your gift. Chelsea Handler’s collection of best sellers might give her the belly laugh she needs right now. Mindy Kaling’s new book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is also getting rave reviews.
Photo Credit: Random House, Inc.
4. A boudoir photo session
That’s right…you’re giving the bride a chance to dress up in lingerie, slick on red lipstick and bite on a string of pearls during this steamy photo session that’s ultra-popular with brides. According to a recent survey by TheWeddingReport.com, over 15% of boudoir photo sessions are given as gifts by friends and family. A professional photographer (avoid amateurs whose ad you saw online!) will work with her so that she gets creative control over her photo shoot, from wardrobe to setting and props. Plus, she gets to floor her groom with the proofs.
Photo Credit: JMT Photography
5. A personal chef for the evening
With this gift, the bride and groom enjoy a romantic dinner by their fireplace or at a formally-set table, and no one’s slaving over the stove or chopping up onions and garlic. An accredited personal chef from personalchef.com, or an expert caterer that you know, breezes into the kitchen, takes care of all the prepwork and presents a lavish, four-course, foodie-heaven meal with wine pairings and luscious desserts. This one’s a little pricier, but you can make it happen by joining in with other friends to split the bill.
Photo Credit: Bowersock Photographers
6. A sweet scent
As lovely as lavender may be, a spritz of upscale indulgence from her favorite designer or celebrity’s perfume line can de-stress the bride. (A plus: If the bride couldn’t get a designer wedding dress, she can still wear an ultra-special designer "something new" on her Big Day.)
Photo Credit: Courtesy of designer
7. A signature chocolate bar
Create a sweet gift that’s personalized. The bride can log onto chocomize.com and choose her bar’s add-ins,anything from Kit Kats to pistachios to edible gold flakes. (I love the Belgian chocolate bar with cinnamon and butterscotch chips!) Each bar costs around $7, so she may be able to make several from your gift card, and share in the fun with her groom.
Photo Credit: chocomize.com
8. A vase from her registry
When you give this gift with a handwritten note, you’re wishing her a lifetime filled with beautiful blooms. Now, her groom might just bring home bouquets more often! If she hasn’t registered for a vase, consider a pair of champagne glasses with a note wishing her lots of celebrations now and in the future, instead.
Photo Credit: giftsbytnc.com
9. A girls’ night out
Rescue her from wedding world with a set of tickets to a concert, play, comedy show, the ballet…anything she’d love to see with the girls by her side. An experience can be just as treasured as a wrapped gift.
Photo Credit: CanardInc.com
10. Soft and comfy pajamas
Choose a cute set of super-soft pajamas, and pair it with matching spa socks or cushy slippers for her downtime comfort. Or, let her pick out her own PJs—or perhaps a silky, sexy camisole instead—with a gift card to her favorite lingerie website or catalog.
The Dreamer Flannel Pant ($36.50, victoriassecret.com)
What would you like to receive as gifts this holiday season? Share your wishlist with us in the comments section below!
Sharon Naylor is the author of over 35 wedding books, including The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book and Bridesmaid on a Budget. She has been featured as a wedding expert on top shows such as Good Morning America, ABC News, Primetime and more. Visit sharonnaylor.net for more bridesmaid tips and advice.