Traditional Wedding Gifts

Finding a traditional wedding gift is a challenge. Luckily, there are some tried and tested rules to choosing a gift that has special meaning for the special day.

If you are at a lost for gift ideas and there is no gift registry to help you, you might like to consider the following ideas for finding a traditional wedding gift. Think about your relationship to the bride and groom. If they are your close friends, you can find a gift of sentimental value. Perhaps you have a photo of them when they first started dating or a letter written by one of them about the other.

Top traditional wedding gift selections

For more ideas, finder.com.au has put together a selection of the top traditional wedding gifts.

Royal Selangor water/beer set of two goblets
Royal Selangor water/beer set of two goblets

David Jones

YUFENG Animal Trinket Box Ring Holder
YUFENG Animal Trinket Box Ring Holder

Amazon US site

Serene Spaces Living Preserved Boxwood Ball with Small Pot
Serene Spaces Living Preserved Boxwood Ball with Small Pot

Amazon US site

Gift White Seasoning Pot Wedding Favors Salt Pepper Shakers Love Birds
Gift White Seasoning Pot Wedding Favors Salt Pepper Shakers Love Birds

eBay

Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial Non-Vintage
Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial Non-Vintage

David Jones

Royal Doulton 1815 Tapas Rectangular Tray set 8
Royal Doulton 1815 Tapas Rectangular Tray set 8

David Jones

Tips to choosing traditional wedding gifts

Consider experiences as well as gifts. Inviting the bride and groom to a traditional tea ceremony, for instance, is an important ritual to welcome in new beginnings. Remember that there are symbols in everything. By doing some research, you will find there is great meaning in colours, scents and materials. The gift itself may not have an obvious symbolic meaning but perhaps its colour or material does.

When in doubt, look to art for inspiration. A piece of artwork has the dual purpose of providing decoration for a new home and an image that is rich in meaning. Talk to friends and family to find out more about their cultural roots. If you probe a little into their background, you may come across something – a Celtic cross or Maori stone – that would be meaningful to them as they start their lives as a married couple. Don’t forget the value of simple gifts. A plant, for instance, is a practical and aesthetic gift. A sage plant is a symbol of longevity and good health and can also help season the newlyweds future meals together.

What is a gift registry?

A gift registry is a modern way of helping a bride and groom-to-be let their guests know what it is they really want and need. It ensures the gift giver is buying something the couple would like and prevents any accidental gift duplicates. A registry is opened when the soon-to-be-wed couple chooses a retailer, typically a department store and selects the items they need from that store. It is then the responsibility of the retailer to manage the items on the gift registry.

Once the gift registry is complete, the wedding guests can choose a present from the list to purchase. This can be done either in store, or depending on the store, online. As soon as the gift is bought, it is removed from the registry so that no other guest can buy it. The gift itself is put aside by the retail assistant and then delivered to the couple.

Other examples of traditional wedding gifts

A wedding is an ancient ceremony with many traditions and rituals. There are also many traditions associated with wedding gifts. Depending on the culture, particular gifts have greater symbolic and sentimental value. In China, for instance, ducks are symbolic for marital happiness. A present with a duck image, be it a picture frame or jewellery box, is associated with a strong and happy marriage.

It is also traditional to give a couple some lavender sprigs. The belief is that placing lavender under a mattress or in a pillowslip will help newlyweds begin their life together in a loving and supportive manner. Lovebirds, too, have similar symbolic value. They are a popular motif in ancient Chinese art and an important symbol of romantic devotion. It is believed a lovebird dies when separated from its mate and as such, offering a gift with a lovebird symbol is believed to protect a married couple from infidelity.

Other more modern traditions include the practice of passing on family heirlooms as a wedding gift. There is great sentimental value in receiving jewellery, silverware or a tea set that has been handed down for generations. The bride is then expected to continue the tradition and pass on the gift to her daughter or special relative on her wedding day. For families without sentimental heirlooms, providing seeds or bulbs from an older relative’s garden is a traditional way of wishing them a long and loving union.

The history of wedding gifts

The tradition of gift-giving stems back to early Roman times when it was customary to present the Emperor with evergreen branches. The idea was to herald in good fortune for the year ahead by making a small offering. With the passing of time, the evergreen branches turned into more extravagant gifts likes honey and cakes.

At weddings, the practice of gift giving is thought to originate from the dowry system when a bride’s family offered a form of payment, such as cash or gifts, to the family of the groom. For wealthy families, a bride’s dowry may come in exchange for favourable business opportunities. In other cases, it was a way of preparing the newlyweds with the household goods they will need to build a home together. Today, we may consider a dowry more romantically as a bride’s Hope Chest.

Why shop at finder.com.au for traditional wedding gifts?

  • Convenience. With finder.com.au, you can browse at your leisure to find the perfect gift right from your living room. There is no need to bother with the hassle of parking and crowds. You can shop with a cup of tea on one hand and the TV remote on the other.
  • Discounted prices. Shopping with finder.com.au gives you access to our wide range of exclusive offers and discounts. Before purchasing an item, check if it has a promo code so you can benefit from our special savings.
  • Retailer reviews. Finding the perfect gift is easier with product reviews to guide you. At finder.com.au, we encourage people to share their experiences - both negative and positive - to make sure you know what you’re getting from a particular item.

A traditional wedding gift offers a bride and groom much more than just a present. It is a gesture that recognises the symbolic importance of the day and their union. Finding such a wedding gift may seem difficult at first but luckily, finder.com.au has great tips and ideas to help you.


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Jeremy is a publisher for finder.com.au, he is also a personal finance all-rounder specialising in: Credit Cards, Savings Accounts, Personal Loans, Home Loans & Online Shopping.

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