Picking out a gift for a family or friends’ wedding can be a challenge. It’s always hard to know how much you should spend, how personal the gift should be (should I really give another gift card?!), what the couple actually wants, and more importantly — what the couple doesn’t want.

Before I dive into the “5 Common Wedding Gifts That Are Actually Terrible,” I just had to post this question to my Hitch Studio Facebook followers. They compiled a hilarious list of the worst wedding gifts they received from their wedding. I laughed until I cried at some of these!

  1. “We got a handmade gift for our wedding that was absolutely horrible. It was a painted canvas with two rocks glued on it. One rock, more of a white/light grey color, had a tulle veil glued on it and then there was a black/dark grey rock glued next to it. She was SO PROUD of the gift and made sure to call us and see if we liked it. I wish I would’ve had the heart to keep it since she put some love into it, but it was so awful we tossed it.”
  2. “A porcelain light-up pumpkin — and it wasn’t even fall.”
  3. “A cucumber slicer that had been handed-down. My sister got the exact same thing for her wedding.”
  4. “We got a very ugly pig cookie jar. Didn’t even take it out of the box. For some reason it just disappeared.”
  5. “Collectively, we received 40 or so picture frames. I lost count.”
  6. “A used, faded hand towel an old lady gifted us at a small town community bridal shower…. She commented on how pretty the colors of the flowers on it were.”
  7. “It’s not a secret I do not drink alcohol. So when we received a 8 foot high, 3 foot wide wine rack, (that we needed to put together) we gave it to Goodwill. Pay it forward. Moral of the story – know your audience. Random furniture is not a good idea, wine racks on counters are ok, wine racks that take up your whole room, aren’t.”
  8. “A set of mallard statues. We are not hunters. We do not particularly love ducks. We do not like statues.”
  9. “We got some plastic glasses from the 70’s with dead bugs in them!”
  10. “We got two GIANT clocks. We have a small house in Minneapolis that is the perfect size for us, but there are no massive expanses of wall or fireplaces we needed to decorate. We re-gifted one before we even brought it back home from S.D.”
  11. “An elderly couple drove in our yard to make a special presentation of… his used men’s nightgowns. 😳 (Picture Scrooge in the Christmas Carol kind of nightgown. I hadn’t known it was still a thing. In this century!) We were so shocked we didn’t know what to say but it was obvious they considered it a lovely gift.”
  12. “I put a chicken coop on our registry kind of as a joke and we got it. So now we have chickens! Haha!”

Don’t be the gifter who makes this list in the future! It’s going to depend on the couple and how well you know them at the end of the day, but here are 5 things that you can be pretty sure almost no newly-married couple will appreciate. Ready?!

1.    Exercise Equipment

I know you’re probably not going to buy a treadmill or an exercise bike, but it’s not uncommon for people to get a set of weights or one of those small, ‘as seen on TV’ products. Some people like to exercise and some don’t. Be tactful in your gift giving. You might actually give them the wrong impression. It could come across as insulting — like you’re implying that the bride or groom needs to exercise more.

A sizable chunk of those products are kind of a gimmick anyway and even people who actually buy them for themselves are probably just going to end up putting them down somewhere and not picking them back up.

2.    Relationship Advice Books

It’s shocking how common these books are as wedding gifts. When you think about it though, it doesn’t make an ounce of sense to give a couple who just got married a book about relationship advice.

Is there anybody that needs it less than them? At least in their minds, this is a relationship that is already perfect enough for them to make it official. They’ll be bewildered by the sight of a book that’s supposed to improve something they think is already perfect. 

3.    Art

Unless they’ve registered for exactly the piece of art they want, this really is going to come down to personal taste (and your taste in art is not going to be the same as theirs). As mentioned above, you might like abstract art or massive pieces that take up half of a wall (eight-foot wine rack, anyone?!), but individual art pieces do tend to be quite niche. And we all only have limited wall space anyway. Maybe they don’t want any art at all.

4.    Religious Texts

Things are changing these days, and a Bible might have been a great gift for most people a generation ago, but you may risk making someone uncomfortable. If it’s not actually a religious wedding — or there are mixed religions involved, it might be…complicated…and not as well-received as you were hoping. Unless you are a close family member and gifting a Bible or other religious text would be meaningful to them and their new life together, then absolutely. It would be a “forever” gift to your closest granddaughter, daughter, niece, etc.

5.    Items Not On Their Gift Registry

If you’re looking to buy them that free-standing mixer or a new ice cream maker or a waffle iron, be sure it’s on their gift registry first. Items that take up counter space and storage space are easily returned. Do your research, know the couple…and consider ‘would they really like this new cutting board/grill/cooler/iron/set of glasses/wine rack/frame/dish towel’? If the answer is not a resounding YES, then reconsider. Cash and gift cards are always a nice fallback plan.

Today, couples are registering for cash to renovate their homes, for a honeymoon, and even for unique experiences. What’s the best way to communicate this with your guests? Should you list your wedding registry on your wedding invitation? Is that bad etiquette? Etiquette says NO — never list your wedding registry on your invitations. Practicality and wedding websites say YES. What do you do if “No Gifts, Please” is listed on the wedding invitation. That question is answered here.

Here’s another article that gives two more no-no’s: #24 and #26 say you shouldn’t bring big gifts to the ceremony and you should buy something from their gift registry. We wish you the best of luck in wedding gifting this season!

Have you had a horrific wedding gift?! Any recommendations for what NOT to gift a couple? Comment below and share!

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