Wedding season looms. And with it, the wedding gift dilemma: coasters or a Soda Stream? Are glass glasses okay or do they have to be crystal? Wait - don’t they already have a tonne of house stuff due to they’ve been living together for eight years?


They do. These days, they also probably have a gift registry. 
Here’s how to navigate the choppy, faux-pas filled waters en route to the perfect wedding gift.


How to registry
Click on that link as soon as it lands. Like, the instant. Identify an item that you can afford, and bags it. If you wait a day or two all the good mid range stuff’ll be gone and you’ll be left tossing up between a $600 dehumidifier and a set of wooden clothes pegs.


Too late
Didn’t click fast enough? Okay. We’re cool, we’re cool. Have a look at the cheap stuff that’s left and try to build on it. A set of those long spoons you use for eating sundaes, for example - you could level up that measly lazy no-good gift with a voucher for the best ice cream store in their town, and a bottle of artisan raspberry sauce.


Cash money
So it’s one of those registries where they’ve included a very terrible poem in the invite about how to please give them money - ahem, ‘contributions’ - instead of a gift? Okay. Well, yeah, you should do that.
The general rule is to align your contribution to the wedding: ballroom at the Hilton, you’re talking $100 minimum, per guest. Barbecue at the family bach: thank God, $50 each is more than enough. (If we’re talking Sizzlers feel free to go lower.)


No registry?
Excellent. Now it’s your thought, not theirs, that counts. The key is to do your thinking - and buying - early: don’t be the guy who whips into Smith & Caughey on the way to the ceremony.


A sampling of gift ideas that demonstrate forethought:

Make a mix tape (or CD or, if you must, Spotify list) that you know they’ll both be into.

Get a photo album - an actual book, not an Insta account - and pop in all the pics you can find of the couple being happy-as before they were married (so many couples only have their wedding album to look back on, which is often a weird outlier of a day).

Hack a Guess Who set and swap out all the Alfreds and Marias for wedding guests, or their mates, or the 2011 All Blacks.

Get them fishing rods and tackle and make a map of all the best jetties.

Buy them tickets to a most excellent music festival that they can get to, and that will definitely sell out by the time of the wedding.

Left it too late didn’t you, fool

A few short, sharp ideas for you then:

Shout them a posh dinner together a month or so after the wedding, when everything’s calmed down a bit.

Find a couple of beautiful, handmade ceramic coffee mugs and some decent coffee to go with it.

Bonsai trees are cool and different and in the right sort of price range. Plus, enduring nature of marital love and all that. You can get them at most garden centres.

Cover their Netflix for a year.

Sign them up to a monthly delivery of fancy-pants chocolate or cheese or flowers.

Board games - Risk, Trivial Pursuit, Settlers of Catan - can be a good option, especially when paired with...

...a bottle of boutique NZ gin. Blush Gin is very pretty in pink, or maybe go for Hidden World’s Navy special edition - it’s got a cool apothecary-esque label, and is allegedly the strongest around.

The FInishing Touch.

The card. If you only nail one aspect of the whole gift thing, let it be this. Get the classiest card you can buy - TradeAid usually has a beautiful range - and take time to write your message. Type it out first if you think you may need to rework.

Keep in mind that a message can elevate a gift. Netflix might seem a bit mundane, for example, but not if you think up a silly poem rhyming all the couple’s favourite shows.

Cards are for opening on Wedding Boxing Day, when everyone’s exhausted and hungover and huggy. There is no such thing as overly sincere or sentimental: you’re shooting for tears, not just right now but in 40 years’ time when the box of wedding stuff is dragged out by the grandkids.


Photos: Getty Images