Giving gifts at a wedding is one of the oldest traditions that have transcended the years in traditional and contemporary celebrations. One thing you may want to get right as a guest in a wedding is the gift choice, out of etiquette and respect for tradition. We take a look at some Jewish wedding traditions to find out how you can give a Jewish couple the most unique and memorable gift at their wedding.
So, what are the best gifts for a Jewish wedding? The best traditional Jewish wedding gifts include a Mezuzah, Kiddush cup, Havdalah sets, a Challah Board, and candlesticks. Other modern items like cookbooks, a portable hot plate, and a stew cooker can provide a homely touch. Most guests would also prefer giving money or picking a gift from the gift registry. The aim is to be creative and get a gift that the couple will use regularly; doing so will make your gift more memorable.
If you are a guest at a Jewish wedding, especially a first-time attendee, you may wish to know some of the best gift ideas. We highlight the traditional aspects and etiquette to consider so that your gift stands out. Read on to get insight into being one of the most memorable gift bearers at the wedding.
Is a Wedding Gift Necessary?
It is a well-known tradition that gifts are an essential part of any celebration, especially for weddings. Etiquette and politeness dictate that a guest should not come empty-handed to such a momentous event. The couple will notice if you do not bring a gift (you wouldn’t want them returning the favor when you invite them to your ceremonies).
Apart from the wedding and a lifetime of marriage, most couples confess that they also look forward to their friends and family’s gifts.
The guests who have trouble finding a gift may opt for money instead; it is more convenient and does not require putting a lot of thought into it, especially if you are just an acquaintance or attending as a plus one.
It is a completely acceptable gift, and some people would prefer it since they can use it to buy whatever they desire. A monetary gift helps the couple to purchase any other item that they need but may have missed from other guests.
Do you have to bring a wedding gift? You will be surprised at how important it is for the couple to receive a gift at their wedding. Putting thought and money to make someone happy is one of the most incredible things to do and what better way than to get them something special on their special day?
Doing this shows how much you value them and how important they are to you; the price tag may not matter if your gift is unique and heartfelt.
Getting a gift will also strengthen your relationship with the couple, from acquaintances to close friends. A wedding gift will be of great sentimental value, and the couple will cherish it for a long time, especially if it is a frequently used gift. A small gesture like this may go a long way in their married life, and as they start to live together.
The couple may provide a gift registry to improve gifting. This list is a selection of their most preferred gifts. Using this is safer than selecting a personal gift since you are sure to get a gift that the couple wants; you don’t need to second guess. But if the couple has not created one, you can still get a gift that the partners would both love.
What Are the Common Wedding Gift Ideas?
As much as the world is gradually embracing more contemporary traditions, some ancient traditions still apply, especially in the Jewish wedding world. Each religion is unique, so you cannot afford to get it wrong. If the couple has not set aside a gift registry, they are likely more inclined to their customs and traditions.
You can get a personal gift as a present for the couple, such as a picture of them or a picture you took with them. With such a personal gift, you will tap into most treasured memories. Some creative people would go the artistic way.
If the couple loves art, you can get them their self-portrait of any other piece of artwork that they would love. When they hang it in their house, they will always remember who gave it to them.
You will never go wrong with a symbolic gift. For instance, you can give them an aesthetic plant like a sage to signify that you wish them a long married life. In case you know their favorite plant, it may also be a perfect gift for them. As long as the plant is in good shape, they will always remember that you put so much thought into it.
Starting a new tradition with the couple may also be a good idea. The in-laws mostly adopt this system for the bride/ groom to carry it on to the next generation. They may use symbolic jewelry or any other item as an heirloom for the couple to pass on to their children; they will then pass them on to their children.
The couple will attach value to such an item and keep it as a souvenir. Here is a guide to use when you want to purchase the perfect wedding gift.
The Perfect Jewish Wedding Gifts
There are various denominations of Judaism; Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform. So, you need to know the inclination of the couple whose wedding you are attending.
However, one good thing is that most Jewish traditions cut across all the segments, but still, you need to be careful with your gift idea. Getting the couple a wedding gift helps them start a new life together and you being part of it makes it more special.
There are two options to consider when purchasing a gift at a Jewish wedding. You can choose the traditional or the modern way. Whichever way you wish to go, here are our top ten wedding gift ideas.
One amazing gift that complements any Jewish home is the Mezuzah, an item with engravings of a verse obtained from the Torah. Artistic scribes carefully sculpt these items for a Jewish couple to display on their doorways.
The couple can have many of these items since each is unique, so you need not worry that someone else will purchase the same thing. This idea is an awesome gift for any couple; each home has to have one; thus, your gift will be useful. To make it stand out more, you can engrave the newlyweds’ initials or find a way to make it more personal.
There are so many Jewish traditions, so a great gift idea is a gift that the bride and groom will use on such occasions. For instance, for the Shabbat, they will use the candles to light up their home; hence, each time they use them, they are likely to remember you.
One advantage of such a gift is that they will frequently use it, so you need not worry about them tucking away your gift somewhere in the corner of their house.
3. Kiddush Cup
It is a great idea to get the couple a gift that they will frequently use. How about you get a gift that the couple can use during the Shabbat? They will use it weekly and for a very long time. You will always get it right by giving them a Kiddush cup.
Once the candles are on, they pour the wine into the Kiddush cups. Some cups can serve up to nine people at a go, while others stand out in style and class. They will find this gift special whenever they bring it out to use for the holidays.
4. Challah Board
Another brilliant idea is the Challah board, where you can serve the bread to the guests once you cut it; this item helps keep the table neat. You can go for a board and knife set to be more creative.
Similarly, you can pick one that suits the couple’s personalities, either a colorful set or more subtle. This item is another example of a gift that is practical but still creative.
5. Havdalah Set
Still, on frequently used gifts, the couple will likely appreciate a Havdalah set. This gift will come in handy to mark Shabbat‘s end so getting such a gift is precious for the couple since whenever they use it, they will remember you as they kick start their week.
Go for a stylish yet sophisticated piece that they will gladly show off to their friends. Also, pick one that integrates the traditional and modern world of Jewish life.
One common gift for the kitchen is a cookbook, from classic to modern recipes; such a gift will be highly welcome. To make it more personal, get a cookbook with the recipes of their favorite foods, this way, they will know that you put a lot of thought into it.
The best idea for a homesick couple is to get a cookbook that compiles recipes of the tasty foods from their hometown, which they will cherish. Profession chefs can also go the extra mile to make a special cookbook specifically for the couple.
7. Portable Hot Plate
We all know how important good food is to a Jewish family, especially when hosting friends and family. So, what better gift than a hot plate for the couple to warm food whenever they are hosting? Always go for an appliance that is efficient and effective.
Be keen on how much food it can warm at a go and how fast it is. This gift will be helpful for the household and other occasions. Being portable, this is a must-have for any Jewish family.
8. Stew Cooker
The couple needs a gift that will improve their cook time and general kitchen organization. A slow cooker is a perfect kitchen appliance for family and guests.
They can use it for an amazing meal on a Shabbat morning or when they have guests coming over. This simple kitchenware is portable and pocket friendly; the couple will find it thoughtful.
9. A Gift From The Registry
If you are not exceptionally good at getting the right gift or are not close to the couple, there is a simpler option; the gift registry. Some contemporary couples create a gift registry to ease their guests’ hassle finding the perfect gifts for them. This list compiles all the gifts that a couple wishes to receive. They find a retailer or an online store that sells all these items.
This list makes it easier for the guests to purchase a gift for the couple since it entails all the gifts they most prefer; this system is faster and easier. Once a guest visits the store or goes online to purchase a gift, the store automatically strikes it off to avoid a double purchase. After purchase, the store delivers the gift over to the wedding, or the buyer personally transports the gift.
Sometimes you may find it hard to think of the best gift for an occasion, or you don’t want to get a duplicated gift that the recipient will just put somewhere on a shelf. The best option for you would be a monetary alternative.
You don’t need to worry that they will not be sentimentally attached to your gift; in fact, they may welcome the idea. If there is a gift that they badly wanted, but no guest got it for them, they can easily use the money to buy it.
Customarily, the Jewish receive money in divisions of $18, symbolic of the Hebrew value for life (“chai”). For instance, instead of $50, they can get $90 (5 times chai). (The amount you use will depend on how close you are to the newlyweds and how much you can afford).
Dos and Don’ts When Getting a Jewish Wedding Gift
You want to get a gift that the couple will love. The following are some dos and don’ts to help you get it right.
- Be thoughtful and creative in your gift selection.
You want your gift to be unique and stand out from all the rest. The best way is to tap into the couple’s lives to find out what they like or need; this way, you won’t make any mistakes.
- Be practical.
Avoid buying an item that the couple will place somewhere and forget about over the years. Go for a durable gift, that they can use for a long time. Here is where items such as appliances come in handy.
- Stick to your budget.
Even though the couple would adore a gift with a nice price tag, they wouldn’t require the guests to overexert themselves for an expensive gift. Still, with the long timeline between the invitation and the wedding, you can save up before the date so that you buy a nice gift for the couple.
- Take your time
Before you get them a gift, take your sweet time. The recipient is likely to detect a gift bought in haste, so be careful and research your options before buying anything for the couple.
- Don’t copy what everyone else is getting.
Doing so will leave the couple with so many duplicated items (unless there is an exchange policy). Even if you are getting a Judaica, make it special and unique and not mirror another.
- Don’t compete.
Even though you are supposed to get a gift that stands out, don’t get one with the aim of outdoing every other guest. You don’t want to appear as trying too hard.
- Do not copy the registry.
The couple has intentionally listed their most preferred items that the compliant guests will duly use to purchase. Therefore, it would be unwise to buy a similar item off the registry. If the couple has listed a tea set, the best thing to do is avoid buying a different set from a different retailer.
You will not go wrong with these gift ideas since they apply to any Jewish setting and denomination, whether modern, traditional, or Orthodox. You are sure to get the best gift for any Jewish couple; you can even get two to be safer, as long as you don’t show up empty-handed!
Hopefully, this guide has been useful to help you navigate the world of Jewish wedding gifting. You now know a thing or two about making your gift stand out; memorable for the couple. The perfect gift is personal and well-planned, so whether you go to the Judaica lane or the sentimental one, you are sure to get it right.
However, you can use these pointers as a guide, but remember the bride and groom will be grateful for any gift they receive, as long as it is heartfelt. Just put your thought into it, and it will likely show. All in all, it is your presence and not what you bring that count.