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The big day is the perfect time to surprise and delight your S.O. with a special gift, before or after you walk down the aisle. While your wedding guests have a whole registry to choose from, a wedding day gift exchange with your partner is the opportunity to get creative. Personalized, sentimental gifts, something that makes them laugh, or a classic watch or piece of jewelry are all great options.
When it comes to wedding day gifts, think about keepsakes and timeless tokens. “It’s something you want them to have forever, so you'll want it to have meaning,”" says Maggie Heely, owner and lead coordinator of Weekend Wedding Warrior. Heely encourages couples to reflect on their partners and consider what gift would truly make them feel loved and special. Christina Burton Babb, lead planner and owner of Christina Burton Events emphasizes that half the fun of gift-giving is the physical exchange, so consider where it will take place and how—you don’t want that moment rushed during a busy day. “For a lot of couples, it becomes almost an afterthought,” says Burton Babb. Make sure you allow some time to make the gift experience feel special.
Meet the Expert
Regardless of what you choose, a wedding day gift exchange creates a nice, quiet moment between the two of you, whether it's before or after the ceremony. If you choose to stay apart before walking down the aisle, opening your gifts independently can also create a relaxing moment of reflection before heading to the altar.
Read on for the best wedding day gift exchange ideas.
Modern Map Art Three Heart City Map
Take a trip down memory lane with this special wall art. Featuring three heart-shaped maps, you can highlight significant events in your relationship. Ideal for couples who travel or move around, many use the hearts to show where they met, where they got engaged, and where they tied the knot. The sellers can make a map for any city in the world, and you can choose from a variety of sizes and materials to best fit you and your partner’s space.
Susabellas Keepsake Love Box
A keepsake box is a timeless, practical reminder of your special day, and it's useful for storing wedding rings and other jewelry. Inscribed with, “The most wonderful thing I decided to do was to share my life and heart with you” on the inside, this rectangular box is handmade using clay, ceramic, and glaze. It has the word “Love” with an arrow carved into the lid, which can be customized in a few different colors.
Gin N Juice Box Personalized Mrs Sweatshirt
For low-key couples, a cozy sweatshirt may be the perfect fit. The sweatshirt is fully customizable, perfect for spelling out your partner’s name, your wedding date, or other wedding-related details. Featured in six different muted colors, these crewnecks range from sizes S to 2XL and are great for lounging around the house or running errands. While it may be affordable, this sweatshirt doesn’t skimp on quality. The shirts are handmade with pre-shrunk cotton and polyester, using a professional heat press to place the lettering.
So Good So Wood Leather Passport Cover
This handmade leather passport cover will ensure your significant other travels in style, whether for your honeymoon or a future trip. The cover comes in a variety of colors, from earthy tones to pastels, and can even be personalized with a monogram or quote. The seller uses distressed top grain cowhide leather, creating a soft texture, but durable nature, allowing it to continue with you through your marriage.
Ido Artsy Weddings Liquor Label
A nice bottle of bourbon or whiskey can already make for a nice gift, but applying a unique label takes it it to the next level. Customize their bottle with their name, a message, signature, and date as the “bottle number.” The labels are printed on waterproof vinyl label paper with heat-set laser ink, ensuring a smudge-free message.
Caitlyn Minimalist Engraved Keepsake Necklace
For the bride who is always wearing a necklace, this gift will become her new staple. Engrave this dainty, bar-shaped necklace with your handwriting, transforming it into a piece she’ll cherish. This dainty, lightweight necklace is perfect for every day, worn by itself or layered with other pieces, and it comes in sterling silver, 18k gold, or rose gold.
Minutestry Engraved Watch
Take the time to make your partner feel special with this classic wristwatch. You can choose between six different bands and faces, customizing it for his or her style. Make this watch even more personal by having it engraved with a word or message in your handwriting. An accessory that can be dressed up or down, this watch will be a daily reminder of your big day.
Minetta Jewellery Personalized Handwriting Cuff Bracelet
Sterling silver or 14k gold fill bangle takes “cuffing season” to a whole other level. This gorgeous bracelet will make your bride swoon when she sees the personalized engraving. The cuff can be inscribed with your handwriting on either the front or back, allowing the opportunity for a private message. This gift comes in a Minetta box so it’s ready for the big day.
So Blessed Designs Guitar Pick Keychain
Pull at your S.O.’s heartstrings with this guitar pick keychain. Perfect for a guitar player or music lover, this small gift sends a big message. Already engraved with “I pick you for the rest of my life,” the keychain can also be personalized with your wedding date. With the choice of pewter or copper, this handmade keepsake makes for a quality, durable present that your partner won’t forget.
Kingsley Leather Personalized Cufflinks
Whether they’re worn on the wedding day or after, these full-grain leather cufflinks are a classy, timeless gift. The sellers hand-punch your groom’s initials in a steel setting for an elegant, yet modern look. Offered in tan, classic black, or dark brown, these cuff-links are a thoughtful addition to anyone’s wardrobe.
Heart Snapshot Mix Photo Art
Bring back the memories on your big day with this heart-shaped photo collage. Highlight up to 30 photos of you and your lover in this unique, meaningful wall art. You choose from a variety of sizes, materials, and frames to best suit your home. With this gift, you and your S.O. can reflect on all your favorite moments and look forward to creating more.
Uncommon Goods First Dance Personalized Art
Memorialize your wedding dance with a customizable, commemorative print that deserves a place on your living room wall. The Ohio-based artist creates nostalgic prints that throw you back in time, creating a timeless piece that will catch the eye of any guest. Using archival paper and pigment ink, the maker can personalize the print to include where you were married, the venue, the date, and your names.
Uncommon Goods Personalized Champagne Wedding Vase
Nothing marks a celebration like bubbles. Made from an upcycled champagne bottle, this unique flower vase doubles as a wedding keepsake. You can even customize the “label” with your names. Just because a bottle is empty doesn’t mean the party is over.
Vivid Ventures Married AF Wine and Beer Glass Set
For the soon-to-be spouses with a good sense of humor, this wine and beer glass set is sure to crack a smile. Inscribed with, “Married AF,” you and your partner can giggle while you sip your favorite beverages. With so many details and moving parts, wedding days are stressful. This gift can provide a much-needed chuckle during the hustle and bustle, and for years to come.
North Star Engraving Custom Leather Money Clip and Wallet
Another practical find, this Cowhide leather money clip, and wallet is a present your partner will carry with them always. The wallet features a magnetic money clip and six credit card slots. While it could be a great gift for any occasion, you can engrave it with your wedding date or a sweet message, transforming it into a meaningful memento.
Modern Notebooks Our Adventure Book Scrapbook
Start your marriage with a look into the future. Inspired by the Disney classic, Up, this scrapbook album has 130 blank pages to fill with future travels and memories as a married couple. The album has a flat-lay softcover to make sticking photos and writing messages easy. While your wedding day may be your first big adventure as newlyweds, this album will hold many more.
Frederick James Engraved Pocket Watch
Turn back time with a steel surface pocket watch. This exquisite keepsake can be a stunning addition to your groom’s wedding ensemble, or a memento he’ll enjoy at home. The watch features a delicately etched engraving reading, “Groom today, husband tomorrow. To the next chapter…” along with an elegant pattern and small top hat. Delivered in a sleek, black gift box, this watch is ready to stand the test of time.
What to look for in a wedding day gift
A wedding day gift stands apart from gifts for other occasions because it often symbolizes the commitment and milestone in you and your partner’s life. Look for items that will stand the test of time, featuring materials that only get better with age.
Make sure the gift speaks to your partner—and start hunting early. Burton Babb says that one of the biggest mistakes she sees is when a couple waits until the last minute, both for getting a gift and for planning when the exchange will take place. Personalized gifts are always winners because it shows the extra level of planning and care that went into the gift process.
Why should we exchange gifts on your wedding day?
Given how chaotic wedding days are, Heely explains the value of a quiet moment between the couple. “There's so much hustle and bustle on a wedding day. Sometimes we can lose sight of the purpose, which is to get married and to commit yourself to someone for your lifetime,” Heely says. “Having that moment of pause to exchange gifts is telling that person like, ‘Hey, I'm here for you, and I'm remembering you on this day.’”
How much should I spend on a gift?
That really depends on the couple. Regardless of what you choose, discuss those terms in advance, Burton Babb notes. “Just like a wedding budget, a gift fund has to be what makes sense for that couple," she says. "You don't want it to be an extra point of stress, so it can be good to discuss the budget in advance so you can be on the same page,” Burton Babb said. If you have a tighter budget, she said couples can also exchange meaningful letters in lieu of gifts. This option conveys the same sentiment, but in a more affordable way.
When should gifts be exchanged?
The exchange typically happens before the ceremony. Once both couples are dressed and ready, Burton Babb said they often exchange gifts alone, with a photographer or videographer. A first look is a good opportunity for the exchange, or if you don’t want to see your partner before the ceremony, you can open gifts separately. Even though you aren’t together, the gift will still make your partner feel seen and special before saying “I do.”
Do you have to give a gift?
No! It's totally up to the couple. Heely says that about half the couples she works with choose to do a wedding gift exchange. She also emphasizes the value in handwritten notes: “A very heartfelt, timeless gift that costs no money is writing a letter to your S.O. for them to open on the wedding day," she adds. "It centers on the purpose of the day, focusing on the marriage and the love that they have for each other.”
Why Trust Brides
Brides contributor Macy Alcido has multiple years of experience writing listicles and researching top gift picks across genres. From tech products to sports bras, Alcido’s covered it all. As a recent bride herself, she holds personal experience researching the best products to prepare for the big day.