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Caffeination is an art that many people take quite seriously, and treating a couple to a new coffee-making device is sure to make you an all-star friend. Take it to the next level by combining the [coffee maker / French press / coffee bean grinder] with some world class coffee beans.

Here are a few of my favorite choices for coffee beans:

Cafe Grumpy, one of my first coffee loves in New York, now available to be shipped nationwide. Buy by the bag or a 12-month subscription. (They also have one of the most amazing logos, so feel free to throw in a logo mug for good measure.)

Citizen Bean offers  3-, 6- or 12-month subscriptions. They emphasize sustainable roasts from small-batch roasters across the country, and they donate a portion of each month’s sales to a charity designated to each roaster.

Intelligentsia Press has a wide variety of single origin and blend coffee options. Staff from this company actually work directly with growers from around the world to establish better protocols on their farms.

 

Make sure the couple gets use of that cheese board and set of cheese knives they registered for by pairing it with a membership to a cheese club. (Yes, such things exist.)

 

olive wood cheese knives and board ($100) + 3-month membership at cowgirl creamery ($199)

I have a special place in my heart for Cowgirl Creamery, but you can’t go wrong with Murray’s either.

I can feel my arteries planning a preventative attack. Nothing a small sliver of Cowgirl’s MT TAM can’t handle.

This idea may require a little more pre-planning, but it can add a special element to an otherwise boring item. Most linens—bath towels, sheets, dishtowels, etc.—can be monogrammed, either by the company that sells them or by a local embroidery shop. Purchase linens from the registry, and personalize it by adding a monogram. You can integrate the names of the couples in a multitude of unique ways—focusing on a newly common last name, including both last names if each half chooses to keep their own, or even requesting to have a motif the couple chose for the wedding integrated.

 

700 Thread Count Sheets ($229) + Monogramming ($7)

From Pottery Barn: “A tradition dating back six centuries, monogrammed linens remain widely popular today and they pay tribute to the original purpose of personalization. Monograms served the simple purpose of identifying laundry, and linens were marked with indelible ink at the corners, using a seal or stamp. Only the wealthiest families enjoyed embroidered monograms, usually in the form of a coat of arms, crowns or other heraldic symbols. It wasn’t until the 1800s that the middle classes adopted the custom of embroidering linens with family initials, a custom that paid homage to the nobility and made a statement of individual pride.”

My sister is a fantastic cook. Now. This was not always the case. For awhile, I thought this would be a better use of her kitchen:

Back then, I distinctly remember a time when she asked for, and received, a creme brulee torch for her birthday. I’m fairly certain it never came out of the box.

I’m not judging (I wouldn’t have the first clue what to do with a creme brulee torch), but I’m often amazed by the gadgetry that people register for. If you decide to gift such a curious device, a cheeky twist is to include a restaurant gift card, for the nights they don’t feel like whipping out the [insert fancy appliance here].

  Persephone

(Hand-Hammered Copper Couscoussier from Williams-Sonoma + gift card from Persephone)

(Cuisinart ICE-30BC Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker from Amazon + gift card to Jeni’s)

 

(Nordic Ware Egg Waffle Pan from Williams-Sonoma + gift card for breakfast at the Ritz)

Would you be offended if someone paired a restaurant gift card with a kitchen appliance? Or would you appreciate the opportunity to treat yourself?

Along the same boozy line as the wine club, this gift is a little bulkier but makes up for it in the romance department.

   

champagne flutes ($39.95) from the registry + champagne ($52.99)

Champagne is something often reserved for special events, but I like to encourage my newly married friends to celebrate their union regularly. When I have gifted this in the past, I write something in the card to encourage them to use the flutes and drink the champagne on a night when it’s just the two of them.

** If a top-notch bottle of Champagne is out of your price range, you could consider a bottle of Prosecco instead.

Gone from the registry is the fancy KitchenAid mixer and the clever brownie pan, leaving you with spatulas, measuring spoons, and if you’re lucky, a cookie sheet. Buy up all the “scraps” in the cookware or bakeware section, and then order a related cookbook to send, too.

    

(cookie sheet, donut cutter, measuring spoons, pastry blender, and spatula all from Williams-Sonoma; BabyCakes cookbook available here)

Sending bakewares to a vegan? Try the BabyCakes series. Sending cookwares to a couple who plans to honeymoon in Paris? Check out Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris. Gifting for the culinarily challenged? Can’t go wrong with the all-knowing Betty Crockers Cookbook. Best of all, many oft-registered stores sell books as well (e.g. Williams-Sonoma, Amazon.com, Target, and others), allowing you to send everything together in advance.

What’s your favorite cookbook? Did you buy it yourself or was it a gift?

Buying from the registry can be a drag. Spice things up by combining a gift from the registry with something more personal. This post is just the first in a series of suggestions and nudges about how to make a stock gift something more uniquely from you.

Does the couple pride themselves on being oenophiles? Why not try gifting a set of wine glasses (from the registry) with a membership to a wine club?

  

Oregon Wine Glasses ($5.95 each) + Wine of the Month, 3-month Red ($150.00)

For New Yorkers, I highly recommend K & D Wine & Spirits Wine of the Month Club, but there are plenty of other options. If you (or the couple) is from a wine region (e.g., California, Long Island, Chile), you could look for an offer that features bottles from that particular area.

One advantage of this gift combination is that you can have the glasses shipped in advance and put a note about the membership in a card, saving you the trouble of bringing anything large and unwieldy to the reception.

Another benefit? The couple will think of you each subsequent month as their monthly bottle(s) arrive.

Are you an oenophile? Would this gift appeal to you?

I do not like to buy gifts from a couple’s registry. (I might not mind as much if I ever had the foresight to buy early enough that the registries were not already picked over leaving only an errant spatula and maybe a couple dish towels.) It feels lazy, which is silly, because if you have ever spoken to a couple about the gift registration process, it requires a lot of time, energy, and negotiation.

That said, couples register for a reason: to allow them to pick out stuff they want. Their taste may not be my taste, but I recognize that ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I like because it’s a gift for them (not me).

Traditional wedding registry style, by Vera Wang for Wedgwood

My traditional style, by Anthropologie

Still, I believe that gifts should represent the giver, too, so I have tried to give gifts from the registry and “personalize” them in some way, by coupling the gift with something personal or adding some sort of personal touch.  Of course, that requires planning in advance, too. I suppose there’s always a gift card to one of the registered stores.

What are your thoughts about buying a gift off a registry? Have you given (or received) a specialized gift from the registry?

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