These Are the 10 Most Inappropriate Wedding Gifts (Plus What to Buy Instead)

Wedding gifts wrapped up in craft paper

If you don’t know what you should get your friends for their weddings, then you probably should start with a list of inappropriate wedding gifts. That way, you can cross off some ideas floating around in your head and go from there.

I know it’s a cliche, but not everyone needs to receive the same things or something they already have. Let’s go ahead and check out the list, and see what you shouldn’t give as a gift to the newlyweds, unless they actually ask for them, of course!

7 Most Inappropriate Wedding Gifts

Some of these inappropriate wedding gifts may surprise you! We actually love personalized gifts and kitchen items, for example! Here’s the thing- in SOME cases, yes, these could actually be totally appropriate. However, you really have to know the couple’s unique tastes, especially for items that simply cannot be returned.

If you’re super close to the happy couple,, then feel free to ignore our advice. If you know they’ll love a personalized print of dogs playing poker, or a lifetime supply of bananas, go for it!

However, if you’re basically that cousin they see once a year, or a friend of mom’s that they had to invite, you’ll want to play it a little safer. Start by avoiding these inappropriate gifts, then read on for a few ideas of what to buy instead.

1. Clocks

Unless the couple asked for a specific and very beautiful clock for their house, you shouldn’t go for it. For one, it’s not a good idea, as your taste may be different than theirs, and you wouldn’t want your gift to end up in the storage box, or given away.

The second reason is that in certain cultures, the clock is seen as a bad omen. It’s a symbol of limited life, and the Japanese believe that whoever buys them a clock, invites death into their house

2. Perishable Goods

It’s beautiful to offer the couple flowers, but that shouldn’t be your only gift unless we’re talking about a basket of very fancy, artificial flowers. This is an important day, and they may want to keep the gifts for a very long time. 

You don’t want your only memory of being there to be a bouquet of very beautiful flowers that will only last for a couple of days.

3. Kitchenware

This is one of those gifts that should only be bought is the couple mentioned it in their registry. As I said, people are different, and may not really enjoy your selection of plates and glasses. Besides, they may already have everything they need because they prepared for this. 

Aside from this, in some places around the world, it can be considered bad luck to buy the brides or grooms glasses. In the Thai culture, if the glasses break, the relationship may break too. 

4. Something About Kids

It used to be very common for couples to receive gifts referring to kids, but that’s definitely not a good idea, and there are two reasons for that. The first one being the fact that the wedding day is about the two, and the second is because it can put pressure on the couple. Maybe they want kids but can’t have them, or maybe they don’t want kids at all, and that’s not for anyone to judge. 

5. Alcoholic Beverages

If you know that the couple really wants an expensive bottle of wine, then it’s probably fine. But if you don’t know for sure, it would be best to avoid it completely. This is one of those gifts that can be considered a personal preference.

Some people don’t drink at all, while others only drink specific beverages. To stay on the safe side, try to avoid such gifts.

6. Personalized Items

I know, personalized items can make incredible memories, but sometimes it may not fit the couple’s style. If this is the case, it would be best to get them something without any personalization, so they can return it and get something that matches their style in return.

You could always give them a beautiful gift and a certificate to get it engraved, should they choose to keep it.

7. “Risqué” gifts

“Adult” items and other risqué presents are the epitome of all inappropriate wedding gifts. First, even if the couple does want them, they’re more appropriate for a bachelor or bachelorette party. Second, if they don’t want them, the couple will probably be a little creeped out by your gift!

Do them- and yourself- a favor. Don’t buy anything that they wouldn’t feel comfortable opening in front of grandma.

8. Household appliances that they didn’t ask for

We talked about glasses and dishes above, but we can’t forget the toaster! Many years ago, couples typically lived at home with their parents until their wedding day, so household appliances made great gift ideas. Those days went the way of corsets and supervised dating.

Today, more and more couples already live together before marriage, so chances are they have that toaster, microwave, and coffee maker that you’re thinking about grabbing for them.

Bottom line, if it’s not on their registry or they didn’t specifically ask for it in another way, skip the toaster.

9. Religious gifts

Religion is an incredibly personal thing. Unless you’re 100% positive that the couple would actually want that Virgin Mary statue or trio of angels smiling down on them from their mantle, it’s best to skip it.

At best, your gift will end up in a closet. At worst, the couple will feel like you’re trying to send them a hidden message or push your own religion on them during their wedding.

10. Super-specific gift cards

While some gift cards are great (see below), it’s best to avoid super-specific ones unless you know for sure that the couple shops at that store. More and more couples are opting to put their money where their ethics are by boycotting brands that stand in opposition to their beliefs.

For example, a Hobby Lobby gift card would be an inappropriate wedding gift for a same-sex couple, as the brand is notoriously anti-LGBTQ. Even Amazon gift cards aren’t the sure bet that they used to be, ethically speaking.

Aside from potential ethical issues, not everyone even has access to the same stores where they live. Sure, they could shop online, but you don’t want shipping fees to eat up their entire balance.

Besides these inappropriate wedding gifts, you should also make sure that you don’t gift the new couple something generic, or something they may not use at all.

What to buy instead of these most inappropriate wedding gifts

Again, unless you know the couple well, it’s best to avoid things that are highly taste-specific. So, what can you buy them if you’re not super close? Here are a couple of ideas that are always appreciated.

Gifts from their Registry

Registries exist for exactly this reason- to help you find appropriate gifts to give the couple that they actually want. So, make that your first stop. If you waited until the last minute and everything is already gone, then move on to other ideas.


When in doubt, you can never go wrong with giving the couple money. It’s the one “generic” gift that no one ever returns!

Gifts cards that can be used anywhere

If you’re not attending the wedding and don’t want to send cold hard cash in the mail, a gift card can be a good alternative. However, it’s important to choose something that they can use anywhere. For example, a Visa gift card. As mentioned above, not everyone has access to the same stores, and some couples prefer to avoid certain retailers for ethical reasons.

Check out the top ten most inappropriate wedding gifts to give the newlyweds, plus take a look at what to buy them instead!

I hope this inappropriate wedding gifts list helped you narrow down your options, or at least eliminate some ideas. If you really don’t have any ideas and the registry has been picked clean, you can always just ask them what you need and go from there!

Do you have anything to add to this inappropriate wedding gifts list? Share below.

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