Whether you're perpetually the best man, but never the groom, or just keep getting strong-armed into attending half a dozen summer nuptials from those of your college roomie to your boss's son, it's crucial to have an arsenal of last-minute gift ideas at the ready. You don't want to end up blowing your budget on some ostentatious towel set or swing-back chair just because all the lower-cost items on the registry have been snapped up. Here are five last-second gift ideas that don't make it obvious you thought them up the night before.
1. Cake stand
Single-use kitchen gadgets like waffle-makers and melon-ballers are time-honoured classic wedding gifts: ditto the Color-Cut Cake Stand from Anthropologie, which is made from pressed glass and available in a range of hues for a perfectly coordinated injection of charming, Mad-Men era kitchen quirk. But the really cool thing about giving a cake stand is that you can pair it with a gift certificate for a dozen cupcakes from their favourite local bakery. A sweet gift, indeed.
In all the lead-up and joy in advance of the wedding, the cleanup afterward is an unglamorous, yet pressing, reality. It's almost guaranteed that even if a couple knows they want to hold on to the wedding dress, they haven't considered how they're going to make sure it's clean and in beautiful shape before they stow it away. Take care of this detail for them with a dry-cleaning voucher and a sweet card: even if they're doing a trash-the-dress photoshoot, everyone can use a professional dry cleaning gift certificate at some point.
3. Passport holder
Perfect for the couple who met in Bali, or is heading to Sardinia for their honeymoon: colorful, personalized passport holders from Mark & Graham feature the couple's brand-spanking new, shared initials, and are roomy enough for travel documents or other important items. The foil-debossed monogram comes in a choice of blind, gold or silver to truly make your mark in any country.
4. Hotel visit
Gift cards are easy and usually welcome - although, let's face it, they're also fairly devoid of creativity. Personalize it a bit, and demonstrate your faith in the longevity of their union at the same time, with a gift card dated for their first wedding anniversary. The Four Seasons gift cards are redeemable for dining, spa treatments and more experiences worldwide, as well as overnight stays.
5. Wine/cheese club
Give the gift that keeps on giving: it only takes a couple of minutes to sign your pals up for the Wine of the Month Club, which since 1972 has offered a range of bottles from all over the world starting at $23 per month. Along the same lines: Cheese of the Month Club delivers Brie from the Île-de-France, Leicester from English farms straight to their door, starting at $34.95. If they're a really great friend get both, so they can wine and dine to their heart's content.