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One of the MOST common questions I receive from readers is what gift I gave my husband on our wedding day. And I totally get that – if there was ever a time to gift an heirloom, or something that will become part of your new family’s lore, it would seem like your wedding day would be the day! Exchanging gifts and letters to open before your first look (if you’re doing one) or your ceremony can be a wonderful way to reflect on what your wedding day is really about, celebrate your history, create a family heirloom for your future home, and build anticipation for seeing each other.

Sometimes coming up with a great gift idea that will tell the story of your relationship or surprise your fiance is easy… or maybe you need a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing, and that’s okay, too! Today, a few of our friends and readers are sharing what they gave their husbands as wedding day gifts, and they are as sweet, meaningful, and thoughtful as you could hope for. We would LOVE to hear from y’all in the comments, too, and really make this a helpful resource for the next gal who emails me! :)

P.S. I gifted my husband an original framed oil painting of a sand dune that reminded me of the area in Michigan where his family has a home. It now hangs in our bedroom!

Photo by Jen Fariello from Priya and Tom’s wedding

My husband and I actually conspired together and gifted ourselves a post-wedding day spa trip that was scheduled for IMMEDIATELY following the wedding! After changing out of our wedding clothes and driving off from the reception venue, we headed straight for a luxurious spa in downtown Atlanta and treated ourselves to some serious decompressing after a SUPER long day! It was SO needed and it allowed us to decompress and giggle about what just happened in the past 24 hours. CRAZY – yet super romantic!
–Lacoya Heggie of Hello Love Events, @HelloLoveWeddings

Throughout our engagement, I had been secretly writing in the Southern Weddings Memories of Us Journal, and this was part of my wedding gift to Rob. I’d chronicled our engagement and wedding planning journey, as well as writing and reflecting on all of our most vivid memories together, our favorite dates, when I knew he was the one, and so much more. I also gave Rob a pair of cuff links with an “S” on them, which were passed down from my maternal grandparents. My parents gave these heirloom cuff links to me last summer right after my grandma passed away and when they knew that Rob was the one. My mom’s maiden name began with an “S,” and our last name begins with an “S,” as well, so it was only fitting that Rob become the next owner of this treasured family heirloom.
–Stephanie Shaul of Stephanie Scholl Events, @StephanieShaul (See Stephanie’s wedding planning process!)

My husband’s Pawpaw died from cancer before we ever started dating, but I knew just how much his Pawpaw meant to him and how close they were. For our wedding, I wanted him to know that he was still with him in spirit. I got my husband a wooden cutting board with an elephant engraved on it. Elephants were his Pawpaw’s favorite animal, and he collected them. I got his Nanny to give me an old card from his Pawpaw, and I got his signature engraved on the board, as well.
–Katy Osborne

I got a huge custom wooden frame from Hobby Lobby with a thick mat, sized to fit a wedding picture in it eventually. On the mat I hand wrote our wedding vows! I filled it with an engagement picture for now, and it will eventually go over our bed. I just got married a month ago and still smile a ton every time I see it!
–Avian Nuckolls

Photos by Esther Louise from McKara and Brandon’s wedding

I got my husband an embossed Bible and a lapel pin of his Scottish family crest. Nothing major or crazy expensive, but they are very significant because the two most important things to the two of us are our faith and our families, and they are two of the things we want to carry into marriage with us.
–Pamela Bunten

My husband and I travel a TON (we move to a new city every four months!). When we travel, we each take on different roles – I do a lot of planning in advance, and then once we’re there, he is the directions guy. He is amazing with maps and has a great sense of direction, so he is always leading us around on our adventures. For his wedding day gift, I got him a Tiffany sterling silver compass. I had it engraved with our wedding date, our initials, and “Our Adventure.”
–Emily Yates

I ended up giving my husband a valet box filled with a few smaller, meaningful goodies. I designed the box myself, and asked my dad to build it using wood from some family land that I own. Then, I had a trophy shop make a plaque for the top with my husband’s monogram, and one for the inside of the lid with a personal note from me. I told my husband it was my way of bringing my past (family land) and present (my dad making it) together for something for the future (our marriage). My husband loved it and I’m hoping this will be something that will become a legacy piece that will be handed down to our children at some point.
–Christian Howell

Since I was fifteen years old, every month I have written love letters to my “future husband,” telling him about my life, my heart, how much I already love him, and how I am already praying for him. I continued writing throughout our courtship and engagement. The day of our wedding, I put the letters in envelopes and tied everything up with pretty ribbon. There was one he was supposed to open before I walked down the aisle, and the rest of the letters we read together on our honeymoon and are still reading today. He said it was the best gift he has ever received and that the letters are still so precious to him.
–Caroline Willis

I bought the vows print from the SW shop and had it framed for Bradley. It now hangs in our bedroom next to a huge canvas of our favorite wedding portrait and serves as a reminder of the vows we took that day.
–Jennifer Cantrell

Photo by Mandy Busby from Elise and Paul’s wedding

As my gift to Robert, I needlepointed a classic, black and white cummerbund. I designed the pattern before we were even engaged, and I spent our whole engagement year stitching in secret. It brought me so much joy to give a gift that I know my husband will treasure forever!
–Caroline Jones

I gave my husband a large, framed picture of a sunrise we watched together while camping on top of a mountain before we got engaged. It was a favorite memory of ours and a gorgeous image. The photograph had been stored on our laptop for years and would probably still be in a folder on our desktop if I hadn’t printed it as his gift!
–KJ Boyer

Joining our money was a topic of ongoing discussions throughout our dating life and engagement. (I’m a spender and he’s a saver.) For his gift, I had a money clip engraved with “The joining of bank accounts. Zachary & Olivia. April 28, 2017.” I filled it with some cash just for him, but I think he ended up buying souvenirs for me on our honeymoon! My dad always carried a money clip, and I thought gifting my new husband one was a sweet nod to my past and Zach’s new role.
–Olivia Denhoff

Friends, I’d love to hear: if you gave your husband a gift on your wedding day, what was it? Please chime in below!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Melissa Mackvick reply

    My husband and I LOVE to travel and have been to a number of places together, so I knew from the moment we got engaged that I wanted to give him something related to our travels but I had no idea what! After months of researching and gathering ideas, I ordered a large custom map of the world that said “World Travels of the Mackvicks” at the top. It also came with pins in different colors that you could put into the map to indicate your next destination, your favorite trip, where you’ve been together, etc. It now hangs in his office and surrounding the map are photographs and pieces of artwork we’ve taken or collected from our trips!

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about the urgency of wedding planning – that if you do it right, you only get one chance, but if you do it right, you only need one chance.

I also shared that I feel confident we (John and I) “did it right” – that we honored our one precious and beautiful wedding day, and that the meaning we found in that celebration has buoyed our marriage for the last five years.

But on a practical note, how did we create a meaningful wedding day? I think the answer of what makes a wedding day meaningful will be different for everyone, but today I would love to share with you ten things that made our wedding day meaningful. Hopefully they will get your wheels turning for your own!

1. Our wedding location. We both grew up and our relationship was born on the New England shore. It’s where I feel most at home, the place from which we both set out into the world, and the landscape I find most beautiful. Getting to share one of our favorite places with our far-flung guests was very special.

2. Our ceremony venue. We chose to get married at the chapel on the grounds of the Coast Guard Academy. My Dad was in the Coast Guard and taught at the Academy for most of my life, so I have years and years of fond memories with the base as a backdrop. I’m also kind of painfully patriotic (ha), so I loved being able to share this part of my heritage with our guests, some of whom might never have stepped foot on a military base before.

3. My bridal party. I chose four bridesmaids to stand beside me – my two sisters, and my two future sisters-in-law. I loved that my wedding gave me a chance to honor these amazing ladies, to recognize them as important people in my life, and to thank them for all they have done for me!

4. My veil. One of my sisters-in-law was married just two months before me, and she and I decided to have a veil commissioned. We both wore it at our weddings, and then one year later, my other sister-in-law wore it at hers! We are eagerly anticipating the next family wedding where it will make an appearance, and I’m already hoping my daughter and nieces will choose to wear it one day! I deeply value family traditions and legacy, so it was very meaningful to me to get to create a family heirloom from scratch.

5. Our portrait location. Bear with me here :) There is a very crazy story about how we came to take our portraits at a particular home, but the upshot is that it totally strengthened my belief that dreams can come true and that most people are generous and kind, something that has changed the way I move through the world ever since.

6. Our pastor. Our pastor from our church in North Carolina agreed to fly to Connecticut to officiate our ceremony, and it was without a doubt one of the most meaningful parts of our wedding. He has played such a formative role in our faith walk, and his presence and gentle guidance helped our ceremony stay centered on Christ.

7. Serving communion. We served communion directly following our vows. We chose to see the symbolism in our first act as a married couple being one of serving others while honoring our Lord, especially since we chose to serve our parents and grandparents first. We loved seeing so many beloved and familiar faces coming forward, and it was really special to have a brief moment with each individual guest.

8. Our cocktail hour picnic. Instead of joining our guests at cocktail hour, John and I had a picnic, just the two of us! Our caterers packed up a sampling of everything that was being served that evening, and we got 15 minutes or so to simply bask in our newly-married glow. Those few minutes are an iron-clad memory in my mind, and I’m so grateful.

9. Creating an aesthetic experience. I am an unapologetic lover of beautiful things and singular experiences, and it was a true joy to plan so carefully for so long and then to see all of my dreams and plans come to fruition under that perfectly blue September sky. Thoughtfully creating an immersive experience and then getting to enjoy it alongside our loved ones was very meaningful for me.

10. Giving a toast. At our reception, both John and I gave brief toasts. I believe deeply in saying the words that truly matter, and so I very carefully considered how I would thank and honor both my parents and John’s parents. Though I’ve had occasion both before and after to do the same, I think the sentiment shared in that setting will always hold more weight than any other.

I could go on, but I’ll stop there :) Though I’m sure your list of ways to make your wedding meaningful will be different than mine, I hope my experience might help get your wheels turning! I’m cheering you on!! :)

All photos by Tanja Lippert

P.S. Want to breeze past the logistics and budget to dos so you can focus on what matters most? Pick up a copy of the Joyful Wedding Planner ASAP – hundreds of brides have used it to plan their weddings, and I couldn’t recommend it more!

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Mollie reply

    I love the idea of a picnic after the ceremony, but I must ask… how did you get photos done and have time for a picnic!?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Mollie! Haha happy to offer some insight! Our cocktail hour was about 1 hour. We used 15 minutes for our picnic, then the other 45 for portraits! Then we joined our reception! :)

  2. avatar Kirsti reply

    Thank you, Emily for sharing these tips! My fiancé and I have tried to keep our focus when making decisions during our planning process for our May 2018 wedding to have a wedding that truly represents us!

  3. avatar Kirsti reply

    Oh my goodness gracious! I just read your post Dreams Do Come True and it’s like we are soul mates! This is EXACTLY how I found my wedding venue – a lot of scouring on Google and then writing letter and eventually meeting with the oh so sweet owners that are willing to let us invite 200 of our guests to their home in May!

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One of the moments we dream about most as engaged gals is finding the dress! But like most wedding planning to dos, your shopping excursions are likely to go more smoothly with a little preparation. Last week, I shared a glossary of bridal designers to help you decide which shops may carry your dream dress. But once you’ve decided where you’re going, the next question is, who’s going with you?

Photo by Ryan Ray from Ellen and Richard’s wedding

Bridal appointments can be one of the sweetest highlights of the wedding planning process, which also makes them a great opportunity to invite loved ones to be part of the fun. As we shared on the pages of our Joyful Wedding Planner, though, the personalities of your companions is key. Choosing a dress can sometimes be a difficult decision, and you only want people there who are supportive and will put your vision first.

Other than that, there are about as many potential shopping crews as there are dresses! It’s ultimately a very personal decision, and the makeup can range from mom only to the entire bridal party, grandparents, cousins, future in-laws, and even dad and sometimes the groom! To help you decide who will make up your entourage, we asked a few of our friends to share their dress-shopping stories!

Photo by Blue Ribbon Vendor Chris Isham from Anna and Nathan’s wedding

I brought my mom and my mother-in-law with me to my bridal salon appointment. I felt that having a large entourage would get overwhelming, and I would run the risk of not getting to express my own opinion. My mom was two years into her diagnosis with brain cancer at the time that I got engaged, so I was trying my best to create joyful experiences for us to share together during that exciting time. My mom was the person who picked my dress, and when she saw it on me she started crying, I started crying, and we both knew it was the one. It was so special to share that joyful moment with her during such a trying time.
— Adrienne Rolon of Heart’s Content Events and Design, @heartscontentevents

I brought the two people who can’t help but be honest to a girl: her mama and her little sister! My sister had recently gotten married, and is the funnier, feistier version of me, so I knew she wouldn’t hold back in stating her opinion … ha! Also, I wholeheartedly recommend the ponytail holder trick: I tied my hair up for each gown to see what it’d REALLY look like, and in retrospect, I wished I’d fluffed it up with a little more aerosol hairspray and made a pretty messy bun for that Saturday. My gym-style quick top knot was helpful enough, but I learned it’s certainly tough to envision your wedding day look without your hair in a similar fashion to your wedding day. I also put on a bit more make-up so I didn’t look like I’d just woken up, which helped, too!
— Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes, @ashlynscarter (See Ashlyn’s wedding!)

The first time I tried on wedding dresses, I brought both of my parents and my grandparents. It was more of a “fun” appointment, where I tried on a bunch of different styles so I could get a feel for what I liked. Very quickly, I realized that everyone seemed to have an opinion and I knew that I wanted the next appointment to be different, so I decided to bring only my mom with me. It’s really true when they say, “when you know, you’ll know.” I remember my mom saying through her tears, “Tell me all the reasons that you love it,” and I did. Standing there in the dress that I knew I would walk down the aisle in, I listed off all the reasons that I loved it out loud and that was all that I needed. Don’t let other people’s opinions take over your own!
— Callie Davis of Call Me Callie and Nancy Ray Photography, @calliepittsdavis (See Callie’s wedding!)

I took my mom and my best friend, Jill! My mom was a no-brainer because I value her opinion and wanted her to love my dress as well. She knows what looks best on me. My best friend was fabulous moral support, and she has great style! Definitely don’t feel pressured to take a lot of people along with you (including mother-in-law). You want to feel 100% comfortable walking out in different dresses (some will flatter you and some will not). Sometimes too many opinions can just confuse you when you should be focusing on what it is you want rather than Aunt Martha or whoever!
— Courtney Whitmore of Pizzazzerie, @pizzazzerie (See Courtney’s wedding inspiration!)

During my first round of bridal appointments, it was just me and my mom! Then, she and my little sister came back to visit one weekend and we had our second round – which is when I found my dress! I grew up watching “Say Yes to the Dress” and had watched brides have their appointments with just family or with a big group of loved ones. While it would have been fun to have friends and other family members around, I loved how intimate it was to just have that moment shared between the three of us. Plus, I can be fairly indecisive about personal decisions, so keeping these appointments intimate was a great way to avoid too much input and truly go with the dress I loved best! Oh, and I made sure to call my grandma from the salon right after finding the one – she had to be included too even though she wasn’t physically there with us!
— Jessica Peddicord of Simply Jessica Marie, @simplyjessicamarie (See Jessica’s wedding!)

If you love this advice, you’ll love the bestselling Joyful Wedding Planner! Pick yours up in our shop today.

emily Written with love by Emily
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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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