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What the world’s best wedding planners give as newlywed gifts

June 10, 2021, 5:00 PM UTC
Experts agree: It’s the thought that counts.
Fortune

If there is anyone on earth who knows the secret to the perfect wedding gift, it would be a wedding planner. Between the hundreds of celebrations they throw for couples and the dozens of nuptials they attend for their own friends and family, event planning professionals have had more than a few tries at the task.

So Fortune set out to answer the burning question: What do the world’s best wedding planners like to give as newlywed gifts?

You’ll find one thread: personalization. These seven pros shared two dozen of their favorite gifts, everything from monogrammed pillow shams to curated book collections. But something was clear through it all. Customizing the gift says more than anything else, especially when you know they wouldn’t do it for themselves.

Proof, you could say, that the thought is really what counts.

Christofle Malmaison medium silver-plated tray
Courtesy of Christofle

Silver Tray: Party planner for Hollywood celebrities and discerning royalty, Colin Cowie has built a business that’s more than an event planning company. It’s an entire lifestyle brand, and it’s synonymous with opulent living. He has collaborated with Lenox to make his own china place settings and consulted with NetJets on customer experience. His idea of gifting, of course, is luxurious: giving newlyweds a silver tray from Christofle’s empire-inspired line, engraved with a supersweet, personalized moment. “One of my all-time favorite gifts to give is a sterling silver tray with their wedding invitation engraved to scale on it,” Cowie says. A thoughtful gesture that lasts a lifetime. Suggested retail price: $700

The Carry-On from Away
Courtesy of Away

Carry-on suitcase: Beverly Hills–based event planner Mindy Weiss, known for throwing some of the Kardashian clan’s over-the-top shindigs, is less flashy than her famous clients when it comes to newlywed gifts. For Weiss, it’s the thought that counts, whether it’s an embroidered robe or a monogrammed piece of luggage. “Newly married couples love to see their new initials,” Weiss says of opting to personalize an Away carry-on. She likes adding the “fashionable custom luggage tags” too. SRP: $275

The Shaker from Vermont Rolling Pins
Courtesy of Vermont Rolling Pins

Rolling pin: A former chef, wedding planner Marcy Blum credits her culinary background as inspiration for all her gift-giving ideas. Some of her favorite items include handcrafted teak salad bowls and colorful handblown glassware. But the item that really takes the cake—no pun intended—is a personally engraved, handcrafted wooden rolling pin from Vermont Rolling Pins. “These charming, personally engraved rolling pins always make the recipients smile,” Blum says. “They are heavy enough to do a good job on tough doughs!” We’re partial to the classic Shaker in maple, so your new heirloom will never go out of style. SRP: $85

Hermès Avalon throw blanket
Courtesy of Hermès

Throw blanket: An expert on South Asian social functions, Sonal Shah and her namesake event planning company are the preeminent team for Indian weddings around the world. You’ll often find her jet-setting to a tropical location for her clients, but she equally likes to cozy up with fabulous home goods like this Hermès merino wool and cashmere throw blanket. “Gift giving to me involves giving something that the couple would not necessarily buy for themselves,” Shah says. “Typically, newlyweds have a new home or are getting a new home. This is the perfect way for them to decorate. I love this gift!” SRP: $1,550

Sarah’s Gift Set from Saipua
Courtesy of Saipua

Soap set: Brooklyn-based event designer and wedding planner Jove Meyer is known for creative, all-encompassing events for couples who “dare to be different.” It’s not surprising, then, that his gifting philosophy also involves sensory experiences. “I love giving gifts that people will use and enjoy, not hide away on a shelf and take out only when you come and visit,” Meyer says. “It should be an experience from start to finish, inspire the senses, and bring joy.” Meyer likes to shop local so his go-to gift is a soap set from Saipua, handcrafted by a mother-daughter duo in New York City. He often adds a soap dish to complete the experience. SRP: $78

Calamondin fruit tree from Via Citrus
Courtesy of Via Citrus

Fruit tree: “It is the gift that keeps on giving, year after year,” says Lisa Vorce, one of the most in-demand event planners in the world for the past two decades. (She threw Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s big day, among others.) Her favorite gift? She likes to ship a citrus tree like a calamondin, a fragrant hybrid fruit that’s part kumquat, part mandarin orange. Notably, the tree can thrive indoors or out and often blooms year-round. The juicy fruit makes tasty jams, and the peel is a welcome, aromatic addition to a cocktail. “I love the idea that clients can watch their fruit tree grow as their relationship grows as well,” Vorce adds. SRP: $65

Baccarat Harcourt Abysse Vodka Set
Courtesy of Baccarat

Crystal vodka glassware: Event designer extraordinaire Norma Cohen plans some off-the-charts events, like filling a historic hotel ballroom with live trees, hanging thousands of crystals and flowers from a ceiling to create a canopy, and crafting giant pineapple topiaries out of sunflowers. So, it’s natural that she takes gifting to the next level too. Her No. 1 present tends to be an antique, one-of-a-kind sterling silver water pitcher that she’ll find at a retailer such as 1stDibs. It’s a way to elevate the everyday. But that works for a crystal vodka set from Baccarat too, and you can shop it at the click of a button. “When newlyweds entertain or get home from work, they often have a drink,” Cohen says. “A vodka set like this is something that most newlyweds would love and use often, but wouldn’t buy for themselves.” SRP: $7,700

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