Newlywed Gift Idea: A Fabulous Dinner Out

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When my husband and I got married in May, we decided not to register for gifts. We felt strongly that, while we were certainly quite grateful for anything our guests might want to give us, we didn't want to request anything in particular, and we didn't expect any gifts at all.

That meant we were surprised and delighted by everything we received, and as a pair who love good food and fine dining, we were especially psyched to get a number of gift certificates to restaurants that we wanted to try, had never even considered trying, or would have never spent the money to try during our first year of marriage. Our gifts have set us up for a number of fabulous dinner dates that we can savor as we settle into a lifetime together.

I've given restaurant gift certificates as wedding gifts in the past myself—I especially consider them to be a great option for couples who have already established their households and don't really need any more "stuff" cluttering their lives. It's also fun to introduce my newly married friends to some of my favorite places, many of which they might not have ever thought to try. But I'll admit, it never occurred to me that we might receive some as gifts ourselves!

If you're considering giving a gift certificate to a restaurant to a couple getting married, here are some ideas of the types of restaurants that could provide the happy couple with a wonderful night of dining and a set of memories to carry with them into their future.

 

Dining Out

 

Image: Genie Gratto

 

An Institution

I believe it's my father who has counseled couples for years to pick a well-established restaurant for their first anniversary dinner. His thinking on this is simple: The more of an institution a restaurant, the more likely it will still be around for, say, the 25th anniversary, too.

Restaurants like Berkeley's Chez Panisse, Washington DC's Old Ebbitt Grill, or Gibson's Steakhouse in Chicago are stalwarts that epitomize this category. Whether they're upscale or just comfortably lovely, a gift certificate to one of these types of places may help the couple establish a tradition at a restaurant they can return to again and again.

A New and Trendy Spot

Even if the couple in question has been together for a long time, their marriage is still a new and exciting adventure! Take a look at what's hot and new on the restaurant scene in their town and let them kick off their life together with an menu as fresh as their marriage license. Boston couples might enjoy checking out Sterling's, while Seattle couples might enjoy being some of the first diners in the door of Aragona, which is scheduled to open by early fall.

A Restaurant With a Tasting Menu

Though a tasting menu for two (perhaps even with the wine pairing) is probably more than most people want to spend on a wedding gift, this is a great option for a group of guests who want to go in together on a special gift. If you know the couple is into avant-garde food, consider a gift of a meal at a restaurant that specializes in molecular gastronomy, like Moto in Chicago or Minibar in Washington D.C. Otherwise, consider another swanky option like Aureole in Las Vegas, Oxheart in Houston, or Bacchanalia in Atlanta.

Someplace Special at the Honeymoon Location

Unless the couple getting married has chosen a cruise or an all-inclusive resort for their post-wedding getaway, they're going to have to eat. Consider sending them a gift certificate they can use for a special romantic meal during their trip. If the honeymooners will be jetting off to the Hawaiian islands, a dinner at Alan Wong's in Honolulu might be just the thing. If they're headed for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Asolare offers innovative cuisine in a hip setting.

No matter what you choose, you're sure to give the couple a delicious experience and a break from the everyday.

Have you ever given a restaurant gift certificate to a bride and groom? What type of restaurant have you selected for that gift? Share your stories and ideas in the comments below.

Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories.

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