Choosing a wedding gift for a couple may, at first, seem like a pretty simple endeavor. Most of us think we can just run right out on our lunch hour and grab something, have it wrapped, and, voila! - problem solved. But if you've ever actually tried to do this, you've surely discovered that it's never, ever that easy! There are several criteria to be met before purchasing a wedding gift, so let's go over some of them - before you waste another lunch hour!

If Possible, Make It Personal

First off: How well are you acquainted with the couple? Is this wedding gift going to a close, personal friend or a relative who is getting married? If you know someone fairly intimately, then whatever you select needs to reflect that. What do you know about who is getting married that can make your gift to them special, memorable?

Do you happen to know that the soon-to-be bride and groom love to go rock climbing, for instance? If so, then you can make your gift something that rock climbers use - hooks, rappelling lines, backpacks… even books on rock climbing would be good, particularly something like a coffee table book with great photographs that could be displayed in the couple's living room or den.

Gifts for the Boss

If it's your boss that's getting married, it pays to be particularly careful when choosing a wedding gift, for obvious reasons. You don't want to appear too cheap, nor do you want to spend more than you can afford (who wants a boss to think your salary warrants an extravagant gift?). In this case, it's important that you know what would please your superior without spending an arm and a leg.

If you've worked with him or her for any length of time, then you probably know some of the things they enjoy that are not associated with work. And if you're really sharp, you know about what his or her betrothed enjoys, too. Go with what you know. If you know the pair enjoys golf, for instance, you might consider getting them something that pertains to that, such as a gift certificate for 18 holes at their favorite club, or something for their home such as a wall hanging or other decorative object with a golfing theme.

Wedding Gifts for People You Don't Know Very Well

Buying a wedding gift for someone you don't know very well, but who feels they know YOU well enough to invite to their wedding may be the easiest gift of all to buy. First, find out if and where they have a gift registry. Then it's a simple matter of adding to their chosen set of china, silverware, or other household items. If the couple has not registered anywhere, then a generic gift of which there are countless choices will suffice nicely.

The point is that you express your generosity of spirit and wish the couple a happy wedding day by sending some sort of appropriate gift. This could include a gift basket filled with imported wine, cheeses, fruit, and other gourmet goodies (perfect for the couple to enjoy from a honeymoon hotel suite!); linens embroidered with the couple's initials; crystal ware (a lead-crystal vase is always a welcome gift!); or a collection of beautifully rendered, scented candles.

A wedding gift should express your best wishes for the couple, not advertise how much money you do or don't have. So pick your gift to fit not only the couple, but your budget, as well. And remember: It's never the price of the gift that should matter, but the sentiment with which it is given.