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You’re invited to your best friends’ wedding and it’s time to shop for their gift. Before they make their vows, make your own. Vow not to succumb to a run-of-the-mill gift. Go beyond blenders, pitch the pots and pans, and dump the dinnerware. Sure, brides and grooms need these things, but why not leave them to the other guests?

Say “I do” to the unusual and give a creative wedding gift. It will show that you gave your selection a lot of thought. Remember, though, to personalize the content of the gift for the particular bride and groom. Assess their interests and needs. Though you may like to hike in the mountains, camping equipment may not be appropriate for couples who like to golf.

Most every bride and groom will appreciate a weekend, or even a single night getaway. Give them a pair of airline tickets to their choice of destination. Purchase a Bed and Breakfast, resort, spa, or hotel package for the couple to use on their first anniversary. If the price of a mini vacation is too steep, a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant or to the theater will do.

For a gift that goes beyond the wedding reception, make reservations and pre-pay for an elegant, romantic dinner at a restaurant located in the couple's honeymoon destination. Surprise them by having the certificate waiting at the front desk when they check into their hotel. Or, simply have room service deliver breakfast, a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of fine champagne to their room.

Preserve memories by preserving wedding mementos. Wedding invitations may be inserted on the side of a large candle or mounted on a plaque. Floral bouquets may be pressed, placed on velvet backing and framed under glass. There are companies that will encase mementos in acrylic to create a paperweight. Or, create your own collage for a hand made gift. Use a shadow box frame and include placecards, wedding programs, personalized napkins and other small wedding items. Any of these items will make a special piece of art, a conversation piece and a wonderful keepsake.

If what the nuptial pair needs is something more practical, ask them for suggestions. Perhaps it’s a small piece of furniture that they have selected for their new home, or maybe you can pay for installation and a few months of cable television service. A lawnmower or a garage door opener is perfect for first-time homeowners. For a great gift that keeps on giving (and cooking), buy them a gas grill. If it’s fun and games you plan to give, try a Ping-Pong or a pool table. And don’t despair if your budget is tight. You can offer your house-painting services, and the bride and groom will definitely appreciate help moving into their love nest.

The next time you’re invited to a wedding, don’t just consult the registry. Be creative, look for the unusual, and give a truly memorable gift.