Buying a gift for a couple to start their new lives together is not an easy task. After all, you're looking for a meaningful gift that will help two special people start their new lives together. A little guidance is always helpful, but not always immediate at hand. Some, couples, of course, make the choices easy by providing a gift registry at one or several stores. But anyone who has said "I do" well knows that in the flurry of planning isn't a high priority for everyone. If there's no registry, Gifts.com has several "rules of engagement" for nuptial giving. The site said household appliances are a sure bet for wedding showers. If you think your couple already has the appliances they already need, then the site suggests getting creative: have them put those appliances to work by buying them cooking lessons, or you could help them toast their marriage by giving a membership in a wine club. For single gift-givers, another way to come up with ideas is to put yourself in the shoes of the bride or groom: What would you want if you were getting married? If buying into the old stand-bys like toasters, blenders and waffle makers or getting creative isn't your bag, Gifts.com said that it's completely within good form to make a few calls to find out what is on a couple's wish list. Of course, contacting the bride- or groom-to-be isn't a good option, but calling their parents or relatives, or groomsmen and bridesmaids is. They will know what the couple wants better than anybody.

What To Spend

In these tough economic times, the amount you spend on a shower or wedding gift is likely something that enters the equation. Gifts.com suggests that giving only what you can afford. Secondly, the site added, scale it appropriately to the amount of people attending the event. People may want to be a bit more generous if their children are along for the festivities. According to wedding etiquette expert Peggy Post on her site, EmilyPost.com, "there is no rule" to the amount you give to a couple. "Let your affection for the bride and groom and your budget be your guide," the site said.

When To Give

If you decide that money is the best gift to give, then gift-givers should know who exactly to make the check out to, according to the site. If the check is written for a shower, then it should be made out to the bride -- using her maiden name -- or groom. For a wedding gift, it's appropriate to write a check out to "Mr. and Mrs." or, if the bride keeps her maiden name, write the check out to both people. Of course, like procrastinators who wait to the last minute before the holidays to buy gifts -- if not after -- there are those who do the same for weddings. Gifts.com noted that its acceptable wedding etiquette to get a couple a gift up to one year after they are married. But sooner is better rather than later, EmilyPost.com stated. "Contrary to a current rumor that you have a year to send a gift, it really should be sent right away or within three months of the wedding," the site said.