My generous in-laws gave us $2500, which went straight into the house-buying fund. Most of the guests gave us checks; I know it's not supposed to be proper, but they were all close relatives, and I didn't ask for money--my Mom asked me what we'd like, so I felt I could ask her and my brothers for money, being very close relatives, and I think they mustv'e passed the message on! Everyone knew we wanted to get out of the apartment, and buy a house very soon after the wedding. I was so grateful for the funds, as I paid for the wedding AND for the house downpayment and closing costs! To me, it was the best gift--and one that keeps on giving every day, as we love the house!
For my shower, Mom gave me sterling silver candlesticks, which looked like th eones Grandmom had (Dad melted them down during the '80's silver boom, thinking he could sell the silver!). They were always on our mantlepice when I was a kid, and would have gone to me after Mom died. I found a similar pair in a catalog, and put them on my registry. They're an heirloom. I think wedding gifts should be a mixture of practical and heirloom stuff. The practical stuff may get ruined with use; so then you'll still have the heirlooms to remind you of the wedding day (and to pass down through the family--I never had that--so it's important to me, even though I tend to like practical gifts much more).
Does the couple have a favorite store or restaurant? How about a gift card for them? Not as crass as cash for some people
Do they like fine wine? How about a few bottles, or wine items?
Or gourmet food? Or do they like to cook/grill/bake, etc.? Pack a nice basket full of those items, or a picnic basket.
Do they like the opera or baseball? How about season tickets (as long as they don't plant to move from the area!)?
What hobbies do they like? Stuff for those wuld be nice, too.
Do they have pets? If their pets are their life, how about some luxury items for the pets?