Something for the Home
Let's say the newlyweds have already moved into a home, and they have everything they need, really, except…there's
Consider giving them a good piece of artwork to hang in their entryway, or over the sofa — anyplace that needs a little sprucing up. Take a good look at their color scheme (if they have one, that is) and choose something appropriate. Newlyweds generally love romantic pictures or sculptures of couples holding one another, or staring into one another's eyes, but you can go against that grain if you'd rather purchase a serene painting of an English garden or a depiction of small-town America.
Make sure that the artwork you're giving fits the newlyweds' overall taste. Your contemporary-minded daughter may simply roll her eyes at an ultraconservative choice and hang it only when you're coming for a visit.
Hire a Designer
Not into giving art? How about hiring an interior designer for a consultation with the newlyweds? This is a rather pricey service that many young homeowners would love to have, but would never consider paying for. Some designers charge by the hour; others charge by the room or project.
If you were to hire your designer to do some of his fancy home-work, you would purchase furniture, curtains, or other materials through him, and your final bill would include his commission on these items.
One caveat about interior designers or decorators: Find someone who is used to dealing with the type of project you're looking at (e.g., a starter home). A higher-priced expert may have incredible ideas, but it's just as likely that he or she normally only works in multimillion dollar homes. Even if you somehow managed to lasso him into your daughter's bungalow, his thoughts of tearing out walls and commissioning giant paintings may be completely unrealistic, both for the home itself and for the budget you're working with. If the chemistry is all wrong between the two of you (or is completely, suspiciously absent), keep looking.
Where will you find the man or the woman with the plans? Word of mouth is always a safe bet. If you have friends who have recently worked with a designer, ask them about their experience. You might also want to visit home shows or model homes in the area where decorators show off their talents. Your local chamber of commerce might also be able to flip you a reputable designer or two.
You'll want to ask designers about their training and you want to contact some former clients for references. Make sure their contractors (painters, for example) are insured. Above all, don't be afraid to lay everything on the line — the size of the project, the budget, and the deadline (if any). You're spending good money on their services; make sure you're getting what you want.
Most newlyweds would love to have a cleaning or cooking service. Treat your daughter to a month's vacation from these chores. You're giving the new couple the gift of time — time to relax and unwind and settle into married life.
More Human Help
A professional organizer is another expert who is considered a rather luxurious (though very necessary, in some homes) expense. This person comes in, literally cleans house, throws out what the couple doesn't need, and organizes the things that they absolutely must have (such as dishes and clothes). Not an inexpensive gift, but something that the newlyweds would probably love.
If the newlyweds are living in a new home without even the promise of shrubbery, think about hiring a landscaping service for them. While this is also a fairly expensive venture, you may be able to at least get them