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stumped for wedding gift....your go-to gift?

toodie jane Jun 24, 2007 08:59 AM

Do you have an unusual gift that never fails to delight, something off the normal gift registry radar. Something useful but not often thought of? We'd spend up to $100 but price isn't the determining factor. I"d like it to be useful and durable and timeless, so they're still using it 50 years from now.

I'd love to hear from you about your favorite gifts received or given!

  1. p
    Pampatz Jun 24, 2007 09:07 AM

    My 3 favorite gifts that I received ions ago and am still using are:
    1. A large, deep, restaurant style wooden salad bowl. I've replaced the serving utensils several times, but the bowl just keeps getting better;
    2. Set of majolica salad plates - dresses up any table and salad;
    3. Large, ceramic water pitcher - Italian or Mexican Talavera style.
    Hope that this helps.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pampatz
      flourgirl Jun 24, 2007 09:56 AM

      My mom gave me a huge maple bowl (17" diameter) that I adore. I use it for all kinds of big salads, mixing and kneading bread dough etc. Wasn't a wedding gift, but what a great suggestion.

      1. re: flourgirl
        Chris VR Jun 24, 2007 10:46 AM

        High quality woodenware are my favorites. I still love a beautiful cutting board and bread knife I received as a present. And I love my large wooden salad bowl. I've seen very unique hand-carved salad servers as well. It's the sort of stuff that makes great presents because it seems a bit extravagant to buy for yourself.

    2. Tehama Jun 24, 2007 09:08 AM

      I know this doesn't meet your criteria of being timeless, but I think it could be special and unusual: How about a gift certificate (GC) to an elegant restaurant in their hometown; a GC to an upscale/ gourmet grocer or wine shoppe; or a GC to cooking classes?

      ALL of my girlfriends always say they just want things off of their registry to avoid the "weirdo" gifts that sometimes arrive.

      Me personally - I would love Le Creuset pieces or a nice oversized pan for the stove that can accommodate large amounts of the food. (You can see Michael Chiarello always cooking with these on "Easy Entertaining" on FoodTV)

      12 Replies
      1. re: Tehama
        toodie jane Jun 24, 2007 09:21 AM

        the gc's are a great idea. Don't know their hometown too well, but I can ask their folks....

        Yes, trying to avoid the wierdo gifts as well, but can't get excited about any of the registry stuff. It's not all that durable.

        1. re: toodie jane
          c
          curiousbaker Sep 26, 2007 12:44 PM

          Not to be contrarian, but personally I hated getting registry gifts from people I actually knew. I hate the idea of a registry anyway (anything beyond picking china/crystal patterns) and was forced into it the combined force of my mother and mother-in-law (now ex-mother-in-law). The whole process just seems to take the fun, the joy, the personal touch out of giving and receiving. But I suppose it makes sense if you're inviting a lot of people you don't know very well, another thing the dual-maternal-force insisted upon. Ah, well, if I ever get married again, I'll have the strength of my convictions and a very, very different type of wedding.

          Favorite wedding gifts I received: an excellent cutting board, a Kitchenaid mixer, a really handsome cake plate, and a huge silver platter for the Thanksgiving turkey.

          Favorite wedding gifts I've given: a dessert-themed box for a baking couple which included a Silpat sheet, alphabet cutters, ice cream bowls, pastry tips and bags, individual-sized molds, nested biscuit cutters, a really good heavy French rolling pin, and a good bottle of dessert wine, among other things. Whenever I go to their house and see a pie with the words "eat me" cut into the top crust, I smile. Another big hit was the hers and hers towel set I gave to a couple that married recently in Massachusetts.

          1. re: curiousbaker
            flourgirl Sep 26, 2007 12:57 PM

            I agree. I was married at the age of 26 and couldn't face the idea of a huge wedding. We had 35 people to a very elegant dinner party. And I didn't register because I felt, as you do, that the people who were attending were all very close family members and friends who knew my husband and I very well and didn't need to be told what to purchase. I wasn't getting married for the gifts anyway. BTW, the wedding was beautiful and we did receive lovely gifts that we treasure to this day.

            (But I will admit to succumbing to the lure of the registry when my mother planned my baby shower. Looking back, it really wasn't necessary than either. I got conned by the baby magazines into believing that babies had to have WAAAY more stuff than they actually need, and, in a panic, registered for almost every single one of those things, many of which ended up being returned or barely used. Honestly, the best presents I received were the adorable outfits, etc. that people picked out that weren't on the registry.)

            1. re: curiousbaker
              Katie Nell Sep 26, 2007 05:15 PM

              Same here... I hate when people ask me for lists too- if you don't know what to get me, then you probably shouldn't be getting me anything. Ditto for gift certificates!

              1. re: curiousbaker
                w
                wildfire Mar 13, 2008 08:58 AM

                I think the large silver platter is a great idea! It will last and will be pretty much guarenteed to be used at least once a year. My favorite wedding gift was a vintage sake with gold flecks in it (that is meant to be drunk on our 10th anniversery).

              2. re: toodie jane
                j
                JaneRI Sep 27, 2007 11:41 AM

                W/rare exceptions, the stuff people put on their registry is stuff they truly want and/or need, so why not give them that? You say you "can't get excited about any of the registry stuff" but frankly, the giftee is the only person who needs to get excited, not the gifter.

                1. re: JaneRI
                  m
                  MakingSense Oct 3, 2007 01:50 PM

                  I hate registries because the stuff so many people put on them is so pedestrian.
                  How can they possibly be excited about ordinary housewares destined to break in a few years, end up being given to charity or sold in garage sales when they go out of fashion or the couple simply gets tired of them or their tastes change?

                  I've still got the beautiful china, crystal and silver that I got as wedding presents more than 30 years ago from the department store registry. No, we didn't need that stuff for our simple newlywed life but our friends and relatives had faith that the marriage would last and that we'd have children and build a life in which we'd enjoy those things. We did get simple housewares as shower gifts and had no trouble setting up housekeeping.
                  OK, we got some awful klunkers as gifts too, some of which we couldn't even return. But the givers meant well. And frankly, the cost of that gift wasn't their admission fee to our wedding.

                  When my mother died, we split her wedding china, crystal, silver and many other of her wedding presents among my daughters and nieces. How much of this current registry stuff is going to be worth that?

                  1. re: MakingSense
                    j
                    JaneRI Oct 3, 2007 01:52 PM

                    I still say a gift is about the person receiving, not the person giving. And that the vast majority of brides & grooms today are long past the point of needing simple housewares...they have all that stuff from the two households they are now combining.

                    1. re: JaneRI
                      m
                      MakingSense Oct 3, 2007 02:38 PM

                      But I am talking about the registries for simple housewares. Even Home Depot has them. Power tools, wheelbarrows, pots and pans. The things you say that people have if they already have households or that they would add if they're setting them up.
                      Couples today are largely established for essentials. All the more reason to give them lovely things that they might not buy for themselves. Luxury goods for entertaining and to establish a gracious household, not just upgrades on stuff they already have.
                      If they're going to establish registries, why not do nice things rather than such ho-hum stuff? I'd much rather give them the art glass bowl they've been admiring than a new stock pot to replace one they might already have.

                      1. re: MakingSense
                        j
                        JaneRI Oct 4, 2007 06:36 AM

                        I totally agree MakingSense.....but no one here has talked about getting something the bridal couple has "been admiring" ....just what they themselves have been admiring. I personally am very picky and would think "ugh" to an art glass bowl of someone else's taste. It's no big deal to get a $20 item you're not crazy about, but I hate getting a pricey item I'm not into. I feel they wasted their money and there is so much guilt (for me) attached to the item. I keep it forever, but never get enjoyment out of it.

                        1. re: JaneRI
                          m
                          MakingSense Oct 4, 2007 12:06 PM

                          Judging from the registry lists I've seen, I don't think enough couples are giving enough thought to putting personal things on them. Too much utilitarian stuff. When they need plain baking dishes and kitchenwares, they won't feel bad about purchasing those, but they'll maybe have a hard time stretching resources to purchase lovely serving pieces or an ice bucket. It's nice to add a couple a lovely decanters to set up a nice bar. A few silver or decorative platters for entertaining. A good crystal bowl or large wooden salad bowl.

                          Art is a poor choice as a gift unless you know that it is a particular piece that the couple has put on their list or it is returnable. My daughter did put several specific pieces of glass on her list at several price points and friends did give them to her. Fortunately, nobody gave her something goofy just because they thought she liked glass in general. Maybe because she was specific.

                    2. re: MakingSense
                      JayVaBeach Oct 3, 2007 05:36 PM

                      I'm in agreement with you Making Sense; however, just like anything else, it's the way our affected "me society" has moved. Whatever is easiest, quickest & often times most nominal. I do hesitate to purchase "only" from a registery particularly when the couple isn't registered with a good department store, but rather a home supercenter store. When in doubt Williams-Sonoma is in store (literally) for that type of couple. If it's a couple without a registery all together, I usually order from Gumps or Tiffany - either or, one cannot go wrong! I'm very thankful for the fine china & sterling that my grandparents received for their weddings, as well as, some pieces that my Mother has parted with to date. While my grandparents are all deceased & my Father too, my Mother @ 69 is still entertaining & hasn't released all of her favorite fine treasures to my siblings & me - not just yet. It's interesting inspecting all of the fine cut glass & older more elaborate pieces from my grandparents' era & then my parent's pieces (married 1960) are much more simple & classic. It's all fun!

              3. flourgirl Jun 24, 2007 09:09 AM

                This wasn't a wedding present, but a bridal shower gift. It was a set of Cooks Club stainless steel kitchen tools - a spatula, big spoon and slotted spoon. We've been married 15 years and I still use them. They are hefty, indestructible, wash up with ease and I LOVE them. They're one of the few wedding/shower gifts we received that I still use - and just about every single day. And I remember exactly who gave them to us and often think of them with a smile when I use these treasured tools.

                I have to say that in our neck of the woods, everyone we know who has married recently was primarily looking for cash gifts. I know, I know, but that's just the way things are around here.

                4 Replies
                1. re: flourgirl
                  toodie jane Jun 24, 2007 09:19 AM

                  ....I know what you mean about the thought and smile....I have those moments too!

                  1. re: toodie jane
                    cowgirlinthesand Jun 24, 2007 10:02 AM

                    A big wooden Peugeot pepper mill!

                    1. re: cowgirlinthesand
                      s
                      soupkitten Jun 25, 2007 10:43 AM

                      when i was very poor one of my best friends got married, and the registry item i could afford was the good quality wooden matching salt & pepper mills for kitchen & dining table. she will continue to think of me each time she uses them, every single day! i think the every day items are the best-- big wooden cutting boards. or large serving pieces like a big pasta serving bowl that could double for salads or other uses, that large oval platter-- or set of 2 or more smaller oval, circle, square platters that match, for dinner parties and family dinners.

                      a nice set of linen or cotton napkins-- 12 pc. minimum, monogram optional.

                      1. re: cowgirlinthesand
                        JayVaBeach Oct 3, 2007 05:46 PM

                        I LOVE MY PEUGEOT mills!!!!!!

                        Awesome!

                  2. c
                    Clarkafella Jun 24, 2007 10:57 AM

                    Cookbook(s)! You can't ever have to many, and you can tailor your choice to their level.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Clarkafella
                      j
                      Jane917 Jun 24, 2007 11:49 AM

                      I often give a Magnum or Peugeot pepper mill. For someone I know better, I have given nice wooden salad bowls. I'm a bit old fashioned, but I don't have much fun shopping off a registry list.

                      1. re: Jane917
                        h
                        Hungry Celeste Jun 25, 2007 08:05 AM

                        I feel the same way about registries, esp when I see stuff that's overpriced & under-quality for kitchen equipment. I'd rather give a smallish Le Creuset or decent All Clad pot rather than a set of cheap stuff that won't make it to the 5th anniversary! That said, cutting boards & knives & some sort of sharpener are also nice.

                    2. Andiereid Jun 24, 2007 12:19 PM

                      Count me in as another vote for high quality woodware - a nice cutting board or beautiful wooden salad bowl - I've kept all mine from our wedding and have loved them.

                      I would like to put my two cents in on not buying from the registry, however. We got married very young and were just starting out and had nothing. We selected our items carefully and they were all things we NEEDED. DESPERATELY. Pots and pans and knives and cutting boards and everyday dishes and silverware and glassware. Almost no one bought us items from our registry. Everyone seemed to want to buy us something "special". We wound up with a bunch of silver chafing dishes, silver plated pasta servers, silver trays, decorative wall sconces and other frou-frou that we had absolutely no use for and didn't match our style or taste. The kind of stuff we STILL wouldn't use, 20 years later. We wound up taking almost everything back and trying to fill in the items we'd originally registered for that we needed. It was a lot of trouble for us, and some gifts we couldn't exchange. Based on my own personal history, I usually try to find someting on the register I'd enjoy giving. Most people register for gifts because they want and/or need particular things, and you may not be doing them any favors by going off the gift registry.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Andiereid
                        toodie jane Jun 24, 2007 12:52 PM

                        point wll taken....

                        1. re: toodie jane
                          Candy Jun 24, 2007 06:12 PM

                          I am a silver junkie, never to much, going into my 3rd. set of flatware....Wallace Lion, it makes me swoon. Gauge you r bride. Most stainless i received got a polte thank you note ad was either returned or donated. Nothing wrong with a nice piece of Le Creuset

                        2. re: Andiereid
                          MaspethMaven Jun 24, 2007 05:35 PM

                          Agreed. I ended up with a gold and silver tone place settings for 12, as well as a 12 qt tabletop roaster that needs to be run OUTSIDE so that manufacturing residue and fumes can burn off prior to use. I'm not making this up.

                          These were gifts to a couple that registered for table settings for four....

                          one of the best shower gifts that I have given was, along with pyrex off the registry, an assortment of penzey's spices. The couple really loved that.

                          1. re: Andiereid
                            d
                            duckii18 Jul 1, 2007 10:38 AM

                            I often feel like a wedding gift should have more thought going into it than picking off a list, but I also understand why the registry is there in the first place. My solution is to pick one thing off the registry and embellish. Usually, I do wine glasses and then add a bottle of wine that will mature on an important anniversary. They get what they need, plus something sentimental.

                            1. re: duckii18
                              litchick Jul 1, 2007 12:25 PM

                              The wine idea is a great one, duckii18. My husband and I are were just really getting into wine when we got married, and someone gave us a few wine accoutrements (the rabbit, etc) as well as five bottles of wine, specially chosen (and marked) to be "ready to open" on each our first five anniversaries. Wonderful!

                              1. re: litchick
                                s
                                soupkitten Jul 2, 2007 12:15 PM

                                yes a great idea!

                              2. re: duckii18
                                Katie Nell Sep 25, 2007 10:10 AM

                                This is what I always do too. I'll pick like a mixing bowl and some spatulas from the registry, and then I'll add things like high quality chocolate chips, vanilla, cinnamon, etc. Embellish the registry items... I like that!

                                1. re: duckii18
                                  j
                                  JaneRI Sep 27, 2007 11:43 AM

                                  Now THAT is a wonderful idea duckii. Off the registry but jazz it up. I can't believe all the posts on here saying how much they hate buying off a registry...but then go on to describe unwanted gifts they themselves rec'd.

                              3. dinner belle Jun 24, 2007 12:29 PM

                                A great appetizer cookbook and a pretty serving platter (got this idea from my mother!). Even if you don't have dinner parties, you should have some great appetizer recipes up your sleeve and something attractive to serve them on. People I've given these to repeatedly make a point of telling me how often they use them.

                                1. k
                                  ktcolt Jun 24, 2007 12:41 PM

                                  My vote is for LC or Lodge cast iron dutch oven...a personal touch could be hand written instructions on how to season and care for the item!

                                  I have a neighbor who always buys a nice BIG stock pot for the happy couple...regardless of their wish list...she just figures over the years with family visiting at holidays and a growing family of their own someday... a big stock pot can always be used!

                                  Let us know what you end up getting!!!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ktcolt
                                    toodie jane Jun 24, 2007 12:50 PM

                                    I have some rescued vintage cast iron fry pans that I'm giving them, but since they're not new, I wanted to do something else as well. The stock pot is a good idea, too.

                                    1. re: ktcolt
                                      ballulah Jun 24, 2007 01:12 PM

                                      I totally agree on Le Creuset cast iron dutch oven. I always give this as a gift, and one of my friends says it's made her a better cook. Nothing goes wrong when she cooks in it! I also vote for the classic orange, rather than the fashion-y colors they put out.

                                      If you want to be really unusual, I'd say get the LC tagine. I've had my eye on one for years, but it seems like an extravagant gift for myself, however, I'd love to receive one!

                                    2. j
                                      janeer Jun 24, 2007 05:25 PM

                                      I often shop the antique stores to find a really nice, large oval platter, something suitable for a turkey. People seem to love it.

                                      A 10"chef's knife and a good, all-around cookbook.

                                      I used to make these incredible picnic baskets: buy a great wicker rectangular basket and fill with a tablecloth/napkins, silverware, plates, glasses, etc. A big hit, but I think it's too expensive to do now.
                                      www.littlecomptonmornings.blogspot.com

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: janeer
                                        atheorist Jun 24, 2007 06:07 PM

                                        Ooh the platter! We have all this beautiful stuff yet we have to dust off the shabbiest platter every thanksgiving. I bet that is true for many.
                                        Nice to see everyone loving the Wooden salad bowl and or cutting board. We have received and given those but the OP was hoping for something unusual.

                                        1. re: atheorist
                                          toodie jane Jun 25, 2007 07:30 AM

                                          ...not so much unusual, but something I might not think of in terms of registry items. There have been some great suggestions. I'm going by or local Bamboo store today to look for a salad bowl or tray.

                                          http://bambu-batu.com/41-0-serving-bo...

                                          1. re: toodie jane
                                            c
                                            cookbookchick Jun 25, 2007 04:10 PM

                                            If you can afford it, an All-Clad 3-quart saucier -- it is the most versatile pan I own. I wouldn't risk cast iron because, unless you know they want one, most people do not have the know-how or commitment to maintain it properly. But enameled cat-iron, like Le Creuset is a gift that will last forever -- these days, probably longer than the marriage! :-)

                                      2. Candy Jun 25, 2007 04:17 PM

                                        I had some other ideas in te past but after taking AMy Sedaris' I Like You it is now going to be my go to wedding gift. Maybe some gifts that are not wedding oriented either, like graduations and the like.

                                        1. Carrie 218 Jun 25, 2007 04:21 PM

                                          My stand-by wedding gift:

                                          A GIANT stock-pot filled to the brim with gourmet pantry items: pastas, mustards, vinegar, oil, candies, kitchen towels, a wooden spoon or two (those are a few items that you can never have enough of!), sardines, heirloom beans, exotic rice, capers, cornichons, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.

                                          I don't even bother to box and wrap this gift - I just tie a huge ribbon around it and put a wooden spoon and whisk as part of the bow.

                                          1. m
                                            marlie202 Jun 25, 2007 04:31 PM

                                            a large salad bowl or pasta bowl with servers

                                            1. ktmoomau Jun 28, 2007 02:10 PM

                                              A set of good knives or a specific good knife because it is amazing how many people have crap knives and you can never have too many really, not good ones... Although it might be thought of, maybe one that isn't in a normal set, but you always wish to have.

                                              1. Scrapironchef Jun 29, 2007 08:47 AM

                                                A nice wine bucket and a great bottle of champagne, maybe a couple of nice flutes to go with it. You can go as up or downscale as you want and still give a nice dift.

                                                I agree with staying on the registry if possible, but you have to look at the couple. If all that's on the registry is basics, that's a big clue.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Scrapironchef
                                                  d
                                                  dinwiddie Jun 29, 2007 08:57 AM

                                                  We often give a good wooden salad bowl, but one that has always been well received is an antique ice cream scoop (the kind with the ratchet and sliding bar) and a set of ice cream bowls.

                                                  For good friends I often give a set of Reidel wine glasses and a nice bottle of a small production Pinot Noir from my cellar.

                                                  1. re: dinwiddie
                                                    r
                                                    renov8r Mar 11, 2008 10:06 AM

                                                    I did not know that classic "disher" is considered and antique:

                                                    http://www.instawares.com/disher-40-t...

                                                    (btw I have found that for ice cream even the 'good' Hamiton Beach and Vollrath versions of this device are a pain to use compared to the Zeroll or Zyliss scoops -- for making "cafeteris line" portions of cottage cheese or mashed potato they are tops though...)

                                                2. Honey Bee Jun 29, 2007 08:56 AM

                                                  If I know the couple drinks alcohol, then a Tiffany decanter with the first letter of their last name etched on the front. You can usually get one of the simpler decanters for about $100 and who doesn't like getting that little blue box.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: Honey Bee
                                                    wenster Jun 29, 2007 09:18 AM

                                                    On that same thread of thinking- I've always found really nice wine stoppers (e.g., a set of Venetian blown glass or solid silver) are great gifts.

                                                    1. re: Honey Bee
                                                      f
                                                      foodstorm Jun 29, 2007 12:13 PM

                                                      LOVE that idea, Honey Bee!

                                                      1. re: foodstorm
                                                        Honey Bee Jun 29, 2007 12:52 PM

                                                        Thanks. I have given this gift several times with great results. As a bonus, I have always had wonderful experiences with the customer service reps for Tiffany. To have something etched you have to call the 1 800 number (can't order it online), but the people are so darn nice it isn't a hassel. And they keep all your information on file so it makes it easy to do repeat business.

                                                        1. re: Honey Bee
                                                          p
                                                          Produce Addict Jul 18, 2007 03:13 PM

                                                          One thing to be careful of is whether the bride is changing her name, which a guest might not know at the time of buying the present.

                                                          1. re: Produce Addict
                                                            Honey Bee Jul 19, 2007 02:16 PM

                                                            Very good point. With so many people keeping their maiden names, it is a good idea to check this out. Thanks for bringing that up

                                                    2. chowser Jun 30, 2007 08:32 AM

                                                      This isn't romantic but a good quality roasting pan is something you need more than you'd think, plus it lasts forever. It would be more than $100, though. For couples who are starting out w/ everything, I've given them bottles of good wine to drink on special anniversaries (I ask at the wine shop for suggestions on wine that will be perfect 5 years, 10 years, 15, that's as far out as I've gone). It's been nice hearing about how they enjoyed the wine years later.

                                                      1. litchick Jun 30, 2007 09:40 AM

                                                        I like to give a set of unusual demitasse cups (to the couple's taste, of course), like these:
                                                        http://www.amazon.com/French-Bull-Espresso-Saucers-MUG10/dp/B000I1X2RE/ref=sr_1_47/002-7578146-9228042?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1183220753&sr=1-47

                                                        Or these:
                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Espresso-Set-Four-Black-Flora/dp/B0006VY0SG/ref=sr_1_52/002-7578146-9228042?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1183220846&sr=1-52

                                                        Or these:
                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Wave-Espresso-Cups-Set/dp/B000FGZSZQ/ref=sr_1_91/002-7578146-9228042?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1183220930&sr=1-91

                                                        Or these:
                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Pavina-Double-Thermo-Espresso-Glasses/dp/B000NIPYGY/ref=sr_1_2/002-7578146-9228042?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1183220973&sr=1-2

                                                        Another gift that goes into the rotation is a lovely modern-styled decanter, like this:
                                                        http://www.amazon.com/Riedel-Cornetto...

                                                        I've always had great responses on these items!

                                                        1. Jennalynn Jun 30, 2007 09:49 AM

                                                          It's a little more than $100... but I buy most couples a 5 - 7 quart Le Crueset dutch oven. Not only will they be using it 50 years from now, but their progeny will too.

                                                          1. Divamac Jul 1, 2007 10:15 AM

                                                            i come from a family that doesn't believe in gift registries (we consider it rude in some way) or showers (some kind of Irish superstition). We also don't have baby showers for the same superstition. This means the go-to gift in my family is cold, hard cash.

                                                            I did receive a artisan glass pitcher as a wedding gift from a friend that I love. I use it for flowers mostly, but it looks wonderfully elegant filled with water for a dinner party or lemonade this time of year. It

                                                            1. Stephanie Wong Jul 2, 2007 11:08 AM

                                                              I live in the SF Bay Area & have access to lots of art glass studios so I usually give an art glass oil lamp -- lovely on the dinner table (not messssy as candles) or on the mantel as an art object, yet accessible and functional for those power outage moments. Since these are unique artesian handcrafted pieces, the discounted "seconds" or design prototypes don't shout "I was bought at a discounted price". The tricky part is to know the wedding couples' decor color schemes for coordination.

                                                              1. p
                                                                phoebek Jul 3, 2007 08:06 AM

                                                                Not necessarily a go-to gift, but when I've bought something utilitarian from the registry, I usually add a bottle of champagne to spice things up.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: phoebek
                                                                  c
                                                                  conniemcd Jul 25, 2007 04:33 PM

                                                                  I'm giving champagne goblets and want to include champagne. How much do I need to spend to get decent champagne. Nice, but not expensive. thanks.

                                                                  1. re: conniemcd
                                                                    w
                                                                    Westy Jul 26, 2007 06:58 AM

                                                                    Try a reputable wine dealer. There are tons of great champagnes out there that are less famous than the big names, like Krug. I think the WSJ just did an article a week or so back on less well known champagnes. Anyone have a link?

                                                                2. k
                                                                  ktcolt Jul 3, 2007 10:28 PM

                                                                  Toodie Jane....what did you end up getting??!!!

                                                                  1. NewSushiFiend Jul 6, 2007 11:31 AM

                                                                    When my brother first got married, my grandmother gave them a box of canned goods pulled out of her pantry (this wasn't the at the wedding-they eloped. this was a month later when we all went to visit). She said it was based on an old Norwegian custom to leave food on the doorstep of a newly wed couple to ensure they would never go hungry (if the couple is adventuresome, you can take all the labels off).

                                                                    I reworked this a bit to a basket of interesting foodstuffs they may not try if they had to pay for it. Twice I have been able to leave it on their doorstep as everyone went off to the wedding. otherwise, I bring it like a regular gift.

                                                                    1. Melissavina Jul 6, 2007 11:38 AM

                                                                      Polaroid camera. :)

                                                                      1. w
                                                                        Westy Jul 6, 2007 11:42 AM

                                                                        It depends, I suppose. If they are relatively new to cooking: How to Cook Everything, or the World's Best Recipes (both Bittman)would be great. The original dean & Deluca book has great, and slightly more complicated recipes. Great for first dinner parties.
                                                                        If you are going to give a knife, make sure you tape a penny to it. Otherwise, it cuts the relationship (or so I am told). A couple of super sharp paring knives would be great.
                                                                        You cannot have enough wooden spoons, tongs, etc. A couple of each in a nice holder would be more welcome (and used) than almost anything else.

                                                                        1. SweetPhyl Jul 7, 2007 12:56 PM

                                                                          I like to give a big ol' cutting board, an excellent chef's knife and a copy of "The Joy of Cooking". It's classic and ALWAYS appreciated by a young couple.

                                                                          1. d
                                                                            dalaimama Jul 7, 2007 01:12 PM

                                                                            Honestly, I appreciated the people who gave me things off the registry. The gifts that were outside the registry were either completely weird (a really elaborately beaded, bowed, and bedecked candle with a copy of our wedding invite on it - lovely - cough), not our taste (artwork), or something that reflected the tastes of the giver but not necessarily our needs/wants. In other words, if the giftees are fellows chows, the things people have listed would be great gifts, but if they aren't CHs, stick to the registry.

                                                                            That being said, my personal favorite gift not on the registry was an old-fashioned White Mountain hand crack ice cream maker. We received ours as a wedding present with the wishes that it would last through our marriage the way the giver's had lasted through theirs. While not on our registry, the fact that the givers had been married over 50 years really made it a special special gift and we use it quite often.

                                                                            1. b
                                                                              blust Jul 8, 2007 07:09 PM

                                                                              We have gifted Picnic at a Vineyard and a Cocktail Making Class from an online gift site called www.excitations.com Bride and Groom found it far more interesting than the usual stuff on the registry.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: blust
                                                                                toodie jane Jul 13, 2007 08:11 PM

                                                                                dang!
                                                                                this site is FABulous and was what I was looking for ,but didn't see in time.

                                                                                Went with a bamboo cutting board and assorted bamboo serving trays.

                                                                              2. boogiebaby Jul 25, 2007 03:47 PM

                                                                                I thin kone thing people never think of giving is utensils. They are such a small item that most people don't register for them. I like to go to Crate and Barrel or Williams-Sonoma and get several utensils like spatulas, turners, whisks, ladle, peeler, as well as more unique items like a lemon zester, spoon rest, etc. I either pack them in a nice box, or sometimes if I'm doing utensils only, I buy a simple utensil holder and make a utensil "bouquet" in it, tying a nice ribbon around the holder and tucking a couple kitchen towels in the holder, hanging out a little like leaves. Everyone always says they love it, especially those moving into a new place after marriage.

                                                                                1. g
                                                                                  ghettochic Jul 25, 2007 03:49 PM

                                                                                  My go to gift is always a crystal bowl from Tiffany. It is a very simple "Colonial" and runs about $85 for the medium one. It's funny how people oohhh and ahhh over that blue box.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ghettochic
                                                                                    LaLa Jul 26, 2007 07:06 AM

                                                                                    Two things I have given recently that were big hits ...lamps if you wrap them up pretty and get a decorative type... people love them and really you can always use a lamp.The second thing was Christmas Ornaments all wrapped up in a decorative bowl. Because I remember our first Christmas when we had only two or three.
                                                                                    I also like personalized recipe cards or cookbooks with a special message inside.

                                                                                    1. re: ghettochic
                                                                                      JayVaBeach Sep 24, 2007 05:21 PM

                                                                                      That Tiffany Box Blue is a true classic statement. I use Tiffany a lot during the holidays! I love being a guest in my mother's guest suite, as it's tastefully painted Tiffany Box Blue with highgloss white woodwork & crisp white linens. On the nightstand is a crystal Tiffany clock & vase always featuring a fresh cut flower/s. It's even better when she awakens me with her homemade Hot Chocolate & dipping toast - there's nothing like a night's sleep @ Mom's!

                                                                                    2. c
                                                                                      Captain Jul 26, 2007 07:13 AM

                                                                                      My go to gifts are classic cookbooks. I've picked out a number and given them to couples, and I think they will probably always have them. No one throws away the classic Julia Child Mastering French Cooking. Someone might toss a copy of the Joy of Cooking, when it is ratty from too much use. They'll buy another copy. I have also added in some of Marcella Hazan's books, and Charmaine Solomon's on Asian cooking. It's been over $100.

                                                                                      Otherwise, I try to get something I know they. in particular, will love.

                                                                                      1. JayVaBeach Sep 24, 2007 05:17 PM

                                                                                        WILLIAMS-SONOMA gift card; however, if your desire is to present an actual gift the old-fashioned way, I recommend a beautiful large maple salad bowl & W-S wraps very tastefully! They're also popping up all over our country, so if a return is necessary, it's a convenient choice for the newlyweds. The store is impressive for both the wife & the husband with the plentiful inventory of fun gadgets, professional knives right down to Provençal linens & overall a moderate price point throughout!

                                                                                        1. s
                                                                                          stephanieb Sep 24, 2007 05:26 PM

                                                                                          I bought two of these - one for me, one as a wedding gift, and it was extremely well received (as well as really reasonably priced!)

                                                                                          http://kitchen-and-dining.smartbargai...

                                                                                          Even though it doesn't say it in the title, it is LC, and the blue is absolutely GORGEOUS! And a 12 qt LC stockpot for $59.99 is never a bad thing :)

                                                                                          1. b
                                                                                            browniebaker Sep 25, 2007 10:05 AM

                                                                                            My favorite wedidng gift to give is Le Creuset's red, heart-shaped, 2-quart, enameled, cast-iron casserole. With handles, it looks like a heart with wings. It's good on the stove or in the oven.

                                                                                            The last couple I gave the casserole to are getting divorced and, even though most couples split the wedding gifts according to whose friends -- the bride's or groom's -- gave which gifts, I am miffed to hear from my friend (the groom) that his wife made sure to take the casserole with her when she moved out while he was away on a business trip! He always told me she *loved* that casserole, and I had thought he was just being polite.

                                                                                            1. s
                                                                                              seconds Sep 26, 2007 06:59 AM

                                                                                              I used to buy people more unusual or fun gifts and maybe go off the registry... until I got married myself. The massive crystal picture frame, Nambe platter, and cute little Asian teapot from Crate and Barrel were returned so that we could get our luggage, bedding, and a set of basic pots and pans (i.e., things that we actually needed and now use regularly). I always stick to the registry now. I would much rather give a gift that I know will be used than something creative that will either collect dust or be returned to the store.

                                                                                              That being said, one of our favorite gifts was a bocce set - but that was on our registry!

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: seconds
                                                                                                c
                                                                                                camp1980 Sep 26, 2007 11:37 AM

                                                                                                I agree. People put things on their registry because that is what they need. If you don't like the items on the registry then either give cash (which everyone wants) or buy it knowing that it is what the people want and be thankful that you don't need to use it.
                                                                                                When buying gifts for weddings please keep in mind that age of the couple getting married. A lot of people no longer move out of their parents house only once they get married. Many people don't need pots and pans anymore. Many of the kitchen gift items that people listed on here I already own and I have only been on my own for 2 years.

                                                                                                1. re: camp1980
                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                  seconds Sep 26, 2007 06:35 PM

                                                                                                  Yes, cash was another favorite gift. We bought our coffee table and a couch, among other needed items, with all the money we got.

                                                                                              2. i
                                                                                                itsrob Sep 26, 2007 12:17 PM

                                                                                                Donvier 1 quart ice cream maker. You keep the bowl in the freezer, and can make ice cream in about 15 minutes. People seem to really like them.

                                                                                                http://www.amazon.com/Donvier-1-Quart...

                                                                                                1. m
                                                                                                  mercyteapot Sep 26, 2007 01:19 PM

                                                                                                  A high quality cast iron skillet. Even if they already have one, there will be times when a second comes in handy and it is one type of cookware that will actually improve with age.

                                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                                    JaneRI Sep 27, 2007 11:50 AM

                                                                                                    I'm also a bit shocked at how many people are giving pots & pans and other kitchen basics. Maybe it's a New England thing but everyone I know (not exaggerating....everyone) gives money. Brides & grooms are older today and most have long since been in their own apts or houses, very often two of them which recently had to be combined.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: JaneRI
                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                      renov8r Mar 11, 2008 10:17 AM

                                                                                                      If they are "older" there is NO WAY I'm giving 'em cash -- that might be an appropriate gift for a youngster saving up for school but I want something that will be part of the new couple's life/home in a more personal way... Registry items are closer to that, though ideally you'd know the couple well enough to get something even more personal/appropriate.

                                                                                                      Even when I go to wedding of a business associate (or their children) I think cash is just not sending the right message...

                                                                                                      OTOH I won't send food or wine -- too much of hassle to store. I have thought about sending a gift certificate for travel or a restaurant, but that seems like it imposes a lot of "scheduling" issues on the new couple.

                                                                                                      1. re: JaneRI
                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                        curiousbaker Mar 13, 2008 08:01 AM

                                                                                                        That's funny - I always considered giving money to be more of a New York/New Jersey thing. I grew up in Boston, and everyone I knew gave presents. Smaller things for the shower ($50 and under), and larger for the wedding ($50-$150). Very few people gave money for the wedding, just older bachelors who wouldn't be expected to shop. When I moved to New York for a few years, I found that 1) money was expected and 2) a LOT of money was expected. Shower gifts commonly costs $100-$200, and people gave more than $100 in cash for the wedding. The thing is, I wasn't traveling in different circles, at least in terms of income. People also spent far, far more on the weddings themselves, and it was there that I first heard the horrible expression "cover your plate." That is, you have to give enough money to pay for the cost of the meal and reception, which was often around $100 a person. Stunning to me, really. Anyway, it is true that older couples who are well established might prefer cash, although I'm still not crazy about cash as a gift. But it's only in certain circles that people are truly established in their households before marrying. The average age for first marriage might be higher, but a lot of people live at their parent's house or with roommates in post-college group apartments. The Ikea pans-plastic cups-futon crowd often get their first "adult" china/pots and pans/servingware, etc. at their weddings.

                                                                                                      2. c
                                                                                                        ctl98 Sep 27, 2007 12:37 PM

                                                                                                        I just went wedding gift shopping today and bought the couple a set of crab/lobster crackers, some seafood forks/pics and nice seafood cookbook. I'm going to package it all up nicely. Hope they enjoy it.

                                                                                                        1. Chew on That Sep 27, 2007 02:45 PM

                                                                                                          I don't think you can go wrong with a coffeemaker - a nice one. A nice pitcher could be good too, but in reference to an earlier suggestion - I wouldn't go with a gift certificate.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Chew on That
                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                            JaneRI Sep 28, 2007 05:28 AM

                                                                                                            I don't want to rain on your parade Chew On That, but what adults these days still need a coffeemaker? Maybe a couple of 21 yr old who just graduated from college, but who in that age group gets married these days? The only bridal couple I could imagine wanting a coffeemaker is somebody looking to upgrade to something really upscale, and then I would assume it'd be on the registry.

                                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                                            missfunkysoul Sep 28, 2007 08:23 AM

                                                                                                            some things i like to give are: a piece of le creuset, a big hand-turned wooden salad bowl w/serving spoons, emile henry (a big baking dish, a set of ramekins, etc), a huge/heavy wooden cutting board, one of those big mexican multicolor glass pitchers, a big hand-painted or otherwise interesting platter....

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: missfunkysoul
                                                                                                              flourgirl Sep 28, 2007 08:39 AM

                                                                                                              All great stuff! :)

                                                                                                            2. m
                                                                                                              MobyRichard Sep 28, 2007 08:38 AM

                                                                                                              I find in the last year or two I've been giving pewter items. I have a preference for salad bowls, platters or trays with clean, elegant lines and so far they've been well received and, as far as I know, well used.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: MobyRichard
                                                                                                                MMRuth Sep 28, 2007 08:46 AM

                                                                                                                I have to confess to, many years later, giving away pewter pieces that I never used - but they were also not the most attractive pieces. Though, pewter generally didn't go with the rest of my dishes/silverware etc. I generally go with the registry - at least after having gotten married myself, unless I feel as if I know the recipients' taste well enough to pick something special that is not off the list. (None of this is meant as a criticism of your gifts - just made me remember giving them away - hope my relatives aren't reading along!)

                                                                                                              2. c
                                                                                                                curiousbaker Oct 3, 2007 11:57 AM

                                                                                                                Was just talking about this to someone who likes to give a fire extinguisher, which is a very practical gift that many people need/don't have. Not very expensive, but you could surely snazz it up in a lot of fun ways - with BBQ utensils, big oven mitts and a great grilling book! With a creme brulee torch! With a selection of hot sauces and the grill spice box from Penzeys! Or be boring but helpful and pack it with a smoke detector, CO detector, really good first aid kit, etc.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: curiousbaker
                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                  ral217 Oct 3, 2007 04:33 PM

                                                                                                                  That is actually a great idea! I have yet to see that on a registry but it really is useful.
                                                                                                                  You can never go wrong with Money/ Checks but I think for good friends or family, it really is nice to get something more personal and appropriate for the couple, whatever that may be!
                                                                                                                  For foodies, a lot of the above applies, but I have some friends who have a kitchen the size of a small closet and they would return most of the above listed. I have a wedding to go to next weekend and as much as I would love to get them something "personal" I am going with money.

                                                                                                                2. JayVaBeach Oct 3, 2007 12:41 PM

                                                                                                                  Anything from GUMP'S !

                                                                                                                  1. fayehess Oct 4, 2007 06:53 AM

                                                                                                                    The only gift that I remember from my first wedding (I eloped the second time around) is huge basket, filled with amazing treats for the wedding night. It had a bottle of champagne, two lovely glasses, pate, a beautiful silver knife, a few tiny little plates, cheese, crackers, truffles, clementines, beautiful little cookies and I can't remember what else. I loved it. fayefood.com

                                                                                                                    1. b
                                                                                                                      bottle artist Mar 11, 2008 02:57 AM

                                                                                                                      My best gift and no doubt all time favorite is an etched bottle of Bourbon or scotch. It is affordable and it looks like you jumped through hoops to get it made.

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