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What's the most useful wedding gift that you have received?

I have alot of weddings coming up and want to get a good gift that they will actually use.... Any suggestions? I was thinking about an assortment of spices from penzeys or something, but need something else to go with it.

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.

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  1. preferably 25-75 range

    1. This may not be universal, but there are 2 that I still use 10+ years later:

      1) I got a margarita set- pitcher and glasses- from Williams Sonoma. I don't know where the glasses are, but I use that pitcher all the time. It looks like this: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

      2) An Emile Henry Mixing Bowl set- beautiful bowls for mixing and serving.

      1. It's been 8 years, but there are definitely some from your price range we still use.

        1. Set of pilsner glasses and beer mugs, with a 6 pack of a local beer (MIL's invite choice and we didn't really know them, redeemed themselves with the gift) I use the beer mugs daily for my morning smoothie.

        2. Second the nice glass pitcher idea.

        3. I gave this once and the bride went crazy. A whole bunch of rubbermaid storage containers in varied sizes. They had a small town home with not much useful storage space for seasonal use stuff.

        2 Replies
        1. re: autumm

          ooh- forgot about the storage things, that's a great idea. I also got a set of Frigoverre glass storage containers with rubber lids that nest when empty. Great for people that don't want to use plastic stuff.

          1. re: cheesemonger

            I'll second this. A co-worker got me a set of glass storage containers in various sizes for a wedding gift and I love them. He knew I brought my lunch in the same glass container every day so he added to the collection!

        2. I always give a gift certificate to a restaurant.

          1. My first marriage was in 1987. We received a couple of pitchers (one Emile Henry, and another piece of glassware) that have stayed with me through all and a subsequent marriage. I use them all the time. From the other responses, I think a nice pitcher is the way to go. Pitchers seem to work as gifts.

            1. After 27 years of marriage, I still use the French press coffee pot we received every morning.

              1. we've been married almost 28 years and there are few presents i can remember. some we got were beautiful, but ultimately useless to us. 2 presents I remember that were useful: stainless steel pots and pans (an entire set, from my parents) and a cookbook from Sunset publishing that was specifically geared to first time cooks. I used that cookbook for years. It was not intimidating, easy recipes, had lots of photos, and was foolproof for a novice. I highly recommend a survey-type cookbook, especially with photos.

                1. Married 35 years. We got a lot of nice gifts and I still use many. In terms of a gift that I regularly used that was a favorite, until it unfortunately broke, was a hand thrown pottery bowl that was perfect for serving salad or other sides for about 4 people.

                  1. Going back more decades than I want to state, to my first wedding ... The gifts I'm still using today are the set of stainless steel saucepans and the Salton Hotray.

                    1. We were given a rice cooker for our wedding gift, and damned if it worked, and worked, and worked, and it finally broke down after about 20 years it finally broke down. I think it was a Toshiba.

                      1. Married 2 years and the things we use most are wine glasses. Looking back, I would have registered for a set of stemless wineglasses along with our jumbo red glasses and young white glasses.

                        Also I think pretty serve wear, like hand thrown or hand painted pottery bowls and trays, are really appreciated gifts.

                        1. When we were married in our 20's a sweet elderly woman who was a client gave us a set of plastic dishes for 2. It was a wonderful gesture and we joked about it when we opened the gift.
                          Since we were young and very mobile we used those dishes for years. Almost 40 years later I still have one of them that I use in my basement workroom.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Motosport

                            That makes my heart feel good.
                            Thanks!

                          2. My sister-in-law and I were both planning our weddings at the same time. Having both been bridesmaids countless miserable times, we made a pact that we wouldn't impose bridesmaid duties on each other, and would in turn get each other a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Well we ended up admitting that we really did want the other to be a bridesmaid, and participated in each others' weddings anyway, but still gave each other the mixer. I may not use it as much as my flatware or dishes, but I'll always remember our pact, and when I realized she'd be a friend as well as an in-law because we were so much on the same page.

                            1. If they have a registry, my suggestion is to pick a cooking related gift off the registry and then buy correlating spices from Penzeys, or cookbook, or bottle of booze, etc. One of the most appreciated gifts that we gave was a set of Mexico inspired cookware of the registry and a taco seasoning gift box from Penzeys.

                              1. It's amazing to see how many people are still using appliances and cookware given to them 20-30 years ago. I wonder how many of these same types of items manufactured today will last that long given the inferior materials and use of plastic instead of metal in many appliances these days. Just an interesting observation.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ttoommyy

                                  I mentioned upthread that I am using Revere Ware from '78. It still looks great. I cannot even count the of number of saucepans & skillets I have purchased and trashed since then.

                                  Maybe a skillet that sells for $200.00 will stand the test of time, but I won't be the one to buy one!

                                2. Nice, solid set of mixing bowls. I go back to them again and again.

                                  1. Of the cooking things we got, my favorites are the mixing bowls and two of the Henckels knives (we added to our existing set). Some of my extended family went in together to get us our Calphalon pots and pans, but that was way above your price range.

                                    Least favorite: china and crystal. It all went back (and the rest was stricken from the registry) once we realized it had to be hand-washed...

                                    I like the idea of themed gifts: spices, cookbook, and perhaps some sort of serving dish.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: truman

                                      oh goodness.. i had forgotten how ugly the crystal that i had chosen was. i returned almost all of it - i think i kept one or two of the wine glasses for a while but that was it. yuck: the 80's had some ugly opportunities, and the crystal i chose was one of them. SO glad i got rid of it!

                                      1. re: rmarisco

                                        The '80's did have some hideous options...We had a terrible time deciding upon dishes and never could find a "fine" china pattern. I was quite happy to leave the every day dishes behind when I divorced!

                                    2. La Creuset dutch oven

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Monica

                                        It isn't my weddin gift but as a present it has been one o my favorites. I also love micro plane.

                                        1. re: Monica

                                          I love, love, love my LC's but they are not exactly in the $25-75 range.

                                          1. re: valerie

                                            Sorry, didn't see the price range.
                                            How about nice customized aprons from places like Etsy.
                                            or water glasses from William Sonoma. Not too many people give water glasses as gifts.
                                            http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                            1. re: Monica

                                              As a bride the water glasses are one thing I want but nobody bought yet. We did get a 500 gift card to crate and barrel and plan to buy out our registry after the wedding.

                                        2. A set of these tumblers from Williams Sonoma from someone who said she'd received them as a gift and she's loved them for everything. I, too, have loved them for everything.: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                          However, I always just choose something off the registry. My favorite gift that I've given lately is a Lodge Dutch oven (off of the brides registry) plus a copy of Molly Stevens All About Braising cookbook.

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            I love those Picardie tumblers, which are made from tempered glass and very durable. Mine (a set each of the 12 and 16 oz) weren't a gift, wedding or otherwise, but they were a great purchase years ago, after too many broken glasses.

                                          2. I registered for these at Crate & Barrel but you get the idea. I still use them all the time.

                                            http://www.amazon.com/Duralex-Lys-Sta...

                                            1. My pyrex dishes get used over and over in the oven, microwave or as serving dishes.

                                              I also received a pizza themed gift basket with a pizza stone, pizza cookbook, pizza slicer, rolling pin, pizza spices, pot holders, etc. It was a simple yet awesome gift and we are still using most of the items 13 years later!

                                              1. I agree with the mixing bowl suggestion; we got a set of 10 pieces (glass bowls) that I use constantly in a ton of ways.

                                                Second most used was a really large ceramic salad/pasta bowl with two smaller same-sized bowls nesting in it. We use that set of three almost daily for big salads, serving roast veggies, etc.

                                                Pretty sure either of the gifts would be <50.

                                                1. A full set of pyrex:
                                                  1 cup, 2 cup and quart measuring cups
                                                  8x8 cake pan
                                                  2qt, 3 qt and 4 qt baking dishes

                                                  Been used constantly for decades, can't kill em.

                                                  The imitation are not as good...also rec'd some Anchor Hocking, only lasted about 10 years.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                    I agree, only my brandname Pyrex and Pfaltzgraff have survived my learning to cook adventures. Well, my Tupperware too but I didn't get that for a bridal gift.

                                                    1. re: thedryer

                                                      I agree with you about Pfaltzgraff. Had the same basic pattern in 4 color combinations (Aura, Sky and don't remember the other two names). after 20 years regulkar use, gave the complete sets to neices and nephews who were setting up their first post college apartments.

                                                      Always hated Tupperware (and ex-wife ran parties before we were married, she came into the marrioage with about 10 cartons on the stuff). Didn't like the fact that lids were not the same color as the containers and when something broke and was supposed to be lifetime replacement they would tell me it's discontinued and offer 50 cents. This happened with two tongs for the ice buckets.

                                                  2. A nice wooden salad bowl. Wine glasses, not too unusual or nice, so they're easy to replace when they get broken. A good cutting board. Lint-free kitchen towels because you can never have too many of these. A picnic basket. A good cast iron skillet if they like to cook.

                                                    1. My personal feeling about wedding gifts is that you should buy something they wouldn't buy themselves. That's why I'm not a huge fan of useful, practical, things like sheets, towels, gift certificates, etc. (Except for the book store gift certificate we got- we bought an Italian cookbook, where we took our honeymoon). I personally treasure the serving pieces we got that I pull out only a few times a year, but love having. None match my china, but I don't care. I love having these special platters, casseroles, etc. I'd never pay $100 for a serving piece myself!

                                                      ETA I see you're looking a little less expensive--
                                                      I'd say something like a nice set of small bud vases-- my brother got me that and I love using them for table settings-- a few flowers from my garden and I have a "flower arrangement". Wine glasses, as others have mentioned, are also nice. Nice neutral table napkins for formal entertaining-- in a color that will go with everything, like off-white. I never want to buy them for myself!

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        D Gresh, you've expressed a lot of what I was thinking. I don't think that a purely utilitarian gift used on a daily basis is the optimum wedding gift. My goal in selecting the gift is that it will evoke fond memories of the giver and the fact that it was received as a wedding gift. My cousin gave me a Corningware casserole that I used multiple times a week; it was useful and appreciated but I used it so often that I rarely reflected upon the fact that she gave it to me when I pulled it from the cabinet.

                                                        The gift need not be an expensive or formal item and certainly should not be something that is so outside the lifestyle of the recipients that it will be put in an attic (or just returned), As I noted upthread, among the best gift I received was a handthrown pottery bowl. And, I noted Charlesbois likewise nominated a pottery bowl set.

                                                        If the most "useful" gift were the best, then I'd have to nominate the exceedingly tacky and cheap plastic coasters that elderly, distant relatives of my husband's gave us. We still use them every day (they are in the den, not used for guests) and I occasionally chuckle when I think about their provenance, but they were far from a cherished gift.

                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                          My personal feeling about wedding gifts I give is to give CASH. But the OP asked about wedding gifts we received, so I wrote about the Pyrex I received decades ago and still use.
                                                          They may have been utilitarian, but I probably would never have bought every size measuring cup and baking dish they made, BUT I'm sure glad I own them all.

                                                        2. The most useful wedding gifts we received were a rice cooker (still using it almost 30 years later!) and various sizes/shapes of Corningware casserole dishes.

                                                          I have given an assortment of Penzey's spices, along with a quality large (family-sized) skillet/lid (something you might cook a one-pot dish in).as a wedding gift on a few occasions, and the recipients loved it!

                                                          1. 30 years later we still use the matching coffee cup duo and the cream colored fisherman knit afghan/throw my mother's friend gave us. It's not always about food. Whatever you decide on you can always throw a roll of postal stamps in there too as a surprise. Not everyone pays their bills online.

                                                            1. The one I use the most is a double boiler with an extra steamer insert. It gets used almost daily, even though when I opened it, I wasn't sure what I would do with it.

                                                              The gifts that are most memorable (not necessarily most special but which I closely identify with the giver) are a set of serving utensils and unique pottery that a friend brought back from Thailand. I also really love two white, Williams Sonoma serving platters given to me by my brother-in-law's great aunt. They were a total surprise, but she sent my sister out to buy them for me, knowing I would use them. I relish every time I take them out to use - they make for beautiful food presentation.

                                                              1. Married nearly 20 years. Three things stand out as the gifts that are still valued.

                                                                1. A little machine called the hot shot. It is by sunbeam (i think) and is an instant hot water machine. My husband likes tea and loves it. The dear English gentleman that gave it to use signed the card "for when you want a little quickly." To this day, mr. Cb still quotes the card when he uses it.

                                                                2. A soft sided cooler. We took it along on our honeymoon. It has long given up the ghost and we replaced it a couple times over.

                                                                3. A set of Pyrex bowls. At the time, I scratched my head because I thought it was a cheap gift (i was young and semi stupid) but those bowls are used every single day.

                                                                1. Also going back a long way, 30 years, to my first wedding, I still have the large butchers block chopping/pastry board which is still going strong, and still a pleasure to use. Although it is utilitarian, it gets used a lot, and still reminds me of the folk who gave it.

                                                                  1. I did not receive this, I bought it for myself and I've given them as gifts: a Russell-Hobbs electric water kettle .. only the base gets plugged in. I use it daily and it's lasted 15 years. I gave one to a friend and her tipsy husband put it on the stove to heat up and ruined it. She replaced it and then her friend did the same thing when she was on the phone in another room. So far, the third one is okay.

                                                                    1. First wedding was over 25 years ago. So taking a quick look around at what I still have and use...

                                                                      Cast iron dutch oven.
                                                                      Cast iron skillet.
                                                                      A large glass bowl (gets used for fruit, chips, etc)
                                                                      Corningware "casserole" dishes with lids (still have all the ones I got back then, and have never needed to buy one)
                                                                      Large pyrex baking dishes

                                                                      Absolutely NONE of that was on my registry. I avoid giving things that are subject to fashion, which includes wine glasses, china, stoneware, and some cookware. I also take into consideration the age of the couple when decided what to get them. If it's a middle-aged couple on a second marriage, I'll stick to the registry. If it's a young couple on their first marriage, I'm more likely to ignore the registry, and more likely to buy something indestructible. Younger couples have not fully evolved into their adult cooking style, and may be just learning, and also may not know how to properly care for their cookware.

                                                                      Depending upon what I know about the couple, today I might get:

                                                                      Cast iron or enameled cast iron (a less expensive brand like Lodge).

                                                                      All-Clad offers promotional pieces at a good price - for example metrokitchen.com has a 3-quart tri-ply sauté pan for 99.95 with free shipping. A very useful and nearly indestructible pan for a great price.

                                                                      A nice end-grain cutting board, in a smaller size to fit in a small kitchen.

                                                                      Knife storage (a lot of couple register for nice knives, but don't think about where to keep them).

                                                                      I like TDQ's idea of pairing a cookware item with a book.
                                                                      I also never give non-stick cookware. It just doesn't last, and especially in the hands of a new cook.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                        I'm going to order that 3 qt saute pan you mention above; that is a great price. I have the All Clad regular frying pan but it's not big enough to mix pasta with sauce (ala Lidia).

                                                                        Also, I bought myself this Kyocera knife set when I saw Oprah include it in "favorite things." I love them and use them all the time:

                                                                        http://www.metrokitchen.com/product/K...

                                                                      2. I was married in the early '80's.

                                                                        The most useful thing I registered for was my flatware. I still love the pattern and use it daily. I'm also very happy I requested two sets of the serving utensils. There are many meals where two slotted serving spoons are needed!

                                                                        Things I did not register for and am still using are a set of Revere Ware pots and pans and the above mentioned complete set of pyrex.

                                                                        There is one gift that I had stupidly returned. A family friend who was an excellent, serious cook gave a nested set of stainless steel mixing bowls. At the time I had a handmade pottery set and limited space so I exchanged the gift. Now I realize that she had given me *the*perfect*set*. As I've grown as a cook I've seen that often these bowls have a poor lip, are the wrong weight, have a warped base....and I've really regretted not keeping that set

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                          Good call on the mixing bowls. I lost part of my set in my divorce, but I still have a few of them, and I never was able to find another set that was as good. Finally I inherited my mother's, and they are perfect. It seems these days like the more expensive the set of nested bowls, the worse they function, from a practical standpoint. And ceramic bowls can be tempting because they are pretty, but your chances of having them 30 years later are slim. Plus they are heavy.

                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                            I know what you mean about the right stainless bowl. I have my favorite, and a bunch of also-rans. The favorite has relatively straight sides, flat bottom, smooth turn up to the sides, and is nicely weighted. Once my husband used it for something down in te basement and I panicked that it was missing, even though I must have 5 or 6 other ones.

                                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                                              Oh my, meatn3! I was married in '78 and I still use every piece of my Revere Ware! So many others have come and gone, but they are still fab.

                                                                              A more recent gift I love is the screen colander with the little "wings" that expand so that it hangs across the sink. Priceless.

                                                                              1. re: zillabreeze

                                                                                I love that colander too! I use it nearly every day.

                                                                                1. re: zillabreeze

                                                                                  Could you post an example of this so that I could perhaps find and order it? Thanks.

                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                    http://www.kitchenandcompany.com/kitc...

                                                                              2. Not received, but given: crock pot.

                                                                                1. The answer to a "useful" gift is either money or something right off the registry (if they've registered). The assumption is that they have registered for items they will like and use.

                                                                                  Whew. That said, I don't go for practical unless we give money. My favorite wedding gifts were home made (small porcelain bowls) and some of the stuff we registered for, like wine glasses.

                                                                                  If you like the penzeys idea, get them a really decent pepper mill. A good pepper mill lasts forever.

                                                                                  1. Don't you think a lot of this depends on the couple? Are they struggling financially? Do they come from two established households? Are they both cooks (or neither)? I just had two grandchildren marry within a month of each other. One's registry had $300 items. The other's had nothing more than $75. I take the registries as suggestions, and I do like the idea of buying a better version of something basic. I also wait until after the wedding so I can see what was already bought from the registries.

                                                                                    My son and DIL got 6 pitchers when they got married, and I know a couple, both adults with grown kids, who got that many picture frames. Funny how things tend to cluster.

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: lemons

                                                                                      yeah, we got 4 or 5 crystal pitchers (circa 1990)

                                                                                      1. re: lemons

                                                                                        You are bold and daring to wait until after the wedding. If I procrastinate enough, I usually end up having to assemble an odd assortment of a toilet brush, one cereal bowl, a pepper mill, three washcloths, and one pillow case or some such nonsense. I like to get in as soon as possible to guarantee I give something they registered for that is in my price range, and is something I'd like to give. I'd rather spend $80 on a really nice crock pot than on one salad plate from the good china.

                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                          I am not wed - so to speak - to the registries. For those of us who came of marriageable age before that phenomenon, they seem strained. If I don't know someone really well, I'll go with them, but for young people who are well-known to me, I often get a higher-end version of what's left on the list (which lately seems to be a lot, for some reason). A better CrockPot, Bath sheets in the same pattern as the towels.

                                                                                          Strangely, I'm a little hesitant to buy what I would have loved - good knives. I am told there are folks who are superstitious about them as gifts. And the one time I did buy them, the marriage lasted less than 2 years.

                                                                                          Of course, you're talking to the woman who once bought a couple a delightfully painted metal trash can with fitted lid for a wedding present....

                                                                                          1. re: lemons

                                                                                            I will look at a registry to get a feel for the couples taste and desires. But I don't feel those are the only acceptable gifts. I prefer to give something which is more distinctive than a place setting among many.

                                                                                            I was married when you registered your china and flatwear (silver was too expensive then to be included as it had a decade before). But there were no other items listed and no expectation of type or value of gifts. A gift is a gift and appreciated as a gesture of affection and celebration. It wasn't a gimme gimme focus like it often seems these days....

                                                                                            1. re: lemons

                                                                                              You know, I used to be one of those people who tried to give something personal and special and memorable instead of choosing off the registry. The registry always feels too impersonal to me. And, frankly, I hate the idea of a registry.

                                                                                              And while I understand a wedding is not a gift grab (when we registered we also gave people the option of donating, in our name, to a non-profit that is very meaningful to us), I stopped doing that after I got married, partly because I realized there is no way to ensure that there won't be any duplicates. And, really, I realized, that the kindest thing to do when someone provides you (at your request) with a list of what they want and need is give them what they want and need.

                                                                                              We received three personalized picnic baskets. We did not include a picnic basket on our registry, because we already had two. But, because the 3 we received as gifts that we didn't need were personalized, we could not return or exchange them. (We suspected at least one was a re-gift.) They were big and bulky, so we gave them to Goodwill right away. We also received 4 personalized wedding albums for photos. Because they are white and I don't want them to get dusty, I've kept them in the original wrapping, and they sit, unused, side-by-side on a bookshelf.

                                                                                              We also received two beautiful hand-painted platters, a vase, and a pitcher we never use because we have several of those items and the ones we received as gifts aren't our taste. All of those items are boxed up in storage because I don't have the heart to donate them. They do remind me of the people who gave them.

                                                                                              The same thing happened with our baby registry. Because of some special circumstances, we were sincerely in need of numerous, unglamorous but essential, baby items. But, instead of what we registered for, we got tons and tons of adorable, impractical clothes. Some of the clothes arrived months late (as in someone bought something and then got too busy to it mail it right away perhaps? or a re-gift?) and in sizes way too small (ie., on the day my child turned 3 months old I opened a package that arrived in the mail: it contained a newborn outfit) or completely out of season. (I live in Minnesota--temperatures are very extreme here). Some things were wildly age inappropriate and, in fact, are STILL age inappropriate for my child (who is now a toddler), and are waiting in storage for my child to reach the proper age. I just hope I remember to bring them down out of storage when the time comes.

                                                                                              I know people think you can just return stuff in exchange for cash or store credit, but as an overwhelmed new mom, I simply did not have time to run around town and return stuff to stores I wasn't registered at or were clear on the other side of town. So those gifts just got dropped in the donation bin at the local grocery store parking lot, tags and all. After I logged it in the baby book wrote my thank you note, of course.

                                                                                              After all of that, I realize it is a kindness to buy off of the registry, even if you know it's a gift they won't use in five years, or if you think there's something else you think would be even more useful. Now I make sure I buy my gift right away (so I get my pick of the registry). And I will often pair my gift with something small and personal, ideally from the same store they are registered at for easy returns, which, seems to satisfy my urge to give something special and unique.

                                                                                              Recently. I had occasion to buy a gift for a couple where nearly every single item on the registry was pink. And I am a friend of the groom. I snapped up the one thing in my price range that wasn't pink the day my invite came in the mail.

                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                                                I am a big fan of registries because they take all the guesswork out of the process. I'd rather buy the prospective marrieds or parents a gift they really want and can use, with the assurance that I'm not duplicating another gift, than worry about my gift being distinctive or personal. Besides, how can a gift be more personal than allowing the receiver to choose it?

                                                                                                I'm also not bothered by the obligatory sense of wedding and shower gifts. Actually, I appreciate the transparency of the process, in contrast to allegedly-voluntary-but-really-obligatory gift giving associated with kids' birthdays and graduations. Moreover, there are legitimate reasons for the obligation in the marriage and parenting contexts. These people are setting out on a major venture in life that requires lots of equipment. What's wrong with a communal effort to help them start out? On the other hand, I always feel resentful that I'm expected to buy birthday and Christmas gifts for kids whose bedrooms look like episodes of Hoarders. I also resent those monetary-gift-solicitations-disguised-as-graduation-announcements from third cousins twice I removed I never knew existed. (Message to graduates: if you have to go on genealogy.com to assemble your announcement list, you're sending out too many. Save them for people who actually know you and care that you graduated.)

                                                                                                I should explain that I'm an INTJ on Meyer-Briggs, and we're notorious for flouting social convention in favor of rationality.

                                                                                          2. Give each of them a gift card to any local big box store. This way they do not have to fight over what to spend it on.

                                                                                            Magazine subscriptions. If they have a brain, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Nature, etc. Half a brain would probably appreciate Southern Living, Martha Stewart, Oprah, Time... If they are the sludge in the bottom of the brain pool, National Enquirer, People, Us, Sports illustrated. Anything with more pictures than words.

                                                                                            So when Dear Daughter moved in with the latest Mister Perfect, (and he really is a nice person) what was the only thing she wanted from Dear Old Dad? Besides the All-Clad. A wood knife block. She had the knives, needed the block.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                              I hate to be ungrateful, but I really do not like to receive magazine subscriptions as a gifts. I hate junk mail and paper mail in general and a magazine subscription is just one more way to have your name and address added to a lot of marketers lists, which just begets more junk mail. The first thing I do when I get such a thing is call the company up and cancel it.

                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                            2. I think it's hard without knowing who they are. But one thing I like to do is buy up a bunch of the small kitchen utensils, and then purchase a really nice wooden salad bowl. I tie up the utensils with raffia or a bow then put them in the bowl and box it all up. Sometimes I add in a cookbook. One time a male friend of mine was marrying a younger woman who didn't know how to cook, but I knew she wanted to learn. So I included 2 of the first cookbooks I ever bought and learned from, and tabbed some of my favorite recipes.

                                                                                              1. This was mentioned already but I'll second it - a wooden salad bowl. I had it on my registry as what I thought was a nice to have but it's turned out to be something we use several times a week. Makes even a run of the mill salad seem like something special. Sometimes we'll use it to serve popcorn for movie night at home.

                                                                                                1. How about a set of really good knives. Or a single chef's knife or cleaver. Something you will use over and over. Perhaps every day.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: sainabou

                                                                                                    Amen. I know people above have said that they want to give something that only gets used on special occasions, so that the recipient remembers who gave it. And that's a lovely idea, it's just not my style. My parents are still using things on a daily or weekly basis that they received as wedding gifts in 1971. I want to give someone the chef's knife, butcher block, or rice cooker that will always be in their kitchen. Or the jigsaw, router, or workbench that will always be in their garage. The one that their kids will grow up nostalgic about. I don't care if they remember that I'm the one who gave it to them...I just want to contribute to their family history, because that's what begins at the wedding.

                                                                                                  2. I've been reading through the comments and it looks like the wedding gift were/are actual shower gifts! I always thought the wedding gifts were the fancy things that were on the registry but not bought for the shower, i.e. silver, crystal china etc. My suggestion would be if you know what was given at the shower (if there was one) you can either add on ( as in place settings or such) or gift card to their favorite places.

                                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: books59b

                                                                                                      Until you posted this, I had never heard of any distinction between a shower gift and a wedding gift. So I googled it, and discovered that in some parts of the country (and I will guess mostly among younger people), people actually expect you to give both. Amazing.

                                                                                                      Traditionally, all wedding gifts were given to the bride, no matter what the timing. They could be given before, at, or after the wedding. The shower was an opportunity for people to give their wedding gifts earlier (and for the bride to get some of her thank-you notes out of the way before the wedding). People who didn't go to the shower would bring the wedding gift to the wedding, others would send a gift after. But they are all wedding gifts, and you would never give a gift at both events. One wedding, one gift.

                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                        I, too, have been clueless on this distinction. Perhaps a lingering hangover from having been invited to one-too-many lingerie bridal showers, and then having to buy additional wedding gifts, the prices of which astounded me. (Aside: if I can hardly buy, without hellacious measuring and overfamiliarity, lingerie for my own self, can I buy special lingerie for the bride? But that's not about food. Or OT. Except in the "shower" portion of the conversation.)

                                                                                                        MelMM, can you provide any link? We're in the age where there will be a lot of these events forthcoming, and I'd like to have a handle on the etiquette versus our bank account. And I like to buy kitchenware when I can. Maslow's hierarchy of needs, n'all.

                                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                          Can I guess that y'all are from the Nawth? In these here parts it's not uncommon to be invited to a shower (or two!) as well as the wedding, and are expected to bring a gift to each. The height of rudeness is to be invited to the shower (gift is hardly optional) and then not the wedding. I was brought up with specific shower/wedding/gift etiquette in mind. If you're an invited guest, then you bring a gift. You NEVER mention gifts on any invitation. Imagine my shock to be invited to a shower that listed not only where the couple was registered, but the bride's bra and panty sizes in case I wanted to give lingerie. I don't ever want my under-trunk sizes being sent out through the USPS. No paper trail, thanks.

                                                                                                          1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                            I'm not from the North (though I live here now) and agree that the etiquette you describe is the way I've always understood it, too. The unfortunate thing about showers is that they aren't thrown by the bride, they are thrown FOR the bride. The bride has no control over the people hosting the shower. Hopefully the people hosting the shower keep the bride's wishes in mind, though, sometimes, people sometimes just think they know better.There were several things done by my shower that I a) asked people not to do that they went ahead with anyway and b) I found in violation of wedding etiquette. And yet, there was not much I could do but be gracious. Who knows how they got the brides undergarment sizes, but it's possible she had no idea.

                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                              Yup - one of my shower invites listed my registry info and I was mortified, even though no one else really cared. At least they stuck by my strict NO SHOWER GAMES rule.

                                                                                                              1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                "You NEVER mention gifts on any invitation. "

                                                                                                                Amen.

                                                                                                                The best/worst was the invitation that specifically asked for cash.

                                                                                                                I think I am turning into an old lady. I recently attended a shower where the hostesses asked everyone to address their own thank you notes because "Suzy might be too tired to do it."

                                                                                                                1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                  While I think the reason given is ridiculous, in this day and age many of us have contacts via Facebook or email and may not have physical addresses in an address book, like in the old days, So I could see asking for addresses. But not in that way!

                                                                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                    I received, as a shower gift, a nice set of thank you notes with envelopes pre-addressed and stamped to all the guests.

                                                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                      But they had to have an address to send the wedding invitation to, right? So if someone has been invited to the wedding, the couple should already have their address!

                                                                                                                  2. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                    I don't mind games because my girls stuck with a cooking themed trivia game but I was adamant that NO invitations would go out with registry information. If people were curious they would ask and many have. I will not volunteer the information with being asked. Actually, they had to twist my arm to even get me to register. I wasn't going to.

                                                                                                                2. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                  No, NonnieMuss, I'm from the South, still live in the South, and have gotten married in the South (twice, but the second time I eloped and didn't invite guests or want gifts). My guests, the first time around, brought a gift to the shower OR to the wedding. Not both. It's ONE life event. ONE gift-giving occasion. Most of what I'm seeing when I google this are people from the North. My impression is that the gift expectation is higher up there (and they prefer cash at the wedding, it seems, which would just never happen in my circles).

                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                    In the NYC area it's all about a money/gift grab.
                                                                                                                    Engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party and finally, if it does not fall apart by that time, wedding and reception.
                                                                                                                    Gifts are expected at all of the events.
                                                                                                                    Even people who say they want to keep it simple and elope wake up one day and realize "NO CASH" so they have a "belated" wedding reception. Ca Ching!!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                      Just to put it out there - not all of the elopers are trying to get cash. DH and I eloped because I didn't want to plan a wedding and didn't want to spend the ridiculous amount of money on a wedding. We did have a reception party at our home, but this was pretty much because some of the family members demanded it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jw615

                                                                                                                        I know that most elopers just want to keep it simple.
                                                                                                                        In conversation with some "belated" wedding planners I found that some family member volunteered to spring for the reception/party and they "LOVED" getting hose thoughtful gift$$$$$!!!

                                                                                                                    2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                      MelMM - Huh. I had no idea it was a Northern thing. I just assumed Southern. I tried to get out of having a shower but the aunts insisted. Opening a pile of gifts in front of anyone ranks way up on my nightmare scale.

                                                                                                                      1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                        Re: opening gifts in front of everyone ... I've noticed that when I give a gift to east Indians, it is whisked away immediately. It seems it's their custom to open gifts in private. At first it seemed very strange but now I understand it.

                                                                                                                        1. re: walker

                                                                                                                          There are several cultures where opening gifts in front of the givefr (and others) just isn't done! Japan comes to mind.

                                                                                                                        2. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                          I didn't exactly enjoy the shower thing either. And it seems perhaps this Northern expectation of multiple gifts is working its way down here? It's been almost 30 years since I first got married, and I come from a rather old-school family, so my ideas about etiquette might be behind the times (which is not to say wrong!).

                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                            Better to err on the side of too much etiquette than not enough!

                                                                                                                3. Looks like the "useless wedding gift" thread has gained on this one by about 10 posts now. I suppose the stories are more amusing... or maybe more people get gifts that turn out to be comically useless....

                                                                                                                  1. Case of Rombauer

                                                                                                                    Tiffany glass fruit bowl and a gag gift whoopie cushion that still brings sophomoric laughs to dinner parties for many years.

                                                                                                                    1. Our "best" cutlery was a wedding present and is, I think, the only surviving one from 1972. In regular use and no items lost or damaged. Definitely the most useful.

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                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                        Still have a blanket and a washcloth from wedding 11/64. Not used very much, obviously. But the best, most useful gift was when I married Mr. Meatloaf in 1994, and he stopped smoking. Best. Gift. EVER.

                                                                                                                      2. Assuming some of the weddings coming up on your calendar are formal, as in engraved invitations and all that jazz, a fun and enduring and non-practical gift that I sometimes give (and that brings wild thank you's) is giving them back the wedding invitation in a nice silver frame. I don't know if they still make them, but one company used to make small glass and silver serving trays specially sized just for wedding/graduation/etc invitations and announcements. I also admit to being really lazy, because it's a one-size-fits-all kind of gift that's just unusual enough that people really do seem to enjoy the uniqueness of the gift and it often becomes a treasured part of the background of their lives. However, unlike those wonderful water pitchers and wooden salad bowls, it will not carry over well into subsequent marriages... '-)

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                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                          I recently (June) broke up my mother's home. She's aged 91 and had to be moved into a nursing home for skilled care. On the shelf over her tv in the den was one of the silver trays with her wedding invitaion under glass from 1944. Also a matching silver tray with my sister's invitaton from 1970. I passed these on to my sister who displays them in her home.

                                                                                                                          We have our invitation framed with a formal wedding protrait, and have done so as first anniversay gists for assorted neices and nephews <their invitations and portaits, not ours>.

                                                                                                                        2. Perfex peppermill for my wedding in 1966 -- used daily, it is still going strong! I have given several of these as wedding gifts. My other go-to gift is a LC Dutch oven, but that is out of the suggested price range.

                                                                                                                          I also treasure a trio of Corning white platters that are freezer-microwave-oven safe; very handy for parties. Unfortunately, they are no longer available but have served me well for 47 (!!) years.

                                                                                                                          1. the 2 I use almost every day are a fork and spatula from LLBean given to us as a wedding gift 47 years ago. I think of the giver each time I use them.
                                                                                                                            The 2nd most used is a stainless steel salad bowl given by my mothers bridge club, who all gave us stainless. I still use most of it at least once a week.

                                                                                                                            1. It was 38 years ago but the gift we really enjoyed was an electric kettle. The people who gave it to us were British. At that time we were unaware something like that existed. We are now on our 4th kettle and I would not be with one.

                                                                                                                              1. A set of high quality stainless steel bowls. I think it was from Williams and Sonoma and it was six pieces. Still heavily used 16 years later.

                                                                                                                                http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                                                                                                                not these but similar

                                                                                                                                the gift included some wooden utensils, but those didn't last due to my wife's proclivity towards resting them on the stove!

                                                                                                                                1. Our Peugeot pepper mill. Best of the lot.

                                                                                                                                  1. The penzey spice idea is awesome. and depending on what you get you could add things to it.

                                                                                                                                    I do love my silicone baking mats, if you get the bbq spices you could do bbq utensils or accessories

                                                                                                                                    We make home made pizza and use the penzey pizza spice in our sauce, and you could by a stone and peel

                                                                                                                                    Do italian spices and buy them a pasta roller.

                                                                                                                                    If they have a kitchen aid mixer you can also buy an attachment (depends on how much you want to spend)

                                                                                                                                    1. An envelope stuffed with cash.

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                        This reminded me of my husband's cousin from out of town at our after-party. He came up to us to congratulate us and whipped out a hundred dollar bill and said "Sorry, I forgot to grab you a card. Hope you don't mind!" Didn't mind at all!!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: thedryer

                                                                                                                                          Oh my, I just remembered my $100 bill wedding gift story.

                                                                                                                                          There was a couple invited to our wedding that I only met just days prior. The husband was the head of a company that my husband worked with on a regular basis.

                                                                                                                                          At the wedding, he asked me to dance and slipped a $100 bill into the top of my wedding dress. It shocked me. I removed it and held it in my hand for the rest of the song.

                                                                                                                                          As the couple was leaving, I said "thank you for the gift." The wife looked confused and I said that her husband had given me a $100 bill while dancing. I could immediately tell she was not happy. She stormed off and the husband (who had been hitting the booze pretty good) said "that was suppose to be our secret."

                                                                                                                                          ETA - our official gift from this couple was napkins that I still use to this day.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                                                            That's disturbing, even creepy. It sounds like something Roger Stirling would do.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: thedryer

                                                                                                                                            We went to my husband's nephew's wedding in India years ago, and hubs didn't tell me about the need for uneven cash amounts (something to do with good luck, I found out later). The father of the groom hurriedly gave me a one rupee note to add to the hundred dollar bill I gave the couple. Whew--it's a very superstitious family, so I got saved by a rupee!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                              Same with Jewish tradition...something with 8...my mil when giving money gift, write a check for $108...

                                                                                                                                        2. Electric egg cooker! The woman that gave it to me said I would think it a strange gift, but I would love it. She was right. I am using my third one after 55 years!