gifts they might actually want

The Strategist’s Nonobvious Wedding Registry Guide

And that isn’t cold, hard cash. Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Wedding season is upon us, which means of course that wedding-gift season is rearing its (anxiety-inducing) head. But while the process can be a beast, we here at the Strategist have honed a pretty good sense about what makes a great wedding gift. (Here’s our guide to the best wedding gifts, according to recently married couples.) So we combed through the Strategist archives, cherry-picking the best things that any newlywed would want — think of it as the Strat Greatest Hits: Wedding Edition. Whether you’re looking for something off-registry, or trying to find the just-right thing to put on your own, we’ve come up with a megalist of all of our favorite items that would make fantastic wedding gifts. And because you’re likely swimming in a sea of Le Creusets, Cuisinarts, and KitchenAids, you won’t see any of those here. Think of this as the ultimate alt-registry. If you’re feeling inspired, you can get started on your own Amazon registry, too.

Bath and Bedding

Parachute Down Alternative Feather Bed

An entire bed is a lot to ask for (or gift), but this mattress topper that we adore is the next best choice. (And if you want to go ahead and put a mattress on there, we will not judge; here are our favorites.)

Brooklinen Linen Core Sheet Set

These are the luxurious linen sheets that senior writer Lauren Levy tried and loved — they feel expensive, but aren’t prohibitively so.

Matteo Harbor Linen Duvet Set, Queen

In addition to Brooklinen, L.A.-based bedding line Matteo makes some of the best linen around.

BedVoyage Bamboo Sheets

These are a consistent Strategist best seller, and for good reason. They’re designer-approved, light-as-air bamboo sheets that you can buy on Amazon.

Peaches Duvet Cover

This set is just, ahem, peachy. How can you be mad sleeping under this?

Bico Bed Blanket

Non-fusty quilts are hard to come by. This one, from Joinery, is crafted by a team of six weavers from of São João del Rei, Brazil.

Dusen Dusen Throw — Shapes
Photo: Courtesy of Dusen Dusen
Dusen Dusen Throw — Shapes

Brooklyn-based Dusen Dusen is the printed textile line of the moment; Aidy Bryant is a big fan, and no 2018 quirky minimalist home is complete without a Dusen Dusen throw.

Morihata Lattice XL Bath Towel

These Japanese-made Lattice Towels are painstakingly woven on antique looms in Imabari, and dry exceptionally quickly. Strategist writer Hannah Morrill also notes that “these Towels still feel soft and luxe, and not sad and scratchy, wash after wash. And secondly, they keep their integrity and don’t look like doormats, even after years of wear.”

Parachute Classic Towels

For something a little simpler: As big fans of Parachute’s bedding and linens here at the Strat, we can vouch for the quality of these towels, too.

Ryan McGinley Artist Beach Towel

The Art Production fund regularly teams up with artists on limited-edition oversize beach towels. This Ryan McGinley towel is a favorite of recent newlywed Madeleine Fawcett; Strategist editor Alexis Swerdloff has (and is obsessed with) the Raymond Pettibon one.

Quiet Town Home Shower Curtain

The Brooklyn-based husband-wife duo behind Quiet Town makes the only “statement” shower curtains we’ve seen that don’t make too much of a statement.

Gobam Bamboo Bath Mat

Not one but two Strategist editors (Alexis and Jason) own a bamboo bath mat and much prefer it to their formerly soggy cloth ones.

Coyuchi Women’s Relaxed Linen Robe

His and her (or her and her or his and his) matching bathrobes makes a nice gift. These heavyweight washed-linen ones from Northern California–based Coyuchi, are the favorite of Shannon Vaughn, founder of Pursoma, a line of fancy bath soaks. After a soak, Vaughn recommends wrapping yourself in one for 30 minutes, then promptly heading straight to bed. “You’ll sleep like a baby,” she says.

This exact Coyuchi robe has limited sizing, but here’s a similar style from Coyuchi.

Coyuchi Men’s Relaxed Linen Robe

Food and Kitchen

Global G-2 Chef’s Knife 8”
Photo: Jed Egan
Global G-2 Chef’s Knife 8”

Hands down, no question, this is the chef knife to get. We talked to more than two dozen experts and even tested some ourselves: It’s the best.

Miyabi Birchwood Chef’s Knife 6”

For something on the much more extravagant side, you can’t beat this stunning chef-approved Japanese Miyabi knife.

Swissmar Universal Cheese Knife

Experts have told us to forgo the standard cheese knife set and instead buy a universal cheese knife, like this stainless-steel version from Swissmar.

Muuto Plus Salt & Pepper Grinder

Forget the usual suspects (though if you are going to go with a usual suspect, go with this one), and instead get this ombré salt and pepper grinder.

Mauviel M150C2 Copper & Stainless Steel Frying Pan

Sure, All-Clad is great, but this copper pan from Mauviel is a work of art. It’s the favorite of Vic’s, Rosie’s, and Cookshop chef Marc Meyer, who told us why he loves this pan: “It’s beautifully made, and the handle stays cool, even when using high heat. It’s a pleasure to cook anything in this pan.”

Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pan

Another alternative to the All-Clads and Cuisinarts of the world is chef-beloved French cookware line Matfer Bourgeat. This pan was recommended to us by John Fraser (Dovetail, Narcissa, Nix).

Technivorm Moccamaster 59162 Drip Coffeemakers, 40 oz, Copper

The coffee snob’s coffee maker, which not only do aficionados love, but so do many hundreds of reviewers on Amazon.

Osaka Pour Over Coffee Brewer

There are few prettier pour-over coffee makers than this Osaka version, which doesn’t require disposable filters thanks to its mesh metal one.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

The key to a good cup of coffee is fresh beans ground to the perfect consistency. This is the one to geek out with.

Fellow Stagg EKG, Electric Pour-over Kettle
Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine
Calypso Basics by Reston Lloyd Whistling Teakettle

A slightly more fun, splatterware alternative to the standard Le Creuset kettle.

Coravin Model Two Wine System

Sometimes you want to finish a whole bottle; sometimes you don’t. The very best sommelier-approved system for preserving open bottles of wine is the Coravin.

Bormioli Rocco Bodega Tumbler Medium Glasses — 12 Ounce, Set of 12

These tumblers (the second from the left in the photo above) have already been called the best by designers and us — on a recent trip to Spain, we noticed that every restaurant had them, too. They’re perfect.

Iittala Kartio 13 oz. Tumblers, Set of 2

Writer Ming Thompson, in her piece on essential apartment things you should buy in your 20s that you’ll have for the rest of your life, recommends these Iittala glasses. “After breaking dozens of paper-thin glasses, I invested in these timeless and durable glasses in the colors of the sea and sky. They feel just right in your hand, with a heavy bottom and a comfortable shape.”

Zalto Hand-Blown Universal Wine Glass

Hands down, the finest universal wine glasses you can buy. Adored by civilians and sommeliers alike.

Spiegelau 3-Piece Craft Beer Tasting Kit

These differently shaped IPA glasses are made for different kinds of craft beers, which is just the kind of extravagant nonnecessity a wedding calls for.

Heller Dinnerware Vignelli Rainbow Mug — Set of 6

These mugs will not be to everyone’s taste; they’re ours.

Pigeon Toe Matte Ceramic Mug

A slightly more classic matte mug, courtesy of Portland’s Pigeon Toe Ceramics.

Hasami Large Plate

Take a page from our very discerning senior writer Lauren Levy, who fell in love with these Hasami plates when creating her own registry.

Wilder Dinner Plate

Nobody could object to these delicately speckled dinner plates that are reminiscent of the stoneware at Two Hands.

Iittala Artik 5-Piece Place Setting

Designer Sara Story first told us about these elegant sets, and we’ve been smitten ever since.

Tortoise Flatware in Brushed Stainless Steel
Tortoise Flatware in Brushed Stainless Steel

Senior writer Lauren Levy not only obsessed over dishes, but flatware sets for her registry, too. She didn’t choose these tortoiseshell ones ultimately, though they were strong contenders.

Collo-Alto Flatware, 5-Piece Setting

This is the set that Lauren ultimately went with, which she calls “classic stainless steel, with a bit of an edge.” Seven months later, she still loves them.

Helen Levi Pebble Carafe

Brooklyn ceramist Helen Levi has a cult following for a reason. This carafe comes courtesy of her “Pebble” collection.

Ippinka Kishu Binchotan Charcoal Water Purifier Filter + Glass Carafe

For the activated charcoal aficionado.

Handmade Wabi Sabi Ceramic Dinnerware — Salad Bowl, Milk

If you’ve been to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, you’re probably already familiar with these ceramics by Julie Hadley. They’re so much more original than Heath.

Mosser Glass Three-Piece Mixing Bowl Set

These Mosser Glass mixing bowls are handsome enough to keep out on the counter.

Dansk Wood Classics Tulip Salad Bowl

For those looking to channel the “1970s Upper West Side apartment” look.

Ironwood Gourmet Wood Bear Claw Salad Servers

Plus these handsy tongs.

Workaday Handmade Confetti Bowl

For something more contemporary, there’s this salad bowl from Workaday Handmade.

Falcon Bake Set

This Falcon enamelware bake set is a favorite of Strategist writer Katy Schneider. She told us: “They’re very pretty and vintage-looking without hitting you over the head with it, but most of all, I love that since they fit into each other, they store super easily. And you can use the smaller tins as serving bowls.”

Le Jacquard Francais Napkin, Set of 4

“The best dinner napkins by far are Le Jacquard Français,” blogger Darcy Fogg told us. “Not only are they beautifully made, gorgeously designed, and able to stand alone as the statement piece in your tablescape, but they also last through more washings and wear than you can imagine.”

Echelle Mudcloth Napkins, Set of 6

Hand-loomed in Mali, these organic cotton napkins are bold without being overwhelmingly so.

Huddleson Anfa Blue and White Linen Tablecloth

The same can be said of this Italian linen tablecloth from Huddleson.

Tenfold New York Embroidered Linen Placemat

These, from Tenfold, are interior designer Meg Sharpe’s favorite place mats. “They are so chic in their simplicity,” she told us.

Yeti Hopper Flip Portable Cooler

The beloved Yeti Hopper cooler (perfect for camping, tailgating, day-at-the-beaching, and afternoon-in-the-parking) will survive nearly anything. And it better, for $200.

Home Furnishings and Accessories

Costa Farms Pilea Sharing Indoor Tabletop Plant in 6-Inch Ceramic Planter

A plant that you can order from Amazon that isn’t hideous and won’t wilt in the mail? Yes, it’s true! This one comes with a lovely ceramic planter.

Tom Dixon Bump Tall Vase

Strategist writer Lauren Levy has been evangelizing about this Tom Dixon vase for months, and finally bit the bullet and bought it in November.

Yamazaki Home Tower Leaning Ladder Rack

Big furniture pieces are weird to register for, but this Strat favorite, a Yamazaki Home wall ladder — an alternative to everyone’s dreaded “clothes chair” — feels fine on a registry.

Byer of Maine Pangean Glider/Sling Chair

Same with this folding chair, which is meant for outdoor decks and terraces, but can be used when extra folks come over for Vanderpump Rules viewing parties or for movie-in-the-park outings.

Norwood Stacking Stools

Another extra seating solution, which we’ve written about before; they also make wonderful plant stands.

LoongBaby Large Cotton Rope Handle Storage Basket

A rope-cotton storage basket (which can be used for holding toys in a few years).

MyGift 22 inch Premium Large Clear Acrylic Tray

A Lucite tray for breakfast-in-bedding.

London Undercover City Gent Umbrella

A splurge-y set of fancy matching umbrellas makes a fun and useful gift. This one is a favorite of writer Christopher Mason, who told us: “There’s something incredibly solid about the quality of the London Undercover City Gent umbrella — it has a Malacca-wood handle (which is used to make the finest canes), a beechwood shaft, gunmetal spokes, and a bronze ferrule.”

Frankford Umbrella

This, the best beach umbrella (which happens to be a World War II–era beach umbrella), has some serious bona fides: It’s the official umbrella for the entire city of North Myrtle Beach and Virginia Beach and Chicago. They use a version of the Frankford when you rent an umbrella at the Ritz-Carlton in Miami, as well as the Delano, the Fontainebleau, and the Eden Roc.

The Original L.L.Bean Boot, Women’s
The Original L.L.Bean Boot, Women’s

This isn’t exactly a home item, but Bean boots are a great couples’ gift.

The Original L.L.Bean Boot, Men


Belmint Shiatsu Foot Massager

The totally amazing, totally unexpected, out-of-left-field gift that changes everything. We talk about this a lot because it is good for moms, good for dads, good for anyone who has feet.

Etekcity Voltson Wi-Fi Smart Plug Mini Outlet

Here’s a tip — put ten of these smart plugs on your registry, and you’ll be able to transform your home. Turn on the AC before you arrive. Start the slow cooker from work. Leave the lights on when you’re on vacation. The possibilities are endless.

Toto Neorest 500H Top And Bowl Set

Some “starter Toto” for the bathroom.

Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine
Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier (SPA-550A)

This allergist-approved air purifier is the cream of the crop, the best at removing allergens, pollutants, and dust from sneeze-inducing air.

Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock

This “natural” clock (it wakes you up with a soft light as opposed to a blaring alarm) is a Strategist favorite, and good for SAD-inclined couples.

Nest Security Camera

A recently married doctor we spoke to told us that a friend got a Nest Cam off-registry that turned out, he said, “to be the most incredible gift. We have a Siberian husky, who often gets restless when left alone. It is great to be able to keep an eye on him with the Nest Cam, and possibly come home early from an evening out if he is getting stressed out.”

Sonos Playbar

Strictly speaking, nobody needs a Sonos Playbar, but nobody would be upset about six or seven friends chipping in to buy one to make TV-viewing cinematic.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush

Duh. You don’t even need to get two of them — just two brush heads.

RIF6 Cube Mobile Pico Projector

This tiny cube of a mini-projector lets you pretend that you’re at the movies, even when you’re just at home (or in a hotel or camping).

Ring Video Doorbell 2
Photo: Neil Godwin/T3 Magazine via Getty Images
Ring Video Doorbell 2

A smart camera-assisted doorbell for the added layer of security — never lose a package or worry about who’s at the door again.

Miele Complete C2

It is not the cheapest vacuum on the market — just the longest-lasting and best-looking, one that will make you actually want to break it out and use it.

Travel Accessories

Antler Juno 4W Large Case

We own and adore this no-frills suitcase — load up on two of them for any couples’ trip or honeymoon.

Rimowa Topas Cabin MW 53 Suitcase

Then there are those of us who want elegant, long-lasting luggage that will never go out of style — also useful for the days when you (of course inevitably) fly first.

Baggu Travel Cloud Bag
Photo: Kabir Fernandez
Baggu Travel Cloud Bag

We are obsessed with this unisex bag, which pretty much works just as the ultimate everyday bag that happens to be big enough for short trips.

Custom Boat Tote

Or go with a set of matching super-customized L.L. Bean bags.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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The Strategist’s Nonobvious Wedding Registry Guide