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.
Bath and Bedding
These are the luxurious linen sheets that senior writer Lauren Levy tried and loved — they feel expensive, but aren’t prohibitively so.
This Momofuku-esque set is just, ahem, peachy. How can you be mad sleeping under this?
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Food and Kitchen
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.
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.”
The key to a good cup of coffee is fresh beans ground to the perfect consistency. This is the one to geek out with.
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.”
Hands down, the finest universal wine glasses you can buy. Adored by civilians and sommeliers alike.
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.
Take a page from our very discerning senior writer Lauren Levy, who fell in love with these Hasami plates when creating her own registry.
Nobody could object to these delicately speckled dinner plates that are reminiscent of the stoneware at Two Hands.
Designer Sara Story first told us about these elegant sets, and we’ve been smitten ever since.
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.
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.
For those looking to channel the “1970s Upper West Side apartment” look.
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.”
“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.”
These, from Tenfold, are interior designer Meg Sharpe’s favorite place mats. “They are so chic in their simplicity,” she told us.
Home Furnishings and Accessories
Strategist writer Lauren Levy has been evangelizing about this Tom Dixon vase for months, and finally bit the bullet and bought it in November.
A rope-cotton storage basket (which can be used for holding toys in a few years).
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.”
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.
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.
Some “starter Toto” for the bathroom.
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.”
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.
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.
Or go with a set of matching super-customized L.L. Bean bags.
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