Wedding season is guaranteed to look a little different this year, with engaged couples choosing between Zoom nuptials, socially distanced ceremonies, or, most likely, postponing until next year when the coronavirus crisis is hopefully behind us. But even though weddings aren’t quite the same, there’s still the need to give a gift — and the desire to give a good one. 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. We combed through our archives, cherry-picking the best things that any newlywed would want (other than the Le Creusets, Cuisinarts, and KitchenAids you’re probably already drowning in). Think of it as the Strategist’s 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. It’s the ultimate alt-registry. (If you’re feeling inspired, you can get started on your own Amazon registry, too.)
Bath and Bedding
In our big roundup of the best linen sheets, Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst said these Belgian linen sheets “have this automatically lived-in look, soft and rumpled and ultraluxurious.” There are plenty of color options to choose from, too, like forest green, terra-cotta, and peacock blue.
We thought this more affordable linen option from West Elm held its own against some of the fancier sets.
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.
These lightweight towels are quick-drying as well as soft and cozy. Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson notes, “They actually dried me off quicker than my old towels and didn’t get wet and soggy in the process. Apparently the secret is the towel’s loose weave, which promotes air circulation.”
Matching bathrobes make a nice gift. These plush ones from luxury linens brand Frette come recommended by Dinah Cooke, who directs social media for the Joanna Vargas spa. “I’m absolutely in love with mine. It’s luxurious yet simple,” she says. “I wear it after taking a long bath or while I’m sheet-masking.”
Food and Kitchen
This eye-catching bottle of olive oil will complement all of their shiny new kitchen gear. And it’s not just a pretty package: The Tuscan oil is made from olives harvested only in October (when olives are green and just starting to ripen) for the most potent flavor.
Forget the usual suspects (though if you are going to go with a usual suspect, go with this one), and instead get this copper-plated pepper mill. Writer Juliet Lapidos says it “always attracts attention at dinner parties. Once a guest asked if it was a family heirloom.”
One of our favorite gifts for home cooks, this Dutch oven (that’s made from carbon steel so it’s lighter than cast iron) can also be found in the kitchen of chef Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and host of the Netflix show of the same name. She has a vintage yellow version.
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.”
As for what to do with all that new cookware, they’ll get plenty of ideas from this cookbook from chef Joshua McFadden. Janna Gur, author of Shuk, loves Six Seasons for its “beautiful writing, terrific (and meticulously developed and tested) recipes, mouthwatering photos, lots of veggies and seasonality.”
For the couple with no clue how to use any of their new kitchen gear, a subscription to a meal delivery service will help them hone their techniques. Strategist writer Lauren Ro likes that the recipes from Martha Stewart’s meal service, Marley Spoon, “come with step-by-step instructions on a sheet with pictures and are pretty straightforward.”