gifts they might actually want

The Strategist’s Nonobvious Wedding Gift Guide

Photo-Illustration: Retailers

Now that weddings have cautiously returned, you might be taking more care than ever to find a good gift for any you’re invited to. It isn’t easy. There’s implicit pressure to overspend on a piece of pricey kitchenware (looking at you, Le Creuset and KitchenAid) that your couple might receive from another guest anyway, and shopping for people with design-y tastes is particularly difficult. Luckily, we here at the Strategist have honed a pretty good sense about what makes a great wedding gift. For this guide, we combed through our archives, cherry-picking the best things that any newlywed would want as well as adding a few more unique pieces that we’ve had our eyes on more recently. Whether you’re looking to give 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 looking for gifts to mark a wedding anniversary, we’ve got you covered, too.) To help you shop, we’ve broken the items up into the below sections; if you know the type of thing you’re looking for, you can click on any of the links below to jump straight to that category.

Bath and bedding | Pantry and kitchen | Home goods and accessories | Electronics and tech

Bath and bedding

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.)

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 found that these more affordable linen sheets from West Elm held their own against some of the fancier ones. The set includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases, making it nice and substantial.

From $109

The gift of two fluffy down pillows will make any couple’s bed feel more like one at a fancy hotel. Alex Savy, the founder of sleep-product review website SleepingOcean, describes Brooklinen’s down pillow as a “fairly affordable option that does not sacrifice quality for the price tag.” It comes in three densities, including plush, mid-plush, and firm. Whichever you choose, Savy says they are “nicely made, with neat stitching and a 100 percent cotton cover that uses a sateen weave and feels heavenly soft and silky to the touch.”

A non-fusty coverlet, recommended by writer–slash–creative consultant Harling Ross, who put it on her own registry. “I’m just as big a fan of the brand’s home stuff, and in warmer months, this seems like a really practical alternative to a heavier comforter,” she says.