Wedding season is upon us; the season of strappy heels, pastel tea dresses, canapés on the lawn and the big question – ‘Should we include a wedding registry?’.
Registries, lists of gifts you’d like your guests to give you in honor of your big day, are a little passé these days. Most couples have lived together for a little while before they tie the knot, and likely have everything they could need for setting up a house together.
Besides, with big box stores like Kmart and the Warehouse, they don’t need help to get glasses or a dinner setting any more.
But there are some items anyone would welcome. Here’s our top five picks for the ideal wedding gift:
1. A wool blanket
Another traditional wedding gift, the good quality, Kiwi made wool blanket is having something of a renaissance lately, with both vintage and new blankets fetching top dollar.
You can’t have too many of these, for my money – keep them folded over the arms of your sofas during autumn and winter, to pull over you when it gets chilly, and across the end of your bed as a functional and decorative accessory . These will last for generations, so well worth having.
Second hand wool blankets can cost anything from a few dollars, if discovered at an op shop, to about $100 if they are in good knick or a rare color. A new, queen-sized A merino blanket from Briscoes will set you back about $375. Retro and vintage blankets in a range of colors are from $40 for a vintage gray army blanket to $385 for a custom cut retro colored rug at Fresh Retro Love.
2. A toaster
This has always been the traditional wedding gift – at one time considered the height of luxury, when you could just sling a couple of slices under the grill – the wedding toaster has gone the way of wedding crystal and wedding crockery.
But there is still one toaster worth gifting. I’m talking about the Bugatti of bread cookers, the Lamborghini or loaf roasters, the Dualit. Not only are these pricey kitchen pieces beautiful, but they are cost-effective. Each part of the toaster is replaceable, so it should last you a lifetime – possibly even longer than the marriage.
A four slice toaster from Nisbets will cost about $750.
3. Cast iron cookware
Cast iron can also last several lifetimes if it’s used correctly and looked after. So, if you want to give them something they can pass on to their kids, buy them a piece of le Creuset crockpot, or a pan by a local cast iron maker like the IronClad pan cowhich are made to last 100 years.
Le Creuset can cost anything from $300+ to more than $1000, so choose carefully. The versatile Legacy pan by Iron Clad costs $280.
4. A piece of art
This is a tricky one because art is subjective, but it’s so much better to have a hand-made piece than a boring old commercial print. There are a couple of ways to do it that won’t leave your loved ones saddled with something terrible that now has sentimental meaning, ensuring they can’t part with it.
Try talking to the bride and groom about a gallery or artist they love. Have them pick a specific piece and buy it for them, or if it’s out of your range, perhaps ask other friends or family to chip in for it.
Alternatively, buy from an affordable New Zealand artist, like Emma Basswhose lush, colorful botanicals are the height of romance.
5. Linen bedding
Once you’ve spent the night in good linen bedding it’s pretty hard to go back to polyester-blend cotton sheeting. A decent set of fitted and flat sheets, with pillowcases, isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny in terms of comfort, longevity and luxury.
Luckily, shopping linen in New Zealand is an embarrassment of riches. Pick a set from the collections at The Foxes Den in Auckland, Christchurch’s The Linen ProjectToeToe linen (check out the ruffled pillows) at Wellington’s The AxWhakatane’s George Street Linen or Foxtrot Home in Hawke’s Bay – the world is your soft, cozy, cocooning oyster.
Miriam Chemaou paid just $30 for one of her wedding dresses.