I recently attended a bridal shower, a chance for the bride to invite her friends over and watch her unwrap all her cool new shit. Yeah, there might be weird games involved (what’s your fiancé’s favorite sports team? who was his second-grade girlfriend?) and she might have to wear some lopsided bonnet made out of bows and love. But we know what this is really about. After ripping open a gaily decorated box with a sweet Oxo cheese grater inside, the bored bride-to-be tossed it into her gift pile with a mere, “Yeah, my fiancé might get some use out of this,” and watched her single friends drool all over her Le Creuset bakeware.
May is the start of the wedding season, a time that makes me more than a little jealous of the happy couple. It’s not the groovy Ken-and-Barbie smooch up at the altar that I envy, or the chance to wear the big white dress that makes short chicks like me look even more pleasantly squat. It’s that damn bridal registry. After several years of buying wedding gifts for friends, I am now convinced that most of them tie the knot just so they can slice cucumbers more easily with their Wüsthof “Grand Prix II” 6-piece cutlery set. First-night bliss should apparently also only be consummated on 400 thread-count sheets. (I’m still rocking out with a mismatched set I’m sure I barfed on in first grade.) But what really confounds me is people’s choice of registry. Far be it from me to discourage the happy couple from hooking themselves up with all the useful basics that Target or Bed Bath & Beyond can provide. You can never own too many soap savers. But as couples think about the pricier loot, when given the opportunity for everlasting love and $30 colanders, many are afraid to abandon department store registries and the ol’ Michael C. Fina standby. Your registry is that one chance to score the Frank Gehry teapot from Alessi, and you’re blowing it on a 12-piece salad bowl-dessert plate combo you’ll use every 10 years. It’s enough to make a single woman cry.
A set of lead-crystal candlesticks from Tiffany are gorgeous, but unless you’re an Astor, who’re you fooling? You’ll take them out every five years, when Great Aunt Bertha stops in to paw her candlestick investment. Now look at this ABS pitcher from Moss—it’s plastic you’ll use everyday, and just as striking. Or there’s the Tivoli AM/FM radio at Terence Conran, which receives great reviews for pulling in weak, hard-to-get stations.
Here are a few more ideas from our dream gift registry:
1) Maxwell-Silver NY: This website will create a custom registry for you from a number of choice design boutiques in the city such as Jonathan Adler, Swallow, Simon Pearce, Apartment 48, and more. They then post all the photos online, for your relatives in Minnesota.
2) Global Table: Products from Global Table can be chosen through Maxwell-Silver, or through the in-store registry.
4) Amazon.com: It’s your wedding, not the Knot.com’s. Ask for that second season of The Office on DVD.
5) Retromodern.com: Kartell, Alessi, Lexon, and more, all available online.