Jul 152008
 

Even though we still have half a house to unpack, Mr. T and I have at least put most of our wedding gifts to use. It’s so much fun having all these new things!

There are certain items that everyone has heard of. You don’t need me to convince you of the glory of Le Creuset pans, for example. But here are some lesser-known sources and/or items that are worth a look:

Yamazaki Flatware from The Silver Superstore

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My grandparents made us a wonderful offer to purchase flatware as a wedding gift. After lots of research (much of it on Amazon.com, which has extremely useful product reviews), I narrowed the ideal down to two brands: Yamazaki and WMF.

Unfortunately, both brands average around $50 per place setting, and we could never ask our grandparents to pay that. But here’s where The Silver Superstore came in — they have many discontinued and otherwise discounted lines. Our beautifully simple, mirror-shiny Epoch pattern was only $120 for a 65-piece service for 12! Dad made the purchase, and, though he’s not nearly the Internet shopper his daughter is, he reported that the customer service was excellent and it was an easy transaction all around.

Eclissi Glass Dinnerware from Target

31R0J76QKRL._SS384_We decided early on that we wouldn’t register for fine china.  And most stoneware strikes me as a bit too … stoneware-y. So eventually we settled on glass dishes. We have a fancier version on our future wish-list (Aino Aalto for Iittala, designed in 1932 and utterly timeless), and these Eclissi dishes from Target filled in for everyday.

It’s hard to tell from the photos, but Target hit a home run with these dishes. They’re made in Italy from thick, tempered glass, and the shape is an unusual hybrid of a square with rounded edges. Basically, everything we serve on these dishes comes out looking like a magazine shoot. Which is particularly impressive, considering that most of what we serve involves cereal, pizza, and/or Chipotle burritos.

A Couple of “Green” Options, via our Alternative Gift Registry

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Before the wedding, I talked up The Alternative Gift Registry as a perfect place to register. You can link to any item on any Website, describe something at a local store, or even request intangible gifts like family photos or wedding-planning assistance. I believe there’s at least one other link-from-anywhere registry in operation (anyone used it, or at least know the name/info?), but I particularly trust The Alternative Gift Registry because it’s run by a nonprofit.

In the end, only a couple of guests used our Alternative Gift Registry, and they were among our most Internet-savvy friends. Even the people who bought gifts over the Internet seemed most comfortable with our traditional registries (Macy’s and Target). But I’d still use the Alternative Gift Registry again, in part because I believe in its parent organization and in part because we really love the stuff we got! Two of our favorites are a gorgeously sculptural rack for holding our newspaper recycling ($50 at the MOMA Store) and a red bamboo dishtowel ($6.50 at the Bibelot Shop). There were serious discussions chez Tulip the other night because the beloved bamboo dishtowel was in the laundry and I had replaced it with something pretty but useless!

Are you registering at any unusual sources, or for unusual items?  What unusual gift excites you the most?

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