Engagement season is here. You probably didn’t know that 40 percent of couples are engaged between November and February. In addition to diving headfirst into wedding planning, that also means these couples are starting to register for gifts. In my other business venture, I am asked all the time about what to register for, and where to go. Yes, you can go to a big box store, which is what I did years ago before friends John Frechette and Christian Burch opened a two of my favorite stores. Or, you can look locally to MADE and Mountain Dandy for stocking one’s home, especially the kitchen and bar. Fortunately for all those newly engaged couples, and for us gift-givers, the two stores offer a wedding registry to make the job easier. We combed the stores and talked to Frechette about some gifts to put on those lists.
Animal Wine Stopper
A few years ago, I swapped out all the tops to my liquor bottles and replaced them with fancy corks. If your bar is out in the open, then little decorative swaps like this can add some visual interest. These stoppers offer an array of Western animals to “put a cork in it” when you’re all done with your favorite wine or sparkling cider. We’d pick all six for a selection. Someone who wants to spend more money can buy all of them, or someone with a smaller budget can buy just one or two.
Flour Sack Towel
I don’t think you can ever have too many dish towels. A few years ago, we did a story on fried chicken with Carey Morey of Callie’s Biscuits, and she used dish towels in place of paper towels for literally everything. Wipe off your dirty hands, place under the cutting board so it doesn’t move, clean up a spill. Genius! I have since adopted her strategy and go through at least three fresh towels a day. Flour sack towels are my favorite for their ability to absorb anything. MADE has a ton of assort towels. This large kitchen towel is perfect for drying dishes or bundling baked goods. I would register for a dozen. These are another gift that someone could buy all of, or another person could add one just one or two to beef up a smaller present.
Antler Old Fashioned Glasses
In my opinion, glassware is one of the most important items that couples should register for. You need wine glasses (red and white), Champagne glasses, martini glasses, water glasses and tumblers. Sure, you can buy plain rocks glasses anywhere, but the silver antlers on these are just another way to jazz up your bar (and if you follow the xowyo paper Instagram feed, you know how much we love antlers). Plus they are dishwasher safe so no need to clean by hand after a late night of making Old Fashioneds for a crowd. Put a set of six on your list. These will probably be one of the first items purchased.
Tina Frey Large Bucket
Hands down, this is my favorite household purchase over the last 12 months. I had been eyeing this ice bucket for two years before I actually purchased it. It took me some time to warm up to the price, but seriously, don’t let that deter you. It is worth every penny. It’s so gorgeous that I keep it out in the open at all times by storing blankets in it when I’m not entertaining. Pieces are first designed and hand-sculpted by Tina Frey in San Francisco in clay, then molds are made. Food-safe resin is used, then hand-sanded. This is one of those gifts that a group of friends would go in together to buy, or maybe your favorite aunt who wants to splurge on you would snatch up.
Blackline Serving Boards
Ok, so over that last 24 months, this serving board is probably my favorite purchase. I have a thing for cutting boards and bowls, and this jet black tray is one of the most unique I have found. These wooden serving boards utilize a natural reactive process to give them their distinctive dark finish. No pigments are used to create this black color. They look absolutely gorgeous for serving cheese and charcuterie, or even a bunch of cut up veggies. My only regret is not having multiple boards, so I would register for one of each size.
Alex Marshall Dinnerware
The next big splurge I am making (very soon, actually) is replacing all the Crate and Barrel dishes I registered for eight years ago with this handmade dinnerware. Hand built and thrown in Northern California, each piece of dinnerware is created by the artist and her husband. I love the handmade look of these dishes (and the fact they are dishwasher safe). If you live in a small home like we do, you probably don’t have room for everyday dishes and for China. So I opt for something that can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner or that can be dressed up for a fancy meal. These fit the bill. Remember, a lot of wedding guests will buy you just one place setting, so don’t worry that no one will be able to afford all eight. It’s rare that one guest will purchase all your dishes.
If you are newly engaged and don’t know where to begin, schedule an appointment at the shops to begin your registry. Or maybe just put these on your Christmas list.