gifts they might actually want

The Strategist UK’s Nonobvious Wedding Gift Guide

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist

As you’ll have likely noticed, weddings are back in full force again. And with their return comes the task of finding an appropriate gift. You might feel pressure to overspend, or be shopping for people with particularly design-y tastes. Thankfully, at the Strategist we have a knack for finding a great wedding gift. For this nonobvious wedding gift guide, we combed through our archives, selecting the best things that any newlywed would want, as well as adding unique pieces that we’ve had our eye on recently. Our alt-registry features cool-person recommendations, expert-approved homeware, and pieces the Strategist UK editors stand by, too. We’ve broken up our list into four sections below — if you know what you’re looking for, you can click on the link and jump straight to the category.

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

Bath and bedding

A set of linen sheets is a perfectly grown-up gift, making them ideal for gifting to newlyweds. These Made.com sheets came highly rated in our test of the best linen sheets (I bought a set after reading my colleague Rosie Percy’s review), and are frequently on offer in 20 different colours.

We named this 13.5-tog, goose-down duvet one of the best after speaking to interior decorators and design writers.

From £30
Photo: retailer

Like sheets, actually nice towels are a luxury, and when we asked cool people for their recommendations, Copenhagen-based Tekla came up repeatedly. Its organic, extra-combed cotton terry towels come in a range of colours, as well as hotel white. Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead — interior designers, co-founders of 2LG Studio, and authors of Making Living Lovely — said that the Tekla towels have an “effortlessly cool factor that says, ‘Oh, the towels? Can’t remember where I got them.’”

If you’re clubbing together with some friends, a matching pair of grown-up pyjamas would make for a thoughtful gift. Itunu Oke, retail editor at British GQ, told us the White Company makes some of her favourites.

Pantry and kitchen

Photo: retailer

We previously called Top Cuvée’s wine-subscription box the best on the market after speaking to sommeliers and wine experts. Hannah Crosbie, wine writer and founder of Dalston Wine Club, said that “many credit Top Cuvée with sparking their lockdown wine obsession — I think they deserve every bit of credit they get.” Its monthly “Natural Wine Subscription,” which starts at £55 a month for three bottles and £110 for six bottles (including shipping costs), is made up of natural wines specially selected and curated by a team of experts.

From £10
Photo: retailer

Or opt for a gift card if your budget is a little smaller and you’re buying for someone with a particular taste for biodynamic Pinot Gris.

You can use Dispatch to buy at-home meal kits from chefs including Angela Hartnett, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Ixta Belfrage. The meals and offers change frequently — there’s currently a BBQ series featuring dishes from Bubala and El Pastor — so consider a gift card, which can be redeemed up to 12 months after being ordered.

We’ve featured many affordable and chef-recommended olive oils in our best-in-class guide, but for something with a little more panache, this bottle from Sous Chef comes in a statement-y splattercore bottle.

From £275

Chef Jackson Boxer told us these knives, hand-forged in Peckham, are among his favourites. He specifically likes Blenheim Forge’s “gyoto” knife, but we’ve suggested the slightly less expensive Santoku knife as a wedding gift instead. Santoku knives are all-rounders (think of it as a faster and more efficient version of a chef’s knife). You can find a host of more affordable chef’s knives in our guide.

This knife by Victorinox, meanwhile, features in the Strategist 100 — our directory of our most stood-behind gifts. It’s inexpensive but popular with professional chefs (including Lisa Markwell, magazine editor and ex-Leiths student).

A good bread knife that can tackle everything from day-old sourdough to fresh bagels would also be a good option. We’re fans of these affordable ones by German manufacturer Wüsthof.

While Le Creuset was the best-rated cast-iron pan when we quizzed chefs and food writers, Staub (which came a close second) is a more nonobvious option. Its self-basting spikes (or “picots”) on the roof of the lid gather moisture from steam and drip back into your food, keeping it from drying out. Marwa Alkhalaf, chef patron at Nutshell, loves that “the dark interior of the Staub means I don’t have to worry about staining the interior with spices.” They also come in pleasing colours, such as “grenadine” and “basil.”

£30

This coffee maker comes recommended by Strategist UK associate director development manager Rosie Percy, who first spied it in the house of a coffee-obsessed friend. With limited counter space, she said the Aromaboy is ​​“inexpensive, easy to use,” and takes up “less space than a kettle.”

Home goods and accessories

£51

This mouth-blown glass carafe is a favourite gift of writer and content editor Jemal Polson. He says that it’s not “something you might necessarily need” but “something that is always nice to have.” It’s also versatile, as “you can fill it with wine, water, or fancy oil” or use it as a vase.

Strategist contributor Monica Heisey stumbled across these inexpensive, water-resistant paper sleeves while browsing a knickknack shop in Stoke Newington. They “wrap around jars, old vases (or, in a pinch, cut-open milk cartons)” and are as easy to mail as a card. “For the cost of oversized letter postage and a bottle of mid-tier off-license wine, you can surprise a friend with a beautiful, customisable, low-hassle piece of home décor.”

Simply a classic. “Everyone has a different taste when it comes to the interior design and furnishings of their new home,” says Ivana Linderova, the co-founder of interior-design firm Studio Identity. “But everyone universally loves a nice-smelling home, so candles are an incredibly safe option.” Her favourite pick is Diptyque’s 34 Boulevard St Germain.

By Rotation founder Eshita Kabra, meanwhile, told us she likes the brand’s Tubereuse candle. “The smell of tuberose is a very popular scent in Indian culture. It’s like jasmine, so this candle reminds me of my wedding.”

Photo: Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Not everything you buy for newlyweds has to have a substantial price tag. These £10 incense matches are almost like stocking fillers in that regard, but ever since Serpentine CEO Bettina Korek told us about them, we’ve been recommending them as an inexpensive curio. Korek favours the yuzu scent.

£16 for 4
Photo: retailer

We’ve previously recommended Zalto wineglasses — they’re beloved by wine-industry professionals — but they’re facing supply issues worldwide. As an (inexpensive) alternative, we recommend LSA glassware. We think these low, stackable tumblers are a particularly nice gift — less fusty than wine glasses, and more versatile than a martini coupe, while also looking like something you’d drink from at Three Sheets in Dalston.

Photo: retailer

Big-ticket items can be risky as gifts, but if your recipient already has an impressive collection of glassware, consider a statement bar cart. We like this classic-looking one by West Elm.

We like the limited-release options by Pophams and Stick Ceramics, but those can be harder to get than an Aimé Leon Dore drop. Instead, a piece from the (surprisingly affordable) Ottolenghi x Serax collection would be a good bet.

This maximalist melamine tray by Yinka Ilori would be a nice, inexpensive gift that can be used as both an actual tray or something of a focal point on a set of shelves.

From £280

Charlie Casely-Hayford, founder of London tailoring house Casely-Hayford, first told us about these beautifully crafted umbrellas. You could buy one for each person getting married (particularly if they are of drastically different heights — the umbrellas can be custom-made) or buy one for the home.

This coffee-table book doubles as décor and an engrossing documentation of London’s architecture, landmarks, and irreverence.

Photo: RETAILER

Or, for the couple who are on first-name terms with the staff at Tooting Bec Lido, this tribute to swimming pools by arts journalist Lou Stoppard would feel fitting. It’s filled with curated photographs and essays about all aspects of pool life, and if you still doubt Stoppard’s credentials, she went to the lido with Harry Styles when profiling him for Better Homes & Gardens.

Electronics and tech

A robot that can cheerfully guzzle up dirt and dust might not be the top of their list — but after our deep dive into the best robot vacuums, we think the eufy (our best-rated overall) would make a charming addition to their home.

A Shiatsu foot massager would make a thoughtful gift for a couple that spends a lot of time on their feet (whether they’re a sous-chef by day or keen fell walkers on the weekend). This model includes a heat function and five adjustable pressure settings that can be used for light or deep kneading massage, depending on your preference.

This kitschy cat clock has featured in several gift guides now, and we’re still taken by its charming design (the eyes move left and right every second).

£92

This would be a nice way to catalogue the couple’s first few months of married life. You could even add a bundle of Polaroid films — this set (below) includes bordered frames and colour filters.

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Strategist UK’s Nonobvious Wedding Gift Guide