Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wedding Gifts


I was a girl during the hope chest period, when maidens were encouraged to think of marriage as a career in itself. By the time I did take vows, I had a full kit of practical and social necessities. The ensuing decades have been a lengthy shake down period. Along with an amateur’s love of design, I’ve had years to consider the wisdom of owning and maintaining the conventional domestic kit. 

A few core low-tech classics never cease to be useful. A well-designed heavy cooking pot with lid, a sharp professional grade chef’s knife, a good-looking tea kettle, and one truly lovely vase will cover most occasions.

Silver, china, glass, and linen are pleasant to have, though fashion and the market churn inventory wildly and first quality is ever harder to find. Silver was a traditional store of bride wealth. Mid-tech amenities like small appliances, convenience gadgets, and affordable big box chain furnishings are frankly disposable and possibly not the best value. The cost of long-distance moving is a factor to consider. Consider giving first-quality hiking essentials for shower presents. The Great Big Hiking Co-op lists the basics and their functions. They are useful every day, and completing the kit will prepare the new household for healthful recreation and for environmental emergencies.

The next time it is my pleasure to contemplate a wedding gift, I’ll balance enduring value against the technological rate of change. A choice piece of digi-tech trumps so many ordinary furnishings that the usual accessories become so much clutter. I’ll consider picking up a state of the art pepper grinder (flashy from the early Venetian get go) or sterling party horn and contemplate paying down a student loan for largesse. A small amenity of first-quality design in a lasting technology lifts practical improvisation, like a butcher paper table cloth and bundle of markers, into an exercise of genuine artfulness.

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