Wedding gifts we still use 16 years later

Way back in the year 2000, my then girlfriend and I decided to get married. We created a gift registry, as so many engaged couples to do. As a pair of young people with very little in the way of “real world” possessions, we asked for many things we thought we’d use for years. Fortunately many of our friends and family obliged and a year later we found ourselves happily married with a pile of new stuff.

Sixteen years later, there are items from that registry that we still use every day and others that were donated/tossed/given away long ago. Here’s a list of the few keepers that still see active duty.


The first item we registered for was a set of dinnerware from local potter Steve Kemp. We loved Steve’s work and thought, “What the heck. Maybe someone will buy us a setting or two.” We ended up with full service and those very plates and bowls are still in daily use at our house. Yes, I’ve broken a few but that’s what anniversary gifts are for, right?


My mother was raised in Oneida, New York, home to Oneida flatware and, before that, The Oneida Community (I’ve been inside the fabled “Mansion House” many times). My maternal grandfather worked for Oneida, designing flatware. Of course, I had to have a set, which we asked for and received.

For the first few years, I kept those utensils tucked away until Christmas other other “special” occasion. Eventually I decided that that was silly and now we use the Oneida flatware every day.

We didn’t ask for things like knifes or pots and pans, as we inherited sets of each, which we’ve since replaced.


As two single people we had, of course, two twin beds. As a gift we received a queen sized bed with some nifty storage compartments and it’s still in use.

Stuff we asked for, have, and never use.

Wine glasses. My wife and I drink wine maybe once a year. Yet we requested and received a set of wine glasses, figuring we’d be entertaining wine-loving friends. That hasn’t happened yet, and to this day a set of pristine wine glasses sit idle in a cabinet. The same goes for the blender. Again, we’ve used this maybe a dozen times over the past 16 years. The thought of fresh fruit smoothies every morning sounds great until you have to make them and then clean the blender.

Items we no longer own

First things first, if you’re reading this and you’re the person(s) who gave us any of the following, I’m sorry! We tried, honest. Let’s start with the bread machine. At the time when we got married, these things were very popular. Toss the ingredients inside, hit a switch and presto, you’ve got bread. The bread machine we owned was huge and took up a massive amount of counter space. So it sat in the basement until we decided that we wanted to use it. That day never came. The same goes for the ice cream maker. Oh, how charmingly naive young couples are. “We’ll make ice cream! It will be great.” Add a few kids to the mix and you realize there’s no time for that. Away it went.

What I wish we’d asked for

If I had a time machine, I’d go back to the year 2000 and ask for the following:

A decent, basic set of tools. You can get a way with cheap tools for a while, or skipping some essentials entirely, but starting off with a high-quality starter set is well worth the investment.

A rice cooker. We didn’t buy a rice cooker until a few years ago and we’re amazed at how useful, compact and efficient it is. Everybody should own one.

A full set of Pyrex: 1 cup, 2 cup and quart measuring cups; 8×8 cake pan; 2qt, 3 qt and 4 qt baking dishes. You can’t kill these things. They last forever.

If you’re getting married soon, consider creating your wedding gift registry with Amazon. They have a vast selection of gifts at various prices. Your guests will know exactly what you want and your guests will appreciate that the gifts can be automatically delivered to you.

When shopping for wedding gifts, consider giving something that the couple likely wouldn’t buy themselves. Personally, I lean towards the practical. It’s kind of boring, but let’s be honest. There’s no time for making ice cream.

12 Comments for “Wedding gifts we still use 16 years later”

  1. posted by T on

    My spouse and I wish we’d done more research before we registered, rather than just picking whatever sounded good and had a decent brand name at Bed Bath and Beyond. Our nonstick gear – pans (cooking and baking) and small tabletop “grill” – went kaput far before we thought they ought to have. Our flatware started rusting right away, too. 🙁 Agreed on the blender/food processor (we later got one more dishwashable, which has helped).

  2. posted by Erica Broker on

    Great article! I have one to share that I would never have thought of. Totally not needed, but my most favorite gift thus far. My husband gave me a Dreamlines sketch of my dress along with his suit. I have given it as a shower and wedding gift. I am so addicted, but I love how personalized it is. Both couples loved it! <3

  3. posted by Fazal Majid on

    A blender is very easy to clean. Just pour a cup of water in the jug, a drop of dish detergent and pulse. We didn’t get our Vitamix 5200 on our wedding list but we should have, it’s the appliance we use most often along with our toaster oven and slow-cooker.

  4. posted by laura ann on

    I use my blender daily for fruit smoothie. All fruit is fresh or frozen. I’m not a traditional breakfast person . Easy to clean.

  5. posted by Pat McD on

    30+ years ago we registered for fine china, good crystal wine glasses and flutes, silver-plate flatware — all of which we use for birthdays and holidays and other special occasions. We still love the patterns we chose –and an inherited set of china coordinates with ours, so we’ve kept some of the serving pieces from the inherited set, and will be selling the rest as part of an estate sale we having with my sister.

    We received 4 hand-held mixers (poor gift management by my mother-in-law, since she had suggested it to several people and they all took her suggestion, and she apologized to us and the givers). Which one to keep? We read the ratings in Consumer Reports, picked the best rated, and returned the others, and the one we kept promptly died six months after the wedding. We never replaced it.

    We received the towels on our registry (Martex, back when the mill was in the US), and they lasted past our 20th anniversary, which is pretty good for textiles that get used every day.

    My mother-in-law and sister-in-law gave us a beautiful set of double-old-fashioned glasses, teak tray and teak ice bucket. We never used the ice bucket and gave it away years ago. We used the teak tray a lot until the tray lining started peeling off. And we still have the glasses and love them.

    We already had lots of everyday tools, so we didn’t ask for much in that department. We each had a set of Revere pots, with only one duplicate between us.

  6. posted by Kenneth in Virginia on

    I don’t recall if we had any gift registry or not. But one couple, much older than us (although the man was my Best Man) said they wondered if they should give us something fancy or something practical. We received from them an enameled French-made cast iron Dutch over which we still use frequently nearly 40 years later. It’s as heavy as it can be and is both fancy and practical. New ones cost an arm and a leg.

  7. posted by Harry on

    While I agree with the idea that some gifts work and some don’t, I don’t agree with the tone of this article. It reads as if ihe gift didn’t work for David, it won’t work for anyone.

    For example, I use my blender every fortnight and my friend uses his bread maker twice a week.

  8. posted by Jtwink on

    What a shame you won’t make the time to make ice cream with your children – and yes, it’s “won’t” not “can’t” – we make time for things we really want to do. Sitting on the porch cranking the ice cream maker with whichever cousins were around is one of my favorite childhood memories.

  9. posted by Kenneth in Virginia on

    Gifts are tricky things. They almost come with strings. To dispose of a gift that is perfectly good, unless, say, you’ve had it for ten years, is almost an affront to the giver. It is as if it comes with an obligation–to use it and enjoy it and be thankful that you received it. In some cultures, people supposedly do not like to have favors done to them because it creates an obligation to do a favor for the giver. And social obligations can be a burden.

    I wonder if I’d live having a bread maker? I like breads other than ordinary white (light bread, we call it) bread. It is said the French never bake bread at home. But it can also be a question of if but also of how often. My wife uses her blender for just one purpose: cranberry sauce. Once a year. We also have an ice cream maker, used once every twenty-five years. So I do understand the point.

  10. posted by Gaby on

    Agree on Oneida flatware, 24 years later still intact. Same for stoneware china. Have used stemmed glasses so much that they have been restocked often along with matching glasses.

  11. posted by Ricki on

    Never had a registry, but bought wonderful Pyrex stuff. They last forever until the children take them for their own homes!!!

  12. posted by Sabina on

    We registered at a travel agency and used those funds to travel later that year.

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