Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Wedding presents... setting up home together

here’s going to be a wedding in the family – my beautiful, gorgeous niece who’s tripping down the aisle in October to marry her farmer.

At the tender age of 23, Miss Gorgeous will be embarking on married life in the first home of her own so, rarely these days, the wedding present list really IS going to help set this young couple up for married domestic life.

When I got married we both had our own homes plus all the kit, and then some, so the wedding present list wasn’t the slightest bit vital.

We had so much in duplication that Mr Tall Dark and Handsome and I had to ditch a whole load of household items. And there was one major brand that had to go. His.

Our sofa, for instance, was just a two-seater. Generally, if I had planted my derrière on the spongy cushion before Mr Big I could be guaranteed of some comfort.

However, the moment I saw his backside making contact with the identical soft squashy cushion next to me I knew I was in trouble, especially if I was balancing a TV dinner on my lap tray accompanied by a welcome glass of wine.

When he sat down next to me the sofa turned into quicksand. I’d have to brace myself so that I didn’t roll into the centre towards him along with my dinner.

Before I could return to any comfort I’d have to wedge a slim cushion under my thigh nearest to him to make myself level again.

It had to go.

I can’t say what we got to replace it was that much better – it was still too soft and the cushions needed plumping up every day or else it looked like an unmade bed – but it was free as it was a family member’s cast off and at least it was a three seater.

Then there was the cutlery drawer. You’ve never seen such a sorry state. Cutlery tray? Oh no, this was a M.A.N.’s cutlery drawer. All the knives, forks and spoons were thrown in en mass, nothing matched and a lot of the pointy bits on the forks were bent.

In went my cutlery tray and a lovely shiny set of Sheffield Steel cutlery. It was a joy to scrape food off an unbent fork with my lips.

He was very compliant, bless him. Until it came to the crockery. His style was garish plates that chipped very easily. Mine still chipped but were not so garish. We had a debate about what was better.

Me: “But I eat with my eyes, I don’t want to eat off a busy plate that detracts from the food.”

Him: “A curry’s a curry whether it’s on one of my plates or yours.”

When it came to the pots and pans he knew he didn’t have a hope in keeping his... after nuking his cheap frying pan he had to concede the best place to store it was in the bin along with his other pots and pans.

Mine – a set of heavy-bottomed pans from M&S are still going strong 15 years on! He’s nuked the bottom of those many times, too, whilst cooking his signature dishes of bolognaise and curry but they continue to effortlessly survive.

I think the only things of his that did survive were the bed – but not the horrible bedding, a double duvet on a king-size bed is not to be recommended – his TV (of course) oh and the dining room table and chairs. Amazingly very nice!

So back to my original advice to my niece and any other bride, below is a short list of great, practical wedding gifts that will either stand the test of time or turn out to be one of your most used items:

  1. Heavy-bottomed pots and pans – they’ll go on forever.
  2. Hand blender. Use mine all the time – much better than getting the liquidizer out and less mess to clean up.
  3. A good set of every-day cutlery.
  4. A dinner service, but not one that you’ll only bring out for special occasions. I know many people who chose a dinner service for their wedding present but ten years later hated it because their tastes had changed.

    Yours might, too, so go for something that you can use daily that will be hardwearing. Denby china is a good option – that way if you do go off it at least when you ebay it you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you did actually use it.
  5. Ask for vouchers from John Lewis, that way you can get yourself a much larger item that you need, such as a bed, or some other piece of furniture. It will also give your man the opportunity of getting a wedding gift HE can get excited about – technology, for instance.
Here endeth the lesson! Hey Prestopeople.

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