At H&L HQ we’re fans of the Do Something wedding gift – something experiential, something to make memories with: the museum membership, the gig tickets, the Highlands hotel room, the Shropshire cottage stay. The season ticket to Laserquest…
But for those times you really want a present you can stick a bow on, we’ve tracked down some of the best unexpected wedding gifts along traditional useful Things for the Home lines – all as close to being a shared experience as possible.
The Record Player
The gift of music, as we heard it be the food of love.
Like the Silvan Audio Workshop turntable. Probably the coolest record player on the market in our opinion. Made from reclaimed hardwood trees and Rega components, these are crafted by Kent Walter in his Seattle workshop and clock in at roughly the thousand-dollar mark. Too nice for a wedding present, really. Too nice a present for anybody you’re not ravishing nightly. Essentially, the passive-aggressive equivalent of Dustin Hoffman, banging on the church window to break up the wedding in The Graduate.
I mean, if you’re 100% certain that your motives are pure and your love is platonic, go ahead and buy this for your good buddy getting hitched. They really would love you forever! It is pretty damn cool. If you’re not totally sure maybe go for this Audio Technica turntable (£169 from Rough Trade) – still a great design, still great audio quality, and at a price-point and level of craftsmanship that doesn’t whisper you should have married me with every revolution of the belt-drive.
After enough time living together, a bookshelf’s like a shared life made solid – your Raymond Chandler mixed up together with his Homer. His frontier fiction rubbing up shamelessly against your science fiction. The books you’d never read till you met them. Travel guides from holidays you took together.
Try this Scaramanga bookshelf (tall vintage teak shelving, £750), or choose any of their one-off restored pieces – something heavy and enduring, that the betrotheds can take with them from home to home. And if you’re in London and want to browse in person, you can lose hours at the Old Cinema in West London – half showroom and half workshop, stocking antiques and vintage pieces like this Arts & Crafts stacking modular bookcase.
As a shared activity, it’s hard to beat sitting around a firepit. The warmth and the ability to cook meat and chocolate-stuffed bananas on it covers two of humankind’s most primal needs. If you’ve got a loved one with you, that’s the hat-trick. All of humankind’s primal needs, in one present. Mic drop.
And evenings spent sitting under stars, by a fire, are good evenings – even winter evenings, if you’ve got a firepit big enough and a blanket to wrap yourselves in. Try the Arpe Studio steel crate firepit (£218 from Not on the High Street) for the former.
For couples without a garden or outside space to do their primal needing, there’s still the option of a woodburning stove gift – the Exmoor wood stove from Yeoman Stoves ticks a lot of firepit boxes for warmth and watching flames turn to embers with a loved one. Not all the boxes. Meat and Nutella bananas you’ll have to do in the oven.
Cameron Design House design and build ceiling-fixed, sculptural lights in their Primrose Hill workshop, hybrids of Scandinavian lines and British edge.
See previous section on record players: there are difficulties with this present. A piece of artwork is a pretty personal thing – and that’s basically what these eye-catching, high-design lights are. Not the sort of present you can stick in a cupboard and wheel out when the gifters are coming over.
But it’s hard to think of anybody who wouldn’t want the golden Lohja or the wooden Kotka hanging about, being radiant somewhere in their house. And fortunately, there’s a bespoke service on offer, so you can place a provisional order for the present and let the couple choose everything from the number of attached rings in the Lohja to the warmth of the LEDs and the burnish on the metal.
Alright, it’s a thermos. And it’s hard to make a thermos look thrilling, or even attractive, although BEG Bicycles have made a decent stab at it with this leather-wrapped flask for two (£89.50 from Not on the High Street). But it’s also a hundred summer picnics and windswept walks on the beach, it’s hot toddies at Bonfire Night and cups of tea at the cricket.
It’s staying warm enough to watch the fireworks from a hilltop or for stargazing in your back garden. It’s endless opportunities for romance of the old-fashioned, smushy holding hands on a mountain at sunset sort. And if you get them a matching hipflask as well (double flask, £85 from Aspinal) it’s Irish coffees in your cabin on the sleeper train and having no need at all to leave till morning.