Make Their Day Special — Vintage Wedding Gifts

There are few things nicer than receiving an invitation to be a part of that special day when two people vow to become one. An estimated 2.3 million couples will marry this year with over 25 percent of those weddings falling in July and August. Odds are you will be invited to share in at least one of these celebrations, which raises the question….what do you give the happy couple?
With everyone from K-Mart to Nordstroms offering online gift registries, shopping is as easy as click, click, ship it to your home and you’re done! The problem I have had is in the quality of the gift versus the price. If you are disappointed in the mass-produced “Made in China” selections from chain stores, you might consider vintage shopping.
We have a wedding to attend next month so with a copy the couple’s gift registry in hand, I headed to one of my favorite antique malls to do some comparison shopping.
Items used for entertaining seemed to occupy almost one-fourth of the list so that is where I started. Our young couple had a few odds and ends of flatware and were looking for a matched set. The basic Oneida stainless steel service for 8 at three of the area’s leading department stores averaged $90. By comparison, at a local resale shop, I found a vintage 1990s Oneida service for 12 with 4 serving pieces, in a beautiful teakwood box, for $75.
To accommodate the anticipated guests in their new home they had registered for several different barware items. Noticing they had selected two sets of glasses with an MCM design, I wondered how much more cash I would need to lay down for some original mid-20th Century sets. To my surprise the set of 12 highball glasses they had designated on their registry were almost twice as much as a set of authentic Dorthy Thorpe Silver Fade glasses I found on eBay. Not only were the vintage glasses a better deal, they were much heavier and finer made. Wine glasses, champagne flutes, cordials and other glassware comped about the same.
From the looks of the list, our bride plans to do some cooking. A set of 3 “new” Fiesta baking bowls for $230 from Kohl’s and 3 Corning Ware baking dishes were on her list. It took me an hour of shopping at a resale shop, but I located 3 vintage bowls for $85, a savings that made the shopping well worth my time. I also found considerable saving on Corning Ware “French White” covered casserole dishes which ran in the $10-$15 range, compared to $35-$30 new.
If the couple you are shopping for enjoys fine wine or liquor, a bottle of their favorite libation accompanied by a vintage decanter is a thoughtful gift. With a little extra searching you can sometimes find a decanter that is monogrammed with the appropriate initial!
For those couples who you know well, you might want to consider a piece of home decor. Art glass from Blenko, Fenton, Viking and Murano will make a statement in their home for many years to come. Caution though: If you do not know their taste in this area you might want to opt for a gift certificate.
Vintage shopping allows you to give a quality gift at a reasonable price, but moreover, it shows you took the time to find a gift as special as the couple who will be receiving it. Until next time…Linda

Linda Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at or 317-258-7835