In the past there were many different customs in regards to gifts in the event of a wedding. The bride’s dowry/price was paid to her family in the form of land, animals and other forms of historical wealth; the wedding itself would be considered an occasion to be celebrated and gifts would not be given. As the Renaissance came ornate marriage chests were gifted, allowing the bride to place the items she wished to take into her groom’s household. This led to the development of the hope chest, which was used by a single lady who collected things she may need in her future married life.
Before the 1920s the act of setting up a wedding gift register was an obscure notion; this act originated in 1924 in Macy’s, who were eagerly joined by other large department stores. Opposed to the gift being a chest for her to store her linens the present became items crafted of crystal, china and silver. A common practice before a couple married would be to choose their wedding china, although this was an act completed amongst the two partners, it was considered the woman’s final choice as she would be the one who arranged the décor of the household; due to the expense this became a key feature on a couples gift registry.
Nowadays a couple is more likely to already live together, making the gift of household appliances and linens less advisable and requested. No longer is the wedding gift aimed towards only the woman, but the couple themselves take responsibility for their combined requests; many making the choice to ask for the money to use towards their honeymoon or even for any generosities to be given to charity. The gift of silver however is still quite common, as pieces can be treasured and used during special celebrations. Here are some items which we have found to be popular wedding gifts:
Canteens of Cutlery
Most households will have standard stainless steel cutlery, however once a fancy table is set there is nothing better than being able to lay out the best of the best pieces; the room itself can further benefit from the piece of furniture the service may be stored in.
A photograph frame can never come in wrong, whether the couple place a loving photo from their special day within the window or take a part of their past with them, this gift can be a personal and precious piece. Antique silver photo frames come in a range of shapes and sizes, however a classic rectangular frame could never be deemed unsuitable.
A candlelit dinner is an iconic symbol of romance, and what better way to mark the most romantic occasion in a couple’s life than provide them with the light for their table. From this notion to the universal use of candlesticks on not only a table but a sideboard or even mantelpiece – silver candlesticks are a classic wedding gift as they can suit all households. Even in the modern day candlesticks are used within household décor and you can find a range of styles to accompany any room.
In the past it has been a highly common option to combine households and this brings the formation of a new heraldic coat of arms. This would include using two crests or even merging two escutcheons together to form a new branch of the family tree. Today this is not as popular a concept however and the use of a thoughtful inscription on a plain surface can be the perfect addition to any gift.
Flat surfaces are usually highly suitable for any form of engraving and through the use of salvers and trays as the base the inscription, these can be as detailed and embellished as desired. This is not to say that rounded items cannot be engraved, many items are ornamented to incorporate a cartouche which is suitable for crests and initials.
Within reason any item can be engraved, it would maybe not be classed as traditional, however it would be personal! Here are a few of our favourites:
Rachel O'Keefe-Coulson – Multimedia Manager
Rachel O'Keefe is our 'silver lady' spending her days handling silverware and processing these items for the AC Silver website. Amazingly, Rachel’s favourite items of silverware are spoons, for which she has developed a true affinity.