Williams-Sonoma doesn't want me to tell you this. But having recently sorted through 4-year-old wedding gifts that were still unopened, I feel compelled to point out you really don't need all the kitchen gadgets bridal magazines and store consultants insist you add to your registry.
Honestly, leaving a gift off your registry is no guarantee you won't receive it. The following items are just so romantic, so common and so in the right price-range for distant relatives and work acquaintances that it's almost impossible to reach the wedding dance floor without acquiring at least some of this worthless junk. But there's no reason you shouldn't exchange what you get for something better -- read on for suggestions.
Picnic backpack A picnic backpack is the Swiss Army version of a picnic basket, with every utensil an eater might need neatly stashed within. The trouble with all that spatial wizardry is it leaves little space for anything else -- and makes the backpack incredibly difficult to repack. But the biggest problem with the standard bag is its lack of insulation: Rather than feast on cheese and grapes, backpack picnickers are stuck with Spam and potato chips. Exchange for: A cooler.
Personal food processor Almost every popular kitchen appliance comes in a cute couple-sized version, including food processors -- which is great if you're looking to dice one carrot. Exchange for: A good knife.
Bread maker Most newlyweds will use a bread maker exactly once -- and then balk at the prospect of cleaning it. When I showed up at a consignment shop with all my unwanted gifts in tow, the bread maker was the only item the store refused to take. "Nobody wants that," the clerk told me. I wish she'd told my wedding guests. Exchange for: A gift certificate to a bakery.
Ice cream maker Ice cream machines -- especially the department store versions given as wedding gifts -- aren't easy to use. The mixing bowl has to be frozen for a very long time, and the directions followed precisely. Newly married couples who have to deal with writing thank you notes and moving into a new place just don't have time to fuss with cream and rock salt. Exchange for: An air-conditioner.
Fancy wine opener There are all sorts of technologically enhanced ways to get into a bottle of wine. Wedding gift-givers seem to gravitate toward models with moving parts and heavy wooden display boxes. Unfortunately, no opener is as reliable and easy to use as a basic server's wine key, which retails for about $7. Exchange for: Wine.
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