Wedding season is in full swing, and whether it's a destination wedding on a Caribbean island, an intimate ceremony in the countryside, or a chic affair in a city art gallery, you'll need to bring a gift. Maybe you've left it to the last minute but want to go "off-piste"—aka off-registry. Or maybe you know the couple well and are seeking out something truly unique that they'll remember for years to come. These gift suggestions are beautiful, useful, and just a little bit different than the usual.
1. Flight of fancy: Lalique's Hirondelles collection
Come to symbolize hope and happiness, the swallow was a frequent theme employed by French glassmaker René Lalique—he regularly made the bird the centerpiece of his decorative objects and jewels. Lalique celebrates its 130th anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion it has released a new collection of decorative glassware revisiting the delicate bird motif. The Hirondelles collection includes handmade wall sculptures, vases, bowls, decanters, dishes, and platters, available in sapphire or clear. A sophisticated way to capture the joy of the newlyweds.
2. Space exploration: Alessandro Zambelli vases
For couples who embrace the unusual or delight in creativity, Italian designer Alessandro Zambelli's designs are less traditional vase and more “little presences within the household.” The above pop-art curiosity is one of eight receptacles that evoke bygone visions of the space age. The 3D printed collection, called Macrocosmos, was partly inspired by Zambelli’s childhood: he lived near a toy factory. “My intention was to revive the surreal amazement I used to feel whenever I saw stacks of wooden crates crammed with toy parts for assembly,” he says. Macrocosmos marks the launch of Alessandro Zambelli Edizioni at LuisaViaRoma.
3. Wax factor: Victoria Cator London candle
Victoria Cator has been fascinated by fragrance ever since a childhood visit to Grasse in Provence, France, considered the perfume capital of the world. Under the guise of Victoria Cator London, she has launched her first range of scented candles, made up of 10 fragrances to “evoke and create memories old and new.” Blends include the lily-inspired Casablanca, the incense-like Rouge Ancien, and Délice Des Dieux, which is packed with blossom notes. Find the scent that captures the personality of the couple and they will forever associate the aroma with your love and well wishes.
4. New Bronze Age: objets d'art by Steven Haulenbeek
Tipped by The New York Times as one of the most exciting emerging American designers, Steven Haulenbeek began his career in sculpture before moving on to create unique objects for the home. In 2011, the Chicago-based designer made his first ice-cast bronze work. Inspired by the city's frigid winters, he developed a technique to make hand-cast ice molds, which he would then use to cast his vessels, mirrors, and candlesticks. Whether or not the couple can identify with that chilly feeling, Haulenbeek's pieces are impressively unique, and sure to make a statement in any home. The designer's most recent collection is now ready to buy, in limited editions of eight, or as one-off pieces.
5. A good turn: Bonnemazou-Cambus door handles
It's certainly specific, but the door handles from Bonnemazou-Cambus are perfect if you know the soon-to-be-married pair's aesthetic—and particularly apropos if they're building a new home together. Agnès Cambus and Manuel Bonnemazou have elevated the door handle to a truly desirable home accessory. The couple decided to create their eye-catching handles, often likened to jewelry, when they couldn’t find any they liked for their own interior design commissions. Their works—cut and milled rather than molded—include grills, teardrop forms, stars, and half-moons. Coming home will never be the same again.
6. Made to order: Al Ross Luxury Homes
For a truly grand gesture, nothing can top the gift of a new home. The eponymous founder of Houston-based home builders Al Ross Luxury Homes only began building dwellings 10 years ago, and his first—his own—took three years to complete. “It made me realize that working with builders can be a difficult task,” Ross says. “I thought, ‘There must be people who want an ultra-luxury home without having to go through the trouble of building it!’” And so his company was born. Today, he offers discerning customers the chance to own a house like his own—not that any two properties are the same: “Every home is custom-spec,” he says. “When you walk into one of our homes, you believe there’s no other place like it. This is your domain.” Congratulations, indeed.