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Smithey Skillet

The 10 most practical wedding gifts from the Southern Kitchen Shoppe

I'm the kind of person who will almost always buy my friends a big cast iron skillet as a wedding gift. Not only is it the kind of gift that will last a lifetime, it will also likely become the most oft-used piece of equipment in their kitchen. Yes, yes, sometimes your loved ones prefer high-end wineglasses or beautiful pottery, but if you're looking for a great, everyday gift, from an affordable mixing bowl set to a splurge-worthy cast iron pot, we've got you covered.

And if you're the lucky one about to get hitched, use this list to gather ideas for your own registry. We're sure you'll be making great use of each of the items that follow.
Click through the arrows above to see all of the gift ideas

Photo: Ramona King

Hammer Stahl 12-Inch Stainless Steel Skillet

Hammer Stahl 12-Inch Stainless Steel Skillet ($139.95)

If your loved ones are looking to update their dented and busted stainless steel skillet collection, they can't do better than this 7-ply, multi-clad (industry-speak for heavy-duty even heat) skillet from Tennessee-based Hammer Stahl. It performs better than its leading and likely more well-known competitors for a lower price and made-in-American pride. At 12 inches across, it is the perfect size for searing a family's worth of steaks or sauteing up mess of greens.
Get the skillet

Photo: Ranji McMillan

Smithey No. 12 Cast Iron Skillet

Smithey No. 12 Cast Iron Skillet ($200)

Like I said, I love giving the gift of cast iron, and the big, honkin' No. 12 from our friends at Charleston's Smithey Ironware is the perfect classic shape and heft for cast iron lovers. Inspired by vintage cast iron, this handsome 12(ish)-inch pan is constructed with two simple and functional pour spouts, and has a satin-smooth, vibrantly polished finish that not only yields a nonstick  surface, after a bit of seasoning of course, but also helps this skillet do double duty as a cooking vessel and a beautiful piece of serveware.
Get the skillet

Rather give the gift of no-fuss cast iron? We're also loving the new nickel-plated skillets from Charlotte-based GRIZZLY. You'll never need to season it, and its smooth surface is engineered to last multiple lifetimes.
Get the skillet

Photo: Ramona King

American Bench Craft Cast Iron Handle Guards

American Bench Craft Cast Iron Handle Guards ($29 for two)

What's that you say? Your friends and family all have cast iron skillets aplenty? Good for them! Improve their cast iron kitchen experience with these brass-riveted leather handle guards made by American Bench Craft. They turn any cast iron handle (yep, even the helper handle) into a burn-free zone, no oven mitts or kitchen towels needed. Plus, they just look darn good.
Get the handle guards

Photo: American Bench Craft

Ballarini 11-Inch Nonstick Skillet

Ballarini 11-Inch Nonstick Skillet ($49.99)

While it may not be the sexiest pan in the room, this nonstick skillet from Ballarini is a powerhouse. It is made with the same care and attention to detail as the cookware gracing professional kitchens across the country, with a friendly price tag to boot. Your loved ones won't have to worry about toxicity in their scrambled eggs either, since each Ballarini nonstick skillet is made with ceramic particles, which are more durable and more safe than traditional nonstick. 
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Or pick up a smaller size that's perfect for omelettes for two

Photo: Ramona King

FINEX 12-Inch Cast Iron Grill Pan

FINEX 12-Inch Cast Iron Grill Pan ($225)

It's a fact of our modern age that not all newlyweds will move in to a brand-new house complete with a backyard and a picket fence. Many of us youngsters (I still count as a youngster) prefer to live in apartments or are just waiting for the perfect time and budget to commit to a bigger space. But in the meantime, there's no reason why your apartment-dwelling loved ones (or, hey, your friends who want to grill throughout the winter) can't grill to their hearts' content. Our FINEX grill pan will yield perfect grill marks every time, and it'll look great doing it.
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Demeyere Industry Essential Pan

Demeyere Industry Essential Pan ($99.99)

I've got to confess — this is my favorite piece of cookware in the Shoppe, hands down. The Demeyere Essential pan actually does do it (almost) all. Its generous 3 1/2-quart capacity can boil a pound of pasta or simmer a large batch of tomato sauce. Its sloped sides will help you prevent your rouxs and bechamels from sticking, and its 5-ply construction ensures outstanding heat conduction and retention — in other words, you rarely have to worry about hot spots. 
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But say you want to spring for something a little more, well, substaintial, the Coq Au Vin cast iron pot from Staub is pretty much the perfect gift. It'll last your loved ones through years of braises, stews, sears and, of course, deep fried everything.
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Photo: Ramona King

Staub Ceramic Mixing Bowls

Staub Ceramic Mixing Bowls ($29.99 for two)

For mixing up a late-night batch of chocolate chip cookies or tossing together a healthful salad, these beautiful ceramic bowls from Staub are the perfect gift for just about anyone. You can even use them to bake a party's worth of spinach-artichoke dip. Yep, these bowls are oven-safe up to 572 degrees, and their highly-scratch resistant porcelain finish means they'll stay looking this good for many years to come.
Get the bowls

Photo: Ramona King

BootHill Blades Spootula

BootHill Blades Spootula ($27)

A name like "spootula" doesn't exactly scream "practical," but hear me out: This handmade, versatile kitchen utensil does (at least) double duty as both a serving (and tasting and skimming) spoon and a fond-scraping spatula. Made from Tennessee black walnut, each spootula has been finished with a mineral oil and beeswax compound so it's ready to use straight out of the box. I recommend buying two and keeping one for yourself.
Get the spootula

Photo: Ramona King

Miyabi Birchwood Knife and Cutting Board Set

Miyabi Birchwood Knife and Cutting Board Set ($259.99)

I've heard tell that knives are bad luck to give for wedding gifts, but let's be honest — they're one of the most useful gifts you can give, especially when they come sharp enough to slice a tomato, straight out of the box. Our highly-giftable combination set of the beautiful Miyabi Birchwood chef's knife and handmade cutting board from BootHill Blades will set your loved ones up for slicing and dicing success from day one.
Get the set

Photo: Ramona King

Southern Kitchen Gift Card

Southern Kitchen Gift Card

Is this a cop-out? Nah. It's just accepting the reality that you may not know just the perfect gift for your friend. Our digital-only gift cards come in values ranging from $25 all the way up to $1000 so you can let the newlyweds pick out just the thing they were looking for. Just don't forget a (physical) card!
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Author image

Kate Williams is the former editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She was also the on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She's worked in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.