By Susan Dromey Heeter

When friends mentioned that after 20, 30 and 40 years of marriages, they would enjoy new wedding gifts, my Budget Vogue self thought, “What a great idea — wedding showers for seasoned married couples! What a concept!”

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And this time around, wedding gifts would not be soup tureens or vases, they’d be new towels, fresh sheets, experiences. One friend would like a lake house, another hoped for a real estate registry. I wondered if plastic surgery or spa visits would be appropriate. And, of course, I’m thinking my husband would love both of these choices. Of course.

When I asked friends what their favorite wedding gifts were — back when destination weddings simply meant going out of town rather than to the Bahamas — they mentioned the practical, the useful, the gifts that they have never thought of selling at a yard sale.

Those items included a KitchenAid mixer, a bicycle built for two, a Le Creuset pot. My own favorite is a painting of the Dutch church where my husband and I wed.

But when asked what gifts would be — or already have been — sold at yard sales, backpack picnic baskets were marked as long gone. Gifts I’ve let go of include pewter shot glasses, wine glasses, that aforementioned soup tureen.

One friend has kept two wedding-gifted pitchers that remind her of the Kool-Aid ones used in the old commercials. She remarks to her now adult children, “These pitchers are as old as your parents’ marriage.” And those pitchers bring her joy and peace — and fond memories of the smiling condensation Kool-Aid face.

Her go-to gift for newlyweds is towels. She finds them a spiritual gift — ones she knows will be used daily and remind her of Jesus washing Peter’s feet, enveloping them in a towel. She thinks of the service marriage often requires — the washing of feet, of clothes, of windows.

And while my towels look as though they have performed those tasks and more, I invite you to visit the Budget Vogue Bridal Registry to gift me some thick Turkish towels that have never been used by teenagers, never been used to dry a dog, never been used to mop up a bathroom floor.

Ah, wedded bliss. I wish all you Budget Vogue dreamers out there may contribute to the zen of years married, years enjoyed, years surviving soup tureens, pewter shot glasses and towels that symbolize much more than just drying off.

Susan Dromey Heeter writes and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at dromeheet@comcast.net.