Eloise & Colin Wedding Week: the Presents– and Contest!

It’s a good thing Selwick Hall has lots of space, because Eloise and Colin have been busy unloading wedding presents, ranging from a novelty cuckoo clock to a particularly cranky garden gnome.

Mrs. Selwick-Alderly’s official gift was a Georgian silver tea service (and if you’ve read the book, you know who it originally belonged to!).

Her unofficial gift? The Pink Carnation’s own campaign trunk. (No links provided. Colin and Eloise are still keeping this one under wraps.)

Sally Plowden-Plugge provided a 1790s “TeΜ‚te-aΜ€-TeΜ‚te Tea Set“– with purple flowers, of course.

Colin’s friend Martin decided they needed a slow-cooker and some particularly strong oven mitts. Also some woolly socks.

Best Man Nick booked them on a ski vacation neither of them wanted (which will be re-gifted to Nick and Pammy– coincidence?).

Eloise’s college roommate, Alex, got her a very strong coffee maker, which Eloise will get very confused trying to use.

Jeremy, to everyone’s surprise, used his art world connections to acquire a portrait believed to be of the Duke and Duchess of Belliston, consulting plans for a special kennel for stoats (provenance and attribution uncertain):

Emil Brack Public Domain Painting

Jillian designed a comic mug for Eloise:

Pink Mug 2

Eloise hasn’t gotten around to opening Pammy’s present. She’s too afraid.

Sharlene (who makes all the lovely cards you see on my website and Facebook page) gave Colin and Eloise service for twelve in this china pattern:


Here’s your mission should you choose to accept it. What do you think Colin and Eloise need as they embark on their new life together?

Any and all suggestions accepted! Links optional.

Bonus question: what’s the worst gift you ever received?

Since one good gift deserves another, two people will be chosen at random to receive copies of The Lure of the Moonflower. (Your choice of paper or audio.) Winner to be announced on Saturday!


  1. Karen on August 11, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Colin and Eloise need one of those!

    And I heard that Hitachi just made a 500 G drive, which is probably more space than anyone could need!

    (it is 2005)

    Wedding-wise, I was pretty lucky in gifts. My brother however, got this weird ceramic thing which spurred much debate on whether it was a serving platter, a wall hanging, or something else. The worst part is that it came with no card or name attached, and showed up at the end so the people in charge of labeling unmarked gifts had already gone to dinner!

  2. Jessica S. on August 11, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Matching Zojirushi thermoses to cart tea and coffee around the estate or to the library!

    • Jessica S. on August 12, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      Missed the worst gift part. For one of my bridal showers, the registry at Target hadn’t been working and we got four comforters.

  3. Susan I on August 11, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    They obviously need a whole village for their gnome! http://www.amazon.com/Lighted-Vineyard-Gnome-Village-Garden/dp/B00TLAQQO4

    The worst gift I received? An ugly, shabby Ikea dresser that my husband still won’t let me get rid of (from his sister). Drawers even broke and he spent days fixing it…

  4. Calli Fox on August 11, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Matching robes and slippers!

    And the worst gift wasn’t a wedding gift but a Birthday gift. I was re-gifted a M&M cookie jar… Which was extremely weird since it had a Santa hat on it.

  5. Nancy on August 11, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    One of the most useful gift we got when we got married was a Starbucks gift card with a note to keep dating even after marriage.
    The worst I got at 16 it was a night gown with little blue and pink airplanes with the word zoom on the clouds. From my grandma trying to figure out where she found one in my size

  6. Elizabeth P on August 11, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    They would need some matching comfy desk chairs for the novels they will both be writing.

  7. Rhonda on August 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    His and hers lap desks so they can work or read next to each other! No worst gifts really!

  8. Cate on August 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    They need matching quad bikes, so that when their joint muses are being recalcitrant, they can bomb around the estate,blow away the cobwebs, & channel their inner espionage agent whilst trying to beat each other to the pub (loser buys the next round !) πŸ™‚

  9. Linda M on August 11, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    “Time and Patience” The best gift for any PhD student (during and after dissertation) is time, time to do anything or nothing. My gift to Eloise is time. For Colin, my gift is patience – as my husband and family will attest, much patience is needed in dealing with the dissertation student (during and after) writing.

    Worst gift – actually came on our 2nd Christmas in an old house we were renovating. Under the tree I found a toilet, complete with big red bow, for the bathroom we were remodeling. My husband thought it was really funny – I didn’t.

  10. AngelB on August 11, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Eloise and Colin need a security system installed at Selwick Hall. Never heard of a place that had so many unknowns walking around. Real or Ghostly. πŸ™‚

    Worst gift…my mom is the master of horrible gifts: clothes that are waay too small (a medium tshirt for my 3X husband) or sand from Graceland. There are too many to chose from. But the classic gift, was for my 19th birthday. She got me a microwave, which is a really nice gift. Unfortunately she dropped it on my foot…and it was the first day of not having health insurance. yeah, that was a great gift. πŸ™‚

  11. LynnS on August 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Haven’t had time to go shopping for Colin and Eloise. (Emily Post says I have until a year after the wedding.) However, I think you should sell those dissertation mugs. I want one!

  12. Sheila on August 11, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    For Colin and Eloise both to enjoy: a gift card at Victoria’s Secret, or whatever they have in England.

    Our worst gift was from my husband’s aunt and uncle, a garishly printed on burlap farm scene, complete with plastic frame, seen at Woolworth’s for $2.50. If it IS the thought that counts, I don’t want to know what they were thinking!

  13. bn100 on August 11, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Some wedding dishes?

    worst gift: used items

  14. Jennifer R on August 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Eloise needs extra blankets!

    When I don’t think a marriage is going to last, I give them towels. Our version of Joan Plowden-Plugge got us towels. I always wondered if she was still hoping.

  15. Joy King on August 11, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    My gift to the newlyweds is at the link below:


    At our wedding reception we unwrapped 5 identical picnic baskets filled with the same dinnerware. Someone must have been having a sale. What we needed was a toaster.

    So, if we received 5 picnic baskets with no food or wine included, the least I can do it gift the couple one basket filled with lovely goodies.

    • Joy King on August 11, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      Included in the basket are “dinky pork pies” and “elderberry, cucumber & gin fizz”. Can anyone tell this Yank what these are?

      • SuzanneH on August 12, 2015 at 12:58 am


        “dinky pork pies”. Dinky means good, cute, pretty, you get the idea. Pork pies are individual pies with a very heavy crust, filled with chopped pieces of pork, usually fillet. There are some bad ones around but if they are done well they are to die for.

        In Britain lots of people used to make home made elderberry wine. They did in Australia way back too. One of my cousins used to make it. It was delicious but thermo nuclear in strength. More than a liqueur glass full and I suspect you would go blind. Gin fizz is a long drink made from either lemon or lime juice, sugar, gin and topped up with soda water.

        I am not at all sure about what is meant by putting the two together with cucumber. Perhaps the quote meant all three separately? I would imagine that all three together wouldn’t be nice at all.

        I hope that helps.

        • Joy King on August 12, 2015 at 7:02 pm

          What a thorough explanation. Thank you very, very much. I believe I would have to avoid your cousin’s wine.

      • SuzanneH on August 12, 2015 at 1:09 am

        Something I forgot that I should tell you about. My cousin Jack’s elderberry wine was dark, thick and sweet like port or marsala, only stronger. There is also elderflower wine, which is made from the flowers rather than the berries, and is lighter and more like wine than liqueur.

        • Joy King on August 12, 2015 at 7:04 pm

          I still think I would avoid both types, SuzanneH. In completely unrelated information, there were two Mormon young men having lunch at a local mall. One had the last name of “Berry”, so the name on his nametag was “Elder Berry”. I waited until I was away from the table to chuckle. It’s been about 15 years and it’s still the first thing I think of when I hear about elderberry wine. Imagine if he was having a bad day. “Elder Berry Whine”

          • SuzanneH on August 12, 2015 at 9:43 pm

            LOL, that is really cute!!

  16. Courtney F. on August 11, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    My two favorite things in the world are Christmas and cooking, so for Eloise and Colin, I’d get a pudding basin & recipe book, in honor of Turnip and Arabella. πŸ™‚

    Worst gift: drugstore perfume.

  17. Ellen on August 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    My “worst” wedding gift was a set of six highball glasses, painted with the most garish flowers ever. My mother’s reaction? Well, you can use them when you have a party on the back deck and if any fall and break you won’t be heartbroken! Forty years later I still have two and the flowers have faded almost off. Since everyone needs “good” glasses that you won’t be sorry to lose, I regift them to Eloise and Colin!

  18. Sarah White on August 11, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Definitely a few candlesticks with lots of candles as electricity is temperamental in old houses πŸ™‚
    Maybe a few faux fur blankets thrown in too to increase the snuggle power πŸ™‚

  19. Tracy Lee on August 11, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    A”spark” book….purple/pink of course….what be a spark book you inquire? It’s simple – you write notes to each other in it – can be just because, on eve of something important, just to say hi, i love you, you looked sexy last night….and you leave in an unexpected place but that is sure to be seen. Only rule is that it has to alternate spouses, can’t repeat. And for C and E, I’d say they also have to have a 2nd one that is a clue book on where to find the actual spark book πŸ™‚ I’ll have to post the link separately Cuz my phone won’t cut and paste all of a sudden.

  20. Christine on August 11, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    For Eloise and Colin, matching journals so they can keep writing.

    Worst gift: my mother in law got me a dress that looked like a muumuu. It was ugly. And I was pregnant. Then after the baby was born, she bought me clothes at least a size larger than I need. I feel like she’s trying to tell me something.

  21. Ana F. on August 11, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I think I remember that Colin and Eloise aren’t the greatest of cooks so I would get some kind meal delivery service where you get meals that you just need to heat.

    The worst gift I ever got was when I was little and my sister and I had a huge box under the Christmas tree. Only when we opened it it was toys we had been looking for for weeks. We were so mad.

  22. Tara Erickson on August 11, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    I would say they need a few things. Dish set not too fancy for everyday use and maybe a griddle for cheese sandwiches (for Eloise so she can not burn them). And rugs! Worst gift? Probably a black empty photo album from a boy at school for a graduation gift! But he was nice and it’s the thought that counts!

  23. Mickey on August 12, 2015 at 1:15 am

    A basket of assorted tea goodies and a nice journal/pen set for them to alternate writing their thoughts about married life in.

    Worst present? My ex, the Schmuck, brought me 3 nearly dead roses left over from the Valentine’s day promotion at his job at the time and a bag of his favorite strawberry candy. Despite the fact that he knew I am deathly allergic to strawberries.

  24. Sarah Hall on August 12, 2015 at 1:47 am

    I would want them to receive an open invitation to all the public & private libraries and book collections in England. Think of how much that could help both of them!

    My worst gift ever – one of my old roommates gave me one dozen large cookie sheets for a wedding gift. What on earth am I going to use 12 huge cookie sheets for? I barely bake at all & she knows that! (Lol!)

  25. Debra Callaway on August 12, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I would give them gift cards for Starbucks and Amazon so they could drink coffee and figure out what they needed.

    worst gift, not really worst but toss-up between strangest and wonderment about definition:
    From an aunt, I got a hand painted ceramic planter in the shape of a racing snail
    my wedding registration said I wanted bath towel sets in “Earth Tones” and 2 people got me BRIGHT RED towel sets, that no matter what I did to set the dye, still bled after 20 years, so they got set aside and only used on special occasions and we did not wash them until we had used them all, bath, hand washcloths, so that we could do a small load of just red and pink items.

  26. Kristy on August 12, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Gift: A beautiful warm comforter in floral print to remember all the adventures — big enough to cover any bed at Selwick Hall.

    Worst gift: Wedding gift that was a fruit ceramic plate wall hanging – pretty much like this one on the wall of Marie’s kitchen in “Everybody Loves Raymond”. (Scroll to pictures.) http://thepinkpetalstudio.blogspot.com/2010/06/love-it-even-more.html

    We wrapped it up and gifted it through the family for years afterwards with rules: had to keep it at least six months, had to keep it on display, could not be returned to person who gave it to you before. My father eventually bulldozed it, many times cracked and mended, into the foundation of my parents’new home.

  27. Mer Arnold on August 12, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    The gift that Eloise and Colin need: A housekeeper to make them tea, dust their bookshelves and remind them to eat when they are deep in writing-mode and don’t remember that they are hungry.

    Worst gift….I can’t think of one. I tend to buy my own or tell loved ones exactly what I need (generally gift cards of the coffee, book or shoe store variety).

  28. Karen H on August 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    A monthly subscription to the best bakery in Paris’ Marizan Pigs. That’s a thing, right?

  29. Kiki on August 12, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I think Eloise and Colin desperately need some linen sheets from Linoto! We got those for our wedding and they are truly luxurious and decadent! They are cool in the summer, and warm in the winter, and get softer with use.

    Worst wedding gift we received?? None actually, everything everyone got us was either meaningful or extremely useful!! My mom’s worst wedding gift is still hanging around…painted glassware from my aunt… Can’t seem to get rid of it no matter how many yard sales we have!!

  30. Aleen D on August 12, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    A good gift would be an antique Royal Doulton Tea Service: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Royal-Doulton-Elaine-Brown-Transferware-Teapot-Tea-Pot-Antique-c-1887-/301698887894

    Kind of reminds my of Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances lol

    I can’t say that I received a bad wedding gift.

  31. Abby on August 12, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    A fondue pot. It’s always hard to go wrong with melted cheese and having an unexpected flame source on hand might be helpful if a certain archivist ever returned.

    I don’t think I received a bad wedding gift but I could have done without the tirade from my sister on all the ways in which she disapproved of my (twelve people present, on my grandmother’s porch overlooking the Maine coast, perfect August day, perfect wedding in my opinion) wedding plans!

  32. Katlin murphy on August 13, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I would get the newlyweds a gift card to the local pub. So they can go out on date nights together.
    The worst gift I have ever received was not a wedding gift. It was a birthday present I believe. It was a wooden necklace with the pictures of school children painted on it. Their faces looked like they were in pain it was sort of terrifying.

  33. Mary Smith on August 13, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Colin & Eloise need a moon garden – all white flowers and night blooming flowers for romantic evening walks or breaks between writing.

    The worst gift I received at my wedding was a trifle bowl, chased in gold with large gold Victorian-ish flowers – but cheaply done (Wal-Mart quality). It went to goodwill…..after a nice thank-you note was written, of course….

  34. Mary D. on August 13, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I’d give Colin and Eloise a scrapbook complete with pages for all the exploits of their famous ancestors.

    They weren’t really bad gifts, but my grandma could never seem to get the right size clothes for me.

  35. Bekah on August 14, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I think Colin and Eloise both need beautiful new desks for their study. With their writing, they will both be spending a lot of time in that room and it needs to reflect their new life together.

  36. yuri manga on August 15, 2015 at 7:23 am

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    Eloise & Colin Wedding Week: the Presents- and Contest! Β« Lauren Willig – News and Events

  37. […] many apologies! What with one thing and another, I completely forgot to announce the Colin & Eloise Wedding Week contest winners this […]

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