What to Put on your Wedding Registry
Long before I ever got engaged, I looked forward to the day when my future husband and I would head to the store and register for all kinds of gorgeous goodies. Of course, we would have a large home that needed to be filled to the brim, along with a well-behaved dog, and a trendy new SUV. Fast forward to real life, and we have absolutely none of those things…but we still had “register for gifts” on our wedding to-do list.
I also daydreamed of us waltzing around the store (elegantly dressed of course…perhaps like the above picture?) sipping champagne and holding hands as we used the beeper to quickly choose all of the new items for our home. It would take less than an hour and we’d skip out of there even more in love than when we arrived.
In reality, we were both hungover from a holiday party and couldn’t wait to power through our long shopping list. We spent a large chunk of time testing out the mattresses, just lying around waiting to chat with a salesman. We left the store 3 hours later…completely exhausted, overwhelmed, and with only a couple of items checked off of our list.
Eventually we did get around to finishing up our list (most of which was done from the comfort of our home. Gotta love online shopping!) and I wanted to take some time today to chat about all of the items we put on our wedding registry. I also consulted Bridget and together we came up with a list of our wedding registry items. But before we get to those…here are a few things we kept in mind while shopping with our +1’s.
- We both chose to go with neutral options when possible. Are you surprised? White towels, white plates, white bedding…they’re all classic and we can use them forever even if our taste or style changes. We say when in doubt…go white!
- We also each took an inventory of what we had, what we wanted, and what needed to be upgraded prior to shopping. Going in with a list is never a bad idea, and you’ll probably end up with stuff you actually need.
- We agree that a registry should reflect your lifestyle. We’ve both confessed that we’re pretty terrible in the kitchen, and that probably won’t ever change. So to register for a bread maker, or 6 pie dishes, just didn’t seem like it was worth it to either of us. Don’t go into your shopping trip with an idea of the lifestyle you want to lead someday...instead embrace who you are (and who you are together as a couple!) and build your items around that.
Here’s our Must-Have Items:
- Waterford Champagne Flutes: Okay so we didn’t actually have these on our registry. These were an engagement gift from my soon to be mother-in-law. She got us a set of 2 and we’ve used them for many special occasions. They’re the only “fancy” dishes we own, and we love them!
- Nice Luggage: I’ve always had pretty crappy luggage, so it was nice to get the “good stuff.” We put these 2 Tumi carry-on sized bags, and these 2 large suitcases on our list. They’re all great quality and should last us for years (& hopefully many trips).
- Plush White Towels: I love white towels because you can just bleach the heck out of them, but I’ve never spent a lot of money getting nice thick ones. We added lots of high quality white towels to our registry and they’re amazing.
- Simple White Dishes from Crate & Barrel (nothing too expensive, so we’re not upset if anything breaks)
- Basic Silverware
- High Quality Knives
- Red & White Wine Glasses; Champagne Flutes; Martini Glasses
- A couple of white serving bowls and platters
- A large wooden salad bowl
- Berry Box Colander: I love berries…and this was just too cute!
- Wooden Chopping Board
- Plastic Cutting Board
- White Cloth Napkins and Silver Napkin Rings
- Silver Plate Chargers
- Neutral Placemats
- Salt & Pepper Grinders: Basic ones that don’t look bad if we leave them out in the kitchen
- Water Pitcher
- Marble Fruit Stand: The next best thing to marble countertops…
- New Baking Sheets: Our old ones were pretty disgusting after too many burnt dinners…
- Upgraded Appliances: Blender, Toaster, Hand Mixer
- Pantry Containers: Bridget swears by these ones from Crate & Barrel
- Fun Bar Cart Items: Nice decanter, muddler, drink shaker, etc.
- Stainless Steel Trash Can
- White sheets and pillow cases
- 2 White Bath Mats
Here’s What We Passed On:
- Bread maker
- Fine China
- Ice Cream Maker
- Espresso/Cappuccino Machine
- Picture Frames
- Bathroom Accessories
- Toaster Oven
- Rice Cooker
- Table Cloths or Table Runners
- Fancy Candlesticks
- Deep Fryer: Although Finn did try to secretly add this to our list. No joke.
- Monogrammed Bath Robes: We’re not really monogram or robe people.
- Crockpot: We already have one that works just fine.
Because we’ve only had these items for a short amount of time, I figured I needed to ask the real “experts” about the do’s and don’ts when it comes to registering. What items were a big waste of money, and now sit in your pantry collecting dust? Which items do you use every single day? You know…tough questions like that.
Here’s the expert advice from brides of the past…
What do you still use?
“Oddly enough, I still use the plastic covers for the china. I don’t really LOVE the china, but it has stayed very nice in the covers.” Jan, Married 37 Years ago
“My casual white dishes. I decided not to register for fine china because I wanted something we would use every day that was really pretty. I registered for a more casual set of pottery white dishes. I love them so much to this day and use them at every meal!” Lindsay from The White Buffalo Styling Co., Married 5 years ago
“Electric wine bottle opener (it’s always a hit), extra wine glasses (they break!), durable pots and pans even if they’re a bit pricey (if you cook, it’s worth it!), high quality chef’s knife, and… Tupperware!” Angela, Married 3 years ago
“We needed a dishwasher and that was about it, so we asked for gift cards toward a dishwasher. As far as I can tell, no one got offended and lots of people helped us buy our dishwasher!” Jackie, Married 4 Years ago
“We got a toaster from one of our wackiest friends, and we both remember thinking it was so odd that he of all people would give us such a tame gift. We actually already had a toaster that worked just fine, so we put it in the “return” pile. At the last minute we decided to pull it out of the box to take a look at it and determine if it really was that much better than our current toaster. And that’s when we saw it – he’d had the side of the toaster engraved with our names and wedding date. Where does one even get that done?! We still use that toaster on the daily, and I smile every time I pull it out of the cupboard, thinking about what a funny gift it was and how our personalized toaster almost ended up in someone else’s kitchen.” Dusty from All Things G&D, Married 11 Years ago
“The best best best kitchen thing I got was a pineapple slicer. Sounds lame but when you need it, you’ll love it. I do have to admit that I already had the good knives and stuff since before I got married!” Robin
“Clothes Steamer! Not only great for clothes but also drapes, throw pillow covers, etc. Not a typical gift, but really awesome to have.” Meaghan
“Register for twice as many serving pieces/platters and half as many glasses than your first instinct.” Colleen
“Nothing! In our day we only registered for china, crystal, and silver!” – Paige, Married 30 years ago
What do you never use?
“China or silver” – Patty, Married 31 years
“Our picnic basket. I had this vision of romantic picnics and really wanted a picnic basket. I picked out a nice one with all kinds of dishes and plastic wine glasses inside it. Chris told me we would never use it. I argued we would and we got it. After four years, we still hadn’t use it and sold it at a yard sale.” – Lindsay from The White Buffalo Styling Co., Married 5 years ago
“I never use any of the formal silver pieces. You have to polish it every time before you use it and who wants to do that?” – Jan, Married 37 years ago
“Wine glasses with skinny stems (love how they look but they break SO easily!)” – Christine
“Don’t register for china unless you plan on completing the set yourself with your own money after the shower. Most brides don’t receive all of the pieces at their shower and are left with an incomplete set. So unless you plan on purchasing the rest, skip on the china” – Angela, Married 3 years
And some words of advice for married life from our amazing experts…
“Sometimes you just have to laugh when things go wrong and boy oh boy they will. Be happy and smile! He is your best friend for life! You picked him and he picked you. Enjoy each other everyday! That’s it!” – Patty
“Expect conflict and learn how to conflict well. Conflict is a part of marriage when two people are living together. See the best in the other person, but don’t forget they’re humans who make mistakes. Conflict will come, but it’s so important to learn how to conflict well. It’s so easy to fly off the handle and blow a small thing way out of proportion. Take deep breaths, stay calm, and lovingly express your opinion. Take time to listen to what your spouse thinks. Think before speaking, and you’ll often realize that what you’re upset about is a small thing. When you learn to conflict well, conflict only makes you stronger.” – Lindsay
“Encourage each other to remain individuals while growing as a couple.” – Jan
So in the end, no one is right. I don’t know how many times Bridget & I heard the following, “You don’t have enough stuff on your registry!”, “How come you didn’t register for x, y, or z?”, “You need some more fun stuff on there…I don’t just want to buy you a spatula!” But it comes down to figuring out what works for you and your household. I say don’t just get something because everyone else thinks you need to put it on your list. If you’re right out of college you may need lots of things…if you’ve lived on your own for a decade, you may already have plenty of household basics. Choose items that are right for you and your husband-to-be and you’ll end up with a home full of useful items that fit your lifestyle.
P.S. Here is the pic I sent Bridget when we were loading in all of our new gorgeous gifts #chaos
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.