Q: Hey guys!! I find that I often look to you all on things DIY related, but more often than not, on things life related. I would love to hear items in or around your house that you are so glad you own because it helps with the day to day. I really enjoyed reading about how you saved money with Clara (what items you skipped out on or decided to go back and buy) and how you saved money with your wedding. I am getting married next June and it would be super helpful to hear what things my fiance and I should register for (and what we shouldn’t). You guys are my favorite! – Tyne
A: Let’s do this. We thought it would actually be fun to search our brains to see if they would even stretch back to 2007 and remember what we got, what we still love, what we regretted asking for, and what we wish we’d asked for. Because friends and relatives can be amazingly generous (and at least in our family really seem to appreciate a list of things you love so they don’t have to guess), so it all comes down to thinking long and hard about what you actually will use and love for the long haul. No pressure, right?
Registry items are definitely one of those personal preference things (some people might love that they registered for formal china, while other folks like us are happy to skip it) but in general we think the key is to know how you live and what you will actually use/need (registering for a Kitchenaid mixer when you don’t cook/bake is probably not the best idea). So try to toss out romantic notions of who you “should be” someday (ex: don’t picture yourself as “a grown up” hosting a giant formal 20 person dinner if this won’t actually happen – not everyone grows up, gets married, and does that).
Instead, try to focus on how you live now and how you realistically think you will continue to live and entertain over the years. Whether you’re a casual couple or are fancy and formal, embrace who you are and think about what you’ll truly use and love. Chances are you’ll still be who you are in a few decades – you might evolve a little, but you probably won’t become a completely different couple with a completely different personality and lifestyle.
Also, trying to choose things that are classic never hurts, just so that if your tastes change over time, you won’t be completely over a bunch of style-specific stuff that you once loved but now loathe. It can be pretty expensive to re-buy everything instead of going with something timeless – and you can always add personality later with inexpensive and easy to switch out items, like patterned cloth napkins, table runners, etc. See? White dishes, clear glasses, and basic silverware can be dressed up a whole bunch of ways:
We also learned that it helped whenever possible to choose things that are attractive enough to be left out (ex: a nice stainless steel toaster or blender) because you never know what you’ll leave out for convenience’s sake. So skipping something in a crazy color that might clash with your future kitchen curtains or forgoing something super cheap that you’d never leave out in favor of something that looks a little more elegant is usually the way to go for lazy folks like us who tend to leave the blender out for three weeks after we make smoothies.
But enough chitchat, we thought it would be fun to share a list of the stuff we registered for and still love to this day, a few things that we regret putting on our registry, items that we passed on (and why), and items that we wish we had added to the list. So without further ado…
Kitchen Stuff We Registered For And Still Love:
- Basic silverware from Crate & Barrel
- White cloth napkins
- Basic white dishes that go with everything (we’re still loving that they’re classic and they’re not too precious, so if one breaks we won’t cry for days)
- Good serving bowls and serving ware (three salad/chip bowls, three large platters)
- Stainless blender & toaster (we also have a griddle)
- A cute strainer (ours is bright yellow)
- Chunky wood cutting boards (two, since we leave them out on the counter because they’re charming and use them all the time)
- Simple and small (easy to store) can opener (we didn’t want a giant electric countertop one)
- Cute clear pepper corn and sea salt grinders (classic, yet kinda fancy since they grind)
- Basic glass pitcher (we definitely tried to go for timeless basics)
- Stemless wine glasses (they’re more versatile, so they can also work for oj or smoothies)
House Stuff We Registered For And Still Love:
- Two Dolce lounge chairs from Target that we still use today (they’re in the guest room of this house)
- Two basic glass based lamps that lived in our first house’s living room and this house’s bedroom/entryway
- Organic bed sheet set (in white) and four nice bed pillows and cases
- Gorgeous large leather photo album that we used for all of our wedding photo strips
- Fluffy white towels (which we still use to this day, both in our bathroom and the guest bath)
- West Elm daybed (from John’s way too generous Godmother)
- West Elm parson’s desk (from my way too generous BFF Cat)
Stuff We Got And Later Regretted (all our fault – we wish we had chosen more wisely):
- Hepa filtered vacuum (regret: we registered for a cheap one that didn’t hold up very well, so we later upgraded to a Bissell Helix Bagless Upright)
- Set of knives in a knife block (regret: again, totally our fault, but we chose a cheap-ish set that we have since had to replace, but our current one is by Paula Deen from HomeGoods and we like it)
- Basic white mugs (regret: we didn’t think about scale at all, so the set that we got is so small it was sort of like teacups – we’ve since replaced them with larger mugs that actually work for tea and hot chocolate without feeling like you’re at a kid’s tea party)
- Cordless hand vac (regret: we wish we had done more research before randomly choosing something, since ours bit the dust pretty fast – we later replaced it with a Dirt Devil Kurv)
- A few basic pots and pans (regret: they weren’t great quality and got scratched and beaten up pretty fast – we later learned about Greenware pots and pans, which are eco-friendly and teflon free, so we asked for them for Christmas in 2009 and have been enjoying them ever since)
Stuff We Passed On (mostly specific kitchen gadgets after we realized we just wouldn’t use ’em):
- Coffee maker (we’re a tea household, and even when coffee folks stay with us we all go to Starbucks)
- Kitchenaid mixer (as much as I’d love to buy one in a fun color, it would totally collect dust)
- Monogrammed towels and robes (we’re not robe people and basic white towels sans monogram did it for us)
- Espresso machine (same as coffee maker, just wouldn’t get used)
- Ice cream maker (didn’t think we’d ever use it)
- Toaster oven (after thinking it through we decided a stainless steel toaster and an oven were all we needed, and five years later we’re still happy without one)
- Rice cooker (much like the ice cream maker, we just didn’t think we’d use something so specific)
- Panini press (ditto)
- Waffle maker (ditto)
- Martini glasses (ditto)
- George Foreman grill (ditto)
Stuff We Have Since Bought (if we could turn back time, we’d have registered for these too):
- Nice set of wood spoons and spatulas for a caddy next to the stove (get things in sets whenever possible, our old ones were all mismatched and later we updated to a matched set and appreciated how much better they looked)
- Immersion blender (we didn’t miss any other gadgets but we did end up yearning for this one – and we use it often enough to warrant storing it)
- Cute “Cucina” soap and lotion set from Anthropologie (so charming on the counter in a kitchen or bathroom)
- More specific things as rooms evolved and our taste became more clear (ex: green cloth napkins, J & S mugs, metallic holiday glasses, etc)
- Sonicare toothbrushes (wish we had thought to register for these guys)
- Two big clear glass containers for cereal, flour, sugar on the counter
- Clam shell fruit bowl from ZGallerie (it has been our fruit bowl for years)
I’m sure we forgot a few items (it was five years ago!) but that’s a pretty good idea of what we registered for, what we regretted/replaced, what we skipped, and what we wish we had added. And after compiling that list it made me want to poll some friends and relatives to hear their five favorite registry items (you know, because I’m nosy) so here are their responses. It’s so interesting to see who loves what the most (and it definitely reinforces that knowing what you will love and use is more important than putting too much stock into what works for someone else (like slacker chefs and non-coffee-drinker like us, haha).
- My BFF Katie: white dishes, white platters, white towels, stainless toaster, and basic silverware
- My other BFF Cat (you’ve seen her wedding here): basic white towels, a silver goes-with-everything serving platter, everyday dishes (colorful Fiestaware bowls, plates, and serving dishes), a brightly striped ceramic pitcher from Crate & Barrel, and a cute bowl set from Anthropologie.
- My friend D from All Things G&D: my crockpot, a good set of knives, good pots and pans, an Aerobed (air mattress) and G’s heavy bag (for boxing – it was his “guy” gift from all of his groomsmen).
- My friend Heather (you’ve seen her wedding here): everyday dishes, a blender, nesting bowls, picture frames, a Rainbow vacuum cleaner. Things I never use: martini glasses, electric knife, cake stand, and ice cream dishes (why did I register for special ice cream dishes when basic bowls work even better?!).
- My friend Cody: plush white towels, a 9 x 13 baking dish, a throw blanket, a welcome sign wall hanging, and of course white dishes.
- My friend Kristin (you’ve seen her awesome house here): white everyday dishes, knives/cutlery, small electronics like toaster/hand mixer, serving platters that don’t go out of style (plain but nice), and basic glasses. All boring kitchen stuff! But I have friends who got married 8-10 years ago and registered for trendy everyday ware (in a specific color and style) and are now replacing it all since they no longer like it!
- My friend Lisa: a nice set of knives, pots and pans, flatware, and an ice cream maker (we’ve been married 13 years, so nearly everything else has been replaced).
- My brother (who’s officially Doctor Dan, not Almost-Doctor-Dan – woot!): basic towels, a good knife set, simple flatware, a coffee maker, and picture frames.
- My sister-in-law Katie: coffee maker (still going strong after 9 years!), casual dishes, stainless steel silverware, serving dishes that match our casual dishes, Wustof knives (we surely would have put pots and pans on this list but we already had those before we got married, but those are still going strong too).
- My mother-in-law Kathy: wow- who can remember?! Haha. Crock pot, hand crank ice cream maker, big woven basket that we use as a laundry basket, glass canister set, and a beautiful bowl. We were very practical and did not register for fancy china.
So there you have it. A whole lotta registry loves and a few shoulda-woulda-couldas. What are your favorite registry items? Anything you got that you wish you hadn’t? Or that you later purchased and wished had made it onto your registry? Hindsight is 20/20, huh?
We use our pressure cooker, basic-but-nice silverware, and Pyrex storage dishes all the time. Ask for a couple sets of the Pyrex. We also upgraded our mismatched glassware to the classic Arco stuff. After that, we had to think pretty hard about what we wanted. So we upgraded our wineglasses to the Iittala stemless kind, and registered for some awesome serving bowls and platters from Heath Ceramics… definitely stuff that we wouldn’t buy for ourselves! We registered through Wishpot, because then we could list stuff from all over, not just a couple of stores. But that still wasn’t a long enough list for all the people who wanted to get us something(!!), so we also registered with Heifer International. About a fourth of our guests gave to the charity in our name as a gift.
We love Heifer! Such a great charity!
We kept our registry fairly short, simple, and classic. We bought our first house after getting engaged and pooled our combined “hand-me-downs” to see what we wanted to replace (the set of mismatched/chipped dishes) and what we were happy keeping (most of our hand-me-down but well made furniture). We registered for classic dishes, glasses, silverware, towels, sheets, etc and kept away from the single function kitchen items. Our friends and family knew us well and gave us items that we never asked for but continue to use and love well after our registry was fulfilled (Home Depot gift certificates, shopvac, kitchen aid mixer, cuisenart, and money to purchase our dining room furniture). Our party knew we were not planning to take a honeymoon because we paid for our own wedding and pooled their money for a travel gift certificate for us. So, two years after our wedding we used it to go to Greece. It was an awesome and thoughtful gift and better than any item that we ever would have requested!
I think keeping our list small and with only items that were important helped to make sure that we got all of the items that we asked for (for example all 12 dish sets), not half sets of things because we had too much to choose from on our registry. We know people who had extensive registry lists and who only got a few items of this and half of that and then had to decide whether to complete the set themselves or return one thing to fulfill the other.
Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous says
We’re getting married in a little over a month, and straight away moving to a teeny tiny apartment in Germany. So instead of registering for things (no cheap way to get them across the Atlantic and no where to put them in our new place) we registered for money for things that will make our new European lives easier: bicycles, train passes, a new camera, etc. Some people find registering for money tacky, but we think we justified it well and so far the response has been good.
I would encourage you to also think about fun things to register for. Is there a hobby that you and your fiance enjoy or want to get into? Ask for that that new stand-up-paddle board or camping equipment or board game or whatever. People love giving a fun gift as opposed to the ladle that matches your wedding china.
For those thinking of giving gifts, the best wedding gift we received was from a friend who is an EMT. She took a tackle box and made a complete home first aid kit out of it – band-aids, bandages, cpr mouth piece, benadryl, tylenol, tweezers, etc. We use it weekly (our little ones fall a lot), and we think of her every time.
we registered for our knives and our towels….we did khaki and chocolate in the towels so they would match most decor but not turn dingy. glad i did. i add some green and yellow ones in there for fun and have a cute basketful in each bathroom. the only thing we don’t use much at all is the wok, but my hubby loves that it’s there if he wants to stir fry.
Meredith @ La Buena Vida says
My most frequently used wedding gifts are the Crockpot and the Kitchenaid mixer. We also use our ice cream maker a TON…but neither the Kitchenaid or the ice cream maker got much use until a few years ago when I really started getting into cooking from scratch–I’m so glad we added them to the registry even though I wasn’t sure how much we’d use them initially!
Also, we registered for a tent, sleeping bag, and camp chairs–and LOVE having them. I always get excited when people have things like that on their registry that I know they’ll really use the heck out of!
One thing I wish we would’ve registered for–some nice glass food storage containers!
We just got married last week and registered for power tools, nice knives, knife magnet, and fun things like rolling cooler, beach chairs, beach tent. We are not fancy people and it would make me crazy to have $3000 of china in the cabinet!!!
[email protected] says
We were super similar to you guys – just registering for the things we knew we would use (not the fancy stuff!). We are still loving our white dinnerware, knife set, cutting boards, and other kitchen things. We also asked for gift cards to Home Depot, which paid for our bathroom renovation!! :)
Melissa @ HOUSEography says
Ugh – blue striped stoneware for every day – big mistake. I was so tired of it 3 years later. Fortunately I chose to sell my massive collection right before Thanksgiving!! Gone in 2 days thanks to CL! Our silverware is still going strong although we are missing some teaspoons. Weird. I may be in the minority but I love our china and am excited to bring it out for dinner parties – I would have picked it again and again. The key is to get dishwasher safe china :) Some of our favorite gifts were things we didn’t register for like a gorgeous tiffany bowl and beautiful but simple crystal pitcher.
Megan Circelli says
My favourite items: Kitchenaid Blender (we made all our baby food using this amazing thing), Kitchenaid stand mixer (my husband uses it to make pizza dough and bread so we don’t need a separate bread maker), plain white dishes, a good knife that can be used for chopping and carving etc. and chocolate brown towels (hide stains and match a lot of things.)
Regrets- Pasta maker (although that was given to us not actually requested), special cake pans (like a spring form one that is still in the plastic) and platters that don’t actually fit in cupboards!
We didn’t register, long story! However, having been married since 1997, I would suggest quality pots, pans knives and bakewear for those who cook. Also, I love love love my Cuisenart ice cream maker. I store the freezer bowl in the freezer (I actually have 2 now!) so it’s always ready to go. I make ice cream all summer long. If your guests have (ahem…) deep pockets add bakewear from LeCreuset to that list.
Crap! I just did the math… this year makes 15 years. I’d better be getting something good from the Trophy Husband. I’m off to update my Amazon.com wish list.
Michelle, I too am loving my Cuisinart ice cream maker! I got mine off Craigslist this spring, since we’ve been trying to do more homemade, whole food for health purposes. I couldn’t have known how much I would use one back when I did my wedding registry, though, so for me it probably was good that I didn’t register for it. It would have gone unused the first few years of our marriage.
I’m totally with you on the Le Creuset bakeware (and enamalized cast-iron cookware), too. Don’t have any, but now I know how valuable they are for “real-foodies.” :)
Must haves: white towels, pyrex measuring cups, immersion blender, hand mixer and a coffee-maker (even if you don’t drink coffee, it’ll most likely be a must-have for your guests!)
Must have NOTs: specialty glassware (apertif anyone?) and anything silver (who wants to polish it?).
I regret registering for my digital photo frame, bar ware, and expensive pots and pans set… none of which I use, unfortunately.
The bar ware was the biggest upset, and totally my fault… while we do use some of it, I registered for WAY too much (red and white wine, martini, beer, pilsner, short glass, tall glass, regular pub style glasses) thinking I would get some but not all, and they were the first items to be purchased off of my registry. oof!
I am so glad I registered for a good vacuum (I have two larger dogs)… and that has probably been the most used wedding related gift. I also registered for a george foreman, and use that for anything from burgers during the bbq off-season, chicken breasts, paninis, once I made kabobs in January, and it even has waffle plates.
The thing I wish I registered for was a food saver, one of those vacuum seal food thingamabobs, because I prefer to purchase meats when they’re on sale and then freeze them until I need it, and I have to make sure to use the meat quick because I don’t want it to get freezer burn.
Lindsey d. says
I’m hopeful that I’ll be moving into registry-land in the next year or two (we’re inching that way)…
We’re in our early and mid-30s respectively and have quite a few nice things already, but it will be great “splurge” on a few things in the registry, like a large, matching set of silverware, since many pieces of mine have gone missing over the years and his are terrible.
I can also see registering for large serving platters, some upgrades to pots and pans, Le Crueset, knives, new bedding and towels, fun grill stuff for him. Another thing I want is glass dishes for food storage. I’m slowly trying to move away from plastic, especially since I reheat leftovers for lunch in the microwave at work, but it’s pricy. I’ve got quite a few Kerr jars, but want small Pyrex.
Stuff like mixing bowls, kitchen utensils and decorative items won’t be on the list because we either already have it, or it’s not the way I prefer to shop for it.
I am a sucker for white bowls, but mine chip so easily. Where did you get yours from?
Ours are from Linens N Things but I think BB&B sells similar ones.
We just got engaged a few weeks ago, so I’m still getting my head around planning a wedding. This information is SO HELPFUL as I’m sure we will be compiling a list of what to register for in the next couple of months. Thanks for doing all of the research for us!! You rock :-)
Our faves from our registry are our slowcooker (use it at least 2x week), quality nonstick pots/pans, quality knife set, basic white dishware, quality bedsheets, and the food processor. Some faves that we got that we hadn’t registered for are our cast iron dutch oven (that baby gets some serious use in cooler weather), bedding for guests and our Dyson vacuum (worth every penny – makes me glad my parents upgraded our original (much cheaper) choice!).
Our only real “wish we hadn’t” when it comes to our registry was that we did go cheap on things that we probably shouldn’t. We ended up returning/throwing out all our bath towels and some of our cooking tools and buying replacements that were a step up because they didn’t hold up. We would have been better off just registering for better-quality products to begin with. Some things that I wish we had registered for were basic picture frames, household tools, and basic/standard cookbooks.
I hear about a lot of people saying NOT to get a Kitchenaid mixer…I think you have to determine whether or not you’ll actually use it. We registered for one and got it, and I actually use it A LOT…but if you won’t, it’s definitely not worth the $$$.
we registered for everyday dishes and fine china. a few years ago we gave our everyday dishes to our just-starting-out babysitter and we now actually use our fine china that had just been sitting pretty in a cabinet. i love it. it makes hot dogs taste extra good :)
as for regrets, i so wish i would have registered for nice knives. mine stink. on our 10th anniversary (two more years) i think i’ll finally break down and just buy some already!
we were students on a budget, and we were moving within a week of our wedding, not just across the street, but to another country. For us, the real gift was having the people that came there – it was most important to us that they came (we had a tiny wedding of 25 people, total) and because of that (and our move) we didn’t register for anything.
But we did get some wonderful and very personal gifts that we still appreciate very much today, almost 18 years later.
1. a painting done by a guest’s mother, a professional visual artist
2. a beautiful pottery fruit bowl, that we have used every day in the intervening years.
3. a painting done a family member who worked as an architect but had a passion for painting. that painting is more poignant now as that family member has succumbed to dementia.
We also got some money from my grandmother, which we used to buy a dining table and chairs – our FIRST furniture purchases – from IKEA. We’re still sitting on those chairs today, almost 20 years later.
If those are the same measuring spoons that my cousin gave away at his wedding… you might want to check how accurate they are. We checked ours and they were quite a bit off!
I have to say I was not very pleased when a bunch of people didn’t follow the registry at all. So that is a do’s and don’ts entry for the wedding guest!
We registered for our “someday house” when we got married, even though we only live in a 1 bed apt, which means most of it wouldn’t fit in our apt. 95% of our registry gifts are sitting in a pile in my parents’ basement (and I’m praying the dishes and wine glasses aren’t all smashed from getting sloppily rearranged and moved all over!). My major wish is that I had followed this timeless rule more closely, like registering for ALL white towels instead of getting half of my towels in white and half in a color that doesn’t go with anything in my apartment anymore.
The one item we use everyday is our coffee maker (from my lovely Grandma!). Surprisingly, another one of our most used items is a super soft monogrammed throw that we didn’t register for but wish we had so that we had gotten it in a better color. We registered for the White Pearl dinnerware from C&B, it’s a step down from being fancy and a few steps up from our current Wal-mart set. Even though I still have yet to use it, I still love it and it still looks timeless to me (we’ll see how it holds up when we hopefully start using it in a few months!). My “regret” buy is getting a very large and nice set of stainless steel flatware for my engagement before I had picked out dishes. Now the 2 don’t really go together, but since we got the flatware at the Oneida Silver factory closing sale and didn’t spend much at all, I won’t feel too bad getting a nicer plain set to go with the “fancy” dishes.
Registering is so fun yet so overwhelming – sticking to the basics, classics, and timeless items is really the best advice you could give! I wish I had known about your blog when I was registering so many years ago.
You’re so lucky to have received so many generous gifts. We just got married this spring and were the last of our friends and cousins to do so. Despite the fact that I never went to a wedding, wedding or baby shower emptied handed – it turns out that majority of our friends and many within our family (including our moms) didn’t get us wedding gifts let alone gifts off our registry. I think my husband’s mom thought that because she had to pay for her hotel room that that was our gift. ?? We paid for our own wedding and we didn’t expect lavish gifts but cards would have been appreciated. In total, about 1/3 of our guests gave gifts. I wonder if this is a common occurrence. Did we have silly ideas that most guests would bring gifts…?
That’s terrible! I certainly didn’t get married for the money or presents, but I was offended by the 3 different guests who said “we forgot your card/present/money at home, but we’ll mail it to you” and never did! I think it’s just common courtesy to bring at least something!
Thanks for sharing, I wish somethign like this was around when I registered! The whole process is extremely awkward and as you and others have said, there’s pressure for what people will think of you for registering for certain items. Several of my friends have gotten married in the last couple years so this comes up often…which has given me ample time to think abou tthis lately (foreshadow) here are my responses:
Registered for and Still Love: absolute number one: 12 place settings(my mother insisted) of “everyday” Denby dishes (they’re expensive, and I’d never buy them for myself, but they’ll last forever and the pattern I got is incredibly classic – linen), our Dyson vacuum (my husband loves it so much I’ve only vacuumed like 2x in the last almost 2 years!), coffee maker (I don’t drink it but he does and we enjoy having it for guests), serving platters and bowls that match our dinnerware, pyrex baking and mixing/storing set, Corningware bake ware, KitchenAid mixer, various nonstick/hard anodized aluminum pans to complement the stainless steel set my husband bought when he was single, Wustof santoku knife (can i say? Don’t buy a block of knives, buy what you’ll use), big fluffy towels that coordinate with both baths (tan, white, sage), panini maker (I initially balked at this idea but my mom encouraged me to do it, didn’t use it our first year at all but I’ve used it 3x in the last week – nothing like a tasty sandwich whipped up on a warm day, also love it for making quesadillas), luggage (wow lifesaver), cordless electric wine bottle opener, board games (so fun with friends!)
My oops list: salad/herb spinner (would probably still get but just get the smaller version, it’s so huge and not easy to store…okay maybe i wouldn’t get it at all), cordless hand vac (same problem, we did no research and it bit the dust early), Oneida flatware (Oneida’s the best according to my mom and gma but i didn’t get the best line of it, my Colonial Boston flatware rusted after one toss in the dishwasher…on four separate sets, so I regret not getting as high-end of flatware as I did dishes, I suppose), steel wine sleeve to keep wine cold (I drink it or throw it back in the fridge!), I know there’s other stuff I got and returned right away (immediate regret of registering for it) but can’t remember
Stuff we passed on: any specialty glassware other than one 4 piece set of wine glasses, espresso maker, china (apparently i’m set to inherit like 3 sets if i want it…didn’t think i needed 4)
Looking back on what I would register for: better silverware (still using mismatched remnants), everyday glassware (the cheapo set my husband bought years ago from Wal-Mart just isn’t cutting it anymore), some “fun” every day dishes to intermix with my others, some more serving dishes, especially platters and especially more “fun” ones, more table cloths and napkins, random orbital sander
Stuff we already had or we acquired that I can’t live without: waffle maker, le creuset french oven, rice maker
So that was obscenely long and obvious that we’ve been discussing it a lot around here. :) Hopefully it helps someone! I’d concur with registering for the electric toothbrushes, they’re spendy yet awesome and totally worth it! Also, I’m sure there are more manly things we received, outside of the kitchen, but I cook a lot, so that’s what I can remember!
Shaundra Coleman says
Great list! I have used the Kitchenaid mixer one time…and it is so heavy I can’t imagine I ever will again. I wish I had gotten an iron…my bff has a fancy one that cost $75 and it is awesome. I think it is one of those things you dont know you need until you use someone elses. Plus, who wants to keep replacing the same $20 iron over and over again.
My husband and I aren’t fancy people so when it came to registering for our wedding we didn’t want to add china UNTIL the guy helping us set up our registry blew our minds! He informed us that we should seriously consider registering for china because it will last a loooong time at which point he grabbed a mug from a bone china set on display and started slamming it every which way on his wood desk. Not so much as a mark or even a chip on it. We were sold. We ended up registering for the HALO set of plain white bone china at crate and barrel and LOVE IT! We use it everyday and I love not worrying about accidentally banging it too hard on the counters or in our sink. And here I thought china had to be delicate with birds and flowers on it. I totally got schooled.
Sara C says
Maybe it’s a southern thing, but I love, LOVE my fine china (we really like to entertain, and actually use the good stuff just for the heck of it sometimes). A couple caveats with this though….I registered for fine china that would coordinate with my everyday china (both are white…the fine china just has some silver decoration), so if I ever ended up with a huge crowd, I would have enough dishes to go around. The other thing I insisted on was that they be dishwasher safe! I hate the idea of being stuck in the kitchen hand washing everything every Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Thanks for posting this! I’m so nosy, I love seeing what people register for. The first thing I do when I get a save the date or wedding invite is check out the registry. lol
Love this list – it’s so helpful and I really appreciate your take on this since you guys do live a more minimalistic life.
For us we got an amazing set of knives and a good set of pots and pans and I use both every single day. Both of those gifts were more on the pricy side but so very worth it!
We got colored plates that were hand painted but when they chip (which many of them have) they get extremely hot when used in the microwave. I now need oven mitts to take a plate of leftovers out of the microwave and I cannot wait to get new dishes – should have registered for quality ones in the first place.
Sugar Cookie says
What a great list! My husband and I were 1300 miles away from each other for our whole 18 month engagement, which made registering really difficult. I also didn’t have any close friends my age who were married at the time, so most of my registry advice came from my mom and mother-in-law, who both sort of twisted my arm into registering for china. Looking back, I would not have done this myself, but it is a beautiful set and I make sure that we use it several times a year so that it doesn’t spend much time gathering dust. I did register for a trendy dishware set and have since replaced it with a basic white set from Ikea, which I love. Among my favorite items are my stainless steel appliances, my silver flatware, and some Euro pillowcases!
I love the aerobed idea! So much more comfy than an old futon, and expensive enough that it’s hard to justify buying it yourself for occasional guests. They make pop-up/blow-up beds that are the same height as a real bed…I’ve wondered if we could get away with that instead of filling up a room with a ‘guest bed’!
Biggest oops: a projector for watching movies on the wall. Seemed super cool and fun at the time, but the technology is old now so the super-generous gift from a big group of friends is sitting in a box, awaiting our admission that it needs to leave the house.
Dawn S says
I’m so jealous everyone got knives on their registry. Hubby and I LOVE to cook and registered for some nice knives that my uncle researched and chose for himself. But Hubby’s family said it is bad luck to buy a couple knives as it “cuts the relationship,” from an old superstition and refused to buy them for us. (My family was already footing the bill for the wedding and buying other high-priority items). 7 years later, Hubby and I still have crappy knives. We have bought a nice set of steak knives and one nice santuko knife that we wash and re-wash to use ALL.THE.TIME because we hate all the other crappy knives we “borrowed” from my mom or found here and there at stores on whims in our *tiny grad student single income stay at home mom* income.
Im getting married in 60 days!! This was such a helpful, honest post! Loving the thread on this too.. lots more great advice! Keep doing what your doing!
I got married last year, and one of my very favorite things that we registered for and received is our toaster oven. I use that thing ALL the time instead of the “big” oven! I’m guessing it saves electricity and in the summer it’s great for not heating up the house. The model we got also has a convection option which lets me bake things twice as fast.
One thing that we got that I probably wouldn’t register for is one of those fancy food sealers. The bags are expensive, and while they do allow you to store food in the freezer longer, I find that a good ol’ ziploc freezer bag works fine for me.
My favorite registry items are things I didn’t register for! I was gifted a small lemon shaped cutting board (perfect for cutting a few veggies for a salad) and a lasagna pan (we don’t even like lasagna)! The lasagna pan has a lid and handles so I use it for transporting cupcakes, pies, covered dishes, serving large salads, etc. So handy!
We registered for twice as many towels we needed and I stored the extras in a clear storage bin. I broke out the new ones when ours started to show some wear and tear. It was like Christmas having wonderful new towels to enjoy again!
My one piece of advice is to try to make sure things are dishwasher safe! It will make your life a whole lot easier when you don’t have to wash every serving dish by hand. I also think that it’s difficult to judge if you’ll use a lot of the speciality appliances (ice cream maker, rice cooker, etc), so it’s best to hold off on that purchase until later.
we got married in our thirties, so we, like a lot of people felt a little guilty registering for anything, as we of course both had more than enough kitchen gear, etc to set up a household. However, we found that our hesitation to register for gifts was really bumming a lot of people out, so we got onto it, and really had fun with it. it ended up being a wonderful opportunity to get a nice set of knives, pots and pans, including a pasta pot, and a beautiful set of china and tumblers that can go casual or formal! our things mashed together before these amazing gifts were such a hodge podge. we love to cook, and having quality knives and cookware is such a luxury. neither of us have ever had it before.
we also absolutely love some of the off-registry gifts we received. i agree with some other comments here, that these are the items you fondly remember who gave them to you, and smile about your wedding, whenever you pull them out. :)
I emailed Sherry with a similar question before my November 2010 wedding, haha. You responded with a very nice email. :)
Here’s what we did:
Our Calphalon stainless steel pots and pans set and KitchenAid stand mixer were generous gifts from my grandparents – I never thought we would get those so don’t be afraid to register for big items. From C&B, we got white dishes, flatware, wood salad bowls, glass carafe, stemless wine glasses, chip and dip platter, beer mugs (the kind you can stick in the freezer – very versatile), espresso cups, vase, fruit bowl, stainless steel toaster, individual butter dishes, tea towel, white cloth napkins, woven tray. BB&B: White towels, Le Creuset tea kettle, stainless steel measuring cups. Target: KitchenAid food processor, KitchenAid blender, Bialetti moka pot, immersion blender. I’m happy with all these choices. We don’t use our KitchenAid stand mixer that much, but it’s nice to have when you need it.
I debated registering for an espresso maker at the time and still want one so that’s something we should have put on our registry. We’ve added a Breville juicer and SodaStream to our kitchen in the last year, so those are other “fun” kitchen things to consider. I remember wanting formal china but knew we wouldn’t get it or be able to complete the set. If I really want it in the future and it makes sense with our lifestyle, I will treat myself to it.
Of course, just because you don’t register for something, doesn’t mean you can’t get it later on. Stick with the basics. Your tastes and needs will change.
Andi Ross says
So I have been married 6 years in just a few weeks, and I have been asked this many times (I am an event planner). Overall I would say be sure to choose things you really like, but have some timelessness to them.
Since I didn’t know better we registered for all basic things, white, tan, etc. I missed out on the “punches” of fun. So while white dishes are nice and timeless, if they don’t suit your personality will just be a big fat reminder of what you wished you done.
Also don’t be hasty to follow the rules, we have 24 wine glasses that we use maybe 4 of them, so don’t register for things you might need one day, you will be able to buy them later and then it won’t just be gathering dust!
My favorite registry gift is a KitchenAid Mixer, I love to bake and it was the perfect thing for us!
Great post! I like your advice to think about your life and what you will actually use!
Also agree with you on not getting niche appliances that you won’t use. By all means if you make waffles all the time, buy a waffle iron, otherwise just skip it! We registered for a toaster oven and it was huge. Took up so much counter space and we hardly ever used it so it got sold on craigslist. Someone got a very nice barely used cuisineart toaster oven for $30!
My husband and I have been married for two years. The things we love the most are our dishes (we did not register for formal china), crate and barrel silverware, nice knife set, a set of wooden spoons and our duvet cover.
I really do think this process is very personal!
It’s been 5 years for us too (6/23/07) and the best gifts were the professional series JA Henckels knives (will last a lifetime!). We also got a set of tools (Husky brand, I think from Home Depot) in a bag that is so useful, small enough to stash in the linen closet and has all the basics. I wish we hadn’t gotten the “trendy” dishes, black and white damask from Target. We used to have 12 and in the past month it’s down to 8 :(
These are such great tips! My husband and I already lived together before we got married, but the classics never go out of style. We have white dishes, clear glasses, and Cuisinart pots and pans. None of it is too precious to use, and they work just as well for casual days as they do for holiday dinners. We also purchased and extra set of our dishes and glasses, so if one breaks, we’re still good!
I think it’s important when you get married and register to think about what your life will be like in 5 or even 10 years. When we got married, we lived in a >500 square foot apartment in NYC. We registered for a limited number of items because we simply didn’t have space to fit non-essentials in our kitchen and bathroom. Two years later, we moved out of state into a much larger condo. We still use and love everything that we received from our registry because we had to be extremely thoughtful about what we need and use regularly vs. what would be nice to have or what looks pretty but is not functional.
My one regret is that we only registered for 8 place settings of our dinnerware. At the time, we couldn’t fathom having more than 4 people eat in our small apartment, so 8 seemed like more than enough. Now that we have a formal dining room and entertain all of the time, we had to go out and buy 4 more place settings. Not a huge deal, but I wish we had thought ahead.
I would say the thing I regret most was registering for china. Maybe in a few years I will change my mind, but we have never taken it out of the box and we didn’t get enough to actually use. I think we ended up with 6 or so of the larger plates, but that’s only enough for 4 guests…and we didn’t get enough salad plates or bowls to even have 6 full settings! Lots of people love their china, but for us- bad choice.
(since then we have also inherited 2 sets of china from my grandmothers, so I doubt we will ever use what we registered for)
I also wish, like you guys, that we had registered for a quality vaccuum. It would have saved us a lot of trouble from sweeping the floors and a lot of money a few months into our marriage!
We got married a little over a year ago and so far the favorites are: pancake griddle, crock pot, wooden salad bowl with matching serving utensils, ALL the lamps in our house (small house, we only asked for/received 3), and our fancy china. I have to say we were spoiled rotten, but my favorite items are the things I REALLY wanted, but would usually talk myself out of getting in the store.
Things I regret: I never actually saw the color of our towels in person (picked them out online) and they’re not my favorite anymore — go with white!
I still *love* my fiestaware that I registered for.
I replaced my cheap pots and pans with a large cast iron frying pan with lid, a skillet, and a Le Crueset dutch oven.
Non-coffee drinkers could easily store a french press for guests. Yum!
I wish we’d registered for our Le Cruset Dutch oven and my kitchen aid mixer. I thought they were too pricey to put on our list, but I ended up buying them a few years later anyway and they get used all the time.
Starr @ The Kiefer Cottage says
I didn’t register for anything. I had been living on my own for ages, had a fully stocked kitchen (my kitchenaid mixer, for instance, I’ve had for 11 years now and it gets used weekly), and already owned too much stuff in general.
What’s funny, though, is that while no one gave me a hard time about not registering for the wedding, I got lots of pressure to register for my baby shower. I did and was lucky enough to get everything on it. But I guess baby showers make people wanna buy actual baby stuff, not just put cash in an envelope.
My first tip for people doing wedding registries is to know beforehand if you are going to splurge on items, or only ask for things that you would buy for yourself. My now-husband and I had a miserable time registering for gifts because his motto was “it’s a WISH list” so he wanted the best and most expensive, while I only wanted to put things on the registry that I would actually spend my OWN money on. I knew I would never buy a $500 vacuum or pot and pan set for myself, so I thought I wouldn’t ask others to buy them for me! In the end I won out, and my husband is happy with everything we got. :)
It’s been 2 years this August, but we still love our comforter and bedding; our pots and pans, and our dishes (stonewear), among other things. We do have some things we haven’t used, like our toaster oven, and a magic bullet set. We got a grill from my husband’s aunts, which I totally appreciated, but we probably would’ve have gotten a different one if we had registered for one. I also wish we had registered for some “home things” like lamps or chairs.
I forgot! We had a huge wedding (350 invited), so we had a lot of (very generous) people at the showers as well as over 250 guests. We ended up getting enough money from the wedding that we used it as a downpayment on our first house!
we got married in college, so most of our household-y things were wedding gifts. favorites: a really nice set of calphalon pots, kitchenaid industrial stand mixer (unasked-for!), classic white plates/bowls, and most of my backpacking gear. =) REI registries for the win!