A Wise Girl’s Guide to Wedding Registries

I absolutely loved making our registries. As I pieced them together, I could see our first home coming together. I could see us using all the kitchen gadgets, side by side, in our tiny little apartment. I imagined what kind of art I would hang to make it feel homey. I lusted after a Pottery Barn duvet cover and dreamed of curtains, area rugs, and hand towels. I read many, many articles about ‘wedding registry must-haves’ and ‘wedding registry don’ts’. I read reviews on every single product I added. Here I’ve compiled what I’ve learned from it all.

We registered at Crate and Barrel (awesome kitchen stuff), Pottery Barn (gorgeous bedding, towels, and fun stuff), and Target (everything else). I tried to pick stores I knew offered good incentives – like 10%-15% off the registry for the six after the wedding. I also had to take into account the distance for Kyle’s family – so I tried to pick stores that offered free shipping on registry items. While I love Target, their registry system needs a serious overhaul. The website was glitchy eight out of ten times and the scanner in the store never seemed to work. I can’t speak for C&B and PB’s in-store registry scanners because I completed those registries online; however, their websites were very user-friendly.

Must Have Items

Our kitchen is definitely the best-stocked room of the house, thanks to our wedding registries. My ‘must have’s’ are all from the kitchen.

Wusthof Gourmet 12-Piece Knife Set $199.95
This knife set is awesome. It comes with the knife block, kitchen shears, a chef’s knife, a bread knife, a utility knife, two paring knives, four steak knives, and sharpening steel. I use these to prepare almost every single meal. We’ve been using them since about June and have yet to sharpen them. So far, they’re holding up beautifully. I will say that hand-washing is highly recommended by the company. I only hand wash our knives for this reason. I don’t know how they would hold up in the dishwasher.

All-Clad Stainless Steel 8-Piece Cookware Set $599.99
I did a good deal of research concerning which type of pots and pans would hold up in the long run. I did not want to be buying another set a few years into our marriage. I had also read about how non-stick pans can lead to health problems down the road, as the polytetrafluoroethylene in the coating wears away over time and ends up in food. I knew I wanted stainless steel, for the even heat distribution, durability, and practicality. I had originally registered for individual All-Clad pots and pans at Crate and Barrel. However, after the wedding, Kyle and I had a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We were able to find an All-Clad set of pots and pans there. After cooking in non-stick pans for my entire life, it has taken a little bit of adjusting. What I love about these pots and pans is that I can give them a quick rinse, and toss them in the dishwasher. I can also get a really nice sear on meats, unlike with non-stick pans. I would seriously recommend getting a nice stainless steel set!

Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan $39.95
I was terrified to cook in cast iron anything for the longest time. I thought I would, without a doubt, burn whatever I was trying to cook. Then I met Kyle’s mom, Miss Gwen. Miss Gwen uses cast iron for almost everything. Having grown up around it, Kyle is much more comfortable using it. I have revoked his right to season any of our cast iron cookware. Let me tell you why. Flash back a year or two. I was at my parents’ in the kitchen, with Kyle on FaceTime. I wanted to cook my first jambalaya in my brand new cast iron dutch oven. First, I had to season the pot. Kyle directed me to place the pot on the stove and turn the heat up very high. He told me to let the pot get nice and hot, then add my oil. MISTAKE. Immediate flames, shooting up the side of my parents’ kitchen cabinets. Luckily my dad was home, heard my scream, ran in and saved the day. Since then, I don’t trust Kyle’s kitchen advice and my parents have repainted the cabinets. Martha Stewart has a much safer, easier way to season cast iron. I would recommend adding cast iron to your cookware collection. We use our dutch oven for frying things and our grill pan to make perfect steaks. I like the Lodge pots and pans a lot. You can buy them almost anywhere – Target, Crate and Barrel, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, etc.

You Don’t Need…

A pizza cutter. This is the most pointless kitchen gadget of them all. If you have a good knife set, that should work just fine. Kyle has only asked me where the pizza cutter is once, realized we don’t have one, and he’s used a knife ever since. Problem solved.

A million place settings. We registered for eight of everything. We plan to primarily use about six sets at dinner parties because that’s about how many people can comfortably fit at our table. That leaves us with two extras in case of any accidents. We also opted for very simple, white dinnerware. This way, we can add fun, colored plates to supplement later on if needed.

Highly specialized appliances, like a Panini press, ice-cream maker, bread maker, quesadilla maker, or fondue set. It will only take up space in your kitchen cabinets, or sit collecting dust in the attic. The same goes for special serving dishes, like cupcakes stands, egg plates, wooden bowls, etc. If you aren’t using it now, chances are you never will. Don’t waste precious registry space on these items.

Fancy, special occasion china and crystal. I did not foresee us needing fancy place settings any time in our near future, so I omitted them from our registry. I also knew we would be moving around a lot within the first few years of our marriage thanks to the military, so I didn’t want to be responsible for hundreds of dollars worth of dishes. This is a collection Kyle and I have discussed building up over time by buying a place setting as an anniversary gift, a Christmas gift, a birthday gift, etc. Eventually I would like to have a full set, something to be passed down to our children and their children’s children. For now, our Crate & Barrel dishes will do just fine.

Things I Wish We Had Registered For

A nice camera. Looking back, it would have been nice to have a decent digital camera on our honeymoon. All the photographs we have of our married life so far are on our phones. Before any children come along, we will definitely be buying a camera.

Some basic power tools and outdoor tools. Even in a small home, it’s nice to have a drill. We have since purchased a Rigid cordless drill and skill saw. Still could use a push broom, a shovel, a rake, etc.

More lamps. I constantly find myself sitting a dimly lit room, wishing for a floor lamp. It’s something I don’t want to spend money on because it’s not really necessary. We have some lamps, just not quite enough.

Holiday decor. Living so far away from home during the holiday season may not be so bad if our home felt just as festive as our childhood homes. Just simple things like Christmas stockings, a tree skirt, an Advent calendar, and ornaments would make all the difference. My parents did give us a beautiful nativity set, for which we are very grateful.

Storage bins. I’m constantly finding more junk that needs somewhere to go. If we had a set of about six totes, we would be in the clear. Cardboard harbors roaches, so you can imagine how badly I want to get rid of those moving boxes…

My final piece of advice regarding registries: have fun with them! Don’t hesitate to add some artwork or fun accessories. Close your eyes and imagine your first home with your spouse. What you see is what you should register for.