Registering for wedding gifts is one of the many exciting things about getting married. So during my engagement, I kept wondering, “Why am I procrastinating creating my wedding registry?”
I had no idea where to start, and didn’t want to register for things I’d regret. Plus, put one of those scanner guns in my hand, and there’s no telling the things I’d “need.”
When living in a city, there’s also only so much space, and trends are constantly changing. I wanted to do my research and be strategic about the gifts I’d ask from my wedding guests. “Do I really need that expensive china?” “How about that Waterford crystal?”
Having worked a brief stint in the lifestyle industry, I knew I couldn’t trust much of the advice I read online. Editors of fancy magazines are often incentivized to feature certain products via advertisements, freebies, fancy parties, or other forms of swag—without you ever knowing it. So I went to a group of women I could trust, many of whom have reputable experience in the marriage department: the female writers of The Federalist.
“Five, 10, 20 years after your marriage, which gifts do you still use, and which do you regret?” I asked them. I received so much helpful advice that I couldn’t help but share. Cheers!
A KitchenAid Mixer
Pro tip: The copper finish is more expensive and performs just the same, but it’s a timeless design that complements any kitchen. If you’re going to go with a color, pick something neutral that you won’t get sick of. And if you’re planning on hosting or having lots of children, the larger option is probably worth it.
Stock Your Kitchen’s Pots and Pans
Pro tip: Basic, but worth it. A basic kitchen-starter set from Bed, Bath and Beyond will get you going, or you can go the piece-by-piece route recommended by top chef Christopher Kimball.
Pro tip: Don’t go overboard on price here, because you will almost certainly change your mind, but this is where you can have some fun with color! Think of what you might want for the different seasons, such as this for summer. Also, polyester is the easiest material to clean.
Pro tip: Every new couple needs a set of workable tools. The DeWalt Battery Drill was a personal favorite at The Federalist, as was a jig saw. Oh, and if you have a house, it might be smart to throw a ladder in there!
A Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Pro tip: At least one mid-size (6-quart) Le Creuset is worth it. If you’re limiting your registry to only one Le Creuset, go with a casserole dish or a Dutch oven. “It’s the pot you’ll pull out on Sunday afternoon with a bottle of wine and make something remarkable!” If you decide to skip on the Le Creuset, go with a cast iron instead.
Pro tip: Consider registering for a few big-ticket items, such as a couch, a nice rug, a bar cart. You might be surprised what some guests want to buy.
If you’re getting silverware too, The Federalist women say silver just isn’t worth it. “You will never use it, and cleaning and polishing it is a giant pain in the batoot!”
China and Crystal
Pro tip: Overall, the consensus was to skip the china and crystal unless you’re into throwing fancy dinner parties and lots of cleaning, to which more power to you! If you do decide to register for china, however, consider going with something minimalist such as the Wedgwood White collection, which you can use every day but still dress up with a nice napkin or charger.
Also, be conscious that some of your more traditional wedding guests would prefer to buy these gifts. A couple items like vases, wedding frames, champagne flutes, or serving platters will allow them to buy you fancy legacy items that you can leave out on display—minus all the fancy stuff you likely will use only once every five years.
Nice Bed Linens
Pro tip: They might be a boring gift to give, but register for more bed linens than you think you’ll need. Especially if you have a dog!
Bakeware and Kitchen Tools
Pro tip: USA Nonstick Bakeware for the win! “Don’t get anything else,” I’m told. And unless you’re planning on cooking things like cheesecake, you can forgo the springform pan and just stick with round cake pans, because layered cakes always look impressive. Whatever you choose, complement it with this Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat—you will never need cooking spray again!
For smaller kitchen gadgets such as peelers, spatulas, whisks, can opener, etc., Oxo products were the most popular.
A Nice Vacuum
Pro tip: If this article is any indication, the ladies of The Federalist are pretty obsessed with the Instant Pot. “After impulse-buying the machine to cook rice, I joined a Facebook group for Instant Pot users and soon learned I could do crazy stuff like make cheesecake and cook frozen chicken,” wrote Bethany Mandel last year.
Outdoor Entertaining Accessories
Pro tip: Guests get bored buying many items on a registry, but love buying for outdoor entertainment, so go all out with an outdoor dining set, pitchers, lighting, serving trays, grill accessories, or a party bucket!
Nice Picture Frames
You might not appreciate them until you get your wedding pictures back, but nice photo frames aren’t cheap, and they’re something guests will enjoy purchasing for you.
Pro tip: If you’re the adventurous couple, guests will love buying you that camping equipment. Or maybe even that canoe. The sky’s the limit!
Pro tip: The strategy for registering for a honeymoon fund is to break it up by activity. Ask for a “snorkel trip” or a “beach dinner for two,” so people don’t just feel like they’re writing checks.
Consider dividing your registry list to one-third aspiration items—fancy things you normally won’t buy yourself but are nice to have, and two-thirds practical items such as pots and pans. Also, when you create your list, go through your needs and wants room by room so you can cover all the bases.
When you’re finally married, name everything from your registry after the person who gave it to you, then remember and think about that person every time you use it. It will make your casserole dish much more fun and meaningful!