And so it begins – wedding season. I am so excited that this year 3 different couples we are friends with have gotten engaged, love is in the air! Of course that also means showers, registries and combining households. When Patrick and I got engaged people almost immediately asked where we were registered, as if we had stepped off the beach in Puerto Rico and directly into a Target to start the list. I know a lot of couples, especially those who meet each other later in life when they are more established, say they don’t need anything so they aren’t going to register. However, the reality is that people are excited for you and the way they know how to show it is to buy you table linens! If you don’t register then people will freelance and you will end up with a lot of stuff you don’t need. Registries have some a long way – you can use sites that consolidate several different stores, register for travel and other unconventional things. We registered for a bar for our basement and we use it all the time (thanks Auntie Jan!).
My friends have been asking me what they should register for their kitchen so I figured I would pull some tips together for folks looking to make the most out of their registry and for guests who are struggling with what to buy for their friends and family. Don’t look for a one size fits all list – every registry is personal to the couple so don’t trust any resource that tells you it has “everything you need.” The first thing you should do is take stock of what you already have as well as what type of lifestyle you have or plant to have. Are you big entertainers? Cocktail enthusiasts? Cooking shortcut specialists? This will help you narrow down what direction you should go in. Then follow some of these themes (I have linked to the items that I registered for and love).
UPGRADE! This is a familiar refrain in my family as I love to upgrade (sometimes by force) people’s stuff. I am sure you didn’t wait to meet the love of your life to have coffee cups but do you really like them? Do they all match? How about your cookware? Pots and pans are great for this, especially if you are still using the set you won for free in college. I love All Clad for saucepans and roasting, Le Creuset for dutch ovens and Swiss Diamond for non stick pans. Knives are also a good upgrade – your cooking will be so much better if you have good quality knives.
Small Appliances – The first thing that went on my registry was a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I had always wanted one, and really could have just bought it for myself, but it always seemed a little extravagant since I already had a hand mixer. My Aunt Carol got it for me and I use it every single week. If you don’t have one I cannot recommend it more – it is a counter hog but its such a workhorse and you can buy attachments that make pasta, ice cream, and on and on so you don’t have to buy other appliances. Other great items are a really nice coffee maker, wine fridge, or food processor. (This is also a good place to upgrade – how long have you had that toaster??)
Shop Local – Registering at a small local business not only helps support your community but really gives you the personal touch you lose in the big box stores. We registered at Hill’s Kitchen, a store you will find me referring to a ton on the blog. For people who like to actually shop in a brick and mortar store this gives them that option and usually local businesses have unique items you won’t find anywhere else so your registry doesn’t feel as generic. Leah, the store’s owner, spent a ton of time with us helping us pick out items that were absolutely perfect. Even better, now when Patrick needs to buy me a present he knows he can head to Hills Kitchen and Leah will know exactly what I like and already have! I am sure if you ask around in your own town many of your favorite stores are registering people as well.
Go with the classics – I know a lot of people in my generation think they don’t need fancy china to entertain. You absolutely don’t need it but once I started thinking about it I really liked the idea of having the same pieces for years and years with all the holidays and family memories attached. Make sure to pick a pattern that is timeless, we went with Golden Grosgrain by Vera Wang for Wedgewood. I love the very subtle gold details and how fine the pieces are. Best of all they go right into the dishwsher, which was a must for me. I also don’t wait until a holiday to use my china, I pull it out for week night dinners or casual brunches. Nice heavy flatware is also a good idea – I have 6 place settings for everyday by Laguiole but registered for 12 settings at Crate and Barrel. Once you start to have larger family meals you will be glad not to mix and match. Just like with the china, make sure its a classic pattern that isn’t so trendy you will be bored with it in a couple of years.
Entertaining Pieces – I entertain all the time so glassware, table linens and serving dishes were really important. Think carefully about how you entertain – if you do lots of dinner parties then tablecloths and linen napkins are a good idea. Stemless wine glasses work for just about any kind of drink and are easy to store. Are you the one who always hosts for the big game? Get a big beverage bucket and a dish for chips and dip. We actually have two beverage dispensers – they are great for punches for parties or even just water for backyard BBQs. If you are big into cocktails this spherical ice maker is Patrick’s favorite toy and these shakers are the best.
Hopefully for couples looking to start their registry this gives you some ideas. For guests I usually recommend sticking to what the couple wants (thats why they created the registry right?) but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be creative. I really love to get one thing off of someone’s registry and then building a gift around it. If someone asked for a cocktail shaker get them the one they want along with a bottle of St. Germain, a good cocktail book and some cute glasses to match. Here is wishing you and your friends and family a lifetime of love and happiness!