Wedding planning is an exciting season in a couple’s life, and with it comes so many decisions about not only the actual wedding, but the married life you’ll create together once the honeymoon is over. One of the best parts of wedding planning — that undoubtedly requires a lot of decision making — is creating a gift registry.
Wedding registries may have traditionally been created to help young couples stock their first home after leaving their parents, but times have changed. Couples are getting married later in life, and many already live together before the wedding. Regardless, the fact stands that your friends and family will want to give you and your new spouse something you actually want or need, so it’s important to create a registry together that blends your individual tastes and lifestyles.
Just as every couple is unique, every registry will be catered to the couple who makes it, so you shouldn’t register for something you know you won’t use, even if it seems like “the right thing” to include. Whether the two of you are starting from scratch or you already have a fairly well-stocked home, your registry is a great opportunity to get those luxury items you might not ever spring for yourself, and to upgrade the tired hand-me-downs you’ve been using since college. So if you’re working on building the perfect registry for you and your future spouse, we’ve rounded up the items you’ll get the most out of — from simple things you’ll use and appreciate every day, to high-end items that are only brought out on special occasions:
1. Everyday Dinnerware That Stands the Test of Time
In 2018, formal china tends to be a pretty divisive registry item. It’s a super traditional item to register for and to use, and many modern couples really don’t see a need for owning it. Whether you’re registering for formal china or not is up to you, but either way, you’ll also want to register for everyday dinnerware. These are the dishes you’ll use every single day, which is why we think it’s wise to steer clear of funky shapes, bright patterns, and colors. White is a safe and smart choice for a lot of reasons.
First, home goods stores will almost always keep their classic white dinner plate collections in stock. A new pattern might be discontinued after a couple of years, so when you want to replace a few of your chipped and broken plates (and they will break), you’ll be out of luck.
Second, your plates will likely outlast your first home, or at least your first kitchen or dining room redecorating project. So if you’ve picked plates to coordinate with a certain paint color or curtain fabric, you might be itching to replace them when your decor tastes totally switch gears — an unnecessary expense when dinnerware can last several decades.
Pick something classic and neutral, like the Cambria Dinnerware collection from Pottery Barn, which also includes several coordinating serving pieces. (Bonus tip: If you plan on entertaining often, be sure to register for at least 10-12 place settings.)
2. Ditto to Your Everyday Flatware
The same logic behind picking your everyday dishes applies to your silverware as well. When you go to register, you may be tempted by the wide selection of modern shapes and materials available. But in order to get the longest lifespan out of your flatware, you’re going to want to really like what you pick out. That means ruling out trendy, unique shapes and materials, and going with a traditional pattern.
Something timeless like the Scoop collection from Crate and Barrel perfectly blends traditional design with more modern elements.
Bonus tip: Flatware is something that should be tested IRL. You and your partner need to like the shape of the handles, the weight of each piece, and how it balances in your hand. So yes, you should go ahead and just pretend you’re eating a meal right there in the store.
3. High-Quality Sheets and Towels
If you and your soon-to-be spouse have lived together prior to your wedding, combining all your mismatched sheet and towel sets was probably a good indication of how differently you each lived before. The great thing about having a registry is donating or throwing out all your old sheets and towels and starting fresh with some really high-quality items that will last a long time.
Restoration Hardware’s Ultra-Soft Turkish Towel collection are highly regarded as some of the best towels out there. For sheets, Brooklinen’s 480-thread count Luxe Hardcore Sheets have won over thousands of customers.
Bonus tip: If there are patterned or colored sheets and towels your partner doesn’t love as much as you, it never hurts to also register for your guest bed or bath.
4. The Essential Pots and Pans
Until you’ve owned high-quality pots and pans, it’s hard to know what makes each type and material unique, and which ones you and your future spouse could possibly need.
While registering for one large set of coordinating pots and pans might be tempting, we think it’s wiser to register for specific pieces (or opt for a set of 3 or 4 and add extra one-off items). Those all-inclusive sets are often very expensive, which means counting on one particularly generous family member or a group of friends to coordinate on a joint gift.
This way, you’ll be more likely to get all the pots and pans you want, and none of the ones you don’t need or have room for. If you stick with a consistent color palette, it won’t even matter that they aren’t all from the same brand.
A small set of the absolute essential pots and pans, like this 6-Piece Cookware Set from Williams Sonoma, is a great place to start. Then maybe add a Staub Cast Iron Fry Pan and a Le Creuset Dutch Oven in a fun accent color to round out your cookware essentials.
5. The Vacuum to End All Vacuuming
If there was ever a time to splurge for a high-end cleaning product, your wedding registry is it. An iRobot Roomba might not ever top the list of things you’d personally spend money on, but trust us when we say this is a life-changing gift that’s worth asking for. And it might just be the easiest thank you note the two of you write.
6. That Mixer You’ve Been Eyeing for Years
The KitchenAid Stand Mixer is a classic for a reason. For one, it’s beautiful enough to leave out on your counter even when you aren’t using it. But with all the various attachments available, it also will totally transform your baking and cooking game.
Bonus tip: KitchenAid’s hand mixer is also a great registry addition if you can’t sacrifice all the cabinet space the larger stand mixer would require.
7. Food Storage Containers That Won’t Drive You Nuts
If you’re anything like us, your Tupperware drawer is a hot mess, full of stained plastic bottoms, missing tops and vice versa (oh, and none of it goes together so there is no stacking or organization to be seen). Imagine a fresh start: a complete set of matching glass food storage containers with leak-proof lids that neatly stack both when empty and full. Consider this a gift to your kitchen itself.
8. A Grown-Up’s Knife Set
Like good pots and pans, it’s hard to know what you’re missing until you’ve had high-quality knives to cook with. Consider your registry the perfect opportunity to scrap your mismatched set that can barely slice through squash anymore and start your married life with a new set of high-quality knives. Word to the wise: Don’t go too crazy with a huge 24-piece knife block that takes up prime real estate on your kitchen counter. Unless you or your partner are already knife aficionados, a smaller set of the essentials will do just fine, and will eliminate confusion when you actually start cooking.
This 8-piece knife block set from Zwilling J.A. Henckels has all the essential knives you might need (plus a pair of cooking shears and a sharpening steel), as well as extra slots if you ever decide you want more variety.