By Jessica Tomes, TMD Social Media Director
After the picture-perfect proposal, the fun really begins. It’s time to choose a date, a venue, select invitations, a photographer, and to plan and coordinate all those other numerous, yet fabulously exciting wedding festivity details. Then of course there is the honeymoon! Who has time to think about registering for gifts? For many couples, this can be the most stressful part of the entire wedding process. That is unless you love shopping. I do! And that is why I am here to help.
Before we dive right in, here are a few things to keep in mind when registering:
Brick and mortar registries (registering in person at a store) are always fun, but if you have a lot of out-of-town guests on your invite list, an online registry is probably a wiser choice. If you do happen to have one local kitchen or furniture shop you love and can’t imagine leaving off your list, consider creating a small registry just for your local guests. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of a universal online registry service. There are many free options to choose from, including www.myregistry.com and Amazon’s universal wedding registry service, just to name a few. If you create a wedding website with www.theknot.com, you can add your registries to your site (and you can even employ your maid of honor’s help with this).
Even if you are planning to use an online registry, the rule of thumb is to not register at more than three to five different places. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests, and really five stores should have enough of a selection for you to choose any and everything you may need (and want) as a newlywed couple. Wedding industry experts suggest registering for two to three gifts per invitee. Try to provide many different price point options for your guests—not everything on your list can be a big-ticket item.
Though it may be tempting to register for several large screen televisions and/or gaming devices (ahem, husbands), this is typically not advised. Don’t be afraid to register for a few fun items within reason, but remember that this registry is a means for you and your sweetheart to stock up on some essentials (i.e. basic items) to begin your new life together. I do have some friends who received a plasma TV and a Play Station as gifts, but you kind of need to evaluate your audience.
The Kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home. This is where your family will gather, where you will prepare not only daily meals, but also special holiday meals. This is where memories are made, conversations are had, and a well-stocked kitchen is a must-have. Registering for all of the necessary items can seem daunting, especially when you walk into a large specialty kitchen store like Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table. But as long as you start with the basics, you will be just fine. Here are a few of my suggestions to help you get started.
Start with a blank canvas. Every newlywed couple needs a fantastic set of white dinnerware. You can add color to your tablescape with linens and accents (think a lovely turquoise soup bowl or a pumpkin colored napkin wrapped in a pearl ring). Every holiday meal and special occasion can have its own unique look, without breaking the bank. Timeless with clean contemporary lines, the Great White Dinnerware Collection from www.potterybarn.com is a fantastic registry choice. (Items are priced individually.) This collection includes all the essentials, plus a few fun extras!
Speaking of a lovely turquoise soup bowl, we Tomes are huge fans of the Latte bowls from www.anthropologie.com. These bowls come in a wide assortment of colors, and are perfect for everything from cereal, to soup, to ice cream. These cute little bowls are priced four for $20, which make them an excellent wedding registry addition.
Why register for plain old drinking glasses when you could choose these cuties? Anthropologie always has such fun and affordable options when it comes to glassware. These glass milk bottles (www.anthropolgie.com) are six for $34.
Cutlery (silverware) is also a good item to include in your registry. Williams-Sonoma has several great options to choose from, but I would definitely recommend trying these out in person—each set has a unique weight and feel.
Nonstick Cookware for the Ultimate Kitchenista: the Calphalon Elite Nonstick 11-Piece Set from www.williams-sonoma.com ($699.95). Every newlywed couple needs a set of nonstick pots and pans. Trust me. And these babies are heavy duty. You can also register for these items separately, but if you are starting from scratch and you think you can swing it, this is the way to go.
Stainless Steel Cookware for the Ultimate Kitchenista: the All-Clad d5 Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set from www.williams-sonoma.com ($799.95). Yes these pans are pretty, but my favorite part is that they are dishwasher safe! And I can tell you from experience that All Clad makes a fantastic pan—they are definitely worth the hefty hunk of change! Again, you can always register for these items individually. And yes, I would recommend registering for both a set of nonstick and stainless steel cookware.
Every registry needs a little Le Creuset. The beautiful and iconic French cookware comes in a rainbow of colors—register for items all in the same color palette, or mix and match for a cool and funky dinner party prep assemblage. One of my favorite wedding gifts we received is my Le Creuset Heritage Cast Iron Oval Au Gratin Baker in Marseille Blue, available from www.williams-sonoma.com ($170). I seriously use it all the time; and it even looks pretty on my kitchen counter filled with fresh fruit.
Most newlywed couples are in need of a good knife set. The bargain set you bought in college from your local big box store is probably not going to cut it. When it takes you 30 minutes to slice an apple—and your pointer finger—you know it’s time to move on. Wusthof knives are generally accepted as the best of the best, and if you are lucky enough to receive a set of these as a wedding gift, you are one lucky man and wife.
I am not even going to say very much on this subject, because this could be an entire blog post in and of itself. (I am admittedly a kitchen appliance junkie.) I will say that Cuisinart and KitchenAid http://www.kitchenaid.com/ make some of the best products on the market, and my dream kitchen would be full of them. Here are the three kitchen appliances I am most fascinated with at this time (these are very popular wedding registry items, hint hint).
For the Baker (or the Wannabe Baker): a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, available from www.williams-sonoma.com, starting at $349.95. A rainbow of colors to choose from, this gorgeous appliance is a must-have in any modern kitchen, especially considering all the available attachments (all priced separately of course). (also available at http://www.kitchenaid.com/).
For the Coffee Fiend: a Cuisinart Coffee Maker. This coffee maker (The 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker with Hot Water System), available from www.williams-sonoma.com ($99.95), can even be programmed the night before to brew your favorite cup of Joe before you wake up the next morning! A fancy one cup coffee maker is also a fun registry addition, and can be excellent for entertaining purposes.
For Everyone: the Cuisinart Stainless Steel Ice Cream Maker, available from www.williams-sonoma.com ($89.95). Who doesn’t love homemade ice cream? It’s un-American. Enough said.
The Classic choice: the Chancellor Entertaining Collection available from www.potterybarn.com. Items are priced individually. This collection includes a rectangular serving tray, wine cooler, charger plates, an extra-large rectangular cheese board, and a small round cheese board. Hands down, this collection is traditional entertaining at its best.
The Contemporary choice: the Vintage Wood Entertaining Collection available from www.potterybarn.com. Items are priced individually. This collection includes a vintage wood pizza paddle board, carved serve bowls in various sizes, wood charger plates, a wood platter, a divided snack bowl, cheese boards, and serving sets. This collection is ideal for those fun and casual get-togethers when you still want to impress your guests.
What dinner party is complete without barware? Schott Zweisel Glassware is available from www.potterybarn.com. Items are priced per set. The collection includes stemware, goblets, snifters, pilsners, martini glasses, hefeweizen, a decanter, and other assorted barware. Do you really need all these items? Maybe not, you can always pick and choose what to include on your registry list. Monogramming is also available for many of these items.
For the Shabby Chic Chef: the Rhodes Kitchen Collection is available from www.potterybarn.com. Items are priced individually. Think beautiful white odds and ends like canisters, crocks, mixing bowls, and a cute little spoon rest shaped like an apple. This collection even includes a fabulously shabby chic white drink dispenser stand. Love it!
For the New Mrs.: the Tea and Crumpets Apron from www.anthropologie.com. ($32)
For the Stylish Kitchen: Anthropologie always has the BEST dishtowels. I just love this Just Married Dishtowel ($24) and this Storybook Romance Dishtowel Set (3 for $42) from www.anthropologie.com.
Gadgets and Bakeware: Every couple will have a unique idea about what kitchen gadgets are must-haves. These are super fun items to register for, and are usually less expensive registry items (which is great). I would recommend registering for a set of silicone cooking accessories (spatulas, spoons, whisks) because these will last you a lifetime, and baking pans (cookie sheets, cake pans, bread pans) are also good registry filler items. Williams-Sonoma has an excellent selection.
Bed and Bath
Selecting bedding is a very personal decision. Each couple will have to make this decision on its own, taking into account each individual’s style and taste, and of course keeping your overall budget and master retreat design schema in mind. I would suggest starting with the basics (sheets, quilt, and a duvet cover with a comforter) and then add in a few extra fun pieces (bed skirt, decorative pillows and shams, extra quilts and coverlets). I would also suggest registering for at least two sets of sheets that will both coordinate with your quilt or comforter. Two of our favorite places to shop for bedding are www.potterybarn.com and www.restorationhardware.com. Hands down, our favorite sheet set is from the Stonewashed Belgian Linen Collection at Restoration Hardware.
When it comes to towels and wash cloth sets, I would suggest registering for one basic set and one “fun” set to start. You may also want to register for a coordinating shower curtain and bath mat(s). You could always register for an extra set of basic bath linens for your guest bathroom. The Marlo Jacquard Bath Towel ($34) is a beautiful printed towel, as is the Phillipa Ikat Bath Towel ($34), and both are available from www.potterybarn.com. Restoration Hardware carries sumptuous Turkish bath towels, and Garnet Hill always has fabulous bath linens, too.
Bath accessories are another great option for less expensive registry fillers (toothbrush holders, soap dishes, canisters for storing odds and ends). I am obsessed with the Horn and Mother of Pearl bathroom accessory collections from Restoration Hardware. These statement items are priced individually, and are gorgeous! I never thought I would say that about a toothbrush holder, so there you go.
Matching robes for him and her are always a fun addition, monogrammed of course! I love these Waffle Weave Resort Robes from www.potterybarn.com.
These can include hampers, baskets (to hold miscellaneous items around the home), shelving units, and any other items you may deem necessary for organizing your new home together. Think decorative but useful. We love Pottery Barn for this, but Target and Pier One also have some great options for getting organized in style.
This is where you can have fun and show your unique registry personality. Be careful not to register for too many of these items if what you really need are basics and essentials. Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and Pier One are a few of my favorites for shopping for these items, but this is about YOU and your personal style choices. You can also ask for gift cards for some of these items, and make your decisions at a later date. Beautiful frames to display all of your gorgeous wedding and reception photos are a MUST in my book. The Gallery in a Box (in the champagne finish) from www.potterybarn.com is an excellent choice for this. For $179 you will receive eight frames (with ivory mattes) that look lovely hung together or separately. What a steal!
I would be careful about registering for furniture. Lamps, throw blankets, pillows, and rugs are more likely items for your guests to purchase. Try to choose items that will work well in a variety of places or rooms in your new home. I know I keep harping on Pottery Barn, but they really are a treasure trove of lovelies for these kinds of items. I have about a half dozen of their throw pillows and table lamps on my current “want” list for Christmas, if that tells you anything. I could not go without mentioning the Mr. and Mrs. Personalized Pillow Cover from PB ($35), because it is such an adorable pillow, and a fantastic wedding gift option. I will stop there, because I could go on for days.
If your wedding date falls near a major holiday, it can be fun to register for these items. But again, I cannot stress this enough, if you need basic necessity items, keep these to a minimum.
A Few Fun and Unique Registry Ideas
Once you have covered the basics, you can always add in a few fun items. For instance, who wouldn’t love gift certificates to a favorite spa for a couple’s massage? Why not add in a “Date Night” Package with gift certificates to your favorite restaurant for dinner, tickets to a movie or concert, and a limo ride (designated driver)? Adding on the option for some “extras” on the honeymoon (think a candlelit dinner on the beach) is another popular option, and if you are wine lovers, a yearly membership to a wine club is also a fantastic idea. Be creative, and have fun with it! Trust me, after you start having children (we have a one year old and another on the way) it will never be just about you again. So enjoy this special time together, and drink it all in—it will pass too quickly!
Born and raised in Southeast Texas, Jessica currently lives in Billings, Montana with her husband Tyler, and her one year old daughter Savannah. Jessica went to school at Texas Christian University where she studied Broadcast Journalism. (“Go Frogs!”) A writer, blogger, and fashion enthusiast, Jessica also owns her own business: Jessica Morgan Photography and Events. She loves everything about weddings, and is so excited to have joined the team at Tamara Menges Designs! She is also expecting her second little bundle of joy, another little girl, in March of 2014.