As shallow as this might make me sound, I’ll admit that I put a lot of thought into my wedding registry. My husband and I have always lived in small apartments together, and abide by the mantra, “Have nothing in your home that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” So if I was going to basically be asking people to buy me these things, I wanted to make sure that I was going to keep them, so the had to meet one of these criteria.
Of course, after being married for a year and a half, I now have a much idea about what actually is useful, what is a lot less useful and what we wish we had more of. Here are my findings.
- Linens. There are never enough linens. Unlike a set of stainless steel pots, for instance, sheets and towels (even high quality ones) eventually start to wear out. And if you get used to sleeping on 600 thread count sheets and using $30 bath towels, you’re going to want to buy 600 thread count sheets and $30 bath towels when it comes time to replace them. So stock up.
- Good cookware. Because unlike linens and towels, a good set of cookware really can last forever. If you’re a loyal user of nonstick pots and pans, trust me: go for the stainless steel or copper-bottomed kind, and learn how to use them (hint: Invest in an olive oil sprayer). They’ll last a lot longer, plus they heat up quickly and there’s no concern about the chemicals from the nonstick coating seeping into your food. I have Calphalon pots, but Cuisinart and All-Clad also make great ones. The one spot where I’d make an exception: A good non-stick omelet pan, because cooking eggs in a stainless steel pan is just a bitch.
- China. A lot of people are on the fence about whether or not to purchase China dinnerware, or to opt for something more “practical” like ceramic. But I’m a huge proponent of China. Not the super-fancy, metallic-rimmed stuff, the plain white kind that you can use every day. For one, it’s actually more durable than ceramic or stoneware (I’ve literally dropped a plate on the floor and it didn’t break) it doesn’t scratch or chip easily, and mine looks virtually the same two years later as it did the day I bought it. Just make sure that, if you want to use it everyday, you get something that’s plain white (and avoid anything with metal embellishments) so it can be put in the microwave and dishwasher.
- Nice versions of gadgets you use every day. I start every morning with a cup of coffee, which is why my souped-up Keurig is probably my favorite wedding gift (Thanks, Dad!). I feel happy knowing that when I wake up at 6:30 a.m., my little machine is already turned on and ready to go (because a souped-up Keurig has a programming option. Boom.).
- Things that make life easier. I hate to iron. I less-hate using a clothing steamer, so I use the clothing steamer we got almost every day. I also like to make smoothies, so I’m into my immersion blender, because I find it easier to use that a regular blender. You get the idea.
- Fantasy pieces. No, I don’t mean lingerie. What I do mean: In my head, my married self was throwing dinner parties for friends every weekend, and thus needed plenty of crystal stemware and lots of ways to serve cheese, plus some more casual pint glasses and chip and dip sets for when everyone came over to watch the big game. Do you know how many dinner parties I’ve thrown in a year-and-a-half? Exactly zero. Because my husband and I live in a one bedroom, 500-square-foot-apartment. That’s not to say I’ll never use these things, but I think I could have waited five or ten years to buy them and been perfectly OK.
- Furniture. Unless you’re already in the house you’re going to be in for years after you get married, wait to buy furniture. About six months after my husband and I got married, we bought our current apartment. The style and size is totally different than our last place, and almost none of our old furniture came with us. I would have felt horrible getting rid of a piece of furniture a friend or family member had given us for our wedding just a few months earlier.
- Things that don’t work with your lifestyle. If you’ve never baked a pie in your life, don’t register for KitchenAid mixer just because you’ve seen the bride open one at every shower you’ve ever been to. Those things are heavy, and you’re going to be pissed at yourself when you have to move it around the cabinet to reach the stack of take out menus behind it.
Last but not least, have fun with it! Of course, it’s great to have things you will need and use, but what you’re really doing is making one big wish list. So, if a few impractical things sneak their way onto your registry, or you change your mind and end up returning a few things later on, it’s not the end of the world.