Top Tips for Building a Wedding Registry

 I'm fresh of the heels of my July wedding and wanted to share some tips for those of you working on your registry or just got engaged.  I put a ton of work into my registries and SO many people told me how much they enjoyed looking through the pieces I have selected.  So here are six of my tips for building your perfect registry (with the sixth being the most important). Please note that I may earn a small commission from some of these links but all opinions and endorsements are entirely my own.


1. Register for things you love

This may seem simple but I see a lot of people registering for things they think they need but may not be what they really love. (Plain white china with a gold band? Do you actually love that or do you think it's going to be useful? Go with the pattern you really love - you'll be thankful in 10 years).


2. Don't be afraid to register for big ticket items but also have things for smaller budgets

Your great aunt is probably a lot more comfortable spending $500 on something than you are and she knows you'll love it and use it for the rest of your life.  I never thought someone would give us these Artel farmyard glasses but they did and I adore them.  Other great big ticket items are Kitchen Aid Mixers (I prefer the larger one with the crank arm), a Brisker (for those of you who didn't grow up in an old house with questionable HVAC, this is a device that keeps crackers crisp - it's an essential), and a Le Creuset dutch oven.

However, your cousin who just graduated from college might only be able give you a nice spatula.  Having things at all levels is important but make sure to only add things you'll actually use.  Don't register for a spatula just to fill the lower budget void but if you need a good one - go right ahead.


3. Short on space? Look for things that can serve double duty

I love when I can use things for two or more purposes.  These enamelware mixing bowls easily double as serving bowls and have lids so you can use them as tupperware.  In that same vein, these casserole dishes can go straight to the oven to the sideboard and are a stunning way to serve ratatouille - I've also found myself using them to marinate chicken or serve a kale salad.


4. Think about how you live & entertain now and 20 years from now.

You only get to register for these things once so look to the generations above you for inspiration.  Does your best friend's mother have gorgeous monogrammed linens that coordinated with her china? Did your great aunt and uncle serve you scrambled eggs on a crescent Herend plate when you visited them one summer? Does your mother have 4 different sizes of white tablecloths to fit her table with all of the leaf combinations?  These are the things to think about when building your registry


5. Take stock of what you already have

I probably registered for way too much glassware but that's because I can't say no to pretty things and love having options when I entertain.  Before registering, I did take a good look at our bar cupboard and looked at the glasses we should keep and ones we can probably get rid of.  We never drink out of beer mugs so the pint glasses we have can be kept and serve a purpose there.  We also (living in Kentucky) drink a fair amount of bourbon and whiskey based drinks so double old fashioned glasses were going to be much more used than highballs.  So one of the three sets of highballs I own was retired to the basement to make room for the things we'll actually use.

I also didn't register for everyday china or silverware because my mother had gifted me that over the years (one of the benefits of getting married in your 30s).  I didn't add any fancy cooking gadgets like an Instapot to my registry either - I don't cook or entertain that way so I knew even if I used it for a few months, it wasn't going to be a gift I looked back on fondly.

6. Take your TIME

 A registry shouldn't be something you tackle on one Sunday afternoon.  Take your time to really think about what you want, what you need, and what works into your life.  Rome wasn't built in a day and your registry won't be either.  While you're at it, ask your mother and her friends what the favorite gifts they received for their wedding were.  If they're still around, chances are, they should be on your registry too.


Things that should be on every registry

  • Picture frames in various sizes
  • China and dinnerware (one set formal, one set everyday, bonus for a set with a fun shape)
  • Serving platters and bowls in various sizes - check the dimensions on these
  • Nice towels if you don't already have them
  • White tablecloth & napkins.  These are boring but essential and you really can never have enough of them
  • Pretty glassware - bonus points if it can go in the dishwasher
  • A good pitcher
  • Something personalized for you - I loved receiving this vase from Tricia Lowenfield that doubles as a wine bucket
  • A few small things like cheese knives for people to give as engagement presents