After the Wedding: Registry Favorites and Regrets

Miss Lemur recently mentioned how confusing it is to navigate the world of registries—how do you choose among 50 different toasters? If you haven’t lived on your own for long, how do you know what you’re going to need in the future? What stuff is worth it, and what isn’t? Now that I qualify as an Old Married Woman (hah! we just celebrated our three month anniversary), I thought I’d share with you our actual registry list: our favorite items, what we’ve regretted, and stuff we’ve purchased or wanted since. This is a monster of a post, so bear with me.

And please, puh-lease keep in mind: every single household is unique. My BFF is Mexican and uses her tortilla press allllll the time, but I would probably never take one of those things out of the box. We are tea drinkers, so a coffee maker didn’t make the registry cut. You get the idea.

Anyways, here’s our top eight favorite things we registered for:

1) Bakeware
Being a sugar fiend, I love to bake anything and everything. But I am only a few years out of college and haven’t invested in a whole lot of bakeware. I’ve been loving the two cookie sheets, loaf pans, oven mitts, steel cooling racks, and covered muffin pans we received as wedding gifts. These get a lot of mileage in my kitchen. It’s easy to get carried away in the baking department, though, so be wary of gadgets and specialty pans that you may never use. It’s easy to buy a new novelty-shaped cake pan down the road.

Covered

Nordic Ware Covered Aluminum Muffin Pan / Image via Williams-Sonoma

2) High-quality pots and pans

I’m on Team Le Creuset. I was given one of the glorious LC dutch ovens a couple years ago as a gift, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Our very generous guests gifted us a 12-quart LC stock pot, a round griddle pan, a deep 4 1/2 quart saute pan, and a 10″ fry pan, and these are all used at least 2-3 times a week. It felt great to get rid of our little collection of old, scratched, gritty pots and pans. And Mr. W and I both secretly think that scrambled eggs taste 20 time better when I make them on the LC cast-iron griddle pan. Not sure about the science behind that, but anyways, I couldn’t be happier with all of our LC cookware.

3) Digital leave-in thermometer

My old roommate from a couple years ago had one of these, and I loved it. Ours has settings for every type of meat, and it beeps when the meat is cooked.

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OXO Digital Leave-In Thermometer / Image via Williams-Sonoma

4) High-quality {expensive} knives

I am generally a cheapskate. And I wouldn’t have bought expensive knives for myself. But Mr. W’s old knife set was literally rusting. The knives weren’t sharp and they’d slip around—I cut myself more times than I can count on two hands. (Funny story…the day before the wedding, I cut myself so badly with one of those knives that we debated whether I should go to the ER. Luckily, it healed on its own.)

We registered for a ceramic chef’s knife, a set of ceramic paring knives, a Wusthof bread knife, and a set of Wusthof steak knives (an absolute staple if you live in the state of Texas). I had some regrets around which knives we registered for—see my regrets below.

Steak

Mr. W’s favorite wedding gift: Wusthof Gourmet 4-Piece Steak Knife Set / Image via Williams-Sonoma

5) Simple matching everyday dishes

Okay, to be fair, we didn’t register for plates and bowls—Mr. W already had set of 12 place settings of simple white dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls. But if he hadn’t been well-stocked, this would’ve been one of the first things I’d register for. Since our dishes are white, they match with everything and are super easy to replace if one is broken. They’re also so timeless that I don’t fret over whether I’ll hate them in five years.

We did have a shortage of glasses, though—as I mentioned in my initial registry post, we didn’t own a single wine glass. I love all of our recycled glasses—we received 12 wine glasses, 4 glass mugs, and 8 stemless glasses. These replaced our old grody mismatched glasses (which were donated to my college-aged brother—completing the circle of life ;) ).

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Recycled glass big bowl glasses / Photo via AreNaturals

6) New bedding

It was so nice when we moved in together to ditch both of our boring old sheet sets and comforters, and put something new over our new shared bed. Even Mr. W will tell you that he loves our new bedding—it’s super soft and cozy. I’m going to go home and take a nap now.

7) An outdoor rug

We spend a lot of time backyard weeding and trimming and taking care of our garden, but our patio was pretty bare. We want to spice up the area and spend more time out there, so we registered for a cute Moroccan-patterned outdoor rug. It makes a huge difference, and it’s made from recycled plastic—so we can actually hose it off when it gets dirty.

8) Cookware for the holidays

Last year my parents flew down to Houston and we all celebrated Thanksgiving together. When it came time to roast the turkey, we realized how ill-equipped my little apartment kitchen was. We picked up a disposable aluminum roasting pan at the grocery store, and we made do with what I had. This year, I am fully prepared: we now have a wonderful nonstick roasting pan with a rack, an angled dripless baster, and a digital thermometer (see above). Bring it, Thanksgiving!

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Calphalon non-stick roaster / Photo via Williams-Sonoma

Other items we already have that I would highly recommend:

1 ) A Pyrex set with lids

I grew up mixing things in glass Pyrex mixing bowls, measuring in Pyrex glass measuring cups, and apparently walking around as a poster child for the Pyrex company. When I was in college, my mom gave me something like this set —it came with a measuring cup, pie dish, baking dishes, and several storage dishes, all with lids. I use them almost daily, and couldn’t sing more praises for glass cookware.

2) A KitchenAid stand mixer

Mine is that bright fire-engine red color. I use it all the time, and I love it. It’s not for everybody, but it is definitely a staple in our kitchen.

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KitchenAid mixer: the holy grail of wedding registries / Photo via Target

3) A great vacuum

I haaaaaattttte stupid vacuums that lose their suction after a couple months’ of use. Seriously, what is more frustrating than a broken vacuum? I’ve heard a lot of good things about Dyson and Bissel vacuums, and my mom is very loyal to the Miele brand, but I wasn’t ready to spend a huge sum of money on a vacuum cleaner. I bought this Shark vacuum a couple years ago and it’s held up really well, I’m honestly really impressed with its suction. There’s a lot of reviews out there, so do your research—but don’t be shy about registering for a good vacuum cleaner.

4) A set of cooking tools

I tread this line very carefully, because I hate unitaskers (kitchen gadgets with only one use) and I try to avoid kitchen clutter. But a girl’s gotta have some basics—my go-to tools are two wooden spoons, a wire whisk, a can opener, a 4-sided grater, a garlic press, a mesh strainer, a pancake turner, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a vegetable peeler. That’s pretty much it. Simpleton here.

5) A solid, strong cutting board and colander

I’ve had a couple wood cutting boards forever, but I purchased this colander and this cutting board last year, and I love them. They’re part of the weekly cooking routine. (And they match my red stand mixer and LC pots and pans…Bonus points ;) )

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My trusty red colander, made with 100% recycled plastic / Photo via Preserve Products

6) Simple, easy-to-matching serving dishes

Mr. W’s mom loves to give us serving dishes for every holiday. So even before we were married, we already had several platters, trays, and chip-and-dips. They’re all white, so they match each other, and they match our white everyday dishes (see above). I’ve bought a couple Corningware dishes at GoodWill and I love those too, especially since they’re oven-proof. If you peek in our cupboard, all of our dishes probably seem a little boring, but I’ll be honest, it’s so easy to match them and replace them if one breaks. And when we’re entertaining, I add color with fresh-cut flowers, colored linens, and little paper decorations, which are cheaper to change out than dishes themselves.

7) A tea kettle

I’m a tea drinker; Mr. W doesn’t drink caffeine so he’s all set in the beverage department. I use our tea kettle all the time, and it lives on our stove. If we were coffee drinkers, we probably would’ve registered for a coffee maker. Instead, when we have friends or family over who want coffee, I make it in a small French press that doesn’t take up precious counter space.

8) A Dutch oven

I went through this phase where I was mildly obsessed with Julia Child. I saw the move “Julie and Julia” and decided I too had to cook all of Julia’s recipes. I only got a quarter of the way through “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” But I did develop an appreciation for Dutch ovens, and I use mine for a whole lot more than just boeuf bourgignon. This is one of those personal preference things—if you are not a big cook and don’t envision yourself as the next Top Chef, a Dutch oven might not be for you. But I’m so glad I have one, and if I didn’t, I would’ve registered for one.

My cherry-red beauty / Photo via Elizabeth Anne Designs

…and that’s pretty much it. We don’t have an ice-cream attachment, or a tortilla press, or any fine china. But we haven’t really wanted anything else—we actually have a lot of money in Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel gift cards that we haven’t used.

And now for the regrets:

1) I wish we hadn’t registered for two stock pots. I really only need one—for making chili, big batches of soup, boiling noodles, etc. So we ended up returning the eight quart stock pot and keeping the twelve quart one.

6-Quart

So much love for that big red 12-quart stock pot / Photo via Wayfair

2) I wished we had registered for a big set of Wusthof knives. I was intimidated by how expensive they were, so instead I registered for ceramic knives. We ended up buying ourselves a Wusthof chef’s knife (which I am currently obsessed with, never having owned an expensive knife in my life) and I’d like to buy some paring knives as well.

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Wusthof knives, get in my kitchen! / Photo via Crate & Barrel

3) I wish we had registered for a good, powerful blender. I didn’t realize how many recipes call for pureeing, or how many smoothie cravings we would get. Instead, we bought a cheap personal-sized Hampton Beach blender on Amazon for, like, $12, and I’m getting pretty fed up with it.

4) The Breville Slow Cooker we registered for isn’t digital or programmable, so it really isn’t helpful with my long 10-hour work days. We realized that before we used it, so we returned it in exchange for a programmable Crock Pot. My aunt who gifted us the slow cooker also gave us a cookbook with slow cooker recipes, and those have been amazing!

The OG slow-cooker / Photo via Costco

5) I was intimidated by the prices of food processors at Williams-Sonoma when I was putting together our registry, so I registered for the cheapest one, a four cup food processor. I also figured that the small size would take up less real estate in our miniscule kitchen. But the first time I took it out to use it, I realized that it wouldn’t be large enough for the recipe I was cooking. We returned it in exchange for a 10-cup food processor, and that one I have used a lot ever since!

6) I’m slowly transitioning to buying everything in bulk, and I wish I had registered for glass canisters for dry food storage. Instead I’ve been buying them at Target and Ikea and slowly growing my collection.

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My dream kitchen, with bulk food stashed in glass jars / Photo by Laura Moss via HGTV

Some general registry advice:

  • Read this guide of “Registry Do’s and Dont’s” from Young House Love. Seriously, just do it. It’s incredibly helpful and I haven’t found any better advice out there. Mrs. Starfish and Mrs. Frozen Yogurt have some good advice, too.
  • Think about who you are now and what you will actually need/want. If you’re not a baker, a $300 stand mixer is probably not for you. Think about if you’re a casual couple or fancy and formal, and register accordingly. Mr. W and I are very laid-back and casual, and even when we throw dinner parties we don’t need or want fancy china—so we skipped the china and crystal registry items, and instead stuck with white everyday dishes and serveware.
  • It’s okay to register for some expensive items. You never know if one of our loved ones will want to buy you a pricier gift, or if several guests will chip in for a joint (pricy) gift. If you really want a high-end knife set or an expensive vacuum, that’s okay!
  • Avoid filling up your registry with lots of items just for the sake of numbers. You may find that your favorite items don’t get purchased, and you end up with a lot of stuff that looked nice but was lower priority.
  • Don’t register for too many photo frames, albums, candle holders, and knick-knacks—you’ll get enough of those from people to buy off-registry.
  • Register for towels and sheets. I’ve read a lot of posts on Weddingbee boards on this subject, and a lot of bees regret not registering for towels and sheets.
  • Make sure you’re willing to maintain and care for the things you register for in keeping with the manufacturer’s instructions. One of my friends learned the hard way that her Calphalon pot didn’t belong in the dishwasher, and it ended up ruined. You can usually read about care and cleaning in the product description on the store’s website.
  • A lot of couples end up with a lot of glassware that they don’t use. If you don’t drink martinis, you may want to skip the martini glasses. My parents have an unopened box of champagne flutes in their garage. This goes back to register for who you are now. Hence why we prioritized pretty wine glasses ;) .
  • If possible, go to the store and see and feel the items you’re registering for. We broke this rule, and we were a little surprised by how some of our registry gifts looked in real life. We love them, but they’re just different from what we expected. (The wine glasses are much bigger than they appear online!)
  • Register for things as a set. One friend of mine registered for a Kitchenaid mixer and a glass Kitchenaid bowl that goes with it. She and her husband received the bowl, but not the mixer. They were left in the awkward position of returning the bowl or buying the expensive mixer.
  • Don’t forget about home improvement tools. They may be just as useful as cooking tools, and many are life-long gifts that guests may want to give to you and your significant other.
  • Focus on things that will last forever. My mom still has her Corningware and Pyrex from her own wedding 30 years ago. I think that’s really special, and we try to have that mindset when we add new things to our kitchen.
  • If you’re registering in-store, you may want to stalk the online reviews of each product, especially with electronics. If I had read all of the Breville slow cooker reviews, I would’ve realized it didn’t have a digital timer and I would’ve registered for a different slow cooker.
  • Be selective about appliances and electronic tools in the kitchen. A lot of brides received appliances that collect dust—from toaster ovens to food processors. Choose tools you will realistically use often enough to be worth it.

Now I’d love to hear from the rest of you! What are your favorite registry items? Do you have any regrets?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Wallaby

Location:
Houston
Wedding Date:
November 2012

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  1. Member
    mrsmayabee 105 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:34 pm

    We LOVE our glass jars. Just an FYI for you, Crate and Barrel actually sells Heritage Hill jars (the same ones or nearly identical to the ones at Target). After having such hit and run problems with Target actually STOCKING the jars, we went with C&B since they aren’t that much more expensive and we know they stock. http://www.crateandbarrel.com/heritage-hill-glass-jars-with-lids/f3079

  2. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 1:42 pm

    These are amazing tips, Wallaby! My best advice is to register for things that will be around in stores for more than one season because you are bound to break or ruin some things (like wine glasses or the lid to your small canister…not that that has happened or anything….)

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Denis, Guest @ 2:20 pm

    Hi brides, i don´t know what to do, my wedding it´s on the beach, so all the guest are paying , planes/or busses and hotel.. Im moving to another country so i cant ask for gifts, it should be too much to ask they to deposit in a bank account instead of a gift list?

  4. Member
    lealorali 4810 posts, Honey bee @ 4:21 pm

    Love ALL your posts Mrs. Wallaby! So helpful!

  5. Member
    mswallaby 2040 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:22 pm

    @bluebelle23: Go for the Wusthofs!!! I was really intimidated by the price too, but don’t be – they are really awesome and it’s one of my biggest registry regrets. And that sucks about the space issue, you will love your Kitchenaid one day – it’s so worth the wait! I haven’t made chili in my dutch oven but I’m totally going to try that next week :)

    @Mrs. Buffalo: Hmm I’m not a stainless girl but I’m intrigued by these LC stainless pans you’re describing – I bet they’re really high quality!
    @Red Poppy: Haha no way! That’s awesome!
    @KYbride86: Yesss every girl needs some Pyrex in her life! That’s funny about the toaster oven, that’s not the first time I’ve heard that! We use ours a lot- but we are major carbo-loaders and eat a lot of toast and grilled cheese.
    @Miss Lemur: Yes, I have a red and white kitchen!! And all of our glasses are recycled, they’re the color of green seaglass, plus we have lots of colorful dishtowels. I love the simplicity of red and white, it makes me really happy!
    @Mrs. Gloves: Yes, it’s so helpful!!
    @Blonde17Jess: Omg loooove Pyrex! SUCH a good idea of giving Pyrex as a shower gift, I’m going to try to remember that :) Wish I had registered for a digital Crock Pot, too. They don’t tell you this stuff in wedding magazines!
    @Mrs. Cauldron: Good to know – we’re looking around for a puppy right now, eee so excited about that.

  6. Member
    mswallaby 2040 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:27 pm

    @MrsMayaBee: Ohhh thanks for the tip!! I need a few more glass jars and we have a C&B gift card! Do you buy food in bulk?
    @Mrs. Pony: So, so, so true.
    @Denis: Hmm I think the best thing to do would be to let your family know you’d prefer cash. Setting up a bank account may seem too greedy, but if guests want to give you a gift, they could give you cash on your wedding day. We actually got cash from a lot of our guests, it’s pretty standard in Persian culture. If you’re going on a honeymoon, you could also set up a “honeyfund” for your guests to contribute to your honeymoon if you’d like. Our friends registered with Honeyfund for their Bora Bora honeymoon, and we donated money for a scuba-trip as part of their honeymoon.
    @lealorali: Aw I’m so glad! This one took a lot of time and thought, I really wanted to give the whole registry down-low the best I could.

  7. Member
    missgemini 599 posts, Busy bee @ 4:32 pm

    AWESOME post. Thorough and well-written…I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions about the registry lately and this answered many of them!

  8. Member
    daisy92 219 posts, Helper bee @ 9:19 pm

    i love the tip about only getting what you really need. I hate when I see people who have confessed to hating cooking that want the most deluxe kitchenaid mixer available. Also, I think a lot of people forget to take care of their stuff the way they need to. People don’t wash their towels how the label says and the towels fade or get stained – drives me nuts!!

  9. Member
    panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:21 pm

    love the post and it’s such great timing, we just put our registry together this weekend, off to make changes!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    pumpkinspicechai, Guest @ 9:08 am

    Great post! Here’s my regret. Such a small item but I really regret registering for the plastic OXO measuring cups and spoons. After a few trips through the dishwasher, the markings begin to wear off and before soon they became illegible. I have now replaced them all with stainless steel. Make sure to get ones where the markings are imprinted in so that they remain legible even if any ink wears away.

  11. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 10:14 am

    Amazing post, Mrs. Wallaby. You echo my thoughts almost exactly. I don’t really have much else to add except: Preach. ;)

  12. Member
    lolo7835 645 posts, Busy bee @ 12:17 pm

    Our dutch oven and new knives are awesome. We use them everyday and were totally worth it. We also registered at REI as we are camping people, and our new backpacking tent is STELLAR. Best thing off the registries yet.

    I’d second not going cheap on the food processor. Everyone I knew said to get one with at least a 800W motor, or it would wear out in a year or two. My grandmother still has hers from the 60′s and so I went along with her. We got the Cusinart elite one from william sonoma (not the 14 cup as it’s massive), and the bonus was it came with a small work bowl as well.

  13. Member
    chelle-lee 222 posts, Helper bee @ 7:55 am

    Thanks for the tips! emailed it to myself to I came come back and reference it later!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    TDotDeltaDiva, Guest @ 12:47 pm

    this is an excellent post! We had GREAT difficulty registering! It felt so uncomfortable to register since we really didn’t need anything.

    Initially we registered on line, we only had about 17 items. Then we found out that the majority of our items weren’t available in the store so I was encouraged to go into the store to add additional items. Now, we’re up to 99 and we registered for some very practical and affordable items.

    My shower is tomorrow so we’ll see what we get :)

  15. Member
    mauricioandkimberly 5 posts, Newbee @ 6:31 pm

    Good blender is a must! I received a Ninja blender and it has been the best thing ever! I’ve had it for a month now since the bridal shower and has by far been the item I use the most.

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    Miss Dove, Guest @ 8:30 am

    We are now 7 months out from our wedding, so I am going to piggy back as well.
    Low-to-moderate priced things we love:
    1. Cast iron Dutch Oven (ours is Martha Stewart, not LC, so it was only $50–great for most of our guests, and we use it all the time). I don’t do Teflon (too afraid of the coating coming off in my food) so the enamel coating on this is great for things that are better cooked in non-stick pans. Don’t register for this if you don’t have a good place to store something this heavy.
    2. Square OXO storage containers. My cabinets have never been better organized and the square design maximizes storage space in cabinets.
    3. High temperature safe cooking utensils. You only need a couple, but I found out the hard way that ordinary utensils can melt in oil even just sauteeing at medium heat.
    4. High quality bakeware. Ours is Analon. Do not get flimsy aluminum or you will be replacing within five years a my sister is ( and hers was’t cheap). Feel the difference at the store–and by the way, not all stores carry the good stuff. This is one of those things you have to care for properly. I kept one pre-wedding cheap sheet pan around so that I can use it when I need something I can abuse.
    5. China protectors. Get the quilted vinyl kind–cheaper than cloth but has more cushioning. Obviously, this only applies if you are getting china.
    6. A set of glass nesting bowls. This was an off- registry gift that we love. I use them for everything, they’re pretty enough to serve with, and because they nest, they don’t take up much cabinet space.

    Expensive items we love:
    1. Decent capacity (11 cup is great) food processor. I had never used one before we got it, and now I use it multiple times almost every time I cook. I chop onions and nuts, grate large quantities of cheese in a couple minutes, make quick pizza dough, and then throw everything into the dishwasher. I really had no idea the convenience I was missing. Make sure you have counter space for this. Oh, we also have a kitchen aid stand mixer (pre wedding) and while I really like the mixer, the food processor probably gets 5x more use.
    2. Fine china in pretty pattern. I know this is not for everyone, but it’s lovely, will last our whole marriage and on, and it makes me happy every time I use it (which is once a month–I’ve even served burgers on it just because we had company and I could). Also, again, this is just me, but while all white is great for every day, I want my china to look like china. Think about storage before you register.
    3. Bunn single-serve coffee maker. I’m the only coffee drinker in the house, so this is a huge convenience.
    4. Nice bedding. We could certainly do without this, but it’s really nice to have.
    5. Good quality stainless flatware in a pattern that won’t be discontinued when you have inevitably lost 4 spoons in the dist ant future. Register for both single place setting and service-for-4 (cheaper per) options if possible to give guests different price points. ( The 4-pack is also a good buy for stacking gift cards post-wedding).

    Additional comments:
    1. We have received both towels and sheets multiple times for birthday and Christmas gifts since the wedding (and we also received all the towels and sheets on our registry). In retrospect, I wish we hadn’t registered for quite as many.
    2. In my experience, guests are not crazy about giving small items ( even several of them). I think we had two couples at our whole wedding who purchased our lower cost items ( e.g, a $10 colander). And one of those couples did it 2 months after the wedding when almost everything was gone.
    3. In my experience, guests seem to have a preference for unique items (e.g., a chip and dip plate, a cast iron skillet) over “another place setting” type items.
    4. I would second the “no picture frames/ knick-nacks” advice and add that serve ware is another thing that people like to give off-registry. In retrospect, I wouldn’t register for any.
    5. I also wish we had registered for nice knives!

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