Planning the Perfect Registry, Part 1

In a previous post, I professed my undying love for compiling my wedding registry.  But now, nearly a year after I opened all the gifts, I have a bigger-picture perspective on what was really necessary, what was fun, and what wasn’t quite worthwhile.

And I know the things we’ve bought since then — things we could have registered for. Then there are the things friends have registered for, and loved.

So, without further ado.

Great Gifts:

Power tools: Maybe you won’t ever be able to get your fiance overly excited about towels. But . . . tools? What red-blooded male isn’t going to get revved up to register for cordless drills and socket sets?! Besides, having a little more than a hammer and screwdriver will come in quite handy as you establish a home together. Some of my friends have not only registered for tools, but thrown a “man shower” in which the groom’s friends presented him with tools! (PS: My husband has the Bosch pictured, and sometimes I think he likes it better than he likes me. But whenever it’s time to hang a large painting or assemble a piece of furniture, I like it better than I like myself, too.)

Fine china: Yes, there’s been a big trend away from registering for fine china — I’ve known lots of brides who registered only for an everyday set, expecting they would never use expensive china — but there’s something very liberating and “really married!” feeling about being able to set an attractive, black-tie table! Some of my friends have started collecting fine china, like the Royal Doulton set pictured, after their weddings — and entirely on their own dime.

Camping/outdoor gear: If you’re the adventurous type, your wedding might just be the perfect time for your friends to gift you with that 8-man tent you know you’re going to want several years down the road — or even next month, if you like camping with family or friends, or dogs.

Unique food items/gift cards to fun restaurants: If you’re a foodie, your wedding is obviously the time to let your stomach do the talking. Register for cool food products from companies like Stonewall Kitchen, or have guests surprise you with selections from specialty stores, like If you love food but aren’t really the cooking types, check into registering for gift cards to offbeat or well-known restaurants.

Gardening/outdoor living gear: Your priority at your new home might be getting your yard whipped into shape — so why not register for all the things you’ll need to make living outdoors as appealing as staying in? One of my favorite purchases since our marriage is our hammock. Hardly an evening went by this past spring that we didn’t eat at the table on the patio, and when I hopped into the hammock afterward, I felt just like I was back on our honeymoon. Also consider benches and other furniture, grills, and everything from cobblestones to plants themselves.

Good pots and pans: Whether you choose to register for individual pieces or a set, do your research and make sure you pick pots and pans that will last! (We didn’t register for pots and pans because my husband bought a great set of Calpalon, similar to the ones pictured, when he bought our house.) Some of my friends registered for inexpensive sets because they felt guilty asking their loved ones to spend much money on them — but, as one of my friends discovered when her pans’ nonstick surface began flaking off into her food after only a year’s worth of use, some pots and pans are cheap for a reason. You don’t have to buy the most expensive — but you should read up on what will be your best buy.

Household organizing and home improvement items: Think you’ll want to mount a dry erase or cork board in your home? Register for them. Planning to paint when you return from the honeymoon? Choose your colors ahead of time and register for that, too! Are you a storage freak? Create your own registry from scratch so your loved ones can help you get a unit from California Closets, like the one pictured. (And one of my favorite and most-useful purchases since the wedding was a stainless steel tower stand for the shower in our master bath.)

Cleaning tools: Two of the most-used gifts I received are a cordless sweeper and a microfiber cleaning set, complete with extending poles to help reach high-up places, like fan blades and curtain rods. Registering for cleaning items might not seem like as much fun as picking out your silverware pattern, but they’ll more than come in handy: They’re what will keep your house livable!

A few decorative items: There’s a good chance you’re not going to have all your decorating plans mapped out before your vow swap, and if you aren’t, it’s smart to not register for too many decor-specific items. But there are a few decorative pieces that are completely appropriate for a wedding — and that you’re probably never buy if you don’t get them for your wedding! One of my personal favorites was a certain picture frame we received from friends. Consider a side-by-side frame that will house your wedding invitation and a picture of you and your husband on your wedding day, such as this double frame from Lenox.

So those are some of my suggestions. But in part 2, you’ll get a questionnaire to help you figure out exactly what you and your husband-to-be need in your home — and what you want.

~ Laura


One response to “Planning the Perfect Registry, Part 1

  1. Elizabeth Nichols

    I received some wedding gifts that I never thought I’d love as much as I did. Your gift items are many of the ones that were my favorites too.

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