bridal gown

What to Put on a Wedding Registry.

*Image and dress (!) above via Castellar Granados.

I often receive queries from brides-to-be asking what to put on a registry. Below, I’ve selected all the items I would register for if I were newly engaged. Many of these items are all-around great items for any household, whether you’re upgrading or refreshing your china cabinet, setting up your first apartment, or looking for staples that you never received when you were engaged. Note that I have limited my choices to items at Bloomingdale’s, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma. I believe it’s fairly standard to register at two places, with the possibility of adding a third for formal china (i.e., Scully & Scully — though Bloomie’s carries a lot of the same high-end china brands), and these shops have almost everything you could want to register for.

On the subject of china: we only registered for formal china and decided to make do with the everyday dishes we already owned. If I could do it again, I would register for a full set of everyday china as well as formal china, but this in part depends on how big your wedding is, and also how expensive the formal china you select is. Formal china from traditional, high-end brands like Spode, Herend, and Bernardaud can be outlandishly expensive — I have been invited to weddings where a single dinner plate was $395! In short, there is some mental math you have to do — there are only so many guests.

And when in doubt, go with white everyday china. We have gotten bored with and gradually retired several sets of colored plates. White shows food much better anyway.

Personally, I would advise focusing on and even over-registering for items related to your china (i.e., multiples of serving bowls that match your set) and glassware cabinet (i.e., multiple sets of wine glasses, drinking glasses, etc.) and skip some of the less expensive kitchen tools you might feel compelled to add to “round everything out.” Frankly, you can find a lot of the best kitchen implements — I’m thinking of things like wooden spoons, whisks, spatulas, peelers — inexpensively at Amazon and just order for yourself. (As an example, I strongly prefer $4 Kuhn Rikon peelers to more expensive stainless steel models from OXO and Rosle. I would much rather have received an extra cereal bowl in my china pattern than an overpriced peeler!) I also think no one really wants to buy a couple of $8 items for a bride and groom — I find guests gravitate towards one meaty, substantial item, like a towel set, a place setting, a serving dish. In my opinion, there is simply something more appealing, more timeless, more elegant about buying a $30 serving dish for a new bride versus a $30 salad spinner, too. So I would spend a little time thinking about what items you would prefer to purchase privately yourself. (I once saw a toilet plunger on someone’s registry. I understand practicality but !!!) In short, you will not find a lot of smaller kitchen items on this list, and intentionally so.

Last note: I would encourage you to add a handful of bigger ticket items, like a vacuum, knife set, or Vitamix, because I often went in on bigger gifts like these with my college girlfriends.

+Everyday china: Pottery Barn Emma or Juliska Berry and Thread.

+Formal china: Kate Spade June Lane (we have this set and I adore it), Bernardaud Constance, Adam Lippes (just so fanciful — I mean, these cups!), or, for something bold, Richard Ginori 1735.

+Servewear: Register for as many of the coordinating serving pieces as you can find for your china set(s) — even duplicates. My mother-in-law gave us multiples of serving dishes that coordinated with our china and I am forever grateful — makes entertaining so much easier. This size of serving bowl is perfect for so many things, the footed bowl is lovely, and this platter would be ideal for anything from slices of steak next to a heap of roasted potatoes to cookies for dessert! Registering for a couple of plain white serving dishes or bowls is always a good idea, too.

+Cutlery: PB has several attractive, timeless stainless steel sets you will never tire of and that will last forever. I like this Georgia style and this bamboo style. Whatever you do, register for a set of Laguiole steak knives! Beautiful and we have used them at least once a week since we tied the knot.

+Towels: Matouk Auberge or Matouk Cairo.

+Frames: Kate Spade or Aerin.

+Table Linens: Quilted tablecloth or runner in a classic white, or any of the pieces from this scalloped Matouk selection, whether placemats, napkins, tablecloth (or all).

+Servers: WS (but also check to see what comes with your cutlery — they often have servers that coordinate, and I would prioritize those).

+Cutting Board: Boos.

+Vase: Monique Lhuillier.

+Knives: Shun.

+Wine bucket: Aerin.

+Kitchen Tools:

PEPPER MILL

SALT PIG

ROLLING PIN

COLANDERS

MIXING BOWLS*

*We have a couple of plastic and ceramic mixing bowl sets, but I think stainless steel is the way to go. These are sturdy, can be placed over heat (i.e., can serve as a double boiler / be placed over simmering water to keep potatoes warm), will not scratch, and are lighter-weight (and more durable) than ceramic. If you prefer ceramic (convenient because they can double as serveware in informal settings), these are nice.

+Bakeware/cookware:

ALL OF W-S’S GOLDTOUCH PANS AND MUFFIN TINS

NORDICWARE BUNDT PAN

BAKING SHEETS

LE CREUSET BAKING DISHES (I WOULD GET WHITE) AND LASAGNA PAN

STAUB DUTCH OVEN

ALL-CLAD POTS AND PANS* (EITHER A SET OR SELECT THE SIZES YOU WOULD USE MOST OFTEN — AT A MINIMUM, A FRY PAN, A SMALL SAUCEPAN, A 4 QT SAUCEPAN, AND SOMETHING BIG ENOUGH TO BOIL PASTA IN)

LODGE CAST-IRON SKILLET

*I also love (!) the look of copper cookware, but it is much more expensive (and requires more maintenance to keep shiny) than stainless steel. We ended up registering for just one Mauviel piece in copper — a saute pan — and have slowly added additional pieces ourselves over the years. If you are of a similar mind, I would also recommend registering for one Mauviel piece but focusing the rest on more reasonably priced All-Clad workhorses.

+Appliances (I would select a handful you really will get use out of — i.e., I have friends who would never make use of an electric kettle or stand mixer, but would live by the coffee machine):

TOASTER (NOTE DIMENSIONS – HAVE HEARD THESE ARE SURPRISINGLY BIG)

VITAMIX BLENDER

MIELE VACUUM

FELLOW STAGG ELECTRIC KETTLE

KITCHENAID STAND MIXER

CUISINART

MOCCAMASTER

HAND-CRANK PASTA MACHINE

KITCHEN SCALE

+Glassware: I did a complete roundup of all my favorite glasses (for wine, cocktails, water) here, but if you are narrowing in on just one or two places to register, Pottery Barn is a good place for nearly everything you’ll need. I love our Schott Zwiesel wine glasses and these drinking glasses are very similar to the CB2 ones I own and love.

+Miscellaneous. I find people enjoy giving the one-off items on a registry. Here are a few great additions to any home:

STAINLESS STEEL SERVING TRAY

CAKE DOME / PUNCH BOWL (WE OWN AND LOVE THIS)

UTENSIL HOLDER

COPPER CANISTERS FOR FLOUR, SUGAR, ETC.

PITCHER (I LOVE THE ETCHED FLORAL, BUT THIS WOULD BE TIMELESS)

CONDIMENT SERVER

P.S. Some really cute bridal finds here, plus wedding guest dress ideas here and here.

P.P.S. My all-time favorite home gear. (Why did nobody tell me to invest in a good quality vacuum or iron sooner? Best gifts to myself.)

P.P.P.S. The summer before I got engaged I was…not at my finest.

16 Comments

  1. Ooh just on time for me! Even though our wedding isn’t until next April, of course I’m already thinking about our registry. Even without covid restrictions, our venue will only allow 25 people going forward (Los Poblanos in New Mexico, since you’re dying to know 😉 ) … so I definitely need to edit very carefully. One thing I’ve been dying to add to my registry since long before John and I were together is items from Match pewter.
    I just went back and looked at their site again, and gulp…. I forgot just how dear the prices are! I wouldn’t feel right putting any of them on our registry, especially for such a small guest list… but I think I’ll gift John a pair of the double old fashioned glasses as a wedding gift 🙂
    Thank you for all the suggestions!!

    1. Hi Jessica! Oo la la, the venue looks lovely and I think those glasses are a perfect groom’s gift 🙂 My mom also asked if there were any special on-or-off-registry items I wanted and then passed along word to some of her close friends if they asked whether there was something particular I had my eye on. You could always go to your mom with information about the Match pewter pieces you love just in case someone generous asks!

      xx

  2. I have seen a worse item on a registry than a plunger. Someone’s honeymoon registry included a line item of ‘souvenir gifts for family and friends’. Le tacky!

    If you have a lot of what you need and don’t want to register for kitchen/home items, I’ve seen couples register for a piece of art and I absolutely love this idea. As we get married later in life, our homes likely have more of what would traditionally be on a registry. A piece of fine art you’d have forever would be incredibly special.

    I’m not married, but have already started building my collection of quality lifelong pieces because why wait? I already own and love my KitchenAid stand mixer, Vitamix, and Breville smart oven (air fryer/toaster oven). I’ve also accumulated various all white serving pieces over the years that will work with any China I either buy or inherit since I’m the only daughter and only granddaughter. I believe I’m set to inherit 4-5 fine China sets and 3 sets of silver. I have and love my electric salt and pepper grinders (either WS or Sur la Table) as you can adjust how fine it grinds, it’s powered and shines light so you see where the salt/pepper goes. We have and love La Rochere for glassware in addition to some cool vintage pieces. Champagne buckets, glassware and bar accessories are so easy to source secondhand if anyone isn’t registering and wants to spruce up her collection.

    I HIGHLY recommend everyone gets the WS Wustoff tomato knife. It’s my absolute favorite knife and I can use it for 99% of my kitchen work. My family uses it so much, we are considering adding a second or even third as we hardly ever touch any other knives. It would make a fantastic gift or registry addition as it’s not only for tomatoes.

    After helping my parents declutter and organize their entire house last year, I am even more intentional about not accumulating unnecessary stuff. We went through 35 years of stuff and realized how much they own and didn’t use! I don’t want that to be me.

    1. Hi Melinda! I love all of these tips, especially the idea of sourcing glassware/bar accessories second-hand. Some of my favorite items in our house are from a wonderful second-hand shop in Georgetown, The Christ Child Opportunity Shop. I have several pieces of art from there but also great one-off pieces of silver, including a fish server I ADORE. It’s so delightfully specific and throwback.

      Very intrigued by your rave review of the tomato knife!! Thanks for that!

      xx

  3. Love seeing what you’d put on a registry since I’ve only been married for 1 1/2 years – our own registry is still pretty fresh on my mind! I had decided as a teenager that if I ever got married I would register for white everyday china for the reasons you stated, and that’s what we did. No regrets yet! My husband wanted Schott Zwiesel wine glasses more than anything else on our registry! We received a few sets, and he’s been very happy with them as the chief wine connoisseur out of the two of us.

    1. Sounds like you made better choices than I did back when I got engaged! Great choices! You’ll never regret the good wine glasses!!

      xx

  4. This is a great list! One of the most loved items we registered for on a whim that has ended up being one of our most loved items 6 years later is a mini portable Bose speaker. We LOVE it and use it ALL the time.

  5. This is a great list! I wish I’d had it 10 years ago!

    We have actually used our wedding china a fair amount – we have and love Hermes Bleus d’Ailleurs. The only problem with it is the serveware pieces really are so expensive, so I usually pair with plain white.

    1. I have china envy — SO chic, Cate! I like the idea of mixing in plain white with high end designer china. Gorgeous!

      xx

  6. Great list! Couldn’t agree more with registering for extra serving pieces. That is one area where we have had to heavily supplement over the years. I also wish we had registered for a nice carving knife- we’ve hosted Thanksgiving and made due without several times now. A family friend has their wedding date engraved on their carving knife, which feels very chic and sentimental to me.

    Our Staub dutch oven is our most used wedding gift by far! I love it so much and always hope I can purchase it for a special friend or family member for her wedding day. Ours is the basil color and I still adore it seven years later.

    1. Hi Kate – Ooh, yes! Carving knife and fork are a great addition to this list. I thought of that after I scheduled this post when Mr. Magpie pulled out our set on Easter Sunday to carve the lamb! Ours is by Laguiole like our steak knives. Has come very much in handy. Love the idea of a sterling silver one with a wedding date engraved on the site!

      And +1 to your review of the Staub. We use ours weekly and have given it as a gift to at least two other friends who have gotten married!

      xx

  7. Regarding the plunger on a wedding registry: wow. Haha. My late mother-in-law always felt the same way about trash cans on registries – she could not fathom buying someone a trash can for their wedding! I agree with her for the record and now I chuckle every time I see one on a registry (although I of course understand the practicality – a nice trash can can be expensive!).

    I agree with – and own! – many of your picks here. I am so grateful that a generous family member bought us our Vitamix (which I almost didn’t put on our registry at all) and for all of our white serving dishes. I only wish now that I had registered for a nice Miele vacuum.

    1. Haha on the trashcan! My mother would say the same thing. I’m just sitting here waiting for her to text me asking who put the toilet plunger on her registry — ha.

      Getting one or two big appliances is such an amazing surprise, and often such an incredible help when setting up your own home!

      xx

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