Today, as part of our APW and The Kitchn collaboration, we have a fantastic post on thinking about and building a wedding registry. This morning we shared the wedding of Faith Durand, managing editor of The Kitchn, from the APW archives. This afternoon she’s here to share her thoughts on wedding registries. Sometimes I think Faith lives inside my head, because we think over problems in such similar ways (you can read my thoughts on the wedding registry back here). So I’m delighted to bring this thoughtful and super useful post to all of you in the midst of the registry dilemma.
Hello there, Team Practical! Before I dive in, first let me just say that Meg and all of you made up the most encouraging, sane, and inspiring community I found while planning my own wedding three years ago. I was so grateful for this site and this community. So I’m delighted to have a chance to chat about registries in general and practical kitchen resources in particular.
It seems that most brides and bridegrooms I meet these days are vaguely embarrassed by the idea of a wedding registry. I know I was. I was nearly 30 when I got married, and as a professional food writer I already had nearly everything I needed to stock a well-functioning kitchen. Was a registry tacky? Greedy? Too focused on material things during what ought to be a spiritual, deeply personal life moment? My fiancé and I toyed with the idea of jettisoning the registry completely, or asking for money to be given to charity in our names.
I’m glad that we grappled with this question, and that we worked together to make a thoughtful choice. But in the end, we got over our fear of looking like we were greedy or grasping. Because of course we were not, and the reality was that most of our friends and relatives were going to give us a wedding present. We came to the conclusion that grateful acceptance of this generosity was the most gracious option. (Just turn it around for a moment and look at it from the other side; I love giving wedding presents. It’s delightful to give a gift to people I love on such a wonderful day.)
All of our wedding guests were perfectly capable of deciding whether or not they wanted to give us a gift. Some guests who traveled a long way to be there simply gave us the gift of their presence. Other guests gave cash, and friends who didn’t want to give something off the registry gave us other gifts we treasure. One gave us a funny deck of cards; another played a song at the wedding. And those guests who were inclined to help us set up our home had a resource to do so.
This of course is not the only option or the best option for everyone. But our own personal way of making peace with the whole idea was to ask for a small list of things we believed would be long-lasting, beautiful, and helpful in offering hospitality to others in our home.
Meg asked me to offer some practical resources on this process — if you’ve come to the same place as we did in our wedding registry decision, and you want to set up your kitchen to be more functional, more hospitable, and better suited to the pleasures of cooking at home, then these questions may be useful.
A Few Practical Questions for Building a Kitchen Registry
1. What’s broken or worn out in my kitchen? If you’re getting married right out of school and you have no kitchen equipment to speak of, this probably doesn’t apply. But if you’re like me and you have a fairly well-equipped kitchen already, look over your tools. Are your tongs rusted and falling apart? Is your only stockpot thin and flimsy? Does any lack of equipment trip you up when cooking a basic meal? Look for the sore spots of your kitchen; this would be a good time to replace them. (For instance, my wineglasses were a mess — mismatched and chipped. I’m forever grateful to my aunt and my grandmother for upgrading this very important element of my home!)
2. Is there one special tool or piece I’ve been dreaming of? Don’t put a KitchenAid mixer on your registry just because you think you ought to. Continue reading Building (and Pondering) A Wedding Registry