What Kinds of Gifts Do You Really Want on Your Wedding Registry?


Help me, APW: You're my only hope

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

computer on a desk

In my dream gig (universe? Were you listening?), next week I’m flying out to NYC to give a talk in front of wedding movers and shakers about wedding gifts, wedding registries, what is happening, and what… should be happening. Besides the fact that I’m bringing my husband and leaving my kids and spending two nights at a fancy hotel (I told you it was dreamy), I’m always looking for a chance to influence the wedding industry to get folks to realize what people’s real needs are and try to, you know, meet them.

Meaning, I want your opinions so I can shove them in my suitcase and take them to that capital of the wedding industry. And I know there is a whole bevy of intelligent minds and sharp eyes right here at APW, just waiting for me to ask what you think. After all, a lot of you are wedding registry pros: You’ve been there, done that, and are happy that it’s over. But others are just now trying to figure out where to register and why, which registry service to use, and how to politely explain to older family members that, no, china isn’t actually that useful a gift.

Since more couples than ever are living together before they get married, the nature of the wedding registry game has changed. For starters, a lot of couples already have tons of stuff that previous generations used to register for—think plates, cutlery, and waffle irons in the shape of the Death Star. And many folks have less need for the fancy things your grandmother might have used to entertain (china, silver, the works). Which can leave you in a quandary. What should you register for? What will your family and friends actually want to get you? And what registry items will you actually be using in five years anyway?

So I thought today, we could open up the floor and let you guys speak:

what did you love about the wedding registry experience? What did you dislike? What gifts are you still using, or do you think you’ll use the most? Which gifts do you really wish nobody would ever mention to you again? 

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

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  • NolaJael

    Honestly, what I wanted most was not to be asked what I wanted and for people to respect our “no gifts, please” statements. I’m not sure why this is the one culturally acceptable time that gift givers are supposed to do the emotional work of figuring out a gift for themselves? It’s so awkward.

    But to answer your actual question: We *actually* wanted bigger ticket items – a new couch, a nice propane grill, etc. – that we didn’t ask for because they were out of our friends’ price range and my husband wasn’t comfortable with those sites where you split big ticket items into “shares.” We really didn’t need or want small things that people put on their registry. If it costs less than $100 and we need it, we probably already bought it.

    • clarkesara

      OH GOD YES. The emotional labor of asking for gifts you don’t actually want because you’ve been lectured that people want to give that type of item to you.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I’m with you on this. We did a registry event at Crate & Barrel and had a few items we knew we wanted to register for and found a lot of items that we certainly wouldn’t mind having since someone else would be paying. But I’m glad we did this before getting our save the dates out and our website up, because I want to go through that list and make sure it’s stuff we *actually* want. We are not stuff people, but even we could be swayed by the beautiful displays and friendly suggestions at C&B… The things on our list that I really want are a couch (which, omg, that $1600 couch is NOT staying on our registry, we do not have $1600 couch money and neither do our families), and a bar cart, but they’re so pricey! Registries are awkward.

      • Lisa

        Ha, we went to the C&B registry event. The consultant tried to upsell everything and got us so overwhelmed that my husband scanned everything we both agreed on. Which is how we ended up with two $700 bar carts and a gas grill on the registry before I got home and took them off.

  • Brooke

    We are getting ready to register this weekend, but we’ve done a walkthrough of Target and Macy’s and jotted down ideas. Similar to most couples, we have been living together awhile (and have been out of college with decent paying jobs for a couple of years) and have accumulated most of the traditional stuff you register for. Beyond that, we live in a 600 square foot apartment, and don’t have plans to buy or rent a larger place for years. We simply don’t have space for fancy china, serving platters, etc (besides the fact that we would literally never use it!).
    Most of the “traditional” things we are registering for are upgrades to what we already own…matching pots and pans (big stuff, I’m telling you), a vacuum that costs more than $20, a second set of sheets for our bed so we don’t have to sit on a bare mattress when we wash our current sheets. Other items we are thrilled to be registering for: lawn chairs, gaming table/chairs and board games, luggage, humidifier/oil diffuser, paper shredder, home safe (because I guess my underwear drawer isn’t the best place for our passports and tax documents…). We’ve also explored some non-traditional registries, such as Zola, which allows you to register for weeks of Blue Apron deliveries, something we already enjoy doing. Ultimately, we have struggled a bit with coming up with very many items for our registry that we truly feel we need. Registering takes some self control and I think requires some contemplation about whether or not we NEED this, or are we just putting it on our registry because somebody else is buying it for us? In the end, having our smaller registry will likely result in receiving more cash than physical items, which is fine by me.

    • Lisa

      Paper shredder and fire-proof safe were high on our list as well. I took a bunch of BB&B gift cards and bought the shredder no one got us the week after the wedding. That thing is a champ!

      • Brooke

        They’re not the sexiest items, but I know for sure that a paper shredder would be one of our most used items. We get junk mail galore!

        • Lisa

          Same! We also shred envelopes and credit card receipts so there’s always a pile of paper waiting to be shredded.

      • Violet

        Which fireproof safe did you end up getting? I’ve been researching but can’t come up with any I like/suit our needs.

        • Lisa

          I really can’t remember now; I’ll have to check when I get home! It’s similar to this, but the PIN display is digital.

          • Eenie

            The only downside of the digital display, our battery died and we had to find the key for our document safe. Our gun safe is just the dial type lock and we don’t have to remember to change the battery every year.

          • Lisa

            Yes, my sister’s safe’s battery got jostled out of position in a move, and her husband had put the back-up key in the locked filing cabinet for safe keeping. The filing cabinet’s key? In the safe. She had to get a notarized certificate confirming the safe was hers before the manufacturer would send a new key.

          • Eenie

            Hahahaha. Aw. We did something similar – Gun safe combo is in the fire proof safe. Key was supposed to be in the gun safe. It was instead in the “what keys are these let’s throw them out” pile. It’s now in the gun safe.

          • Violet

            Thanks!

  • Ashlah

    We loved registering for and receiving camping supplies (nice sleeping bags, a hatchet, a solar lantern) and gardening supplies. And we tried to upgrade some of our kitchen stuff (pots and pans, dishes) – we’d been living together for a few years, but still had a mish mash of stuff we each brought into the relationship. KitchenAid stand mixer is almost a cliche, but I freaking love that thing. I wish we’d registered for more kitchen gadgets/knick knacks that would be nice to have, but that I never feel compelled enough to buy myself. I wish we’d registered for power tools to help with our home improvement projects. Based on the number of people who gave cash towards that very same thing, I think it might have been something our guests would have liked to see on our registry.

    • Ashlah

      Oh and a cat tree. We should have registered for a cat tree.

      • MC

        Yep, that would have been a great thing for us to register for as well!

      • Cat watering fountain, man. They love that thing…

        • Katharine Parker

          And having a dehydrated cat is terrible! Cats love running water.

      • Eenie

        We registered for a cat window seat!

    • Arie

      We registered for a double sleeping bag – we already have our own, it’s not something we would ever buy, but I figured it was like the woods-version of our marriage bed. I was worried about the judgement over a camping registry but the oldest, most traditional person in my family bought that sleeping bag and apparently loved doing it!

      • Ashlah

        Yeah, we found that people really enjoyed buying the less traditional items! Maybe a combination of getting to do something different, and it probably feels more personal to get a gift that you know relates to an activity the couple enjoys. (His mom bought our sleeping bags and coffee percolator!)

  • A.

    It really varies for each person of course, but our breakdown of things we registered for and received is basically this:

    Things we use daily-to-weekly: Le Creuset French press, my coffee and spice grinder, PRESSURE COOKER, Dutch oven, cutting boards, Dyson vacuum cleaner, small ceramic pitcher (watering plants ftw), sturdy and absorbent dish towels, nice silverware

    Things we use only occasionally but love: Champagne bucket and flutes, fancy plates from
    Anthropologie, Vitamix

    Things we never use/take up space: Most decor items, cocktail making kit, KitchenAid Mixer

    • Lisa

      Hey, our plates are from Anthro, too! Unfortunately, my sister was the only one who listened to me when I told people they were our top gift item so the weekend after our wedding we took a bunch of the cash we got and bought ourselves the 8 additional settings. Super fancy and expensive (for us), but they were the only dinnerware we could agree on.

  • Lisa

    The gifts we ended up loving were the upgrades that replaced our everyday housewares and made our home run more efficiently. New dishware because we only had 5 plates before. A Wüsthof knife block and set to replace the rusting ones my husband bought at Goodwill during college. These items make our lives easier because we’re not having to wash dishes every day or unable to chop our food.

    The things we registered for that I wish we hadn’t are items that we thought we might use but actually don’t. I liked the idea of decorating with a vase, but it sits in a corner and gets moved around depending on where we need space. “Soup tureen with ladle” is the bane of our existence because we were just about to take it off the registry when some dear friends bought it, but we didn’t return it because we were afraid they’d notice, and now we’re stuck with it two years later. If I could do it again, I’d take off the “someday, maybe” items because, if we actually needed them, we could buy them later when we have more disposable income.

    What I really disliked about our initial wedding registry experience was what felt like a huge up-sale on stuff we didn’t need, which ties back into the gifts we didn’t like. The consultant was pushing us to register for big ticket items or huge numbers of things that we didn’t feel we needed, which resulted in registry panic. I was very thankful that we could go back in on-line and take off the items for which we registered that in hindsight weren’t such a great idea.

    • sofar

      We were SO the same. New plates, new knives, new flatware to replace all the crappy stuff we were using.

      I got some blow-back from my mom because, “Some people may want to give you something a bit more fancy.” I told her they were welcome to, and we’d write a thank-you note and then sell it/cart it to Goodwill. In the meantime, we would register for practical stuff we could use.

      • Lisa

        My MIL got on us for not including more expensive items on our registry so we went in and added more expensive items. Then she called us and asked who in the world was going to buy us the $500 decanter. Well, we couldn’t think of anything else expensive we wanted so…. ask and ye shall receive.

  • emmers

    I remember being really pissed off by a BB&B salesperson who wouldn’t give us the registry gun without first giving us an orientation (i.e. suggestions on what to buy). We left that store without registering, and were hesitant to register with them. We did still register with them them, but only when we found a much more chill salesperson at a different store who let us do what we want, and was there to answer questions (vs providing hurdles). Other than our initial impression, BB&B was a dream to work with once we actually started getting stuff. I made so many trips after we got married, to swap registry present X for registry present Y (to complete our dishes, for example). They were great about exchanges, and about giving store credit. Amazon, however, was less cool, since I was intimidated by the return process (though it was great for people who wanted to mail us gifts, since they usually could opt for the free shipping option, whereas I think BB&B charges shipping, so we got more in person gifts from BB&B).

    We didn’t live together super long before getting married (just a few months), so our registry experience was more traditional. I just looked through our old registries, and we use most of the stuff we registered for literally every day (2 years into marriage)- plates, blankets, silverware, knives, etc (ETA– most of these things were things we had already, but nicer upgrades, like matching silverware). One of the things that I was hesitant to register for, but we use so much, is a $100 multipot from Caphalon. The quality is so great, and we use it way more than I thought we would, and it’s not something we would have bought for ourselves. Stuff that I probably wouldn’t register for if I had to do it again is stuff people didn’t get us– fancy tablecloths for the holidays and placemats, and a juicer, things we just really wouldn’t use day to day.

    • sofar

      Yeah, we got the tour as well. But our guy was super chill. He was like, “OK you look like you are smart people, but I have to give you this spiel before I give you the gun.” The tour was short, sweet and legit helpful. At another location, we got the Registry Dragon Lady who kept trying to hard-sell us and I had to get a little bitchy with her until she backed off.

  • MC

    I didn’t grow up in a house with a china set and thought it was so weird that registry folks would keep encouraging us to register for china – now I know that it’s traditional in many circles but I didn’t see the point. My inlaws have a china cabinet that must have at least 4 china sets and I’ve seen them use china maybe 5 times in the almost 12 years I’ve known them, and we don’t have space for that in our tiny house!

    We loooooove our KitchenAid mixer – husband makes bread every week or two so it gets a lot of use. We also love the cutting board in the shape of our state and we get tons of compliments on it. And I know honeyfunds are controversial but we loved ours and our guests seemed to as well – everything from that registry was “bought” before everything was bought from our BBB registry.

    Wish we had registered for a really nice knife set – definitely my biggest registry regret. Camping stuff would have been great, too!

    • emmers

      We got a kitchenaid mixer as a surprise gift from family. I never would have registered for it, but it’s been awesome! We also make a lot of pizza crust (and shred a lot of meat for BBQ in the summer), and it’s a boss.

    • sofar

      OMG the registry people PUSHED china on us so hard. And I was like, “Um my in-laws already have a set they’re trying to offload onto us, and my mom has two.” And they were like, “But don’t you want your OWN china?”

      Bitch, I am a millennial. We live in a tiny apartment. Where am I gonna PUT four sets of china, do you think?

      We replaced all our crappy kitchen stuff (leftovers from college) with practical but awesome stuff we use all the time.

      • Lisa

        One of my friends just registered for EVERYTHING on the suggested list at Macy’s, Williams Sonoma, and Sur La Table. At her bridal shower, there was something like 16 servings of china, 12 sets of day dishes, three different coffee makers, and a huge assortment of other kitchenware. Afterwards, I asked her if she was secretly moving into a mansion because I had no idea where she was going to put it all.

        • sofar

          My only question is: wtf are “day dishes?”

          • Amy March

            Your casual everyday stuff?

          • sofar

            OK lol I was thinking “day dishes” was maybe some fancy title the registry business gave to some made-up sub-category of dishes that was in ADDITION to “dinner plates” and “fine china.” Our registry lady at BBB kept trying to get us to buy “luncheon” dishware, and I was like, “We already registered for plates and bowls,” and she was like, “Well those are BREAKFAST bowls and those are DINNER plates.”

          • Lisa

            Oh, goodness. That’s a mess! Yes, day dishes = casual dinnerware.

          • Katharine Parker

            I love this level of dish distinction from the registry person! I hope when you eat lunch out of a bowl or breakfast on a plate, you feel scandalous :)

          • sofar

            I do. In the moment, I wanted to respond, “Um you realize we often eat off of PAPER plates, right?”

        • Mary Jo TC

          This sounds like what happened to my sister. She needed a huge registry because she had over 300 guests, and at least 3 wedding showers. But she ended up with 3 ice cream makers and several boxes of presents that stayed in my parents’ basement for over a year until they sold their condo and moved to a house.

    • JLily

      Not sure if this will make you feel better, but you really only need a good chefs knife, maybe a good paring knife, and maybeee a bread knife. The global ones are very sharp and not crazy expensive for forged high carbon japanese steel. –signed, knife geek

      • Eenie

        I always just use the same knife. I have a block of knives and two upgraded chefs knives so we can both prep food at the same time.

      • AP

        Yep. Chef knife, paring knife, bread knife. Exactly the three I own. With a Minosharp sharpener, you’re good to go forever. — cosigned, another knife geek

    • clarkesara

      We, too, live in a tiny apartment and have a pretty casual lifestyle. We inherited a set of fine china and serving dishes from my FH’s grandmother. We store it in a gorgeous old trunk which we also inherited from her, so it’s not really a storage problem so much as a “when to use?” problem. We are struggling to come up with occasions to break out the good china!

  • Elisabeth N

    For me, the part that I didn’t like (and that I don’t like when buying gifts off the registry) is how de-personalized it is. I wished I could have had more options to personalize the list with a short description of why it’s on there (e.g., “We’re upgrading to adult dishware!” or “We love to play yard games, and this is our favorite!”) or to group the items (e.g., into categories like “We don’t have these yet!” or something). I mean, when I look at a gift registry I can guess at times, but as a gift-giver, I like to know how I’m contributing to the couple’s lives. It helps the gift feel more meaningful for me.

    • Lisa

      Amazon lets you do this by categorizing the priority level of the item and writing a description next to it. We had a bunch of varietal-specific Riedel stemware on our Amazon registry, and I wanted to explain to people that we actually do intend to use all of these different wine glasses. In fact, we use them more now that we have more than two of each kind!

      • Jess

        I loved this about Amazon’s registry! We had a lot of fun putting in notes about why we were interested in it – including our games (“we have a competition going with R’s family every holiday to beat them on a version of this game – help us get better by getting us this expansion pack!”)

    • Eh

      Oh I love this idea!

    • Zola does this. Lets you write little notes that appear on hover/click. It’s really, really nice/

  • Eh

    I love cooking and entertaining so we did register for more traditional things. We use our Le Creuset cookware all the time and I wish we entertained more so we could use our China more. I really didn’t like the experience of going to the store to register. The person that was helping us was very pushy and claimed we “needed” a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. When I said we already had one (actually nicer than the one she was showing us), she then insisted that we “needed” a Dyson vacuum. When I suggested we had a sufficient vacuum (especially considering we don’t have carpet) she started pushing a Nespresso machine. She also insisted that we needed X number of items on our registry based on the number of guests. I felt that number was too high. We scanned a few items that we liked and left. As we were leaving she made a comment about how fast we were done. We went home and finished picking items online.

    • Lisa

      I liked the on-line experience better, too, because I could look at reviews for different products I was considering. Stores also don’t offer every option that their company carries so it was helpful to see what was on-line, too. (For example, by getting on C&B’s web-site, I realized the laundry basket for which we registered didn’t come with the laundry bag, but through the web-site, they offered a combo deal for less money. Win-win for us and my husband’s aunt who bought it!)

      • Julia

        Another plug for C&B: Their registry app was really easy to use. By downloading the app, we could essentially use our phones as registry guns/scanners throughout the store and C&B gave us the password to the store’s wifi so the process wouldn’t drain our data. This was a few years ago, so I’m not sure if the app still works that way, but it was a really smooth experience.

        • Lisa

          The main reason we registered there was because I got an e-mail through The Kn*t saying they were having an event, and there would be free food and drinks. We stayed because of the ease of the process and the on-line component, despite the super pushy consultant. We noticed how much people were buying from C&B instead of from our Amazon and Anthro registries so we ended up duplicating some of the items we had on Amazon to C&B in hopes we would get the items we wanted. (We did.)

          • Sarah McClelland

            We did duplicates too, especially for our dishes and the other big ticket stuff. I think that’s the reason we were able to fill out our dishes! I would heartily recommend that to anybody registering!!!

      • Eh

        We actually left because I was frustrated because I couldn’t find things I wanted in the store that I knew the company carried. It was nice to be able to check reviews while doing it at home too.

        The online experience for our guests was also important to us. My family lives all over Canada so we picked a large Canadian retailer (there are really only two options). We picked the one with the more customer friendly registry website (having used both as a guest). That said, can’t please everyone. A large portion of my family live in a city that don’t have the store we registered at (I found out too late, but they did have an affiliate store they could have gone to). Older people in this group of family (e.g., aunts/uncles) also don’t use computers much. Some of my aunts did have their children assist them in purchasing gifts.

    • CII

      Second vote for Le Creuset cookware. We use the ones we have all the time – 3 different sized dutch ovens and a small skillet. My MIL gave them to us used about 5 years ago (when she was upgrading her set) and they still look and work great even though they are now probably 10 years old.

      My two least used registry gifts received are an ice-cream maker and a kitchenaid stand mixer. Perhaps at a later stage in my life, but not now.

    • AP

      Another vote for Le Creuset (medium sized dutch oven, plus the small and large casserole dishes) as well as good knives (we went with Global santoku and paring knives). I cook every day, so having some upgraded kitchen items that I know I’ll use forever is really cool. Now that I think about it though, no one actually gave us the knives so we used Amazon gift cards to buy them after the wedding. We did mention in the thank you notes for the gift cards that we’d be using them to buy the knives.

      • Amanda

        I love love loooooove the Global knives we registered for. I was dreading the in-store registry experience, but our sales consultant actually ended up being super helpful and not too pushy – we politely but firmly said no to the stuff we weren’t interested in, and ended up spending a ton of time talking to her about the things we did care about – mostly knives and cookware. She was the one who recommended Global, and was able to talk us through the finer points of stainless steel vs nonstick cookware and obviously had experience and knowledge using the items/brands she was recommending.

        • Eh

          Glad to hear that not all sales people are pushy!

      • Eh

        I fell in love with Le Creuset while house sitting for someone who is rich for a month. They had a dream kitchen which they rarely used (I used it every day I was there – it was probably used more in that month than it has ever been used).

        They are really expensive but I think people like getting thing you will use and have for ever.

    • Yeah, a giant Le Creuset French oven, always. My crockpot just won’t fit an entire corned beef with cabbages and potatoes…but a 7qt caribbean blue Le Creuset will.

      • Eh

        They are awesome! We make curries, baked beans, stews often. I love being able to go from stove top to oven. We have two French ovens, a sauce pan and a frying pan.

    • Eh

      I also love our down duvet from our registry. It makes our bed so toasty. It’s almost unbearable to get out of bed in the winter.

  • Jess

    We did Amazon and BBB.

    We registered for all the KitchenAid attachments (love them! We have already made ice cream, tons of pastas, and I have already used the slicer/spiralizer for apple cake.), lots of coffee accessories (new grinder! electric kettle!), and new dishes (no more dealing with our mismatched set and using a saucer for a butter dish). We also registered for a ton of board games, cookbooks, and an electric blanket!

    Why we registered more traditionally: one of our favorite things to do together is cook, and eat, and host people. So, we registered for a lot of things that help us do that. Even though we’ve been living together for a bit over a year, we just kind of merged the stuff we already head instead of spending money on new stuff. So, we really wanted a good upgrade.

    Things I loved about registering, especially Amazon: Both had online registries, so we could constantly update and edit. It enabled us to pick out stuff we wanted in lots of categories. Amazon allowed us to choose “no wrapping paper” so gifts being shipped to us had slightly less waste! People definitely got us the things we were most excited about (board games! grilling sets! My fancy coffee grinder!) but also got us really wonderful things that weren’t on our registry.

    Things I didn’t like so much: BBB doesn’t allow guests to mark “Bought in another location” so my friend asked us to just pull down the gift she had gotten us. BBB had kind of pushy salespeople who were like, “You NEED X, Y, or Z” so we did most of our registering online.

    In the end, we got a lot of cash, all the cookbooks, our dishes & sheets, and some really great off registry stuff. It was a great way to give people options if they wanted them at all sorts of price points.

    • Booknerd

      Which accesssories for the kitchenaid are worth it? I really want the pasta one but here in Canada its over $200 where a hand crank one is like $30…

      • Jess

        We make a lot of pasta! We do a lot of flavors (cilantro and lime with avocado sauce and chili flank steak! curry with garlic lime broth and scallops!) that would be hard to find outside specialty shops, but also just like making basic fettucine or ravioli. It’s our “let’s make something fun and spend time together drinking wine and snacking on grapes and cheese” meal, so if you count up how much we save on date nights out, totally worth it.

        If you do veggie noodles/carrot or cucumber salads or apple pies a lot, the spiralizer is a lot of fun. Great for summer salads!

        We haven’t used the meat grinder yet (we got it just a bit before our wedding, so we haven’t really had time), but R is super excited to do all sorts of fancy meat burgers and flavors.

        We have used the ice cream maker once (we got it toward the end of summer) and are really enjoying coming up with our “next flavor” options – it’s one I would say is nice to have if you can see yourself using it for the fun factor or interesting flavors, but it’s not for everyone.

        We didn’t go for the juicer kit or any of the food processor attachments, because we honestly just wouldn’t have used it.

        • AP

          “cilantro and lime with avocado sauce and chili flank steak! curry with garlic lime broth and scallops!”

          I want to come to dinner at your house!

          • Jess

            If you ever find yourself in NE Wisconsin, let me know! We love having people over!

  • lamarsh

    We are doing a lot of upgrading of stuff I’ve had since law school, most of which was hand me downs from my mom like dishes, silverware, glasses, and knives. My fiance is quite the minimalist and had a negligible amount of kitchen items when we moved in together, so our kitchen is made up almost entirely of my stuff. Cooking and baking are two of my favorite activities, so I was very excited to register for some big ticket items I had never pulled the trigger on (e.g. Vitamix, KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Le Creuset Dutch Oven, etc.). My fiance registered for some power tools and a clothes steamer (he hates to iron) and I tried to add some less traditional items like board games.

    We looked at the new online-only registries, but both felt they might be too complicated for our older, less technology-adept relatives. In the end we went with traditional registries and, since our guests are spread out all over the country, tried to do one store that was ubiquitous (we chose Macy’s), so that people who were not fans of online shopping could easily purchase an in person gift. Needless to say, my love language is gifts, so I had no trouble identifying plenty of things to put on our registry. We only have a two bedroom apartment, so fortunately that limited me to some extent.

    • Lisa

      Power tools are another good one! We don’t have a ton of space for home projects, but my SIL bought our electric drill, which has definitely come in handy over the years.

  • CII

    Favorite on-registry gift: 4 beautiful pasta bowls from Crate and Barrel. We use them all the time for weekend dinners for two, especially in the winter (pasta, soup), and I love them because they are exactly what I wanted and go with all our existing cookware. The college friend who bought them for us is a college friend – we cooked together frequently in college, so it’s also sentimental even though they were an “on-registry” item.

    Favorite items we have that could be great registry gifts: immersion blender, nice flannel sheets, wine carafes, nice glass containers to store pantry staples (beans and rice).

    Favorite items we’ve bought for another couple from their registry: his and hers camping headlamps from REI.

    • lamarsh

      I registered for pasta bowls from C&B too and am so excited about them. At first my fiance did not understand why we needed two kinds of bowls, but I think he’s come around.

      • A.

        Good bowls are fab. Similarly, I wish we had registered for soup bowls because we make and eat different soups nearly every week!

      • Eenie

        My husband has decided that everything should be eaten out of a bowl and that two of the quart sized bowls were not enough. Now we have ten!

  • Kaitlyn

    My fiance and I have a running list of things we want to add to our future registry and mainly it’s all “upgrades”. Wine glasses (current ones are hand-me-downs from Christmas Tree Shop and kinda ugly haha), dishware (all super cheap and mish mosh and now pretty ugly even though I thought they were cool five years or more ago), a nice vacuum, nice sheets, etc. And then we want some fun stuff (have you ever seen that drink dispenser made out of granite? It’s insane but we want it hahaha). My fiance desperately wants a popcorn maker, but I really don’t see us using it haha I’m not sure how actually registering is going to go. I can see us being trigger happy initially and then going through and culling it afterward haha I do know we want to register at Macy’s (I love buying people wedding gifts from there, between the sales, coupons, and my Macy’s card, you get a lot of bang for your buck) and somewhere nicer like Crate and Barrel . Maybe Target too? How many is too many registries? haha

    • Lisa

      Popcorn makers are fairly cheap and super economical if you love the snack! My mother “lent” us hers, and I’m pretty sure she’s never getting it back. Popcorn is one of my favorite foods, and I can buy the kernels in bulk at the grocery store for like $1/lb. I make a big bowl at least once a week.

      • Lisa

        As far as how many registries… we had three, and our third registry got the least amount of traffic, which was a shame because it had our most desired items (dishware).

    • Nikki

      I just wanted to pop in here (sorry) to say that, as a popcorn lover, my Whirly Pop stovetop popcorn maker is one of my favorite possessions. It is SO. MUCH. BETTER. than microwave popcorn, plus healthier (if I want it to be) because you can add whatever toppings you want – not just butter! It’s super simple to use and I seriously use it probably 3-4 times a week, but, like I said, I’m a popcorn lover (obsesser?).

      • Lisa

        It’s soooooo good. Our grocery store carries this local Amish butter, and it is the best thing ever on popcorn. Also we make a delicious brown sugar, butter, Sriracha popcorn that is to die for.

        • Nikki

          Yesss I’m obsessed! I always do olive oil, a little bit of sea salt, and parmesan cheese and it is SO GOOD

          • Kaitlyn

            I think you guys may have sold me on the popcorn maker hahaha This sounds delishhhh

          • Eenie
          • Lisa

            This is the one my mom received as a gift and what we currently use. I think most of them top out at less than $40.

          • Eenie

            OMG. Our popcorn loving friend has the same one! We will eventually get the plug in counter one to save space. Well, I have an amazon giftcard burning a hole in my pocket so that day may be today!

          • emmers

            I’m all for a popcorn maker! If you decide not to go that route, I do homemade microwave popcorn all the time, using kernels & brown paper bags (adding toppings post-popping). But I do burn it sometimes/sometimes over flow the bag if I’m not guessing right!

          • Eenie

            I do homemade stovetop all the time too. It just takes longer.

          • Sarah McClelland

            I don’t think it even takes that much longer! And I like that I KNOW what’s going on my popcorn without all the chemichal mess! And now I have to get up and make some popcorn.

          • Megan

            I got the Lekue silicone popcorn maker when I burned one too many paper bag full of popcorn and I have never gone back. It’s amazing and folds up to store super easy!

          • emmers

            ooh! Will look into this.

    • JLily

      I registered for an ice cream maker and have only used it twice–but no regrets here! Gotta include some fun stuff!

      • Jess

        We have used our ice cream maker once, but we keep coming up with “ideas” for stuff to try. It makes us happy just knowing we can if we ever want to!

    • Sarah McClelland

      We had Target and Bed Bath and Beyond, and then added Belk for the sake of my inlaws. We also had a SoKind page, which, sadly, got less traffic.

  • sofar

    So … we were one of “those” couples who lived together 7 years beforehand and still registered for ALL THE THINGS at Bed Bath and Beyond. We had just been using broken/crappy stuff from college, so we were able to replace it all with practical but AMAZING stuff we constantly use.

    Our favorite item: Our organization/storage stuff we registered for. We transformed our tiny apartment with various space-saving drawer/cabinet/countertop/closet organizers. Oh, and the cookware. Nice cookware makes SUCH a difference.

    As for steering people toward/away from certain gifts, my advice is “just don’t.” If you’re thinking of putting any kind of cutesy “No stuff, just money” instructions on your wedding website, just don’t. Lots of people will ASK what you want most, and you can direct them to the registry or tell them “We’re saving for a house” or whatever. But some people get great joy out of getting you large tacky shit. Just let them. And donate/consign the two-foot high GLASS rooster statue (a thing we actually got). Not getting exactly what you want and laughing it off/loving Auntie Martha anyway is part of being an adult.

  • JLily

    Register for what you want/need and don’t worry about hitting the “recommended item number” mark. Also, vary the price tags!

    We only registered for things we really wanted, so we were WAY under what the stores “recommend” you register for, but this was a great thing! We got a bunch of giftcards that we used toward buying the remaining items, and some cold hard cash that came in handy for small house projects and the honeymoon.

    I loved getting some of those bigger items like the BEAUTIFUL le creuset dutch oven that is exactly like the one my husband’s grandmother had, and the kitchenaid stand mixer. We cook a lot so those were things I have always wanted and was so happy to get!

    We also only ended up with 4 mismatched plates and 3 bowls when we moved in together, simply because of other roommate set-ups throughout the years. We chose settings from Heath Ceramics and no china, which $$$$ I know, and which I LOVE more than anything in our house, but I because of the expense we didn’t get very many of them. I think place settings feel boring to people, but I will get them for the next couple whose wedding I attend. It’s a lot to buy the whole set, so it’s really well-suited for wedding registries. It’s something that will get used over and over, and if you pick carefully, give you joy again and again. (Unless you don’t care about plates. I am weird, I know.) On the flip side, The wine glasses I registered for were $10/set of 12, because I don’t care about crystal or what have you, I care about raging dinner parties where I dgaf if people break our glasses!

    Never mention to me again that horrendous vag-esque vase that was expensive but not returnable, which I feel awful about donating, but Marie Kondo and all, had to go. Advice: buy stuff from people’s registries, or give them cash, unless you absolutely KNOW they will want what you give them. Unwanted decor items are a burden. Just my 2c.

    • Amy March

      Expensive place settings are my favorite thing to give people. You want $100 plates? I am so in for that.

      • Lulu

        I think the only thing my husband misses from his first marriage is the Match pewter china. Alas, I brought no lovers of expensive place settings to our relationship.

      • Caroline

        They were my favorite gift to receive also.

      • I literally hugged my gold Marchesa flatware to me each time I opened a box. Everyone at my shower claims this was their favorite part and that they’d never seen such a grateful bride. Ha!

        • Kat

          I just looked this up out of curiosity and good grief those are pretty/pricey. I’d hug them too. And probably never let anyone eat with them either. You have great taste.

    • Lisa

      Advice: buy stuff from people’s registries, or give them cash, unless you absolutely KNOW they will want what you give them.

      So much this. My sister’s husband’s family all contributed to a custom-made Amish quilt for them, which was a nice gesture, except they spent like $800 on the thing and didn’t think to check with my sister to make sure she liked the pattern design or colors. It didn’t go with anything they had, and she felt awful saying she didn’t like it since it was the present from her FIL’s ENTIRE side of the family. Eventually her husband’s awful poker face gave them away, and his mother bought the quilt off them.

      Seriously, it was a nice gesture, but don’t sink tons of money into a gift that you’re not 100% certain will be enthusiastically received.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Ohhhh, that’s a sad story. So much work goes into those. I feel bad for everyone, including the quilt.

    • Lauren Ouellette

      The off-registry stuff killed me. Especially when people got things similar to what we registered for, but different (a single set of flatware that isn’t the kind we registered for) or spent a lot of time/effort on that we have no need for (personalized cornhole set that is so cool, but we live in an apartment and have no yard).

      • Jessica

        I feel you on this. I also loved when it comes with a gift receipt from a store that has no local location. Turns out our single friends got a fairly good knife set because someone just couldn’t shop from the registry!

      • MTM

        Ugh yes, this happened to us with a set of pans/pots. We wanted to upgrade and they bought basically what we already had.

    • sofar

      “Advice: buy stuff from people’s registries, or give them cash, unless you absolutely KNOW they will want what you give them. Unwanted decor items are a burden. Just my 2c.”

      Agreed. And I didn’t realize how much I agreed until we got tons of gifts that were obviously meant for a McMansion and not a tiny apartment. I felt so bad donating that stuff because all these people obviously thought they were gifting us gorgeous heirlooms.

      I had to have this convo with my mom: She was talking about how she was going to give a couple a giant $300 blown-glass bowl from a local art studio because “Wedding gifts are supposed to be heirlooms, Sofar. I wouldn’t feel right just getting her the spice racks and measuring cups and plates she registered for.” And I was like, “Mom. The couple lives in a studio apartment, and that bowl is the size of their bathroom. They’re registering for practical, small things because that’s what they can actually USE.”

      • emmers

        Yea, you’re so right! I feel like any time you go off-registry, you have to realize that you’re assuming some risk, and your lovely handcrafted gift may reside in the laundry room, or be given away.

    • Sarah McClelland

      RIGHT?!!?
      I should remember that bit and get some cabinet space back…
      All the cutesy Christmas things because we got married in November and the cross/bible tacky stuff because we’re both pastors? Well, those were KonMari-ed before our last move. But I have yet to get to the kitchen and get some more of those odd things people think you need gone.

      We got maybe 3 off-registry things I love, all of which are hand-thrown serving pieces that play well with the serving pieces we registered for… So those make sense.

  • Eenie

    I’m not sure I’m exactly your target audience when it comes to registry but… We registered at Target, BB&B, and Amazon (with off site stuff). We also had a relative gift us a generous card to Williams Sonoma. More than half of our guests went for cash/checks.

    Used daily: Cat window perch, barbell, bumper plates, placemats, small shelf to hide our router/modem & store cat toys, and a very nice set of skillets and a sauce pan.

    Used weekly: Two knives from WS, various different strategic board games.

    Used Monthly: Charcoal Grill, serving platters, stemware, and handheld blender.

    I think the thing I regret most is stressing out about the registry since not many of our guests used it. We still have quite a bit of the wedding gift money tucked away, but it’s not going to purchase anything that was on our registry. It’ll go for an Ikea dresser and nightstand. It would be nice if you could actually “gift” your giftcard towards a specific gift more easily.

  • toomanybooks

    I can’t wait to read what everyone else says, because I’m going to have to create my registry soon and I’m not totally sure what should be on there! My fiancée and I certainly live together already, but like, in an apartment, in a city where we couldn’t dream of affording a house anytime soon.

    I think we’re going to be registering for household stuff that feels just that touch too extravagant to buy ourselves or that we haven’t gotten around to getting – so like, a set of really nice sheets, plates that don’t break when exposed to heat, a quality tea kettle that’s pretty, etc. Upgrades. Although, to be honest, I don’t even really know where to get nice household stuff?

    I’m considering registering for a king size bed, because queen just isn’t feeling like enough space for me and my fiancée! She sleeps in a kind of starfish pose.

    • Ashlah

      We just upgraded to a king from a queen after worrying it would be too big, and we LOVE it. Highly recommended, especially in your situation :)

    • Violet

      We’ve been on a King for a few years now (cannot recommend enough, if you have the space/means), but we just got a *real* mattress this weekend. It is… so much wonderful. You spend one third of your life in bed! It makes such a huge difference.

  • Julia

    We actually use a lot of the things we registered for on a daily basis. We lived together for several years prior to getting married, so we had some household items already, but we used our registry as a chance to upgrade from things purchased during college/grad school (i.e. Ikea, Target) to things that we will have for a long time (i.e. Le Creuset, Wusthof). We didn’t feel pressured to register for anything that we didn’t want or need. For example, I have my grandmother’s china, so we didn’t register for a china set. For our shower, our friends and family mainly stuck to the registry or in some cases deviated from the registry for something personal/personalized/sentimental, which we also loved. Because we didn’t have a house at the time, we registered for primarily kitchen, bath, and entertaining items, but now being a homeowner, it would have been nice to register for tools and outdoor stuff and other things we dropped a lot of money on at Home Depot in the last couple years :)

    One thing I remember being torn about was whether to register with specific stores or use a universal registry. I liked the idea of the universal registry, but it didn’t come with some of the benefits of registering with specific stores, like free gifts, discounts on things not purchased after the wedding, etc. We ended up registering with C&B, Williams-Sonoma, and Macy’s. This was before Amazon carried items from a lot of these stores on their website, otherwise Amazon would have been a contender as well!

    • Julia

      Oh! One more thing. We registered for a nice trash can and to this day its probably one of our most useful wedding gifts. No one wants to spend $100 on a trash can, but getting a nice stainless steel one as a gift was great.

      • Lisa

        This is how I feel about our laundry basket. The plastic one we had before was fine, but the $100 wooden one is so much prettier.

      • Ashlah

        Oh yeah, we love our fancy trash can! It’s not something we registered for, but I can attest to it being worth having.

      • Sarah McClelland

        Yup. Got a funny look when I registered for it, but I did, and the dog can’t open it. Worth every penny of my cousin’s money.

  • Frances Pierce

    I believe the registry has a core purpose. The people who love and support the couple want to show their support in the form of an investment – whether that be money down on some fancy plates or money donated to the couple’s favorite charity. It’s like going to a birthday party and bringing a gift whether that’s in the form of good cheer, a bottle of wine, or a classic wrapped present.

    I believe the registry has a core purpose in the same way that a wedding day has a core purpose. It can be customized in a bunch of different ways; people always have opinions on it; and there really is no way you can predict or control everything that results from it.

  • Nikki

    Hands down, the best thing we got was our Kitchen Aid mixer. Those things are pricey, but if you’re into baking or cooking at all, totally invaluable! We also registered for a lot of camping gear which I know is only applicable to campy couples, but great for us. And, we did a lot of upgrading, like a lot of people here have mentioned – better wine glasses and dishes, bakeware, etc. We’d lived together for about 2 years by the time we got married, so we basically had everything we needed, but it was all like Big Lots/Walmart level stuff. Not the nicest.
    My mother-in-law pushed hard for us to register for nice silverware, which I resisted because, who cares? Kind of like how some people mentioned parents/grandparents pushing for people to register for china. So not necessary anymore!
    We also registered through Zola where we were able to set up a honeymoon fund. I know they can be ~controversial~ but we paid for a lot of our wedding ourselves, and it was so, so great to have that extra help for our honeymoon. We had a couple guests (those about our age, interestingly) who mentioned that they liked the honeyfund idea rather than just giving a check or w/e. Overall, I liked Zola a lot because you could choose when to ship things (so they didn’t arrive while we were gone for the wedding/honeymoon), and it keeps track of who bought what (so much easier for thank you cards!). And, if you end up getting 40 wine glasses (speaking from experience), it was super easy to use credits to exchange for something else.

  • Jane

    I think we are, household item-wise in a place that few of my engaged friends are in, because we haven’t lived together for very long at a time (and don’t currently) and haven’t made very many purchases together. We have pretty different styles/tastes and not much practice balancing them out. And sure, decades ago that would have been the norm, but I think most heterosexual couples back then just defaulted to the woman picks stuff. If only.* My FH has lots of opinions. Selecting which physical items to register for will really be one of the first times we have to work on balancing our priorities and tastes.

    We don’t have tons of nice stuff and live apart at the moment – so, in theory, we’d be classic registry item people. But we are also not that settled geographically, as in, I will be moving to where he lives after our wedding and then the two of us we will almost certainly be moving out of that state two years later. And then, who knows? I always end up purging a lot of items when I move but I don’t want to purge wedding gifts.

    So, while we are definitely going to register for things that we’ll use all the time, LIKE KITCHEN KNIVES!, we are also probably going to avoid beautiful fragile stuff that we won’t use that often and will be expensive and difficult to ship. E.g. Even though I love throwing fancy dinners, we are not going to register for fancy plates and serving dishes. But we will probably do linens and things that can be moved a lot more easily. And things for the dog we will get when we are married!!

    Or we will scrap all the physical items and just do an experience registry – for our honeymoon. This could also be for the dog – to cover things like adoption fees!

    *I know that it’s better that my FH doesn’t just want or expect me to make all the household and wedding decisions. I just have some work to do on compromising.

    • Lauren Ouellette

      Balancing styles is so tricky. My husband and I had a lot of disagreements about what goes on the registry and which [insert any item] to pick.

      • Jane

        I know! And we don’t even know where we’ll be living exactly (we know it’ll be in Oakland, but not the apartment) or what our main furniture will be. It’d be so much easier if we could picture our space. Because that would be a neutral-ish way to start. Instead, I think we will be picking furniture and apartments after I get to California and hoping we can find deals on items that match our stuff.

    • Brynna

      I would LOVE to register for our honeymoon, but my fiance isn’t comfortable with it – and I’ve heard so many mixed opinions from friends.

      What are thoughts on this?

      • Lisa

        Honeymoon registries get mixed reviews. My big sticking point with them is that, if you include on-line payment options, part of the money is going to end up going to servicing fees. At that point, I’d rather just give you a cash/check. I’m also going to get the hint that you want money if you use a really small or no registry so I don’t see the point in setting up a Honeyfund or similar.

        • Katharine Parker

          Agreed. I also think the activities that you pay for are sort of misleading–if you’re aware, you know that the couple just gets a check from the company to use as they wish, but if you aren’t, you may think that you’ve directly bought them an elephant ride and be disappointed if that elephant ride never happens. One of my friends’ aunts was upset to realize that she hadn’t actually paid for a limo to the airport for the couple’s honeymoon. She didn’t begrudge them the money or the gift, but she felt misled by the website. This was a good few years ago, so maybe now more people understand it, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

          • Lisa

            That’s a really good point about it being something of a misnomer. I could easily see a couple planning to do one activity but switching to another if they don’t get enough money for it or something happens with scheduling.

            OT, but I hope no one is registering for elephant rides. Their backs aren’t designed for it, and the conditions under which there kept and broken are truly deplorable.

      • Jane

        I think it’s pretty cool, depending on how you do it. If you’re just going to say, here is a link to give us money for our honeymoon, that’s not always as exciting for guests who want to get you something. If your fiancé is on the fence, he’d probably prefer one of the sites that let you make it seem more like a normal registry.
        My friends did this with Zola in a really cool way. They had a few things (like airfare) that let people pay what they wanted and then the couple did a bunch of research about their destination and listed a bunch of things they wanted to do/places to eat/places to stay. So you could, for example, buy them a nice dinner at a particular restaurant. But, in reality, Zola was just giving them money. And they were just telling you really specifically what they planned to spend it on.

        My only hesitation with Zola or any of the others is (I think) it takes a percentage of the money donations. A few of their family friends decided to just give them checks so all the money they donated would go directly to the happy couple. But I think a lot of people really liked the idea of “buying” something specific.

      • Sarah McClelland

        Know your people and your culture. It would NOT have flown in our very traditional, older, Southern families, although it went over really well when a friend did it for their more modern and much younger crowd.

  • Brynna

    The registry issue is kind of killing us, so I’m really happy to see this today!

    My fiance is a great thrifter, so we have super-nice pre-owned kitchenware (KitchenAid mixer, Le Creuset everything, etc.) that we got as total steals from our local thrift shops and swapmeets. Our kitchen is stocked – I really have NO idea what to register for and am a little frustrated that we’re likely going to end up with a bunch of stuff that we don’t need. A nice problem to have, but a problem nonetheless!

    • Lisa

      We also have a pro-grade KitchenAid that we bought at a garage sale from a chef who was moving overseas. Maybe look to other rooms that need upgrading and wouldn’t be things you usually buy in a thrift shop? (Examples: fancy sheets, towels, bathrobes)

      If you really don’t want a lot of things, go with a smaller registry, and people will get the hint to give you cash once the items run out.

    • Eenie

      Yardwork stuff, decorating odds and ends (lamps, shelves, rugs, picture frames, etc.), organizational tools, camping stuff, bathroom sheets (these are amazing, like a big huge towel), etc.

      Think outside the box, but if you don’t really need it just make the registry small.

      • Brynna

        Yes, bath sheets! Great idea :D

      • Brynna

        Unfortunately (fortunately?) his thrifting habit goes beyond the kitchen, so we have most of the “things.” I’ll have to stretch my imagination – things like sheets, towels, etc. could be great.

        • Eenie

          Fortunately for sure!

    • Jess

      Cookbooks, board games, toolsets? We looked at what we tend to do together (cook, play games with friends) and registered for stuff related to that!

    • Penzey’s spices. ‘Guarantee the ones you have currently are stale. Their mulling spices are nice, but also…all the basics. Great quality. They make gift sets, too.

      • Brynna

        Great idea!!

    • Kara

      Another option: what are your hobbies? Do you like to travel? Is the old carryon that’s duct-taped together going to survive one more flight? Could you use a new pair of hiking boots because your current pair is “talking”? What about rock climbing gear? Need new ropes?

      Another option: do you need new fixtures in your home? Is your fan dying? The sink faucet leaking?
      (disregard of course if you’re renting).

      • Lisa

        One of my friends was doing a home reno project, and she was able to find a lot of the fixtures she and her husband needed on Amazon. Vent covers and curtain rods might not be the most romantic thing on the registry, but they sure are practical!

        • Kara

          YES! That’s one of the great features of Amazon. You can almost find everything.

          • Ashlah

            And even if you can’t, their registry is universal! If it’s somewhere on the web, you can add it to your Amazon registry.

    • Emily

      EnvelopeRegistry.com!

  • Lauren Ouellette

    We registered for a lot of “traditional” stuff- upgraded pots and pans, serving dishes, china… but we love cooking and entertaining, so it fit our lifestyle. We ignored a lot of stuff we were “supposed” to register for (for example, vacuum when we have wood floors, or kitchen appliances because I already own the good stuff). We used Macy’s and Zola and did both exclusively online. We LOVED Zola for the holding of shipments and the fact that we could add anything from anywhere.

  • Katharine Parker

    One thing I don’t understand, but I see fairly regularly on people’s registries, is luggage, specifically suitcases 27″ and larger. I admit, I’m obsessive about only carry on luggage, but I understand not everyone is. So I understand wanting like a 25″ suitcase, especially if you have kids and you’re carting their stuff, too. But a 29″ suitcase is ginormous! Where are people bringing that? I see older people at the airport with giant suitcases and figure it is just force of habit from a different time, before flying was so horrible, when no one would bother to carry on a bag… but why are my 28 year old friends registering for two 25″ suitcases and two 29″ ones?? Is this on the recommended list and they just don’t question it? Does anyone use that big of a suitcase here, much less two of them?

    • Eenie

      Some airlines (Spirit, frontier, southwest) let you check your bag for cheaper than a carryon. My carryon is not big enough for more than 5 days of travelling (honeymoon anyone?) if it involves fall/winter/spring clothes. I have one ginormous ugly free suitcase I use for this. My 360 wheeled carryon is always the preference if my stuff fits.

      • Katharine Parker

        Wouldn’t a 29″ bag be heavier than 50 lbs for checking in, though, or above the 62″ dimension limit?

        (And I don’t think Southwest makes you pay for your first carry on. Spirit definitely does and is by far the worst airline I’ve ever flown. I haven’t flown Frontier since they went low cost.)

        • Lisa

          My parents bought us a small luggage scale for our Germany trip so we could check the bags before heading home with our souvenirs and re-distribute weight as need be. We’ve gotten close to the weight limit, but we’ve never gone over!

          • GotMarried!

            Yes, we took 2 honeymoon trips – one to Germany as well and one to Japan in the month after our wedding; and a luggage scale was one of my first investments. I learned that lesson bringing course-materials to a previous job in China and bring ‘souvenirs’ back home at the end of my term.

        • Eenie

          I’m fairly certain the 29″ bag is fine for checking. A lot of international flights allow that. It can be overweight but I’ve also made my carry on weigh more than 50 pounds too. If you are just packing clothes I think it’s highly unlikely.

          Southwest also let’s you check for free. I agree in your hatred of Spirit, I am starting to hate Delta’s “economy” style ticketing as well. Frontier is lovely and inexpensive and I would fly it again. Which is great for my ATL – Milwaukee flights.

          • Katharine Parker

            I used to fly Frontier out of MKE, too! I miss when it was Midwest Airlines, though.

          • lamarsh

            Ah, Midwest airlines — I miss them so much!

          • Katharine Parker

            Those warm cookies… sigh.

          • sofar

            I miss the cookies most of all!

        • Kat

          Spirit and Frontier are terrible but I have mastered the art of using my *one personal item* as my only luggage. It has taught me to be a MUCH smarter packer. We recently went to DC for a week and I managed with just a small carry-on duffel. This totally makes me think (probably incorrectly) that I could handle backpacking through Europe or something.

      • CW

        Southwest totally should not be lumped with Spirit and Frontier. Southwest has no change fees and both carryon and 2 checked bags are free. I miss the days when Frontier didn’t nickel and dime charge you for everything.

        • Eenie

          Spirit, frontier, and southwest are the only ones that let you check a bag domestically for no cost/cheaper than a carry on. I’ve never personally flown southwest, but I can say I’m sure as hell not checking a bag for $25 on Delta! I found frontier to be a great discount airline. It nickels and dimes you, but I like that I can get a round trip ticket for under $100 including bag fees. Plus I don’t need or want a lot of the stuff they charge for, so it truly saves me money.

    • Lisa

      We took a large suitcase on our honeymoon because we were going to Germany for two weeks in the dead of winter, needed bigger clothes/boots, and got a free checked bags for the international flights. I also use it to pack if we’re going out of town together so that we only have to take one bag.

    • Sometimes he spends ~1 month in China. Sometimes, I move across the country for ~3 months. Or spend a month on the road. All for work. Big suitcases are super necessary.

      Also, my sister packs a million pairs of shoes into the world’s largest suitcase.

    • lamarsh

      We use our big suitcase when we are driving to my family’s cabin for a week (need to fit lots of stuff because the weather is all over the place and weight limits don’t matter) or if we only want to check one suitcase if we are travelling internationally. Also, as a renter who has moved 4 times in the last 6 years, the big suitcase is super convenient for transporting my wardrobe.

      • Katharine Parker

        I get driving with a big bag. I always end up bringing like four bags to drive anywhere, because I’m like, well I’ll just throw in this extra fleece/pair of boots/three pairs of jeans/flip flops/old shirt of your dad’s to use as an art smock, it may come in handy!

        It never comes in handy. I always just have too much stuff. (Maybe this is why I need the forced editing of a carry on…)

      • Jess

        We used to use a big suitcase for our 2-3 week “Westward Bound” trips growing up. We would be doing anything from extreme hiking to formal dinners, so we needed to pack essentially two sets of clothes, plus rain gear plus cold weather gear for altitude and other hiking equipment.

        AND! Moving! SO HELPFUL for moving!

        • sofar

          YUS. Especially for books. Carrying books in boxes sucks. Rolling books out of your place in a suitcase? Does not suck at all.

          • JC

            I learned this brilliant trick just before our last move, and it has served me very well. However, the first time I heard about it, the article was like, “the suitcase is large enough to carry all your books!” Uhhhh no? Not even close?

    • R

      Some of my friends with children pack in one large suitcase. Kids need a lot of stuff. Sometimes they are driving. My husband and I usually bring carry on bags and check, but if we drive, then we might take a larger suitcase. I imagine there are scenarios in the future beyond this too where we might want to use the larger suitcase and check it (we get free checked bags with a CC). I’m sure there are plenty of other scenarios too.

      • R

        this should be edited to say being carry on bags and DON’T check

    • Katharine Parker

      Genuine question, because so many of you like large suitcases: What size are you using? I see people registering for both 25″ suitcases and 29-31″ suitcases. The latter size is what prompted my surprise.

      I’m recognizing that I am unusual for being so pro-carry on–if it is under two weeks and without some sort of event requiring extra clothes, I’m carrying on. And even for times like spending a summer or six months living abroad, I brought one carryon and one 25″ suitcase. I have a ton of clothes and shoes, too–I just pack super tight! But I have the kind of family that will leave you at the airport if you take too long waiting for your luggage, so I’ve been raised this way (only sort of joking…)

      • Ashlah

        Just so you know you aren’t alone, we are carry-on-only as well! As long as it’s even slightly feasible, of course.

      • Amy March

        Some people just like options. You can wear a lot of stuff on a two week cruise.

        • emmers

          And.. some of us may have registered for suitcases without actually taking a long time to debate size. Totally have no idea what suitcase sizes we registered for. But we didn’t end up getting them, so it didn’t matter!

          • Katharine Parker

            That makes sense.

            I understand registering for luggage–it’s expensive and fun and great for your honeymoon etc. And realistically, it’s easy to return if you don’t like the size, or exchange for a different size, or use whatever size you receive, as people in this thread are doing. Most people aren’t deliberating over it like I am :)

      • R

        I also carry on for plane trips, even for longer trips, but I can see a couple, and even just one person, filling a big suitcase with stuff I don’t normally bring. For example, extra pairs of shoes (boots if it’s cold, maybe both snow boots and leather boots, short and tall, plus maybe more than one pair of heels or flats, and sneakers to work out), hair products, make up bag, hair dryer, hair straightener, work out clothes, dresses or suits depending on occasion, long underwear, enough clothes to wear two different outfits a day, gifts for people you’re visiting, room to take souvenirs home…

        I don’t like to travel with that much stuff, but I definitely know people who do (I know people who like to bring their own pillow – they don’t use it on the plane, they pack it in their suitcase). And if my husband and I used just one bag, we would definitely need bigger than a 25″.

      • Eenie

        I have the 22″ size and my husband has a 20″. These are mostly fine for our frequent travelling of 4 day trips to see my family. It gets trickier in the winter. We just got back from a trip which involved a wedding (so packing extra shoes and a suit/dress for both of us) and we almost ran out of space. If it was going to be colder and we needed to pack warmer clothes we would have needed to have more space or borrow more things from family. If we ever get a free checked bag with our tickets for a trip longer than 4 days we will definitely bring a 29″ or so suitcase to check.

        In a related note: I am so pro carry on or jet way checking your bags. I was beyond pissed when Delta forced us to check our bags this weekend. We were in the very last row and there were at least SIX BINS completely empty. Including the one above our seats. Rage.

      • Jane

        Thank you! Literally only occurred to me today that my FH and I should register for really good carry on bags. All of mine are from thrift stores and have various struggles. And he really needs a garment bag carry on suitcase (lots of work travel)!

        We would absolutely use those all the time until we die or they do.

    • sofar

      My in-laws take the giant ones whenever they visit the homeland because they fill them with tailor-made-suits, shoes and other various clothing that would cost them 8X as much in the U.S. So my husband and I registered for one of those big ones, too, as we’ll be accompanying them there for the first time, and we want to bring back ALL THE CLOTHES.

    • E.

      I have a gigantic suitcase from when I used to switch between between my mom’s and dad’s houses growing up (yay divorce) and it’s helpful now if I’m going on a longer trip or multiple climates.

  • snf100

    I was thrilled to register for upgrades or nicer things, including good knives and really nice pots and pans. My now husband was thrilled to register for tools both basics like screw drivers and hammers and power tools like a drill. I didn’t ever register in store, so no scanner for us, but it meant that I could read reviews and really pick stuff that worked for us and where we were then and where I hoped to be in the future. I didn’t register for china but I did register for 2 sets of dishes, a plain basic white Corelle set and a pretty two tone Noritake set, so I have everyday stuff and stuff thats a bit fancier. My absolute favorite thing about registering was that I could specify exactly what brand and style I wanted of something and it wasn’t weird or demanding (well not overly so). I like to read reviews and really decide what works best for me and I loved being able to specify that on a registry and got rather annoyed at people who bought a comparable product instead of what I asked for. I never told them this obviously, but there were a few things I returned so that I could get exactly what I had asked for. Yes I know this makes me sound horrible.

    • AP

      “My absolute favorite thing about registering was that I could specify exactly what brand and style I wanted of something and it wasn’t weird or demanding (well not overly so). I like to read reviews and really decide what works best for me and I loved being able to specify that on a registry”

      This doesn’t make you sound horrible! It was my favorite thing, too! My family joke is that no one likes to shop for my husband and me because we are super picky. But yeah, we are! We don’t love clutter, and we do lots of research before we buy things. So we don’t just want “a sleeping bag,” we want the sleeping bag rated for a certain temperature, lightweight for our backpacks, that we know we’ll use forever! Actually, we’d rather people not give us gifts at all and instead just spend time with us, especially around the holidays, because we don’t need anything and when we do we’ll save up and do our research and buy it ourselves. Gifts are a constant emotional labor thing for me- my family is big into gift giving and still asks for Christmas lists every year, plus we exchange gifts with every relative on their birthdays, and it is an endless source of anxiety for me. This is the first year I’ve convinced the siblings to draw names at Christmas, and we are all super pumped to just buy one gift instead of 6!

      • snf100

        I’m glad that it doesn’t make me sound awful. My reasoning is, you are going to spend your good money on a thing for me don’t you want to make sure that its the thing I really want and will use forever rather than an imitation of the thing I really want.
        Omg my sisters and I drew names last year and it was the best thing ever. I still had to make a list but it could be shorter.

      • sparagmos

        This is almost unrelated, but I maintain that everyone should have a general wishlist/registry for their loved ones who are terrible at Christmas/birthdays/general gift-giving (I fall into this camp). My friend who lives far away keeps his Amazon wishlist up to date, and I swoop in and send him something I know he wants for Christmas and his birthday. I’ve started keeping a list on my phone of stuff I want for those times when my mom asks, just so I don’t get all deer-in-the-headlights on her.

        • AP

          I am so with you on this. I keep lists for others on my phone too, so when I get a gift idea for someone I can jot it down. For me, it’s the pressure of buying thoughtful gifts for people all at once during the holidays that sends me into a tailspin. But I also keep a list for myself- our fall wedding last year was perfect because for Christmas we could point people to the remaining items on our registry!

        • Lisa

          I’ve started doing this, too. I also have a notepad app on my phone, and anytime I see something I think a family member would like or they mention wanting, I make a note next to their name. I have gotten many a great “surprise” gift this way!

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    We’ve lived away from our parents for a long time, and together for almost 5 years. During that time, we’ve upgraded our dishes, silverwear, and couches. There are some traditional kitchen- and home-related things we could reasonably ask for and expect to actually use: a new vacuum, maybe a new set of pots and pans, and the gadgets that go with my KitchenAid mixer, because when else are you going to ask for a $100 apple peeler? But we don’t need enough spoons and dish towels to fill out an entire registry for the size wedding we’re probably going to have. And we can’t say that we’re saving up for a house, because we signed on that line last year.
    Other than honeymoon stuff (which is already controversial), the most *useful* thing we could register for is a home project fund. But I’m guessing if people gripe about honeyfunds and $12 ice cream scoops, they’re not going to be super excited about replacing our blue toilet with a white one, or running a gas line to the house.

    • Brynna

      We thought about this, too – what we REALLY want is money to renovate our house. :/

      • NolaJael

        Same.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        @MegKeene, use your power to make the Lowes Registry a thing! Or the Hardwood Floor Fund! I don’t need to upgrade my mugs, I need to upgrade my lighting fixtures.

        • A single Sarah

          Is it possible to register for lamps or chandeliers or…good light bulbs? Cause all of those sound genius.

          • Lisa

            Amazon! You could certainly register for light bulbs there. I just did a search, and…it looks like they even sell chandeliers! How cool is that?

          • Eenie

            We bought converter pieces to use in all our light sockets because they are the “ceiling fan” style instead of standard sockets. Every. Single. One. ?

          • Mrrpaderp

            I bought a set of light fixtures from Amazon – a chandelier, pendant light for the entryway, and a smaller light for the stairway. It cost a fraction of what similar items were going for at Lowe’s. Only down side is we had to install them ourselves.

    • JLily

      I’ve gone to several weddings where the parents have helped to get the word out that the couple has all the things / has no space / is moving soon /etc and would really appreciate cash rather than gifts. Depending on your situation, maybe just do that plus a small registry for people that want to give you something tangible?

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        That may be the way to go. I imagine we’ll set up a small registry, because I think it’s actually kind of polite to provide one for the guests who need one to work from, but will intentionally keep it small so people are passively funneled into money gifts.

        • Rebekah

          yes, this works!

    • Rebekah

      The people who want to give you money will give it, and gripers will gripe about anything! We did a blend of Amazon registry and Honeyfund. We weren’t going to do a registry, but SO MANY of our family and friends asked that we decided to throw some things on there (about 20 items) we wanted (or wanted to upgrade). We also have a house already, a le Creuset dutch oven (and a cast iron one), cast iron pots/pans and nice knives. We got some nice coordinating stuff from the registry, like KitchenAid stand mixer, kettle, cuisinart toaster oven, and le creuset french press (all red). Everything on our registry was purchased, I was astonished. Only 3 people used the Honeyfund account, but we got lots of unexpected cash and checks. I would advise you to register for some things, because most of the things that people gave us off the registry will be re-gifted :)
      Outdoor string lights, patio umbrella, patio furniture, etc…you always need something with a house!
      And when your registry is all bought up, people will be happy to contribute towards a new toilet. And I’d say don’t register for home project fund at all, because people will either give you money or they won’t. Set up your own fund and put the checks in there.

  • Zola does a really nice job of injecting personalization into the registry – i.e., each item can have a personal note (from the coupe) attached, explaining what that item means. IT’S LOVELY.

    Secondly. Spices should always be on a registry. Like, nice high quality ones from Penzey’s or somesuch. Spices go stale every ~year or so, so even couples that live together need them.

    Is it weird to spend your whole life purposefully not buying a Le Creuset French Oven, so you can get one as a gift for your wedding? Yes. So there must be a better way to go about doing that…

    • lizzers

      Yes to Penzey’s!! My fiance just added the Penzey’s “wedding” gift box to our registry (yes, I cringed that it was branded that way as I assume that allows them to mark it up further, but I do think this makes certain family members more inclined to purchase said gift box).

      Other than that, the gift I am most excited about is our new vacuum. It’s one of the two gifts we’ve opened pre-wedding to use immediately. That and the Amazon echo, which has been surprisingly useful.

    • Jane

      I don’t pine for a Le Creuset oven the way you seem to, but I agonized about whether to get a stand mixer when I knew I was getting engaged soon and when I was first engaged. But then my mom found one at a ridiculous discount and got it for me for my birthday and I just love it so much. I mostly use it for treats, but am excited to start tackling breads. I do not regret already having it. Now I can register for sweet attachments (which will be in people’s price ranges).

      So – I couldn’t tell if you’re still waiting on the oven or describing how you used to wait for it, but, if you’re wanting it so much and “purposefully not buying it,” maybe just buy it? And you’ll find other awesome things to register for?

      Another reason I’m glad I already have my mixer is that my FH would never get one and has no real need for one. Doesn’t like to make baked goods and doesn’t like to eat them. So I didn’t want to have this super expensive registry item that was really really just for me. Not sure if you’re in a similar situation with your oven.

      • GotMarried!

        I got my stand mixer when I graduated law school and love it! i did register for and receive attachments for it. WIN for price-range strategy!

      • My parents bought the French oven as a wedding gift…have sneakily been using it prior to the wedding for ~4 months ;)

    • Same page! I have been wanting a Le Creuset for years and always thought, “I can’t justify the purchase now, but come wedding time, that is definitely going on the registry.” My fiancé says, Why not just buy a cheaper dutch oven? I say, I’m holding out for the best one.

      • ART

        It’s worth it :) I got a large one for a graduation gift years ago, and use it sometimes, but we put a 2 quart on our registry and got it, and we use it ALL THE TIME because it’s actually the right size for dinner for two and it’s not very heavy…it’s just slightly more usable in our regular rotation. I had turned my nose up at the smaller sizes, but no more!

  • AP

    I followed the advice of ‘register for less stuff and only the things you definitely know you want/need, and let people give you cash if they don’t like the registry options’ and I’m so glad I did! We really didn’t end up with a ton of stuff we don’t use, and we were able to use the cash to buy the things on our registry that no one bought.

    We only registered at Amazon. Got a little push back from less internet-inclined family, but then they just gave us cash. Which is exactly what we hoped would happen. We don’t have great options of physical stores nearby, and I feel like BB&B is very highly priced compared to other stores.

    We mostly went with kitchen stuff. My husband snuck some electronics and things onto the list, including an older model Roomba. Never in a million years would I have guessed that someone would buy it, but they did! We love it and use it every week. That was the highest-ticket item we registered for.

    The only thing people gave us that we didn’t register for was a glider for our porch, but they asked us first and got our ok before buying it, which I appreciated. Then there were a bunch of throw blankets for some reason, which I’m meh about. I kept them, but they didn’t wash well (polyester or something that kind of melted and got scratchy in the dryer.) I’ll probably end up donating them.

    I wish I had put more “decor” stuff on our registry- vases, artwork, frames, etc. I love having things sitting out that remind me of the person who gave it to us. Plus I’m less likely to buy decorative stuff for myself, whereas I can justify buying kitchen stuff because it’s something I’ll “get more use out of.”

    • Eenie

      BB&B is overpriced because you should always use the 20% off coupons there!!!!! THEY DO NOT EXPIRE. The coupon will have an expiration date, but the cashier will still accept it.

      • AP

        I did not know that!! I always have coupons, but they always expire:)

        • Eenie

          It’s actually one of the reasons we registered at BB&B – I knew everyone could use their 20% off coupons. They’ve started doing a thing where they have like $10 off $30 by x date, otherwise $5 off $30 so it encourages you to use it earlier. I have a huge stack of 20% off coupons, and if I forget to bring one you have 30 days to go back with the coupon and they will apply it to your previous purchase.

          • Lisa

            Some of our friends registered at BB&B, returned all of the presents they got, and bought them back with the wedding discount and their 20% off coupons so they got a huge gift card. They used it to complete their plate sets and get other items off their registry.

          • AP

            This is like registry-hacking. I love it:)

          • emmers

            I did this a little! Mainly if I was exchanging something, I’d always use a coupon. My husband thought it was hilarious, but it gave us more stuff!

          • Sarah McClelland

            Same here! We took back stuff and got our mixer on mega-sale PLUS like, 3 place settings for way less.

        • Kat

          We got one of those 20% off your ENTIRE PURCHASE coupons about the time we moved into our new place, and between that and gift cards from various family members, we managed to get all the textiles for the whole house (curtains, place-mats, comforter sets, towels, etc) for like….$30 out of our own pocket. It was awesome.

  • Abbey

    I actually want a lot of the things that are traditional registry items, but I have a lot of guilt and weird feelings about them. Like, we have a set of dishes right now that my parents actually got for their wedding that are perfectly good but *very* 1981, so I’m excited to register for some that we actually think are pretty. But I also feel guilty because there are a ton of sets of china floating around the family so we don’t really NEED them.

    Also I like to cook and bake, so I’ve been looking forward to getting a Kitchen Aid for YEARS (like, joking that it’s the only reason I want to get married), but it’s a little weird to me that I get to ask for this expensive thing that is basically a hobby item because the hobby happens to be homemaking-related.

    We’ve thought about asking for camping stuff, but we don’t camp right now (because we don’t have the stuff), and I’m concerned about being sure that we actually use the stuff we ask for.

    I would love to register for some nice art prints, because that’s a luxury we can’t really justify right now, but I’m not sure if that would go over well with my people.

    • Lisa

      Camping stuff: you could just register for basics like a tent, sleeping bags, a camp stove, and a mess kit and then go from there. Camp chairs would also be useful and versatile. (Not just for camping, but for backyard barbecues, tailgates, etc.) I’ve found REI consultants to be SUPER helpful and not interested in overselling you on stuff you don’t need. They might be able to help you get started.

      • Kara

        REI for the win! Yes, they have great, quality travel items too–like carryons, duffel bags, etc.
        There’s also travel organization pieces that are helpful.

        We had a family friend give us a $200 gift card to REI. We couldn’t decide what to get with it, so we waited. We waited 6 years before we decided to get a Yeti cooler. It was worth the wait.

      • Jess

        Agreed on REI consultants. They always seem to be most focused on getting exactly the right stuff for you, rather than the list of stuff they try to sell everyone.

        • Lisa

          My favorite was, when we went to buy our backpacking gear, our consultant acknowledged he was a chronic over-packer so he brought in a woman who believes in ultra-lightweight backpacking to balance him out. We talked several items over with both of them to get their unique perspectives and chose from there. I have had nothing but amazing experiences at REI.

      • Greta

        We registered for more stuff from REI than from anywhere else, but we are outdoor enthusiasts. Their registry is great though, and I highly recommend if you’re interested in going camping you start with just the basics. Once you go a few times and see if you like it, then you’ll be able to expand on that collection slowly over time. Also, I love most REI-brand items. They are just as good quality and more affordable than other brands.

        Some essentials for you: Sleeping bags (hard to camp without them!) but I also think they’re great things to have, and can last a long long time. A basic tent (you can get super duper cheap ones at places like Target/Cabellas, or go for a basic REI tent). Headlamps (These are totally clutch for camping, there’s a wide variety of price points, and bonus, they are also great for reading at night in bed, fixing issues in dark places in your home, or when the power goes out!) A jetboil/super basic stove – if you want to incorporate hot food.

        Other things:
        Someone else mentioned camp chairs – we use ours in the back yard, at picnics, as well as camping. And they have a ton of different kinds! Same with a cooler – we use our cooler more for house parties than we do for camping, it’s pretty great!

        REI FTW!

    • Amy March

      Let’s be honest- registries are never about need. People want to fulfill wants! That’s why student loan payment registries haven’t really caught on

      • Lisa

        Now there’s a market for someone to tap into! ;)

        I’d like to see that expand to also include baby college fund registries for baby showers and children’s birthday parties.

      • GotMarried!

        I agree 100% – gifting/registries are about wants, not needs.

        BUT – an alternate view – I married into a family that disagrees with this. They want to give you something you need, and presume that you do have unfulfilled needs – For a dual income professional household in our mid 30’s this is not the case for Husband and I. We have already worked in our fields for a decade, paid off school, and buy what we need when we need it.

        Husband and I have finally agreed to disagree; but there are folks/cultures out there where the china and various other entertaining items I wanted (and received from my side of the family) are seen as frivolous.

    • Jane

      I would love to buy someone art off a registry (if I could afford it). I’ve seen that on people’s registries too and it has never struck me as weird. Unless you know someone’s taste really well, it’s so hard to guess which pieces of art she’d like. And you guys will, hopefully have it up in your house for years and years

      So – way better to do it in a registry than just have a guest pick something.

    • Eh

      I was given a set of China from my grandmother (who passed away before I was born) shortly after my wedding. I love the sentimentalness but it’s not my style. The pattern is very of its time. I registered (not knowing I was getting the China set) for China that was white.

  • Ashley Worobec

    This is what I put on our website:

    “We truly desire nothing more than to be married withour closest friends and family present. We have considered a registry to hold with tradition, but both decided that it doesn’t align with our beliefs or lifestyle. We look forward to creating memories over adding another appliance to our collection.

    If you must give beyond what you’ve already given (plane tickets, car rentals, vacation time, and more), feel free to sneak some cash into the reception which we will use on our next little adventure: Costa Rica.”

    Most guests ended up giving cash in cards, with only one actual gift (which was handmade pottery from a friend). We really appreciated it, especially since we weren’t expecting anything, and happily used it to pay for some guilt-free honeymoon splurges! I was actually shocked we didn’t get more random gifts considering our traditional midwestern families, and how everyone says it’s inevitable!

  • Mary Jo TC

    Favorite items we still use a lot 6 years later: set of good kitchen knives, glass mixing bowls, pots and pans, bed sheets, luxurious towels
    Favorite items even though I don’t use it a lot: Kitchenaid mixer, decorative crystal bowls and vases, wine glasses, photo frames
    Sitting in the garage unused: soup tureen we didn’t register for, odd decorative items my thrifty aunts probably bought at yard sales
    Least favorite thing about registering: pushy salespeople. I also wish that it were possible to buy silverware and plates independent of place settings. I started with 12 sets of silverware, but I think I’m down to 7 teaspoons. I’d like to be able to just replace the teaspoons without buying more knives and forks, etc.
    When I’m a guest, I pick a price point and look for a gift on the registry that looks nice, fun, or useful in that price point. The one time I went off registry was to buy a monogrammed glass pitcher for my friend who’s from Mississippi and loves to serve sweet tea. She’d raved over the same thing when she saw it at my shower.

    • Eenie

      Yes! We need another six forks so that our dishwasher cycle meets our fork usage. We half fixed this issue by adding in four forks that are my husbands favorite (but ugly and I hate the with a fiery passion) that helps get us through to the next cycle. We even bought 16 sets!!

    • Jess

      Check to see if replacements.com have your silverware pattern! My parents bought more spoons recently because they kept disappearing.

      • Mary Jo TC

        OMG thanks for this tip! They have both my silverware and my china! Now I know what I’m asking for for Christmas!

        • Jess

          You bet! :) My parents used it to complete a set of china I got at a garage sale for our wedding. They do an amazing job of packing everything for shipping!

      • Lisa

        This web-site is so cool! We have 8 settings of my husband’s godmother’s godmother’s flatware, and the pattern’s been discontinued. I’d like to get some extras for the future or at least get us up to 12 settings.

        • Jess

          That’s exactly what my parents did for our wedding! They completed my 7-place china set to 12!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Another thumbs-up for replacements.com

        I had an inherited china set, and we got almost all the gaps filled in with replacements.com – from people who aren’t big internet shoppers.

        Also, once you know your pattern details, try eBay and e t s y.

  • Emily

    My fiance and I are in the “we’ve been living together for years” camp, and are very picky about what we like. Plus, we tend to error on the side of less is more. So we were absolutely thrilled when we discovered EnvelopeRegistry.com. It lets you register for events and ideas, rather than specifics, so people can send us cash without feeling like they only sent us cash (which is what we actually need and want). And it’s super cute to boot! We have a traditional Amazon registry for little things (I’m looking at you Cuisinart dutch oven), but it’s mostly Envelope stuff.

  • Emily

    My fiance and I are in the “we’ve been living together for years” camp, and so we don’t need anything material. We like to thrift, and error on the side of less is more, and we just don’t need extra stuff. So we were so thrilled to discover EnvelopeRegistry.com. It’s perfect for us as it let’s you register for events and ideas and people send you cash for those things. I feel like it’s a happy medium between the love ones who want to celebrate our marriage by sending us things, and our picky taste and desire for less stuff :)

  • clarkesara

    We are doing the honeymoon registry thing — via Zola.com so that we can add a few physical items we’ll need for our trip — because, yes, we are grown adults who’ve been on our own for ~20 years, and we already live together. We considered the “upgrade” philosophy, but honestly, being in our mid/late 30s, we already have upgraded. We have matching dishes, “the good china”, a full set of pots and then some, good knives, and, yes, a le creuset dutch oven. We have not been to Japan.

    Here’s my question, though. We have 40 people on the guest list (including kids), and many of our guests will be traveling long-distance, contributing meaningfully to our wedding, or both. How much should we actually register for? Right now we’ve got six “experience” gifts related to things we’d like to do in Japan.

    • Eenie

      That seems like enough. If people still really want to give they will give cash.

  • a few

    wedding gifts we actually still use 4 years later: towels, sheets, dishes, pots and pans, wine glasses, shop vac and grilling tools set (best man-registry items ever!) .

    • Ashlah

      Oh yeah, shop vac! We love our Roomba, but it can’t quite get into every corner, so we go through the house occasionally with the shop vac to get the remaining dust bunnies. Useful for lots of other things too, of course.

      • AP

        It has never occurred to me to use the shop vac for the places roomba can’t reach…or indoors at all, for that matter. GREAT suggestion!

  • Sarah McClelland

    We were starting out/upgrading in a big way… Neither of us had lived on our own for long, and all of our kitchen stuff was hand-me-downs, minus the few things I’d purchased for myself.

    I loved being able to edit the registry after we went scanner-happy in the store(Target and BBB).
    I didn’t love the fact that duplicates(even 4 of the same thing! When we asked for one!) came anyway- there has to be a better answer to checking off when something is purchased…
    I didn’t like the pressure to have x number of items in each price range, or x number of total items. Or the fact that bedroom and bathroom things take a back seat to all the kitchen gadgets. Those sheets I would never buy for myself are SO worth it! And fluffy towels. God love whoever invented the bath sheet.

    Favorites other than sheets and towels? Our dishes. We got these, in 3 colors(blue, raspberry and apple- now discontinued): https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/noritake-reg-colorwave-rim-dinnerware-collection-in-blue/118669?Keyword=noritake+colorwave

    And things I love and use everyday: our knives(wusthof block), the Silpat, and the cast iron skillet. Plus the crazy shower curtain and the squishy mat in front of the sink that the lady looked at me funny for choosing… h-e-a-v-e-n.

    • Jess

      We got Noritake dishes too, but we haven’t taken them out of the packaging yet! (we just got married about a month ago)

      I’m so glad you love using them because I’m half worried they won’t be as amazing as I want them to be!

      • anachronismsarah

        It’s a full-on romance over here between me and these dishes. Not as heavy as Fiestaware, super durable, and the colors are great! Plus oven-to-microwave-to-table and it’s all good… We’ve been daily users for almost 2 years, and only one broken coffee mug and one chipped plate.

        SAVE THE PACKAGING. If you know you will have to move, even the boxes are great because it all nestles so nicely!

  • Kilodeuce

    I didn’t specifically say ‘no monogram’s or ‘no things with last initial’ but I had spread the word to friends and family that I wasn’t changing my name, but it still received items that weren’t on our list that were monogrammed (mostly picture frames, which you aren’t going to stop people from giving). We did crate and barrel and Thankful registry. I LOVED thankful but maybe only two people got things from there, but I wanted the discount options that CB gives after your wedding. We also upgraded our college stuff so it was nice to have better quality things. I registered for some non traditional things as well such as art for our new house but most people stuck with kitchen items. If I had to do it over I would stick to the kitchen essentials and not the random kitchen things that I stuck on there in a frenzy of ‘do I have enough cheap items on there for friends who might not be able to afford something more expensive’ and would instead of tried to find more meaningful items at a lesser price point. Also some friends went in on All Clad set and I use it every day! One of the best gifts we got – would be nice if CB could do a partial gift option so folks who don’t know each other can collaborate. All in all, I loved the registry process but it was definitely overwhelming to feel like I was getting a good range of items at different price points and meaning!

    • Lisa

      We only got one Mr. & Mrs. item (a picture frame), a situation for which I’m very grateful! I was worried we were going to end up with monogrammed items with “our” last initial, which would have irritated me to no end.

  • sparagmos

    We’re a year into marriage, and I have THOUGHTS about registries. Mostly, that they are great.

    We were moving in together for the first time after the wedding, so we wanted a lot of the basics (dishware, pots, pans, silverware, towels, sheets, etc.). We’re still using all of that. Some of the stuff we thought we wanted, we haven’t used very much. Some of the stuff we weren’t sure if we wanted, we’ve used a ton. I highly regret registering for the china. We got every bit of china we asked for, obviously, and I feel like everyone could have spent their money and we could be using our space in a more efficient manner.

    Things we weren’t sure about but can’t stop using:
    1. Teapot (I barely ever drank tea before I was married, and now I’m drinking it all. the. time.
    2. Food processor (apparently before I was just avoiding recipes that required a food processor. So helpful!)
    3. KNIVES. We actually bought knives with the money returning some of the duplicates and extras people got us, and we got a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife. The chef’s and paring have gotten ample use in our tiny kitchen. The bread knife has yet to be opened, whoops.

    One of the best things we did with the registry was do it completely online. This meant we registered at BB&B, but we did want to make sure we had things in every price point and something that was easily accessible for all our guests all over the country with brick-and-mortar stores for the old-fashioned among them. We did the whole registry over a few evenings at home, just us in front of a computer, which was magic for a pair of introverts. We were able to compare products and look at reviews before making any decisions. And BB&B has a great return policy, which meant we were able to return the stuff we were less than impressed with and replace it with stuff we could actually use.

    I love registries as a thing (I’m terrible at gift-giving, and I want to know what my friends and family actually want), but we did get one off-registry gift that we’ll treasure forever. Two friends from high school got us an engraved marriage certificate holder. It’s beautiful, doesn’t take up a lot of space, and serves a purpose. Otherwise, the marriage certificate would just be in a drawer somewhere. I’m forever grateful to the couple that got it for us.

    (By the way, two-year lurker, first time poster here. Hi, APW! Thank you for being a safe sane space!)

    • Lisa

      One of my favorite off-registry gifts we got is an ornament made from a copy of our wedding invitation. My friend cut the invitation into strips, curled it, and added those curls and ones made from wedding-colored paper into a glass ball. She tied a ribbon on top and put a little heart that says “Our First Christmas” on it. I think of her each year that we’ve put it on the tree!

    • Giselle

      A thousand times yes to good knives. We registered for a few that we picked out, and then my husband’s uncle called to ask if he could buy us a FULL set of EVEN NICER knives. Yesplsandthankyou. But we’d have been thrilled with the ones we registered for. Basics: Chef’s knife, paring knife (nice to have two of these), a bread knife if you eat bread, and some decent cutting boards too (protect the longevity of your new nice knives).

    • Maggie Dragon

      Food processors! We just received a combination food processor/blender (two appliances! One footprint!) and it has been amazing. I keep telling my husband “I will never have to shred mozzarella cheese again! Holy crap, I can make my own potato chips! Brussel sprout hash with bacon!”

  • Jessica

    I like a lot of the stuff we got from the registry, but honestly the most useful thing to us was cash and giftcards.

    BACKSTORY
    We found out about 2 months before the wedding that my husband would be deployed roughly 30 days after the wedding. We told family, but not a lot of friends or extended family (good choice, my husband said that the people who knew made him feel like the wedding was a going-away party, but chilling with all the people who didn’t know yet was awesome). ANYWAY, we ended up getting him a lot of stuff to make life a little better while he was deployed, including a GoPro and a bunch of new underwear (cotton does not hold up to sand very well). Not really stuff you want to register for, but using wedding cash made it easier on our budget and helped us splurge on the slightly nicer things.

    Later, I also had the realization that I’m never going to use a juicer and wondered why the hell I registered for a fondue pot? With cash, I have to actually face those realities instead of just pointing a gun and beeping a ISBN code.

    • NotMotherTheresa

      I LOVED the gift cards! The cash was almost too fungible, so it pretty much all went to bills, which was a little depressing. Useful, but depressing.
      On the other hand, it’s not like we could pay the electric bill with a Pier 1 gift card, so that all got to go to fun stuff! Better yet, since we didn’t have to worry about things selling out like we did when we made our registry, we were able to buy fun things that were on sale! The $200 we got in gift cards have bought a lotttttt of stuff!

  • JC

    This doesn’t work for everyone, but in my family, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for money/gift cards as gifts, as long as it is clear what that money is intended for. My cousin and her now husband each owned their own homes, so they were combining entire households. They did register for some traditional stuff for the kitchen, as well as treats for their honeymoon, but they also asked for Home Depot gift cards as a “catch-all.” They ended up getting enough gift card money to buy a new washer or dryer and to put sod down for their entire yard.

    • NotMotherTheresa

      Another way of “hinting” at the need for money or gift cards is to have a couple of really big items on your registry (such as a washer and dryer, or a new living room suite)! That way, even without saying anything, people can plainly see that there’s a specific thing their money is likely to go towards. We used our Amazon registry for this, and a lot of people seemed to get the hint.

    • Eh

      This isn’t registry related, but gift giving related. My inlaws prefer to give physical gifts but also want to give use things we want/need. It’s hard for us to think of things (for me and my husband) that we want/need that would be reasonable to ask for as gifts. It was causing me stress so we discussed it and agreed to tell them 1. We will be happy with anything they get us, and 2. We are planning on some renovations to our house and gift cards to Home Depot would be appreciated. This gives them the option to get us a physical gift or to know that the gift card will be used for something bigger (we told them the two main projects). They have been annoyed in the past when we have suggested gift cards for books or music because they would just rather buy us the books or music. We explained that we buy what we want when it comes out so they would be contributing towards future new releases but they didn’t feel comfortable with that.

      • JC

        This is very similar to my boyfriend’s family, which doesn’t give money or gift cards at all. Sometimes it’s easy to work around– ask for the new ASOIAF book just before it comes out, and expect to receive it for Christmas. Other times it baffles me, like the time my bf’s dad’s birthday present was an expensive round of golf at a fancy club with his sons, and I offered to pay for his lunch at the clubhouse afterwards. This seems like a really great gift, in my mind, because it’s related to his special day with his boys, all wrapped up into one. Under no uncertain terms was I to do this– it was just giving money, which they don’t do. It’s hard because gift-giving can be so emotionally fraught!

        • Eh

          My MIL shows love though giving physical gifts. Not giving her a list of items she thinks are gift worthy is like denying her love. My MIL is also a hoarder so she doesn’t get why we don’t want physical things. Even book and music we by a lot of digital stuff (we do buy some physical books). Theoretically we could save up books/music we want so she would have something to give us at Christmas but that sounds like more work considering they aren’t very expensive.

          • JC

            This all makes so much sense, and there are so many layers here, I can definitely sympathize. I once told my mom that if I told her what I wanted for my birthday, it wouldn’t be a surprise when I got it. What I’m saying is, I’m not one to do that kind of work either!

          • Eh

            Oh yes – so many layers (including difficult relationship between my husband and his parents)!

            As a teenager my mom always asked us for lists of what we wanted for Christmas. She gave us lots of things off that list. My mom passed away and my dad had to buy all of our gifts (birthday/Christmas). He refuses lists or suggestions. He gives us thoughtful things that we might not have even thought of. And I realize how anxiety provoking giving a list was when I was a teenager. Coming up with the list was stressful. I had high anticipation for getting what I wanted and then was upset when I didn’t get something I really wanted.

          • Lisa

            Oooh, lists are big in my family. Both of my parents grew up poor in large families so their parents weren’t going to waste money on something there was a chance the kid wouldn’t like. My dad and his siblings talk about going through the toy catalogue, knowing exactly how much money would be spent on them, and circling the items they wanted that got them up to the total amount. My mother now buys us some surprise items, but she also always asks for a list of things we really want/need to make sure we’re getting items we’ll use.

  • Kelly

    We did a Williams Sonoma and Honeyfund, which was our preferred registry. Husband loves to cook so he’d been receiving/buying kitchen appliances for every gift giving occasion since we were dating and living together.

  • Maggie Dragon

    So…we have been married less than three weeks at this point, so my experiences don’t have the test of time. But for someone who cooks (well and often): knife sharpener. The nicest knives in the world are useless if you don’t keep them sharp. We also got a blender/food processor combination which had been routinely blowing my mind. I love that it really doesn’t take up any more space than just a blender and being able to pulverize almonds, shred mozzarella cheese for pizza and thinly slice potatoes for potato chips is AMAZING. But I think what’s most important is that it varies per couple. We drink a lot of wine— so the single bottle sized tabletop wine chiller makes sense for us (and gets used!) But for someone else? It would be a total waste.

    • Lexipedia

      Electric knife sharpener? Or a manual one?

      • Danielle

        We personally have a manual knife sharpener and it works just fine. It’s prob kinda cheap but could be a good option for your guests on a budget (something we tried to do was to populate our registry with items across the price spectrum, so it would work for people with different budgets).

      • Lisa

        We got a manual one with dials on it to make the correct angles for different types of knives. I’m not seeing the specific one we bought from C&B on their web-site now, but I’m sure you could find something similar at most home goods stores.

      • Maggie Dragon

        Manual. This one, actually: https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/zwilling-reg-j-a-henckels-4-stage-manual-knife-sharpener-in-red-black/1043255504?

        It’s really simple and works well, but the sound of the knives going through the sharpening bit really sets my teeth on edge.

    • Danielle

      My husband sharpens our knives, and I love him so much for that <3

      (I am too lazy to ever do it.)

  • NotMotherTheresa

    So in some ways, I’m probably the wrong person to ask, since I’m only a month out from my wedding and therefore haven’t exactly had time to see which wedding gifts will still be loved in ten years or anything, but so far, my favorites are the decor items I registered for. I intentionally focused my registry efforts in that direction, because I love having a nicely decorated house, but I also know that my husband and I are too practical to buy ourselves $50 candlesticks or $200 pieces of pottery.
    I had a small registry at a regional department store chain for my relatives who wanted a brick and mortar place to buy gifts from, but my main registry was with Amazon. I loved it because it was a perfect way to register for odds and ends from different places–I’m the queen of loving two things from each store, so it let me register for the Pottery Barn candlesticks AND the Target throw pillows AND the Tiffany glasses without having to have twenty different registries that each contained five items.
    The main thing I hated was that there was no good way to register for a general type of item (e.g. pewter picture frames, wicker baskets). I mean, obviously the nice thing about registries is that they DO allow you to be specific and ask for a certain toaster and a certain blender, but sometimes, you don’t need specific. You just need silver picture frames. Any silver picture frames. I constantly found myself wishing I could somehow put an asterisk next to items saying “I don’t need this exact item, just something like it. Feel free to give me the version of this that you’ve had laying in your basement for the last ten years!” As someone who’s obsessed with both bargain hunting and reducing environmental waste, it sort of killed me to have to register for specific crystal vases or candlesticks when I knew full and well that there were very similar items available at garage sales for $20 or sitting in guests attics.

    • Ashlah

      We use our wedding registry (two years later) as our joint Christmas wishlist, and I also use an Amazon wishlist for myself–and I agree, sometimes I just want to request something generic! I haven’t figured out the best way to deal with this.

      • NotMotherTheresa

        Yesss!!!! We’re using our registry leftovers as our joint Christmas list this year, too! I’m pretty stoked about having a nice, handy list of mutually beneficial gifts that we can get one another for the next year to two!

        • Eh

          People bought use stuff off our registry for Christmas the year we were married. Then, we used our gift cards and cash gifts to buy the rest of the stuff when we moved into our house (the January after we were married).

    • Eenie

      You can do this with Amazon! At least with wish lists. On mobile there is a line at the top where you can add something like “picture frames” or “tops from Kohl’s”.

  • MTM

    I got a cake decorating kit (something I never would have bought myself but use it all the time). Similar to this, but the version I got has more: http://www.target.com/p/wilton-48-piece-decorator-preferred-cake-decorating-set/-/A-17090405?lnk=abtest_searchpdp_1

  • Mandi P

    We LOVE the Vitamix we got through our registry, and we use it all the time. We chose Fiestaware dishes that we use daily, too. And… yes, I think about the friends who sent those to us.
    We wish we would have asked for more sheet sets for our bedroom. We didn’t really need a new sheet set for the guest room, but we got one just because. Hello – we use our bedroom WAY more often than we have guests spend the night! :)
    And the gifts of time and talent that friends & family gave before/during/after the wedding are still so meaningful! We appreciate our friends and family so much for helping us start this chapter of our lives with such loving support.

    • Lisa

      In retrospect, I wish we had put a bunch of nice sheets and pillows on our registry. My mom ended up buying us some for our first anniversary, and they are the best. I would have liked having more!

      • Eh

        Part of the reason making a Christmas wish list for my in-laws was so stressful is that they didn’t like anything that we put on the list. We put a set of nice sheets on our list a couple years ago and were told that was too mundane. I love being curled up in my bed, relaxing, reading a book. It’s like people who like baths: Would you get them bath bombs (or what ever they like to soak with) as a gift?

        • Lisa

          Ugh, that’s so irritating! My ILs also like to give “fun” presents, whereas I really prefer practical gifts that make my everyday life better. I’m guessing your ILs think of bath bombs and lotions as a “fun” luxury, but fancy sheets are a boring luxury. Is any luxury item really boring?

          • Eh

            They don’t see sheets as a fun thing. They are fine with buying me a fancy pot because I love to cook and they can see cooking as fun. They can understand how someone would find baths ‘fun’. Even something that is practical like a drill is ok to give as a gift because men need power tools. But sleeping is mundane to them. Most nights my MIL falls a asleep on the couch watching TV.

          • MTM

            I think I’m okay with not thinking about my in-laws while in bed…maybe that’s just me :)

          • Eh

            Haha I get that too. I can set that aside though. My one grandmother made our quilt and another gave us our duvet. I love both the duvet and quilt (part of my luxurious bedding). Oh and we used the money my parents gave us to buy our bed. And neither my husband or I have issues with who gave us them while in bed.

        • NotMotherTheresa

          Ugh, I went through that with my stepfather! He asked what I wanted for our wedding, so I directed him to our registry. He said nothing on the registry was “special” enough, so he wanted to know what else I wanted. I gave him a few more suggestions. None of them were what he wanted to give, either. I finally gave up.

          • Eh

            My in-laws got us towels off our registry because they wanted to get us something we would use every day. But apparently the standard for Christmas is the gift has to be “special”. Two years ago they didn’t like anything on our first list so asked for another one. I was furious but my husband wanted to appease them so we gave them another list. At Christmas (and in the two years since) I have been repeatedly told that I am difficult to buy for and that sheets (or window coverings or folding chairs for when we entertain) are too mundane.

            Last Christmas I asked for a stir fry pan and I got it (another year they got me a saute pan which I also asked for). I also asked for a stain glass ornament for our kitchen window (gave some guidelines on design and colour) and they gave me one for my birthday. To me, finding the stain glass ornament is something that would be hard. It’s picking out art for someone else which is always tricky. I like what they got and it matches what I asked for.

    • Greta

      Plus one to high quality high threadcount sheets! They were so expensive that I never saw the point in spending the money but a friend recommended it, and OMG they are so soft and wonderful. I get so happy every time I climb into bed with those sheets. Best registry gift ever!

  • Rose

    As far as favorites, mine are a tie between our dishes (Fiestaware! In four colors! it always makes me so happy!) and our knives. We had a smallish set of ok dishes, and so-so knives. Upgrading both of those has been amazing. Nobody bought us the knives (I think people maybe don’t like giving them as gifts?), but we used some of our cash and have been so happy. We also registered for a nice down comforter and comforter cover, which are wonderful. Oh, and the kinda impractical one that I just couldn’t resist was the cake stand–cramming it into the cupboard is tricky, but oh how I love having one. This is kind of vague advice, but I guess what I can say is to register for the things that just make you happy to think about having. I think that helps make your registry feel more fun to your guests, too, because they know you, so they’ll know if you love baking cakes and that you’ll really enjoy that cake stand.

  • Rebecca

    Suitcases. We’re asking for no gifts, but have some people that will give us something regardless, but we tend to just buy what we need when we need it. But about two days ago, thinking about our honeymoon, I realised we’re still using old inherited suitcases whose zips are stiff and which don’t fit into international carry on, but we don’t travel THAT much so it isn’t something we could justify right now. Plus we’ll keep using them for ages!

  • Zach

    We didn’t register for it and almost returned it, but a picnic backpack from Target has been one of our most-used wedding gifts! We use it every time we go on a picnic (i.e., take the kids to the park for dinner or go to our favorite local farm that serves its own pizza on summer Friday nights), and fee very eco-friendly and also generally awesome next to people who are using paper ware. This is the exact one we have and it is terrific. http://www.hayneedle.com/product/hamptonsbackpackwithpicnicblanketfor2.cfm?redirect=false&source=pla&kwid=picnictables%20high&tid=PAA129-1&adtype=pla&kw=&gclid=Cj0KEQjwqMHABRDVl6_hqKGDyNIBEiQAN-O9hMwA3X1k7_eRhhZPojO7queiHLhXgf2ChV6aKfukkA0aAg8Z8P8HAQ

    Other highly-appreciated items 6 years later that actually were on our registry (we registered at Amazon, BB&B, and REI):
    –electric toothbrushes
    –shredder
    –nice tent (though we registered for a 4 person tent for 2 ppl + a dog, and 5 years later, we now are 4 people + a dog, and we definitely need a bigger tent)
    –camping cookware and cookstove
    –car GPS (are we the only people who still use these things? we love ours).
    –silicone baking sheets
    –set of pots and pans (we got 2, neither the high quality ones for which we registered but fine for us. A friend’s aunt had won one at a casino!)
    –silverware (basic set from BB&B, but they all match! and we ended up returning some other stuff and buying a 2nd set of silverware from BB&B so we could start keeping kosher after being gifted 2 sets of pots and pans ).
    –spice rack and spices
    –nice rice cooker
    –KitchenAid. Doesn’t get enough use but SO useful when we do bake.
    We didn’t register for any decor items because we were living in a 1 bedroom apt when we got married, and even some of our kitchen stuff stayed in storage until we landed in a house 2 years later.

    Other things not on our registry that we have appreciated?
    — Judaica! a challah plate and several challah covers. We think of our friends whenever we celebrate Shabbat.
    –Carved birds from my wife’s uncle. He is wealthy and I expected a nice check. We didn’t get any money from him at all, but instead gave us 2 rustic and beautiful vintage-style hand-carved birds that I appreciate more and more as time goes by.

  • Penny7b

    We live in a very small apartment with a very small kitchen, so had to be quite strict with our registry (a situation I’m sure a lot of newlyweds are n these days). My in-laws desperately wanted to give us a thermomix (bless them), until I firmly pointed out that we have so little kitchen storage space that we’d have to get rid of either the toaster or the kettle to make room for it.

    I wish we’d asked for more decorative items. We used the registry to upgrade a few household things we already had (thank you dyson vacuum cleaner). But I feel like it was a missed opportunity to to ask for pretty things that would remind us of the giver for longer (eventually that vacuum cleaner will wear out or become obsolete, but a nice throw rug or vase is more likely to last). I especially wished we’d asked for nice picture frames to put our wedding pictures in, since I rather like having one or two up in the apartment and another on my desk at work.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    We celebrate our 4-year anniversary in a few weeks, as background. Super-specific things:

    I really wish the full-size sheets were all different colors from the twin-size sheets. When we registered, I didn’t expect us to have 2 beds so soon.

    Also, table linen patterns expire just like china and flatware patterns. Now I have 14 dinner napkins and only 1 matching tablecloth I’m afraid to use if I’m serving red wine.

  • Caroline

    Honestly, my fave thing we registered for is fine china. We use it every week for shabbat, and when we have holidays. I liked that we used sokind and it let us put blurbs about why we wanted stuff, and also do homemade stuff. We registered for blankets, homemade or otherwise, and ‘2-3 beautiful serving platters, you pick them out’. We got TWO homemade quilts, which are gorgeous. (Funnily enough, they’re the same color palate too, both in our wedding colors). And several great serving platters. Oh, and our crockpot was a fave. We use the heck out of it.

    We already had a lot of basics, like great pots and pans and knives. We didn’t register for wine glasses but got heirloom crystal as a gift.

    • Caroline

      Oh my goodness, I forgot. Also, our silver shabbat candlesticks. They were our ‘yes, this is absurdly expensive, but we really want them, so we’ll put one wild, out there gift on the registry’. My mom complained that they were far too expensive and it was rude to ask for them. And then she gave them to me as a bridal shower gift. We use them every single week, and they’re gorgeous and will become family heirlooms.

  • Mrrpaderp

    Super late to the party here, but we’re in the registry-making process now. One thing that’s weighed on us is that we’re worried our friends will judge us for asking for expensive, somewhat impractical things. Like, say, that $500 Briggs & Riley suitcase that I’ve been eyeing for about a year, or the $200 Waterford crystal picture frame that I put on the registry because Great Aunt Sue loves getting people Waterford crystal stuff. I wish there were a way to either bury these items at the bottom of the list or filter them out so that only people who WANT to spend an ungodly amount of money can see them. Right now, the crystal frame is the very first thing on my BB&B registry and I can already hear the eyerolls.

    • NotMotherTheresa

      Maybe it’s just because I went to a rich people school, but I’m ALWAYS seeing items like that on registries! I’d honestly never given a bit of thought to it. Like, I’d judge if every item was $200+, but as long there are plenty of cheaper items, I can’t imagine anyone being too shocked by an expensive picture frame or a suitcase.
      Besides, Le Creuset and Vitamix are practically registry staples. How is a $500 suitcase any more outrageous than a $500 blender?

    • Maggie Dragon

      I had the same anxiety about things— my (now) husband kept having to tell me not to worry. I just made sure that there were a range of prices for people to buy what they like. No one said a word to me about the $200 Egyptian cotton sheets, I promise!

    • MTM

      My friends saw those items and grouped together so like 4 people bought 1 item.

    • Amy March

      Do you have awful friends? Prob not. So they’ll be like normal people who get that a registry is for great aunt June as well.

  • Alanna Cartier

    I have to say that I’m pretty traditional, I have registered for China (or really nive french stoneware). But that’s mostly because I freaking love to throw dinner parties. What I really would have loved is a registry where I could register for that lovely stoneware and also more personalized/handmade stuff. I’m in Canada so i had to settle for having a few registries (one on Etsy, one at Bed Bath and Beyond and one at a Toronto Store called William Ashley)

  • Vanessa

    Do you think we could register for the new Nintendo system that’s coming out next year? Our family and friends all know how much we love to play video games together.

    • Lisa

      Definitely! I’ve seen gaming systems/games on other registries before. If people can do board games and other forms of entertainment, then why not?

    • Yes! See my comment about putting something off-the-wall on your registry. I’m the person who looks for those types of gifts. They’re so fun to give, and you know they’ll be used.

    • Maggie Dragon

      Definitely. We threw a few board games on our registry (Betrayal at House on the Hill, Cards Against Humanity) and they were literally the FIRST things to be purchased.

  • A. Registry: Zola was amazing, but find a registry that works for you.

    I am a bargain shopper. Over the years, I’ve realized that stores like Macy’s have insane markups but sales constantly. Using Zola, I was able to find the best price and include that specific site on my registry. Also, I’ve *always* thought it was really weird that you were restricted to one or two stores for registries. What if Target is fine for utensils but you want nicer dinnerware? Nope. Zola, and similar sites help with this, and I only had one elderly relative indicate it was confusing.

    B. What to Register for: What means most to you?

    For me, that was “for the table” stuff – flatware, dinnerware, glassware, placemats, etc. In other words, pieces that we can keep for decades, as opposed to cheap decor stuff that I might tire of in a few years.

    My husband and I lived together only briefly before we married this past June, but I had been in my home for 6 years and on my own for 10. So I was super proud of my home and what I collected, especially since I found quality pieces at Marshall’s, etc. However, I have always been frugal, and since my mom’s friends requested I make a registry for a shower, I put tons of thought and research into it. I found dinnerware that was practical but really nice and my flatware is gold and THE BOMB. We really mainly registered for kitchen stuff and dining stuff.

    C. Curate your registry

    I put a lot of research (blog and consumer reviews) into each item on our registry, but I also really tried to envision it in each space coherently. Thus, at my shower, my mom’s friends ALL commented on how they loved my taste and really enjoyed choosing pieces from it. My sis, on the other hand, just had her shower, and because she and her FI have lived in a teeny tiny apartment for ten years and are house hunting, her registry was all over the place. It was tough to ascertain which pieces were most important to her because of that, and I tried to help her narrow it down, but it was tough. Well curated registries are neat to look at because a couple’s taste comes through, and again Zola helps with that because you can categorize items.

    D. Include one token off-the-wall/unusual registry item (or a few if you have a large registry)

    My crowd is very traditional, so I knew not to expect a lot of cash or to put a honeymoon registry (a cousin did that, and EVERYONE talked about it, even though I loved getting to pay for an excursion for them). However, I did put a Bluetooth speaker on ours – my hubs is a pianist, and I LOVE music, and aside from our flatware/dishes, it’s probably my favorite gift. His male cousin ended up getting it for us, and it meant a lot to me. It’s exactly the type of off-the-wall gift I like to buy for people. So don’t shy away from it.

    E. Avoid homemade gifts, even if your specialty is making _____.

    This is so so tough for me to put out there, but my family almost exclusively gave us homemade gifts – and not because any of them are cheap or broke. It was very evident that my family – aunts, uncles, etc. – feel that homemade gifts > gift gifts. And I appreciate that this is how they wanted to celebrate. However, because I grew up relatively poor with my mom making gifts for everything, I’m super conscious of this. Homemade gifts, unlike a crock pot, are tougher to get rid of if you don’t like them or don’t have a place for them or are downsizing, and I was shocked by how special it was for people to actually choose things from my registry – likely because I grew up with lots of homemade. I only make something handmade for someone if they’ve expressed a desire for something, and before I make it, I query them for taste in color, style, etc. because of this.

    Bonus question: We got a handful of gift cards and cash, but I am having the toughest time spending the gift cards, which you should know is rare for me. If I have a gift card, it’s typically burning a hole in my pocket. But with these, I feel pressure to pick out something wedding-y. Agh! Or to save them for something special. Anyone else?

    • NotMotherTheresa

      Also, I’d add that non-registry gifts can be a bit like homemade gifts…a good non-registry gift can be amazing. However, they should be approached with care–odds are, if you haven’t seen the couple’s house, and you don’t know what their day to day lives look like, you should stick with the registry!

      We didn’t get any homemade gifts, but we got a TON of non-registry gifts that weren’t on our registry for a reason! I knew I had a lot of people in my family who were going to stray from the registry, so I did my best to clue everyone in on our taste through our registry selections. I even added a blurb on our wedding website about things we collect, our colors, etc. It was to no avail–we ended up with so many ridiculous items that can’t be used or returned. Before, I always viewed the registry as more of a suggestion than anything else, but nope. From now on, I am sticking with getting people what they registered for. Lesson learned!

  • Cassie

    While we’ve lived together for about 5 years, we are taking this opportunity to upgrade a lot of the cheaper and older items in our house. Linens, small appliances, dishes, silverware, etc… But we’ve also made a Zola registry for a home down payment and our honeymoon which quite a few people have already told us is their preferred gift (even at 5 months out). I do empathize with others’ comments as well, that “entertaining” china and silverware seems redundant and unnecessary for us, and that I wish I could make more commentary on “this is an upgrade” or “this is something we don’t have and need”- I did utilize our wedding website to indicate that I’m happy with off-registry or buying local- plus I linked folks directly to Amazon Smile (which they’ll hopefully use!) and included a link to RetailMeNot so they can get good deals!

    • NotMotherTheresa

      Yes!!!! I loved that Amazon at least let me mark certain items as “Priority”, and I wish more registries allowed that! Still, I would love to be able to add additional commentary! (As a guest, I’d love that, too–I feel like I could make better decisions if I knew which things were needed, which things were upgrades, which things needed to be that specific item, which things I could swap out with a comparable brand that’s on sale, etc.)

  • mssolo

    If more registries offered the option to put money towards a big ticket item, like a sofa or a bed, that would be really handy. Like, I’d be pretty happy to know I’d paid for a fifth of someone’s sofa, especially if I got to visit and sit on it at a later date, in the same way I’m happy to know a paid for a sixth of someone’s fancy china set. Also if they had options for free stuff, like “your favourite recipe” or “a book you think we’ll love” to make it clear that free things are just as appreciated as expensive things (especially if shoppers could combine them with other items, so if they order a pan they can include a recipe to be packed with it).

    it’s interesting the debate about honeyfunds; personally, I much prefer the ones where the registry suggests the money is going towards something specific, even if the couple just get a cheque. My sister had one that just explained they were going to Sri Lanka and would like money towards that. It felt a bit like throwing cash into the void – as the giver, I had no idea if what I was giving was proportionate to what they needed. Would it cover a night in the hotel? Dinner? Flights? I don’t know what things cost in Sri Lanka! Maybe a sort of kickstarter format would work, so the first donations would go towards flights, then hotels, then ‘stretch goals’ of various activities, but set up in such a way people don’t feel like they’re obliged to cover the whole cost of any of those items.

    • Julia Schnell

      re: free stuff — YES. I’d be happy to have someone give us something an idea (like a recipe) rather than a thing.

    • ismayozga

      Patchworkit.com actually lets you contribute towards one big item like a sofa or bed ie. https://patchworkit.com/our-dream-bed. And their honeymoon fund also lets you break down your trip into pieces, like dinner and flights, in a super visually appealing, easy to understand way, plus you get to write little descriptions for each item. Full disclosure: I work for Patchwork, so obviously I’m biased! But I used it for my own wedding and couldn’t have been happier with it.

  • Megan

    I’m really surprised I haven’t seen many mentions of Thankful Registry in the comments. We used that for our wedding last year and LOVED it. It let us pick items from a huge variety of stores, which was important because we’re very picky. We already owned a home/had lived together for a few years, so for us we were upgrading and asking for things we wouldn’t have bought for ourselves otherwise. Things that we got that we still love/use constantly:
    – Bluetooth speaker
    – Le Crueset dutch oven
    – Large cooler on wheels
    – KitchenAid mixer

    A family friend also bought us a bottle of VERY expensive scotch, which was lovely as we were able to have something nice for special occasions.

  • kayceemaselle

    We made registries at both Target and BB&B because we could use a few upgrade items – dishes, bedding, a nice stir fry pan, but the thing we’re both really hoping to get is a nice trash can. We’re still using the plastic piece of crap I bought back in college so we’re both extremely excited and hopeful that someone will actually buy it for us. Because honestly, I can’t justify spending $100 on a stainless steel trash can even if it’s something I really need and want.

  • accidental_diva

    I told my BF that if & when we register I want nice things (good pots & pans – kitchenaid mixer- good plates & glasses) – he’s big into the “get it from goodwill/restore/walmart – we can always replace it later” and somethings I’m down for that- but I remind him that the wedding will be “later”

    Also on the decoration/off registry thing – I have gone off registry for some people – some by matter of happenstance (I was out of full time work when 2 friends & one of my cousins got married) and one on the fact that I was in the wedding and knew what I was giving them for the wedding was on the list. For those I took the colors of the wedding invites/weddings and made canvas prints of the lyrics of their first dance with their name/anniversary on them. (Another friend requested that from me for her wedding shower).

    For my brother and sister-in-law they moved to Australia so for shower 1 she got a bag of necessities for the next few months (wine, note book, pens, major wine glass, snacks) shower 2 I got made them a sign that had the distances to their “homes” (colleges, the city they were in before they left, our hometown) and the reminder that friends and family were only a phone call away- along with a mini address/phone book. For their wedding my boyfriend and I did their honeyfund.

  • carolynprobably

    I got married 5 years ago at age 27 (which is like in ye olden days before Pinterest. Seriously.) We were broke and in grad school and fell into the category of People Who Actually Needed the Things. We registered with Amazon and Crate and Barrel, a decision which I would probably make again. Crate and Barrel was (and still is) a bit aspirational and lets us feel fancier than we are. I still love my dishes and serving pieces. I also think a brick and mortar registry isn’t dead (though we set it up mostly online) 1. because my grandma doesn’t have a computer and 2. because even I have been the person strolling in to the store the morning of the wedding because I didn’t get my act together sooner. On the flip side, Amazon gave us the freedom of choice! We registered for things that were practical and meaningful to us (dyson vac, tent, titanium camping cookware).

  • CommaChick

    We didn’t register. We did, however, receive a lot of wine glasses. The only nonmonetary gifts we received were large teacups/mugs and wine glasses. I’m not sure what that says about us, but we ended up with 16 wineglasses for two people. At the rate at which I break things, this has been a Godsend.

  • Emma Klues

    REI! Registering was so fun and we were able to get legit gear we would have a hard time justifying buying ourselves, but will last for YEARS. People loved giving us stuff they knew we’d use and we could splurge, invest in our passion, and not pile on more useless kitchen gadgets. Every time I commute to work by bike and lace up those shoes, or slink into my sleeping bag, I think about my wedding guests :)

  • anon

    Some favorite items I registered for and LOVE:
    teapot (i love it and use it daily)
    a splurgey electric kettle (again, I love it and use it daily)
    general kitchen items (pots, pans, utensils) that make it a pleasure to cook ( I NEVER cooked before)
    beach chairs and towels
    dreamy towels/sheets/bedding
    the perfect grown up luggage

    I used gift cards for smaller items: bathmats, measuring cups, nice spatulas, extra pillowcases, and they really do make me think of the person who “gifted” them.

    My friends and family gave incredibly thoughtful off-registry gifts too. gorgeous champagne flutes, artwork, a custom frame of our wedding invitation, coffee subscriptions, personalized embossed stationery, kitchen items they love but I would have never thought to ask for (immersion blender-amazing), a kit for making christmas cookies, picnic basket, even a mini disco ball! We are so lucky and it made me want to be a better wedding gift giver!!

  • Mallory2

    Tops faves I would register for again in a heartbeat: good knives, a le creuset dutch oven, camping gear (REI registry 4 lyfe!), several art prints from etsy artists, west wing complete series box set, everyday china (looks classy but not too fancy and never breaks!), espresso machine. There are several things we don’t use now. I refer to this category as “What WIC says you need.” I got in over my head. We’ve been married nearly 5 years. I have used our blender once. Ditto for the waffle maker. I didn’t use these types of appliances before we got married but convinced myself I’d NEED them once married. We loved our BBB registry. They were AMAZING to us when we had two showers in states where we don’t live. After each one, we returned everything to a local BBB store and repurchased it through them online, so it would ship to our apartment.

  • Shawna

    We used Zola and had an extensive set of cash funds for aspects of our honeymoon that were highly detailed and full of story and humor. The vast majority of our guests gave us gifts through that and had a ton of fun doing it. One said, “It was so hard to stop myself from getting you more of these because they all look like so much fun!” So hooray for that.

    The only physical items we registered for were: A kitchenaid mixer (received), the ice cream attachment (received), super nice sheets (not given), cute elephant olive bowl (received), cute elephant salt and pepper shakers (received), and a zojirushi water heater (not given).

    I put the elephant items on in a fit of “they are so cute I can’t stand it I MUST HAVE THEM” and they were purchased almost immediately. Had they not been, I probably would have removed them in a more rational frame of mind. But I do love them a lot. Zola 1, the couple 0.5

    We’ve barely used the Kitchenaid, haven’t touched the ice cream attachment yet, but they’re longer term items for a couple that loves to cook and bake. They’ll get used.

    We really wanted to have NO physical gifts, but felt pressure to add a few. I’m glad we did, but wish we’d made the list smaller to point to the very few items we really wanted. Part of the problem is that not only do we both have overlapping sets of kitchen items (he’s in his 40s, I’m in my 30s) from merged households, but our current kitchen is miniscule. One day, when we have the kitchen of our dreams, we are going to go nutso on gadgets, better dishes, storage upgrades, etc. But our wedding just didn’t overlap with that.