How to Use Your Wedding Style to Figure out What to Register For


Because your life is more than just pots and pans

by Chelsea Hanepen, Studio Coordinator

Kitchenaid mixer, gold accented old fashioned glasses, white mixing bowls, cheese knives, and bar tools, pink flowers beneath pink text reading "Using Your Wedding as a Guide for Your Registry"Photo by Maddie Eisenhart, Styling by Kate Levy for A Practical Wedding

You know why I think so many people end up frustrated with registering for their wedding? It’s because the wedding industry has taken all the fun out of it. (What? That never happens!) The “must-have” lists almost exclusively focus on practical essentials, cookware, and trying to guess at what will you still like in thirty years. Which is great if you are A) a passionate cook, or B) a psychic. But as we’ve learned with weddings (hint: they are not timeless), it’s basically never a good idea to opt for something you feel lukewarm about, with the hopes that you’ll still feel lukewarm about it in thirty years. Rather, focus on what you love now, and lean hard into that. I guarantee you’ll get much more appreciation out of your stuff that way.

And spoiler alert: Your registry does not have to be all practical essentials and cookware. Somewhere in your guest list lives in a hip friend who wants nothing more than to buy you a pineapple-shaped cutting board. So you should let them do just that.

Which is why today, we’re taking a break from practical registry recommendations and leaning hard into practical-ish registry items that we hope will inspire you to find things you feel passionate about. And since you’re already probably knee-deep in finding non-timeless things you love for your wedding, we’ve used your wedding style as a jumping off point for doing it. So go, register for that totally of-the-moment glassware set you just love. And maybe even throw in some totally frivolous things like a neon heart or a beautiful petrified wood tray. Because what’s the point of building a home together if you can’t have a little fun with it?

What’s your favorite thing you’ve registered for? Bonus points will be administered for the unique and delightful.

Editor’s note: This post was not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links (which help us make money every time you click and make a purchase).

if your style is Romantic

romantic tablescape with gold taper candles, blackberries, dark flowers, gold rimmed plates, on rustic wood tableEvent Design by Gather Events; Photography by Brian Tropiano

Romantic decor doesn’t have to mean all pink everything. Instead, you can create a moody kind of romance with dark, rich colors accented in metallic. Hot tip: gold is basically a neutral here. And you can keep your decor from becoming too sweet by opting for jewel tones. And when you really want to heighten the romance? Turn off the lights and let candles set the mood. Boom, your house is basically a Dutch painting, just waiting for date night in with your boo or an intimate feast for your closest guests.

Geo Pillar Candle HolderGeo Pillar Candle Holder via Anthropologie ($36.00–$40.00)

Blue Xylo VaseXylo Vase via CB2 ($16.95)

Ore-Edged ChargerOre-Edged Charger via Anthropologie ($24.00)

Glass Stemware Amethyst Red Wine GlassesGlass Stemware Amethyst Red Wine Glasses via Wayfair ($32.99)

Metallic Gold Taper CandleMetallic Gold Taper Candles, Set of Four via World Market ($7.96)

Set of Four Indigo Striped NapkinsSet of Four Indigo Stripe Napkins via CB2 ($19.95)

If your Style is Modern Eclectic

tablescape with tropical-looking plants and flowers in various metallic containers, with small zebraEvent Design by Gather Events; Photography by Max and Friends

If so fresh and so clean, clean (with a pop of color) is more your style, opt for a color palette that keeps things crisp and modern. Greens bring the outside in, and pink makes the table pop. (Pro-tip: Colors that sit across the color wheel from each other, like pink and green, will stand out better against each other.) To keep things from looking too clean, though, opt for a mixture of brass and textured materials for a vibe that’s both modern and eclectic. The name of the game here is opposition—smooth with texture, new with old, you get the idea.

Blush Element Dinner PlatesBlush Element Dinner Plates, Set of Four via World Market ($22.36)

Marble & Acacia Cheese BoardMarble & Acacia Cheese Board via Anthropologie ($68.00)

Gabriel Brass Taper Candle HolderGabriel Brass Taper Candle Holder via Crate and Barrel ($59.95)

Quilted Acrylic GlasswareQuilted Acrylic Glassware (Set of 4) via West Elm ($20.00)

4-Piece Intermix White Serving Set4-Piece Intermix White Serving Set via CB2 ($29.95)

Rectangular Copper Plant TrayRectangular Copper Plant Tray via Gardener’s Supply Company ($22.95)

If your Style is Preppy (with a Twist)

preppy tablescape with blue napkins, a blue and white striped table runner, leafy greenery along runner, glass goblets, gold utensils, on polished wood table, with blue place cardsEvent Design by Fête Nashville; Photography by Erin Lee Allender

Maybe your style is a little traditional, a little less is more. In that case, opt for a monochromatic palette and bold, structured patterns like heavy stripes. Navy is a staple color for a reason. Afraid of your home turning into one of those themed seaside cottages? (Seashell-shaped soap? You don’t say!) Stay away from anything nautical-themed, and steer toward organic textures like waffled flatware and mix-and-match mercury glass.

Striped Table RunnerStriped Table Runner via Target ($33.24)

Fortessa Taura Platinum Bone China PlateFortessa Taura Platinum Bone China Plate via Sur La Table ($20.00–$30.00)

Blue Linen NapkinsLinen Napkins, Set of 4 via Sur La Table ($34.95)

French Wine GlassFrench Wine Glass via Crate and Barrel ($4.95)

Manhattan Platinum FlatwareManhattan Platinum Flatware via Anthropologie ($90.00)

Silver Mercury Glass Votive CandleholdersSilver Mercury Glass Votive Candleholders, Set of 3 via World Market ($11.97)

If Your Style is Bright and Modern

Bright tablescape with bouquet of lip balloons, table decorated with pink, gold, and whiteEvent Design by Antonia Christianson Events; Photography by Eleise Theuer

At APW, we basically believe that hot pink is a neutral. If that’s you too, then this is for you. To keep things modern, look for bold geographic patterns and gold accents. Pro-tip: Choose essentials in a neutral color (black, white, gold) and choose more affordable items in your accent color (think napkins and vases). Then, when you decide that hot pink is so last year, you can swap it out for something else, and voila, instant update.

Larabee Dot Gold 5-piece Place SettingLarabee Dot Gold 5-piece Place Setting via Kate Spade ($90.00)

Pink Linen NapkinsLinen Napkins, Set of 4 via Sur La Table ($14.99)

Fishs Eddy Gilded Side PlatesFishs Eddy Gilded Side Plates via West Elm ($10.00)

Gilded Rim Stemless GlassGilded Rim Stemless Glass via Anthropologie ($20.00)

Daisy place vase (white vase with black handwriting, gilded top edge) with white hydrangea Daisy Place Vase via Kate Spade ($75.00)

Set of 6 Betty Tea Light Candle HoldersSet of 6 Betty Tea Light Candle Holders via CB2 ($16.95)

If Your Style is Vintage Glam

gold and peachy pink tablescape with gold chargers, pink napkins, small pink and green arrangements with gold pillar candlesEvent Design by Antonia Christianson Events, Photography by We Are the Mitchells

If you can’t fully commit to one thing and you love to dig around vintage stores to see what you can find, we’ve got you covered. The theme here is everything. Mix textures, patterns, time periods, you name it. You can keep things cohesive by sticking to a more neutral color palette (muted tones, pastels), or by going for lots of different hues of the same color.

5-Piece Mirage Flatware Place Setting5-Piece Mirage Flatware Place Setting via Horchow (140.00)

Mismatched China Plates, Set of 8Mismatched China Plates, Set of 8 via Etsy ($60.00)

Gold Moretti CandelabraGold Moretti Candelabra via Save On Crafts ($96.00)

Vintage Etched Goblets, Set of 4Vintage Etched Goblets, Set of 4 via Williams Sonoma ($41.56)

Frayed Edge NapkinFrayed Edge Napkin (Set of 4) via West Elm ($19.00)

Vintage White Milk Glass Bud VaseVintage White Milk Glass Bud Vase, Set of 5 via Etsy ($28.00)

If your style is Classic Minimalism

minimal tablescape with white flowers and greenery, white scalloped plates, crystal goblets, silver utensilsEvent Design by Gather Events; Photography by Max and Friends

Tasteful minimalism never goes out of style. Look for things like pristine details (think cut crystal) and clean lines. And if you’re afraid that “classic” might translate to “old fashioned,” you can replace some of your more traditional pieces with modern, minimal accents in materials like cement, stone, and wood (who else needs those candle holders below besides me?). Bonus: This look goes best with busting out the good china on a random Tuesday, because why not?

Spindle FlatwareSpindle Flatware via Anthropologie ($24.99)

Waterford Crystal Heritage Assorted TumblersWaterford Crystal Heritage Assorted Tumblers, 6-Piece Set via Horchow ($300.00)

20-Piece Leopardo FlatwareMallorca Dinner and Salad Plates via Crate and Barrel ($14.95–$19.95)

Brooklyn Long VaseBrooklyn Long Vase via Crate and Barrel ($29.95)

Travertine Tea Light Candle HoldersTravertine Tea Light Candle Holders via CB2 ($19.95–$24.95)

Chelsea Hanepen

Chelsea Hanepen is a biracial floral designer and all around creative from the San Francisco Bay Area. When Chelsea isn’t at APW or playing with flowers, she spends her time wandering Northern California looking for the best camping spots (with the best wild flowers and swimming holes) and tasting all the food and craft beer that the area has to offer.

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  • Katie

    I love everything from Vintage Glam section! (esp the candelabra… If only there was room for it in my house! #goals)

    This is wildly off topic, but does Stephanie Kaloi still work for APW? I haven’t seen her posts in a while and was wondering what happened to her…

    • penguin

      Somebody on a Happy Hour a while back said that she is no longer with APW (not sure what happened there).

    • louise danger

      she’s not listed on the staff page any more. elsewhere on the internet, it looks like maybe she’s been gone since may? kind of a bummer to uproot your entire life only to leave the company a month or two later

      • She’s no longer with the company. She moved to California for personal reasons, and I think she’s loving Oakland.

    • She’s no longer with the company.

  • Kari

    I think the advice about buying what you love is spot on. Most of the stuff I love is from the 60s and 80s, when I think most people were unconcerned with this idea of ‘timeless’ belongings.

    Hey, if all else fails, you can hock the stuff in 30 years when they make a period piece about the early months of Trump’s presidency and make a fortune. Flamingoes will be trendy again 😊

  • Abby

    All great advice– but also, registries aren’t just for household stuff! We registered for a whole bunch of camping/backpacking gear at REI and everyone snatched it up. If you’re looking, this cookset is incredible: https://www.rei.com/product/830774/gsi-outdoors-pinnacle-dualist-cookset, as is this hammock https://www.rei.com/product/754773/eno-doublenest-hammock, which is the single best off-registry gift anyone got us.

    • Jess

      Love REI registry. We also got that cook set – it’s truly amazing.

      • Abby

        The carrying bag that doubles as a sink blew my mind– they thought of EVERYTHING!

    • LazyMountain

      Our go-to wedding gift for friends is the ENO doublenest with some webbing to hang it with!! It is by far one of my favorite backpacking/camping/hiking essentials. I mean besides the GSI wine-specific bladder/carafe and stemless glasses…
      We registered for avalanche transceivers but actually just removed them because I don’t think anyone will get them for us :-(

      • Abby

        No need to take things off your registry! You never know. Also, pro tip, once a wedding is over, unclaimed registry items are still fair game for holiday/birthday present ideas.

  • I will make a plug for the Williams Sonoma glasses in the ‘Vintage Glam’ section! I have the tumblers and I absolutely love them! They make drinking water more fun– I can only imagine what the goblets would do for wine :)

  • I wish we had gone for more fun stuff and more of what we love. Okay more of what I love. My husband is the more practical of us and it’s clear in a lot of what we registered for. Though my favorite gift we got off our registry is the toaster oven…oh and our blankets, I love the sheets and things.

  • Emily

    APW should definitely partner with thirstynest.com … a registry for wine, beer, and spirits!! Amazing

  • Lawyerette510

    We worked with a potter who is based in the mountains but attends our local farmers’ market 1x a month for our dishes, a couple vases and a couple serving pieces. We were able to pick out the glaze mixes, so picked light seafoam green with white edges for the dinner plates, blue with light green edges for the salad plates, and red with seafoam edges for the bowls. Then picked some other combos for the other pieces. We took pictures of some of his stuff, and placed his email and phone number on our website. Then people just called and he’d tell them about the pieces we’d asked for and they’d choose. Then he made everything the week of our wedding, so many of our pieces are dated with our wedding day. It’s not timeless, but it’s bright and fun and the prices were comparable to if we would have gotten plates somewhere like anthropologie.

  • NotMotherTheresa

    One of the best pieces of decorating advice I ever heard was to look in your closet, and go from there.

    Do you have more pink items than Shelby from Steel Magnolias? Then forget about neutrals, and add some fun, pink items to your registry–after all, I agree that hot pink is practically a neutral! Do you have lots of classic, clean lines, or is your closet filled with a fun mix of ruffles and peplums and peasant tops? Do you like to drastically change things up from one occasion to the next, going from flannel to sequins over the course of a normal weekend, is your wardrobe mostly just minor variations of the same thing? Do you have lots of delicate silks, and items that have to be dry cleaned, or do you require that your clothes be low maintenance and nearly indestructible?

    Obviously, your mileage may vary, but for the most part, clothes are a pretty good barometer of taste and lifestyle. If you can’t be bothered with dry cleaning, you *probably* won’t want to be bothered with delicate china that has to be hand washed by mystical elves using only a special dish soap imported from Siberia. If you don’t own a single neutral item, you’ll probably get bored stiff sleeping on white sheets, drying off with white towels, AND eating off of white plates every single day. And if you love embracing the latest trends, feel free to register for some $10 throw pillows that will probably be out of style by next month–sure, you might want to go a *little* more timeless with the big ticket items (or not), but your broke friend from college will be stoked to get to pick between flamingo wine stoppers and rose gold sequined throw pillows!

  • quiet000001

    I think the thing to keep in mind with registering is that people usually want to get you something you’ll use, enjoy, and think of them and happy wedding memories when you do. Traditionally that has meant fancy china and silver, but it doesn’t have to be that now – don’t register for things you don’t really want just because a list says you have to.

    And stuff that has to do with hobbies is fair game, although I’d generally tend to stick to shared hobbies to prevent it looking and seeming like only one person did the registry and the gift is only for one person. So the example of camping stuff if you camp together? Totally fine.

    Also, don’t forget replacing stuff you have but don’t like – keep a list (mental or otherwise) as you’re getting ready to register of all the things you encounter day to day that you use, but think “I can’t wait for this to give up/break/get worn out so I can replace it.” You don’t have to redecorate because you’re registered (some lists it’s like you’re meant to redo your whole house) but you can certainly sign up for nicer towels than the worn ones you’ve had since college in that color you liked in your dorm room but are tired of now.

    Finally, think about your guests. If you have some very traditional types, do try to salt your registry with some ‘typical’ish stuff – a nice vase or decorative piece, candleholders, a nice serving dish, stuff like that which you can fit in amongst your other more trendy or more casual items. That way hopefully you’ll get something you like and will actually use instead of Uncle Frank and Aunt Mable deciding clearly you just FORGOT to register for the gold-trimmed super ornate deviled egg platter that you are never in a million years going to use. :D