My wife, Julie, and I have been married for just under two years, and we’ve managed to squeeze three houses into that time. We’ve had a two-bedroom house with hardwood floors, two yards, and zero closets; a little bitty one-bedroom apartment with beige carpet and granite countertops that would make a pie baker weep; and now a sweet place in a small apartment building where we can see the ocean from our back door. We have found things to love about all of these homes. The trick has been choosing, and then curating, the things we brought into all of those places that helped make them not only into functional spaces, but also helped us recognize them as ours. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about as we partner with Crate and Barrel this month.
As has been noted here previously, the point of a wedding registry is not just to grab all the things; it’s for the people who love you to contribute tangibly to the home that they’re metaphorically helping you build. Since I’ve had two years and three separate attempts to incorporate these objects of love into our home(s), I’ve started to get a sense of what works for us, no matter what our space looks like. And while our kitchens have changed (those counters) and our bedrooms are a shifting puzzle (so few closets, so many kettlebells and paper cutters), our living room has remained largely the same. If we had the benefit of hindsight when we were registering, we might have chosen to focus our efforts on that space, since it’s where we consistently spend the bulk of our time. The living things I share my space with make me pretty happy every day, but these are the objects that never quite fade all the way into the background as we go about our business.
1. Our hutch: Julie bought our hutch from a random signless vintage store in our neighborhood in Denver when we first moved in together. We had hand-me-down couches, a Craigslist table I held together with wood putty, and our mattress was on the floor… and we had a glass-front china cabinet. Julie used to call it our first “grown-up” piece of furniture. I’m inordinately fond of it. It always fits, unlike the couches we’ve traded, and the fancy fridge we had to sell when it was too wide to fit through a kitchen doorway. It adds an air of authenticity to a dinner party. Plus, it holds all the “special” things, like our Seder plate and my champagne flute collection.
2. The glassware: I come from a champagne family, and I’ve amassed several pairs of champagne glasses as gifts over the years. Every flute has survived all of our moves, individually wrapped in paper and then tucked into our down comforter. They come out for celebrations. When we got married, however, my favorite gift we received was a set of beautiful wine glasses that we never would have bought for ourselves. I use them almost every night, because they make me so happy just to look at. I’m sure the wine doesn’t hurt either.
3. Interesting baskets: We use our big baskets to hold everything from our pup’s prodigious set of dog toys to clutter that needs to be stashed away quickly when we get home late and company is already on the way. They also work in any room, depending on the space you have to work with. Exposed laundry hamper? Extra bathroom storage? The big baskets will help with that.
4. Our coffee table: It’s our second most practical furniture purchase. It has storage space, which is great for the tiny places we’ve lived, and it’s big enough to double as a footrest. It goes with everything, even my aunt’s old green couch. We also received some amazing coffee table books as wedding presents. Our favorites are the book about tree houses and anything that lets Julie pretend she’s a mixologist.
5. More blankets: Not only is getting a super luxurious blanket a great gift (see above: wine glasses I would not have bought), but they are so useful. Temperature regulation is great, but throws can also be used to protect new furniture from sneaky pets while still looking comfortable and pretty, and when you don’t have the luxury of a guest room, they can make a guest couch feel very swanky.
6. Our big glass vase: A friend made us our big glass vase for a wedding gift, and I always find a spot for it as soon as we’ve unpacked enough things after each move for it to be out safely. I like to look at it when it’s empty; I like it when it’s full of Trader Joe’s peonies. It’s one of the things that makes me feel like a new space is ours, even if the wall behind it is a solid fort of U-Haul boxes.
I didn’t enjoy registering for wedding gifts. It was one of my least favorite parts of wedding planning, because I felt awkward making a wishlist and uncertain about what to choose. I am glad we made the effort, though, especially after a couple of years of relocating. Registering isn’t forcing people to buy you a gift—either they will or they won’t. Some people like to have a guide, and some people prefer to go out on their own, although almost everyone enjoys spending some downtime at work snooping through the things you’ve chosen and making snap judgments about your color scheme. While it’s people that make a house a home, the stuff in that house (if you’re lucky, bought by people who love you) helps too. And I truly enjoy the things we’ve chosen to schlep on our residential adventures.
This post was sponsored by Crate and Barrel Wedding Registry. Crate and Barrel understands that a registry isn’t just a shopping list; it’s an opportunity to define what home means with your partner. Whether you’ve been together for years and already have most of the basics or you’re just getting started, Crate and Barrel has registry options for every relationship. Plus, get like-price guarantee, free shipping, and exclusive pieces from Crate and Barrel’s artists and designers when you sign up for a Crate and Barrel Wedding Registry today. Click here to learn more or sign up for a live Crate and Barrel registry event near you.