I got an email a while back from a sweet reader named Kristina asking if I’d mind sharing what items we’d registered for when we got married, and from that, what items I was loving and what I was wishing we’d put on the list. I don’t mind sharing at all — except that there’s one problem. We actually opted not to do a registry of any kind! After culinary school and a few years working at a Sur La Table, we had zero need for anything in the kitchen (I have so much kitchen crap it’s unbelievable), and honestly, there weren’t really a lot of housewares we needed or wanted either. Nothing sadder than a registry with like 5 items on it.
However, I told Kristina that I definitely had some ideas for things that would make great registry items and that I totally WOULD HAVE wanted, were we not already lacking space around these parts. Here are my ideas:
Frankly, I could write a list a mile long about what a kitchen does and doesn’t need, but if I were going to recommend five basics that should absolutely be on anyone’s registry, it’d be these:
1. Lots of different cooking and baking utensils (like spatulas, whisks, tongs, spiders, a microplane, and turners), and a pretty crock to put them all in. This is great because guests can buy one or a few, so it gives people budget options.
2. Sheet pans, sheet pans, sheet pans. I use these for EVERYTHING, from baking cookies, to roasting veggies, toasting nuts, even baking chicken or fish. Get them in a bunch of different sizes for different tasks. Also, these come in gold now. Yes, please.
3. A cast iron enameled Dutch oven. Same story with the sheet pans. I use mine for making soups, stews, stocks, risotto, braising, frying, and more. You can even bake bread in it. You also don’t HAVE to opt for a Le Creuset version (though who can resist the colors?). There are plenty of decent options out there at lower price points that will get the job done.
4. A food processor. The one kitchen electric I could not do without. A blender and stand mixer? Take it or leave it. You HAVE to have a food processor.
5. Great cookware. Yes, it’s super expensive. But if you take care of it, you will have it for the rest of your life. If you don’t register for a set, but instead, individual pieces that fit your needs (like this), it’s also more likely people can spring for a single pan, versus splurging on an entire set for you.
OTHER FUN IDEAS
The kitchen gifts are always the obvious items people go to for registries, but honestly, I think some of the best ideas are for other items around the home.
Like cookbooks and coffee table books. Totally the types of things that I always want, but don’t always want to spend my own money on. Taylor mentioned great things about The Newlywed Cookbook (all recipes for two!), and I think you can never go wrong with a good Ina Garten cookbook — perfect recipes for dinners and entertaining. As for coffee table books, these are great items to decorate with and you can select books that reflect each of your tastes. I totally should’ve registered for that Tom Ford book (I’ve been in love with the simple, minimalist cover for ages!).
Joe and I have lived together for almost 9 years (oh. my. god), but there are a few things that I think still could’ve made great additions to our home, mostly because you can’t really have enough of them. One is throw blankets. Who doesn’t want a gorgeous, cozy blanket to snuggle up with on the couch? The nice thing about throws is that you can also display them in bedrooms, whether its your own, the guest bed, or even draped over a chair. Over the years, I have also found that having some great storage baskets around has been essential. Joe used to hate all the storage bins I would come home with, but as our collection of stuff has grown, having places to throw things to quickly organize has been great. We still actively use a few baskets that I bought in 2004!
Lastly, I am always on the lookout for great serving pieces in various sizes. Little silver bowls like this are perfect for putting out at parties, but they can also hold everyday knick knacks around the house — like the baskets, but on a much smaller scale.
IF YOU’RE STILL AT A LOSS…
But, if none of these ideas work (or you’re attending a wedding like mine, where the bride and groom annoyingly asked for no gifts :) ), here are some other ideas:
1. Gift cards. A couple guests got us gift cards for our wedding, and while we didn’t ask for it, of course it was great! I personally think it’s cool to put these on a registry — you could add Target or Amazon gift cards in varying amounts, and let people purchase them for you. Some guests might not like getting you a non-physical thing, but honestly, I think nowadays, a lot people will appreciate how easy this is.
2. Same goes for money. I’m no Emily Post, so maybe this is entirely tacky, but many of our guests just gave us money. I don’t think you’ll ever hear from a single bride or groom that has a problem with this.
3. Gift an experience, like cooking classes. It could be fun to buy an experience like this for the couple, or even package it up as group experience that you can enjoy with your friends. Maybe you’re super adventurous and have always wanted to skydive — I’ll bet a few of your friends would absolutely go in together and buy that experience for you!
4. Really, really nice wine. We got a few very nice bottles from guests, and I loved the idea of storing them for a while. When we open them, it’ll remind us of our wedding!
5. When all else fails, dinner. Another couple who we’re very good friends with took us out to an amazing dinner after the wedding was over and we got back from Mexico. It was a perfect gift!
What do you think? What are must-have items you would (or did) register for?