The Registry

registry ideas | via vmac+cheese

Kitchen: Kitchen Tools | Sheet Pans | Yellow Dutch Oven | Food Processor | Cookware

Other Ideas: Barefoot Contessa At Home | The Newlywed Cookbook | Throws | Baskets
Mary McDonald Interiors | Tom Ford | Large Silver Bowl | Small Silver Bowl

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.



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.



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!

You can corral all these different items into a single place, using a service like MyRegistry. Pretty snazzy! Similar services include Wishpot and Wists.

What do you think? What are must-have items you would (or did) register for?

{Image Credits: Call Me CupcakeJulie Song Ink, Jose Villa}

Leave a Comment


  1. 2.7.13
    christin said:

    I cannot agree with the dutch oven more. Could not. If someone would buy me one, I’d love them forever. In fact, I’m thinking about getting married just so I can register for one. Kidding…or am I? I had friends that didn’t register so we all pitched in on a huge visa gift card to help them pay for whatever they wanted and they loved it!

  2. 2.7.13
    Meghan said:

    I love this post ! bookmarking it for sometime in the future .

  3. 2.7.13

    With wedding season gearing up again (I still am in denial that spring is around the corner) it looks like wedding gifting season is as well. I agree that it is always nice to gift something from the registry or give the bride and groom a gift card/money (not tacky- just practical) but for the shower I think an option like those outlined in the second section are thoughtful ideas! I’ve also never thought of gifting an experience (like a cooking class) but I LOVE that idea!

    X Kenzie

  4. 2.7.13
    Tabitha said:

    This is amazing. What great advice, thank you.

  5. 2.7.13

    It’s the same for me I have almost all the kitchen stuff already. So I think money is the best way to go for others as well. A lot of friends wouldn’t use some of the kitchen things anyway

  6. 2.7.13

    You are amazing for putting this together! I have definitely bookmarked it for my special day, whenever it gets here, and will definitely share it with my friends. Oh and gold sheet pans??!! LOVE!

  7. 2.7.13
    Lauren said:

    This is a mega post! So much awesome info in here, even for the non-engaged gal. Thanks!

  8. 2.7.13

    My favorite things that we registered for are all random fun things for the home like a couple of lamps (I think of my friend every time I turn the lights on on), a bar cart and a sodastream (great for entertaining)!

  9. 2.7.13

    such a great post! i am recently engaged and the man and i are both avid cooks, however our kitchen equipment is all hand-me-downs from our parents, so a refresh is exciting! your list was great, and reiterated that we are on the right track!

  10. 2.7.13
    Abbie said:

    An enameled dutch oven was just added to my kitchen lineup – AH. MAZE. ING.

    But, I would recommend going with Staub rather than Le Creuset. There are tons of forums arguing which one is better, but I find the Staub better for browning, self-basting, and the cast iron interior won’t stain or crack like my friends’ Le Creuset have tended to do.

    I 100% agree with the Food Processor – getting one of those rocked my culinary world.

  11. 2.7.13

    Such great ideas!!! My friend recently asked for gift cards to her favorite decor and home items store because she won’t be moving into her own house yet. She requested gift cards not cash so she knew that gift was for home items not just frivolous items! This is really a great list I have to footnote it!

  12. 2.7.13
    rita said:

    great tips! we always get our friends a gift card to their honeymoon hotel so they can splurge on a spa day or dinner – it’s memorable and fun. for registries, i’d add the following –
    register for various price points but DO NOT listen to the registry people who say you need to register for xx% more than you need/want – these people are incented on your registry sales. if you register for lower or higher priced items that you really don’t care if you get, you will get them. we only registered for things we LOVED and would want to have forever (we had a great setup already, so we were basically just upgrading) and it made managing the registry so. much .easier.

  13. 2.7.13

    this is a great list! We wont have a registry either as we pretty much have all we need but there are some bits and bobs I would love!!

  14. 2.7.13

    Having been married for two years, it’s so important to register for good, quality things. We registered for some, but a lot of our items are already in need of replacement already. This is a really great list, even now as we updates our stock!

  15. 2.7.13
    Kory said:

    This is a great post! While I’m probably not getting married anytime soon, I’m getting to the age where it seems like my friends are getting engaged left and right. I’ll definitely be bookmarking this page to come back to come wedding season.

  16. 2.7.13
    Elizabeth said:

    I’m nowhere near marriage time, but I just wanted to say how I always love coming to your blog. Not only is your content great, but you are amazing with design. I love your simplistic yet chic aesthetic. Keep up the wonderful work, you’re an inspiration!

    Elizabeth of The Corner Apartment

  17. 2.7.13

    100% agree on the food processor, it’s an amazing tool to have. We didn’t register for china, which I still feel was a good decision. There aren’t a lot of formal dinner parties going on in this house, but we do use the pretty dishes we registered for every day.

  18. 2.7.13
    Katrina said:

    When my husband and I got married in August, we went back and forth on a registry. He wanted to register at Lowe’s and get a ton of unnecessary power tools, but I was finally able to reason with him to register at Crate & Barrel so we could get practical items. We received everything from ice cream scoops to a KitchenAid stand mixer (my fav!) and I couldn’t have been happier. My advice for the bride-to-be would be to register for gifts at varying price points; it’s not nice to only register for pricy gifts that your guests can’t afford.

    xxoo, k

  19. 2.7.13
    Kirby said:

    I love this post! My fiance and I just registered and cannot wait to finally have nice kitchen items. We love to cook and it will be amazing to use expert equipment.

    My only question is: when will West Elm finally get it together and start doing wedding registries?

  20. 2.7.13
    Mere said:

    This post is incredible! Victoria! Love all the items you featured.

  21. 2.7.13

    We’re in the midst of registering now. Though we have a functional kitchen, we’re taking the opportunity to upgrade some things to quality items we’ll have forever (instead of the dinged up pots and pans from Ikea that I bought in college). We do have a dutch oven from World Market that works great (use it all the time, it’s my favorite pot). I’ve been checking the Cook’s Country site for kitchen product reviews of appliances and pans, a great way to make sure you’re getting the best (and it’s not always the most expensive!).

  22. 2.7.13
    Natalie said:

    The absolute best thing I got as a wedding present was my Dutch oven. I can’t agree with your recommendation on that enough. I truly use my Le Creuset for 99% of the dinners I make – I would be at a complete cooking loss without it. I would add one caveat to your comment about being able to bake bread in it – if you plan on doing that (which I do), I would recommend getting a non-coated cast iron Lodge Dutch oven (which is about $20) because the knob on the top of the Le Creuset tends to melt after a few rounds in the oven at bread-baking heat.

    As for your other recommendations, I have a food processor, but actually don’t use it often at all. However, I do use my Cuisinart handheld food processor a TON, so I would highly recommend registering for one of those.

    The other fantastic thing I got of my registry: art! I got some great Ansel Adams prints and other black and white photographs. Some of my friends bought one, framed it, and all wrote messages on the back. It was one of the most touching things I received throughout the entire wedding process.

    Love your recommendations – I wish there had been a list like this out there when I was registering two years ago!

    Name’s Not Ashley

    • 2.7.13
      Phoebe said:

      Natalie, you can get a metal knob to replace the plastic one on your Le Creuset. It was pretty inexpensive.

  23. 2.7.13
    Meghan said:

    I am a married lady now, but would have been fun to register for these fancy items. ;)

  24. 2.7.13

    The best advice I got was to not register for a big set of every day dishes, because if you break one in five years, you won’t be able to replace it.

    We opted for classic white Fiestaware, and if I drop a plate in 2015, I can easily get a new one without having to buy another set or pay an inflated price for a discontinued pattern. The same applies to Crate and Barrel plates (from the non-seasonal line) and some other stores I can’t think of at the moment.

    However, lately I started copying a gift that we received and gifting couples a pretty (inexpensive) canister stuffed full of $1 bills. Our “tip jar” lasted almost 5 months and was a godsend whenever we were going to need actual cash for tipping or parking.

    • 2.7.13
      vmacandcheese said:

      I completely agree on whiteware — it’s actually an
      item I had listed but when editing down this post,
      took out! Food always looks better on classic whiteware
      anyway, and it’s true, you can replace it from anywhere
      (even IKEA).

      Also, that idea about the tip jar is GENIUS. GENIUS
      I TELL YOU!

  25. 2.7.13
    Fabianna said:

    I totally LOVE your picks. I already have the dutch oven and food processor and you are totally right about them being necessities! I especially love your suggestions about coffee table books and bowls for decorating – hadn’t thought of that but will definitely include in my own registry one day! ;)

  26. 2.7.13

    So many great ideas here! We’re in that “everyone in the world we know is getting married” stage and lately I’ve been going off registry…I want to get them something that will last longer than plastic measuring cups, even though they ask for it. Every couple should read this!

  27. 2.8.13
    Kayla said:

    I loved getting gift cards too. It’s so fun to go shopping after all the wedding hype has died down! : )