One of the (many) things that is both fun and stressful when planning a wedding, is registering for gifts. It’s something that has to be done shortly after you set details like date and location. The sooner the better–trust me. There will be random people popping up (in addition to those attending wedding and bridal showers) that will be looking to get you a gift, and the more direction you give them, the happier you will be! But when you walk into a store (or browse online somewhere) it can be a bit daunting. There is sooo much stuff. Things that you could never possibly need, or could use once as a party trick and then let collect dust in your drawers and cabinets. It’s especially daunting if you basically need to replace everything in your kitchen…
When we moved across the country and got our apartment together, we didn’t have a lot of dough. So we didn’t buy much for the apartment. We used our odds-and-ends furniture from college, and borrowed/stole some stuff from our parents. We also didn’t buy much in the way of kitchen supplies…as in anything. I’m thinking about it really hard, and I think all we bought was stuff for the bathroom (like a toilet brush, plunger, shower caddy, that kinda stuff). We were getting married in a year, so we decided not to waste money outfitting our kitchen, and to make do with what we had so that we could register for nice stuff. Plus we were too broke to buy nice stuff anyway.
We took a long time deciding on where we wanted to register. We didn’t want too many places, because that’s just overwhelming, both for us and for our guests. We settled on Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, and Pottery Barn. It offered a variety of price ranges and items, and they have easily accessible stores in the DC-Metro area as well as Chicago (where most of our guests were coming from). I cannot stress this next piece of advice enough: You MUST register at Crate & Barrel. Their kitchenware is high quality and affordable, and they have such a variety of stuff. And go into the store to do it, because they give you a gift. But don’t go into the furniture section because their furniture is actually very expensive and it will make you sad that you can’t buy everything there. Unless you can afford their furniture, then mazel tov, and you have my blessing.
Below are the top 5 things we registered for that I use the most. Some are no brainers, some are unexpected. And one thing I didn’t actually register for, but I should’ve, so I’m letting you benefit from my wisdom. If you are getting married, I highly recommend that you register for these things. Or if you’re not getting married but like to cook, just run out and get these things. You won’t be sorry!
This was actually a suggestion from my mom. Seriously, she’s the best mother ever. When we started looking at silverware, we naturally went to the wedding registry place settings. But here’s the thing: they are super expensive. And we don’t really think that it’s necessary to register for fancy plates and silverware in addition to new every day stuff. What’s wrong with just having nice every day stuff? The Hubbster and I are 24. We don’t do that much entertaining. And the entertaining we do do is usually close friends and our parents, so there is no reason for us to have nice silverware with fancy forks that costs $50-$100 just for one place setting. These are sturdy stainless steel, washing machine safe, and full of style. You really can’t go wrong.
2. Crate & Barrel–Large Square Rim Dinner Plates $5.95 each
I love these plates for multiple reasons.They are large, so they fit a lot of food. They are sturdy–a sign of a good plate. They are white, so they have a clean look and go with anything else on the table. They are square, so they look fancy if I want them to look fancy. These were also 100% the Hubbster. If I had been registering by myself, I probably would’ve chosen round white ones. But marriage is about compromise, and my husband wanted square plates. It’s the little things, people.
3. Macy’s–Le Creuset 10″ Cast Iron Skillet Reg $130, Sale $100
You, my friends, are in the presence of greatness here. I will admit, when we registered for this, I just wanted it because it is pretty. It ended up changing my life. Well, actually the Yacht Club at Disney World did. I’m going to tell you a secret. I was never a big beef fan in my younger days as a picky eater. I know, I know. What’s not to love about beef?? I always loved hot dogs. But I didn’t really get into burgers until college, and I never really cared for steak. Then we ate at the Yacht Club for our fancy honeymoon dinner, and the Hubbster got the house specialty, a New York Strip in some kind of fancy buttery sauce. I figured I would try it, because if I didn’t like a $45 steak, then I think I was a lost cause. It was so delicious and juicy and buttery and melted in my mouth. One of the first things I did when we got home was go to Eastern Market, get a nice fresh juicy steak, and cooked it in this skillet. You need a really hot, heavy pan to properly sear a steak. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper on both sides, melt a pat of butter in the skillet (this is very important, because, like bacon, butter makes everything better. Well, in moderation. Let’s not go Paul Deen crazy here, people) and sear for a few minutes on both sides, depending on the thickness of the steak and how rare you like it. I like mine bleeding… Anyway, buy this skillet, or one like it. They sell them everywhere.
4. Macy’s–Martha Stewart Collection Cutlery, 20 Piece Set Reg $150 Sale $100
A good set of knives is really important. You know what’s especially important about them? The handles. You don’t have to get this one (though I have been very pleased with both the quality of the knives and the design of the block) but you need to get a good set, and look at the handles before you buy them. Do you see how these have screws in the side? That’s because the steel goes all the way through to the bottom of the handle. I had a super crappy set that I got at Meijer in college, and one day before we got married (and got these beauties) I came home and the Hubbster had broken the chef’s knife. They had cheap plastic handles, and the blade had literally come out of the handle. If you want to cook, you need a good set of knives. At least a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a santoku. Not just because “santoku” is a fun name to say, it’s actually a really great all purpose knife. So get slicing! Yeah, no more cheesy pun catch phrases for me…
5. Crate & Barrel–Mario Batali 6-quart Dutch Oven Reg $150 Sale $100
This is the one thing that we didn’t register for, but we should have. I didn’t even know what they were used for. After the wedding (when I started getting into beef) I really wanted to make a pot roast courtesy of the Pioneer Woman (by the way, you need to make that now, so click on the link. Do it. Thank you). We had some C&B gift cards, so I went to go get a dutch oven. Naturally, I really wanted the Le Creuset. But even the 3.5 quart runs you $220. On sale! Regularly it’s over $300. Plus that’s not large enough to cook big pieces of meat. So I talked to the sales associate, and he said he’d used both the Le Creuset and the Mario Batali, and while Le Creuset is the ultimate, the Mario Batali made delicious food too. So I took his advice and grabbed the big yellow one, because I love yellow. And it was the best purchase in the history of humanity. I’ve made pot roast, short ribs, roasted a chicken, chicken soup, and even apple pie filling in it. It is a glorious piece of kitchen equipment, and if you only get one thing on this list, make it the Dutch Oven.