wedding registry musts, in retrospect

Drew and I are six years into marriage, and every single passing year we look at each other and say, “What on earth were we thinking?” when we look back at what we registered for and purchased in the early days as newlyweds. So many things (an embarrassing amount) were completely unnecessary (brand new iMac) or useless (I’m looking at you, expensive Haverty’s couch with a “protection plan” that’s worthless).

{throwbacks from my bridal shower, circa 2012!}

Other things have been instrumental and we couldn’t live without — our coffee grinder and french press have gotten literally daily use, for example. So without further ado, here is my must-have wedding registry recommendation list, six years in the making:

  • Organic cotton sheets (2-3 sets). The softest I’ve found, good quality, pretty colors.
  • Good pillows (~4).
  • A beautiful neutral bedspread / comforter / duvet / quilt / whatever you fancy.
  • Nice, fluffy towels, handtowels, washcloths (~4-8 each). We registered for some from Target, Macy’s (Ralph Lauren brand), and bought a couple from Steinmart in recent years. The RL ones were the softest, but they have unraveled and look awful now. Steinmart was awful quality (wouldn’t recommend at all!). Target’s aren’t as soft but they’ve held up the best. Note:  the gray faded/discolored quickly. Maybe towels just aren’t meant to last terribly long? If you have some holy grail towels, please comment below! Also, the older I get the more I value solid white.
  • If you drink coffee — a French coffee press & coffee grinder. Like I said before, NECESSARY. We only get whole bean coffee and I tell you, it’s the best.
  • Simple, minimalist, quality china. I love fine china, but it’s pricey and can be impractical, especially if you are always fearful you’re going to break it (so you never use it) or if it has metallic detailing (can’t microwave it). We used a green and gold-trimmed set I got from a flea market back in college for the first few years of marriage, but ultimately wanted something simpler and more practical that would last forever. I think there’s much to be said for beautiful basic china — you can always dress it up later with linens, napkins, glassware, and table accessories. I recommend a total of 12 place settings.
  • A set of placemats or chargers you’re enamored with. We got a beautiful set of capiz shell round placemats and I still LOVE them. This is another way you can dress up your table settings with super simple china!
  • Nice flatware. I like flatware with heft. We went with stainless steel but gold and rose gold are popular these days. If you don’t think you’ll see them as outdated in a few years, go for the more fun metals! I’m not into anything with wood or other material detailing; it tends to fall off and seems cheap.
  • Quality crystal glassware. Once again, we went simple on these — a set of highball and a set of lowball glasses, not TOO delicate but not too bulky.
  • If you drink wine, good wine glasses. I’m not one for drinking wine out of a juice glass! Also, a corkscrew (our electric bottle opener died!). Champagne bottle sealer if you don’t like to waste sparkling wine (and can make it last longer than a night!).
  • If you bake, a nice Kitchen-Aid mixer is pretty instrumental. I also recommend a hand mixer (for mashed potatoes, frosting, and any baked goods that you don’t want to break out the Kitchen-Aid for). Here’s my extensive list of other good-to-haves for baking/cooking couples: a couple of metal mixing bowls, a mesh sieve, a solid rubber spatula, a cookie scoop, a peeler, a cheese grater, salad servers, a flat metal spatula, tongs, an airlock cookie sheet and silpat silicone baking mat (if you plan to make cookies), a couple of 8″ or 9″ cake pans (if you plan to make layer cakes) and some magi-cake strips, a glass pie dish (if you plan to bake pies), a 9″ square metal pan (if you plan to make brownies), a glass liquid measuring cup, metal measuring cups (for flour, sugar, etc), measuring spoons, a sifter, a whisk, a garlic press, a can opener, some beautiful kitchen towels and oven mitt / potholder, a few Pyrex glass dishes for keeping leftovers, and a casserole dish (Thanksgiving!).
  • If you like super simple / easy / mindless cooking, I recommend a Joule (for sous vide cooking! It’s simpler than it sounds!) and/or a crockpot. I don’t have / haven’t tried an Instant Pot or an Air Fryer, but we’ve heard good things!
  • A food processor. We use this for shredding cheese, making nut butter, pizza sauce, pesto, you name it.
  • A glass blender. Vitamix is the holy grail (and can be considered potentially necessary if you make smoothies daily) but I have a glass one from college that has served us well. The plastic ones just don’t hold up as well! We use this for chipotle shrimp, blended soups, protein shakes.
  • Good knives. You don’t need a million, but good, heavy-duty, sharp knives are a NECESSITY. Nothing infuriates me more when traveling or maneuvering through friends’ kitchens where there are no good knives. And a cutting board. Bonus points if it’s beautiful and can serve double-duty as a serving block.
  • Heavy-duty dutch oven and a few good pots/pans. Ours are copper and work like a charm. You don’t need anything ultra fancy but they should be a little heavy and solid metal. I also use a 10″ nonstick skillet daily for frying eggs.
  • A quality broom & dustpan, trashcan, mop, and bucket for cleaning. A plunger, toilet brush, bathroom-size trashcans.
  • If you have carpet, a good vacuum. Possibly a Roomba / iRobot vacuum. I don’t have one (and we have only hardwood), but I’ve heard they’re life-changing!
  • A lingerie laundry bag, a steamer, an iron, a wicker hamper (or whatever you like!), a large canvas tote (or whatever you like!) for collecting dirty laundry. We registered for (and got) a laundry sorter that had a built-in ironing board, but we really only used it in our first apartment (now it holds a bunch of random office supplies in my office closet) so I don’t particularly recommend one of those. If you’re debating between iron vs. steamer, I have to say I love and use my steamer more often (and the best one I’ve ever gotten was a simple travel steamer from Amazon!). We don’t have a traditional ironing board because we don’t need or want to store one.
  • Good, matching hangers. We have wooden ones but the velvet ones take up less space.
Minimalist China
Capiz Shell Placemats
Gold Flatware
Crystal Glasses
AirBake Cookie Sheets
Silpat
Magi-Cake Strips
Garlic Press
Cutting/Serving Board
Iron
Travel Steamer
Wooden Hangers
Roomba
Set of Pots & Pans
Le Creuset French Oven
Calphalon Knives
Vitamix Blender
Crock-Pot
Joule sous vide
Kate Spade kitchen towel set
french press

Other words of wisdom I have for newlyweds:  Hold off on adopting pets, buying expensive furniture or technology, or trying to fill every square inch of your new home together right off the bat. There is much to be said for taking your time curating a home full of things you LOVE (and not just clutter that takes up space). Quality > Quantity! Think about your NEEDS versus your WANTS, know that wealth is how much money you KEEP (rather than how much you SPEND), read Rich Dad Poor Dad and rethink the whole “American Dream” (it’s garbage, truly!).

Please note this resource guide includes some Amazon affiliate links that may earn a small commission if you make a purchase from using them.
I use these (as well as plenty of other non-affiliate links!) to illustrate exactly what I use and love at home.

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