Bridal Registry Help
I have gotten a few questions on how a bride is supposed to let her friends, relatives and wedding guests know where she is registered. While the world has become less formal, a bride should never volunteer registry information without being directly asked; nor should registry information ever appear on any printed materials relating to the wedding (including the invitation, save the date, etc.).
Printing registry information on an insert in a wedding invitation looks like exactly what it is: a blatant solicitation for gifts. The way friends and relations find out where you are registered is to ask your mother, your maid of honor or you. If guests want to know, they will ask. And while it is still walking a fine line in the manners department, guests do appreciate a point in the right direction, especially if it's a click away.
If you have a wedding Web site, it's fine to include "Wedding Gifts" as one page, where you can list the names of stores where you are registered and, if available, provide links to the stores' Web sites. Guests who choose to access that information can click on the link, making gift shopping quick and easy.
Before you start registering for your wedding gifts, think about the way you and your fiancé live.
Ask each other these questions:
•Is your lifestyle casual or more formal?
•Do you live in a small apartment with limited storage space, or do you have a brand new, empty home?
•Do you have an outdoor barbecue area where you grill every summer evening, or are your favorite take-out restaurants on speed-dial?
•Do you invite friends over often and, if so, do you cook?
If it's not your style, don't register for crates of formal dinnerware and crystal that you'll end up putting in storage. Instead, register for things that reflect your lifestyle now, from a new grill to gourmet cookware. The main reason to register is to collect the tools for starting your life together, not to put things in the closet for some later use that may never come.
Registry isn't limited to tabletop items. The options are endless today. You might want to register for good quality sheets, towels or even furniture. You might also consider registering at more than one store to create variety or add to an existing collection.
Browse through your favorite sites and take a few afternoons to shop with your fiancé and talk honestly about what you both need and will use.
We always recommend owning one basic set of good china, crystal, and silver. This gives you a solid foundation. From that base, you can mix and match items for a creative, eclectic look.
You might want to choose a five-piece place setting in an astonishing pattern and augment it with sets of bowls, salad plates or serving pieces in a complementary color and pattern, possibly from several different manufacturers.
Think beyond the ordinary and register for different colors of napkins, centerpiece containers, or sets of vintage plates or flea-market finds.
Since you would never limit yourself to a boring, monochromatic wardrobe in one style, don't limit your table or your registry. Ensure your choices reflect you so that your guests will say, "These plates are so them."
There's something endlessly appealing about buying a kitchen gadget. It's hard not to immediately start imagining all the delicacies you can create: Belgian waffles with a fresh berry compote; homemade pesto with pignolis topped with grated Parmesan; or fresh baked bread with home churned butter.
Say good-bye to takeout.
Nice to Have
•Electric knife (for turkey-carving)
•Electric grill (à la George Foreman)
For the Gourmet-Inclined
•Electric stand mixer
•Ice cream maker
•Pasta machine with ravioli attachments
•Panini machine (for the best-tasting sandwiches on earth)
Baking Accessories If you're already a master baker, your registry is the ideal time to upgrade your most essential cooking tools (and the best time to throw in those gourmet baking accessories you've been eyeing at the kitchen store). Because, hey, that soufflé won't bake itself.
•Glass mixing bowls (a set of small, medium & large)
•Stainless steel mixing bowls (a set of small, medium & large)
•Measuring cups and measuring spoons
•Insulated cookie sheet
•Rubber and metal spatulas
•Spring form pie pan
•Round cake pans
•Ovenproof baking dishes
For the Gourmet-Inclined
A Glassware Primer
Who knew one needed so many types of vessels for drinking everything from water to wine? Below, a list of every type of glassware you may need.
Pick and choose what's right for you and your registry. Remember, even Diet Coke tastes better in a crystal goblet.
•White wine glasses
•Red wine glasses
•Fruit juice glasses
•White wine glasses
•Red wine glasses
•Fruit juice glasses
•Iced beverage glasses
A Glossary for Glassware:
•Lead Crystal: Fine glass with a lead content, which makes the glass clearer.
•Colored Glass: Mineral salts, such as copper to create the color green, are melted with glass to render specific colors.
•Cut Glass: Designs are cut into the base, stem, and sides of the glass by hand or machine.
•Milk Glass: A tin oxide and sometimes a tint are added to create an opaque, milky effect.
•Etched Glass: The glass is coated with wax, with certain areas left as a design, and then dipped into acid to fix the design on the glass; usually reserved for fine crystal.
•Engraved Glass: Delicate designs are cut lightly into the glass, generally by hand; usually reserved for fine crystal.
•Pressed Glass: Raised designs are formed in the glass before it cools, creating a three-dimensional pattern.
Everyday place settings take center stage.
While we are not advocating losing the opportunity to get a fine set of china, popular culture has veered away from this traditional registry choice. Couples are approaching their china registry in a very different way, turning everyday china into the new formal.
"We encourage couples to buy things they'll actually use," match your china to your lifestyle and your savvy--don't try to fit yourselvess into a mold from 20 years ago."
So if you're not so fancy, not to worry. Just think about your china as an extension of your social life. The goal is not to lock away your 'good china,' only to drag it out at Thanksgiving. The plan, instead, is to enjoy your china as much as possible today and in the future. For plates that stand the test of time, consider going with the plain-white route.
At Bed Bath & Beyond, one popular pattern right now is Fitz and Floyd's Nevaeh Everyday Bone China. "It's fine china, but it's also very durable and versatile," says Audrey Stavish, a registry expert at Bed Bath & Beyond. "Couples are then dressing these plates up and down with fun accessory plates."
Another popular line: The ever-fashionable Colorwave Collection by Noritake. "This china comes in different shapes and colors," Stavish adds. "Couples are having fun mixing and matching." In addition, Vera Wang Wedgwood Naturals Leaf Dinnerware Collection appeals to couples, thanks to the fact that it balances a minimalist feel with chic style.
Brides are also selecting the Belle Boulevard collection from Kate Spade as they picture serving dinners on it during book club parties. "The swirly heart-filled Love Story Collection by Mikasa looks a little more formal but is priced to offer couples a great value. Plus, the platinum hearts feel special."
And take heart (pun intended) if you still want fine china. There will always be a market for formal dinnerware. "What's changed is that couples are dressing their tables--they want their table to look different every time they serve dinner.
Trending away from the predictable, couples are ditching convention and registering for items that match their lifestyle.
Move over crystal and sterling silver, here are six things topping registry lists that put the life in lifestyle:
1. Camping gear. Popular registry lists for outdoorsy couples include the best of the best in tents, sleeping bags, gadgets and pretty much anything cool from REI, Campmor and Sharper Image.
2. Travel gear. You're planning on going on a lengthy honeymoon and you don't need stuffy luggage to tote along with you. What you do need are ergonomically friendly backpacks, plane pillows and power converters.
3. Barware. "For couples who live to entertain, only the best in drinking-wear will do, from double old-fashioned glasses to high-quality Riedel wine glasses."
4. Anything coffee-related. "Coffee is hot hot hot," Couples are registering for single-serve Keurig and Tassimo machines because they're fun, easy and convenient (and you and your fiancé might not have the same tastes in java). Plus, these machines have become conversation pieces at parties where friends gather around the machine to exchange notes on their favorite pods.
5. A new experience. "Things like cooking classes, skydiving outings and dancing lessons are big hits among new couples."
6. Make your own soda. Forget buying bottled seltzers--it's not very eco-friendly and soda tastes better when you've made it from scratch. Enter Sodastream machines, items that rank high on registry lists coast-to-coast.
There’s little you can’t register for.
If your kitchen is pretty well stocked and you don't want to register for yet another blender, take heart.
There's a plethora of new registries out there all with the common goal of giving you (and your guy) exactly what you want, even if it's tickets to the symphony or your honeymoon.
Here are eight to know about now:
1. NewlyWish. This online wedding registry feels like a virtual walk down the chicest street of boutiques you can imagine. You'll find 40 familiar places--from Fish's Eddy to Bobby Berk Home--all at the ready to help you pick out everything from linens to home goods, artwork and even tickets to theater and sporting events.
2. HoneyFund. Use this free site to invite your guests to help you fund all of your honeymoon travel needs, from helicopter rides to scuba lessons.
3. HatchMyHouse. It may not seem that romantic to gift a couple with a door or window, but these are some of the things that cost most when you're building or renovating your new home. You can also use this website to suggest ways that friends and family can contribute to your down payment.
4. Bottlenotes. Through this website, the first national wine registry, Bottlenotes helps you start a wine collection or add to one you've already started by encouraging gifters to treat you to any number of bottles of hand-selected boutique wines from around the world.
5. I Do Foundation. Want your guests to send gifts to your favorite charity in honor of your big day? Through this registry, your guests make secure online donations in support of the organization of your choice as their wedding gift to you.
6. Card Avenue. If you're not sure exactly what gifts you'd like to receive from your guests, consider registering for gift cards from such faves as Best Buy and Bloomingdale's. Your guests can opt for cards ranging from $25 to $500. Save the shopping spree for after your honeymoon.
7. Cloud 9 Living. Let's say you have all the gifts you could possibly need? Not to worry. Through this website, just ask guests to pay for your dreams: Yoga classes, massages, sailing trips--it's all available to you.
8. Alternative Gift Registry. Perhaps material items aren't on your radar at the moment. No problem. This website encourages non-material, second-hand and homemade gifts. Just create your own registry and you can get help with such things as decorating, recipe swapping and more.