planning a wedding: fun with the registry

I know there are way more important things to focus on when you’re engaged than a registry, but man, is this fun. Contributing to this blog for the last four years means I already have a great long list of things I think are super cool. To start my registry, I’m just gonna seplace all my past posts and see which items are still making me swoon. That said, I’d love some suggestions on what types of things I should register for. Is there something you wished you had registered for that you didn’t think of at the time? Did you end up with stuff you completely regret asking for? I’m also going to pick a charity that guests can donate to in lieu of purchasing a gift and I’d love some suggestions. Share your favorite charity in the comments and help me decide! — Erica P.

Image via Going Bridal (and yes, it’s a joke).

From our partners

One thing my husband and I fought about whether we should register for was clear, boring vases. But now we are so glad we have them–I know this is so cliche, but they go with whatever decor you like as your taste changes! As for things I wish we hadn’t registered for–table linens. They are gorgeous and real linen but what happens when you change your dining room table size/shape??

Sarah L.

First, congrats! Second, if I could go back, I would register for more timeless pieces and less trendy stuff. On some registry items, it is inevitable that time and your tastes will make the gifts feel dated. The two wedding gifts I still love are a cedar chest from my grandparents, especially now that my grandma is gone, and a silverware set with 20 settings that we use everyday. We also did not register for fine china and I have never once regretted it!

I’m glad we registered for placemats and fun printed napkins instead of fine linens, and I wish we’d picked out another set or two! We have never used our martini glasses (maybe twice in 3.5 years?) but we wish we had margarita glasses. We’re classy like that. Don’t register for pot/pan or knife sets; figure out the individual pieces you need and register for those separately. My mom was a huge help in figuring out the basics. The one really wonderful off-registry gift that we got, though, was a pan I hadn’t registered for, a big saute pan with a lid that I use ALL the time.

My favorite charity is Donor’s Choose–you could pick out a few projects that mean something to you (are in your hometown, or focus on a topic you really care about). The thank you notes from the classes are so fantastic, and it’s really cool to know exactly where the money is going.

camping equipment if you’re outdoorsy – or a great picnic set

an aero bed if you dont have a spare bedroom

framed art

a laptop!

those are the things people are always telling me they regret not getting!

we went with basic white for dishes and i’m so happy that we did. i am putting together a baby registry currently and just found the amazon universal wish list button…. which allows you to register for products on any site including etsy. it is awesome. maybe i’m living in the stone ages and everyone knows it is out there but now you can register for stuff from all your favorite places on the web.


Congrats! If you already have a lot of stuff, as I did, you might not need another set of dishes. I had a great set of Fiesta and didn’t want to bother with a fancier set. Maybe someday I’ll buy some vintage dishes for a “good” set. Anyway, if that’s you, some things good to register for are large, expensive items you wouldn’t necessarily buy for yourself. Like the huge roasting pan with rack that I registered for and received–I didn’t use it for a while, but it’s great for big roasts and turkeys. I never made any before, but the day comes when it’s your turn for Thanksgiving or you’re having people over for roast beef. That may not be your thing, you might want a tagine, but something you wouldn’t buy for yourself. Also, I love love love our set of Global knives, including steak knives. We use them every day and they are fabulous. I also love the huge bamboo cutting board someone gave us. I love our good towels from Garnet Hill.

BTW, I used Amazon (and a couple of other sites) for our wedding and baby registries, and they were great. And they didn’t have the universal button then. With the Amazon baby registry at the time, we ended up qualifying for $250 worth of diapers. Good deal!


I second the vote for Donor’s Choose–you know the money is going somewhere useful. More than ever these days many schoolkids need basic stuff like books, and extra stuff like art materials are a real gift.


Ubuntu Education Fund ( is a solid charity. A few friends listed them on a registry recently and received a beautiful photography book of the kids they helped.

I registered for china because I loved the pattern and I use it pretty often (if dinner takes a lot of time or money,we eat off the china!) I spent a lot of time on martini glasses and such, but only use them once and a while. I also find that people like to but us cocktail glasses and related items for holidays, so that was a bit of a waste.

Spend time choosing quality things that you reach for everyday – the pots and pans, knives, even towels. Even if you already have them, I think you can never have too many great quality everyday items. In the long run, a good pan does save time and money. I also registered for 2 really beautiful crystal vases. I don’t use them everyday, but when I do they look so pretty and special. I got lamps too – I didn’t register for them but was glad I received them.

I cook a lot so I wish I registered for even MORE pans and Corningware type stuff. I have NO PLATTERS and no servingware to speak of and it drives me nuts at least once every 3 months. Even if it’s just burgers on the grill, it’s helpful to have something to put them on and that stuff is pricey. I also wish I registered for sheets. Expensive sheets I can’t buy myself, but they feel just as lux as a gift ;)

For charities, I have soft spots for The Salvation Army and

Lutheran World Relief is an amazing organization. My fiancee and I are planning to donate money we would otherwise spend on favors to the LWR using their Alternative Giving Catalog. (link:

As for essentials, we’re absolutely registering for a sturdy iron skillet (and lid!), a dutch oven and a good wok. Good luck with everything! I’m excited to see/hear what you guys come up with!

Mary T

I can’t support Salvation Army, regardless of what good work I’m sure they do, because of their history of being anti-gay. Sorry, would never touch politics on here ordinarily but just thought it should be mentioned for the benefit of anyone for whom this would be an issue.

Congrats, Erica!

I actually just did a post on my blog about wedding registries if you want to check it out. I listed where I registered and answered a reader’s question about places to register. Hope it helps!!!

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[…] in April Erica P. asked what types of gifts she should (or shouldn’t) register for for her upcoming wedding. In addition to great advice, a few of you suggested making use of […]

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I guess it depends on what stage of life you are at. If you’ve been living together for ages, you may not need so many “things”. We had a bunch of excursions planned for our honeymoon and our travel agent was able to set up a site for us where people could contribute towards the excursions we had planned – so they were giving us an experience rather than a thing. People seemed to like that better than the thought of just giving cash.