Must-Have Wedding Gift Registry Items

Silver tea sets? A crystal punch bowl? If you think that's got you covered, think again. Get the scoop from wedding experts on the items you won't think to register for, but should!

Kitchenware Wedding Registry Gifts

Kitchenware Wedding Registry Gifts

Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Thinkstock

Kitchenware and cooking utensils are very popular wedding gifts that couples often put on their wedding registry.

Registering for your wedding seems simple, but when faced with the proposition of making a giant joint wish list, it can be hard to know where to start. Weddings are built on cultural and societal traditions, but your gift list is one thing that shouldn't be stuck in the past. (Honestly, are you two ever going to use a soup tureen?) We asked three wedding pros for their modern registry must-haves and secrets for building a smarter gift list.

The Experts
Joanna Kartalis, director of The Registry at Bloomingdale's
MyRegistry.com President Nancy Lee
Cathleya Schroeckenstein, Editor in Chief, Weddingbee

What are the registry must-haves for just about every couple?

Joanna says: "1) A great frame to capture your favorite moment from your wedding, 2) china to make even the most casual meal feel special, 3) stemware to glisten on your table and make every day feel like a 'cocktail party', 4) the basics for your kitchen — stainless-steel cookware and a stand mixer, 5) bedding and bath towels to create your new 'honeymoon suite', 6) luggage! It's the first gift you'll use, as you'll need it for your honeymoon!"

Cathleya says: "Good knives! It's not enough that you pick ones by price — test them out — the heft, weight, how comfortable they feel in your hand. To me, they're investment pieces, so choose wisely."

Metal Kitchenaid Artisan Series Stand Mixer

Metal Kitchenaid Artisan Series Stand Mixer

Bloomingdales

What traditional registry items are okay to skip?

Cathleya says: "If you're a city dweller in a small space, I'd omit fine china. Considering many of us starting out live in smaller apartments or condos (sometimes with a small-to-no dining table), it'll end up sitting around for years before you use it, and worse, could go outdated by the time you use it if you go with a trendy pattern. Buy everyday china in all one color — white's the easiest — in different interesting shapes. It'll end up going great from everyday to entertaining. You can jazz it up with great table decor and chargers."

Nancy says: "If you and your fiancé do not need any more kitchen essentials and do not predict formal dining in your future, then by all means do not feel obligated to add traditional items to your gift registry. The registry is supposed to reflect the two of you as a couple, and what you need or want for your new life together...whatever that means."

Joanna says: "Anything you don't love! There are no rules here, so don't feel pressure to register for gifts that you don't want/already have/don't see yourself using. There are plenty of fun items that will make your home the nest you've always dreamed of...it's all about you!"

Any “just-for-fun” items that couples should consider?

Cathleya says: "The sky's the limit. People often look at vases, decor and accents as 'frivolous' registry items, but they end up being the things that you use and/or look at the most in your house, so go for it in the home decor department. And, of course, really luxurious, high-thread count sheets are a personal fave!"

Nancy says: "Absolutely! Anything that the couple will enjoy is fair game. At MyRegistry.com [pictured], we have seen an increase in specialty electrics from panini and bread makers, to electric grills and juicers. But really, anything from mountain bikes to His & Hers iPads are all fair registry items these days."

Joanna says: "Think about how you actually live and what you do in your home today. Love margaritas? How about a blender in your favorite eye-popping color? Ready for a beer? Try a set of pilsner glasses. Toast the good life with a dazzling pair of crystal flutes."

Sample Registry From MyRegistry.com

Sample Registry From MyRegistry.com

What price points should couples stick to when creating a registry?

Joanna says: "Feel free to vary the price points, as your friend from college is likely going to have a different pricepoint in mind from your grandparents, or your bridesmaids might go on in a group gift. There is room on your registry for all of the things that you love, so don't worry, your guests will gravitate to the items that are appropriate for them."

Nancy says: "It is important to add items in every price point. People decide how much they are going to spend on a wedding gift based on two factors: their relationship to the couple and their personal financial status. Obviously, an old classmate will not spend the same amount that a family member will. So, it is very necessary to choose items that can fit into anyone's budget."

Cathleya says: "Have something for everyone. I tend to shy away from anything under 20 dollars — the reasoning being typically guests will bundle 2-5 super-low price point items together and the shipping ends up costing practically as much as the gift, depending on where you register. For the average couple, concentrating items in the 20 to 50 dollar range is nice, especially because brides will likely see items on the 'lower-priced' end of the registry come in heavy for their bridal showers. Rounding it out with some higher-end things that family and close friends will likely buy is good. And don't shy away from a couple big ticket items — friends might want to go in on a group gift!"

What are the latest registry trends?

Nancy says: "I think that more couples are looking for dual purpose dinnerware. With the wide variety of choices available these days it is much easier to do so. Many couples are registering for dish sets that are durable for everyday use, but also looks great on the table when entertaining company. This is especially ideal for urban dwellers that might not have a lot of storage options."

Joanna says: "Most couples will add some great casual pieces like Riedel wine glasses or Villeroy & Boch's French Garden dinnerware. However, they also want a great china pattern that makes their dinner parties spectacular. Many designers are introducing some transitional patterns, like Bernardaud's Jardin Indien. Designers like Marchesa by Lenox with their Empire Pearl [pictured], are also launching new lines and patterns so that you can have the elegance of fine china, but with a more modern twist."

Nancy says: "Year after year, we notice more involvement from the groom when it comes to making gift selections. Now that registries can be built online during any time of the day or night, it is much easier for couples to work on their registry together and for the groom to get some of his 'pet items' into the mix."

Marchesa by Lennox China

Marchesa Place Setting by Lennox

Bloomingdales

Is there anything that should be off-limits on a registry?

Joanna says: "Absolutely not! At Bloomingdale's you can register for all home products so that you can wardrobe every room in your home. Go ahead and accessorize with candles, crystal and silver...just the way you would accent your favorite little black dress!"

Nancy says: "Anything that people might be embarrassed to see..."

Cathleya says: "I'd recommend leaving off items that are geared specifically toward only one person. It's a couple's registry, after all. While BBQ utensils result in a meal that both can enjoy, something like, say, a handbag, is probably not something to add...even if it's really cute!"

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