The time leading up to a wedding can be one of the most joyous and exciting times of your life, including the time you spend registering for wedding gifts. While it can be tempting to add everything to your wedding registry that catches your eye or tickles your fancy, like an espresso/drip coffee machine or a towel warmer, take a moment to consider what really matters.
While wish-list-style gifts may be your heart’s desire, they’re not the most practical, so consider leaving those items off your registry. After all, not everyone on your guest list will be able to purchase a wedding gift that costs hundreds of dollars.
Additionally, some wedding gifts that people often think they need to register for may not fit your lifestyle at all. So think twice about registering for items that you know you don’t need or will hardly use.
What is a smart move is to register for are items that you need and will use — and that your guests can afford. To help get you started, here are five items to skip and five items to add to your wedding registry.
Last updated: June 8, 2021
Skip: Fine China
If you’re not the type of couple who plans to host holiday dinners or do other formal entertaining several times a year, a set of fine china will likely end up gathering dust. China settings can be quite expensive. This Lenox Continental Dining Platinum Dinnerware Collection five-piece place setting is $99.99, which means service for just four people would cost around $400 — almost five times the cost of four place settings of nice non-china dinnerware.
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Add: Classic White Dinnerware
Opt for a nice set of classic white dinnerware, like this Everyday White by Fitz and Floyd, which equals service for four for $88.46 — over four times less than a five-piece place setting of Lenox china. By choosing white, you’ll be able to use these dishes for years without worrying about them going out of style or not matching your changing kitchen decor. If you fear that white will be too bland and boring, add some accent plates, placemats or cloth napkins in the colors of your choice.
Skip: Pots and Pans Set
While registering for a complete set of pots and pans may seem like a good idea, chances are that the set will include items you won’t really use very much, if at all. Plus, sets are all made out of the same material, and sometimes, you want to cook with something different, like cast iron. And even worse, what if you don’t like cooking with the expensive, huge set of pots and pans you’re gifted? After all, an 11-piece Analon Hard Anodized Nonstick Cookware Set is $299.99.
Add: Open-Stock Pots and Pans
You will need pots and pans to cook with, so a good alternative to an entire set is to choose some open-stock pots and pans that you love. This strategy will give you the opportunity to customize your pots and pans selection and receive what you’ll use the most. For example, you can register for a stainless steel stockpot, a cast iron Dutch oven and a nonstick skillet. Opting for single, open-stock items will also be more cost-efficient for guests. For example, this Anolon Advanced 12.5″ Divided Skillet is $49.95.
Skip: Personal Gifts
Registering for personal gifts is not a good idea. The purpose of a wedding registry is to register for gifts that are useful for you and your significant other — not just one of you. So skip one-sided gifts like power tools or lawn equipment for him or a jewelry armoire or expensive designer purse for her.
Add: Gifts That You Both Can Use
Anything that you need for your household that you both can use should be added to the list. For instance, good-quality sheets and towels are a terrific pick. For towels, pick 100% cotton for softness and absorbency. This extra-thick, 100% Turkish cotton bath towel set is $69 at Brooklinen. You can also add items to your wedding registry like a toaster, blender, coffee maker, air fryer or Instant Pot if neither one of you own one or the one you do own needs replacing.
Skip: Stand Mixer
Unless you or your spouse-to-be is an avid baker who mixes up cookies, cakes, muffins or pastry dough on the regular, a stand mixer is likely an expensive gift that will take up a lot of real estate in your kitchen. A KitchenAid classic series stand mixer is over $250 — money that could be much better spent elsewhere.
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Add: Quality Bakeware Set
A quality bakeware set is worthwhile to add to your registry because when you need to bake oatmeal cookies for an event or whip up a batch of blueberry muffins for brunch, you want to be able to get great results. For example, this Chicago Metallic Professional Nonstick eight-piece bakeware set for $59.99 includes a loaf pan, two baking sheets, two round cake pans, a rectangular cake pan, a muffin pan and a cooling rack.
Skip: Crystal Serving Pieces
Unless you’re planning to do fancy entertaining, it’s probably best to skip crystal serving pieces and other items made of crystal on your registry. For example, this eight-piece crystal hostess set with salt shaker, pepper shaker, butter dish, sugar bowl, creamer bowl, gravy boat and tray retails at Nieman Marcus for $100. And $100 could go a long way toward a more practical and useful gift for your home like an open-stock pan. Plus, chances are that you’ll have at least one person shop off-registry and get you something crystal anyway.
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Add: Quality Silverware Set
A quality silverware set is a smart item to add to your registry, especially if you’re going to receive new dinnerware. Both items can last you for years. Even though quality silverware made of higher-grade stainless steel –18/8 or 18/10 — is more expensive than cheaper silverware, made of lower-grade stainless steel — 18-0 — which can bend or become easily scratched, the cost is still manageable for gift-givers. This 18/8 matte black stainless steel silverware set for four priced at $43.99 would make a nice pairing with classic white dinnerware. As a bonus, the black coating is PVD, which is much more durable than electroplating.
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