Registries

What was on our Wedding Registries

by Melissa on April 17, 2012

I must say, I was pretty proud of our wedding registries. I was always disgusted with those lists of what to register for on various wedding websites (ahem, The Knot) that included garbage like $75 picture frames and other junk.

But, you know, I’m a judgmental person, so maybe not everyone thinks those types of items are crap. Perhaps there are people out there that want that type of stuff. Initially, I just wanted cash, but I know you can’t ask people for cash outright. But, after a while, I started to really covet the items we registered for, so I whether we got a physical gift or just cash!

I, however, am not one of those people. Everything I registered for I had an intended purpose for and could generally be categorized as so:

Entertaining supplies

Every time we have a party, which is often, I always seem to run low on nice serving dishes and ways to keep items at the appropriate temperature. I also like our entertaining-ware to have an eclectic feel, so we didn’t register for anything matchy-matchy (of course, this is a personal preference). When I go on vacation, one of the things I like to buy are unique serving dishes. Therefore, none of our stuff actually matches.

Household DIY tools

Although Ken doesn’t like to admit it, he is quite handy and has a really creative mind. We would also like to tackle different DIY projects around the house, but sometimes DIY just seems so expensive if you have to pay $200 up front for an expensive tool. So, we registered for a lot of tools. If you notice that our registry is devoid of certain major tools (like a drill, table saw, ratchet set, etc., it’s because we already own those tools)

Kitchen Upgrades

Basically, I wanted to be able to throw away practically every pot and pan in our kitchen after the wedding and start out with new ones. Our pots and pans are a mishmash of college dorm-quality mac-and-cheese size pans, and items that have been left behind by college roommates or really cheap items that were purchased when we were completely broke starting our professional jobs post-college. As geeky as this sounds, I did a LOT of research on the different type of cookware materials, such as cast iron, stainless steel, anodized, etc. So, I didn’t register for any "set" of pots and pans. Rather, I made a list of the most frequently used sizes of pots and pans that we use, and I registered for cookware in different materials.

Cash?

I know that it’s impolite to ask wedding guests for cash. But on our wedding website registry page, we explained to our guests that we were planning on a number of household projects in the next several years, including a complete kitchen renovation and new siding and windows. We were hoping they would take this as a hint that cash was a welcome gift.

So, here’s what was actually on our registry. We registered at Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond, Crate and Barrel, and Macy’s

Pots and Pans

  • 10 Inch Stainless Steel Skillet
  • 12 Inch Stainless Steel Skillet
  • 1 ½ Quart Stainless Steel saucepan
  • 3 ½ Quart Nonstick Hard Anodized Saucepan
  • 16 Inch Rectangular Roaster
  • 15 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
  • 6 Quart Dutch Oven
  • 13 Inch Stainless Steel Walk
  • 12 Quart Pasta and Steamer Set
  • Round Buffet Server
  • Saute Pan
  • 2 Quart Stainless Sauce Pan
  • 1 Quart Stainless Sauce Pan
  • 6 Quart Stainless Stockpot
  • 4 Quart Stainless Saucepan
  • 12 Inch Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Skillet
  • Ceiling Pot Rack

Cutlery

  • Flatware set for 16 (registered for two sets of 8)
  • “Nice” heavy servingware, like for Thanksgiving
  • Steak Knives
  • Kitchen servingware in stainless steel (like ladle, spaghetti server, slotted spoon, turner, etc.) to replace our old yucky plastic ones. We also registered for some silicone servingware too to use on nonstick survaces
  • Bamboo Utensil Set
  • Stainless Steel Utensil Holder
  • 7-inch Santoku Knife
  • Vegetable Knife
  • Bread Slicing Knife
  • Gourmet Spreader
  • John Boos Reversible Maple Cutting Board
  • Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Holder
  • Kai Pure Komanchi 2 8-Piece Knife Set

Kitchen Small Appliances

  • 11 Cup Food Processor
  • Mini Prep Processor
  • Hand Blender
  • Large and Medium Warming Trays – because I always try to figure out how to keep food warm at parties
  • 3.5 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
  • Electric Fondue Set
  • Crockpot Travel Bag
  • 4 slice Toaster
  • 9 Cup Deep Fryer
  • KitchenAid 6 Quart Stand Mixer

China

  • Casual china set
  • Wine Glasses (red and white)
  • Champagne Glasses
  • Cocktail Glasses
  • Margarita Glasses
  • Small barware glasses
  • Small bowls – to use for parties and serving things like nuts, chips, etc.
  • Loads of colorful serving platters and serving bowls, which I always seem to run low on at parties
  • Wooden salad bar and server set

Other Kitchen-related stuff

  • 2-Cup Measuring cup: because I never seem to have a clean one available when I need it
  • Norpro Stainless Steel Pie Cake Server
  • Meat Pounder
  • Pastry Scraper/Chopper
  • Dough Blender
  • Ladle
  • Grill Brush
  • 24-cup mini muffin pan
  • 9-inch Springform Pan
  • Three Tier Cooling Rack
  • Rachael Ray 4 ½ Quart Covered Oval Casserole
  • Rachael Ray 3-Quart Large Oval Baker
  • 8 Quart Stainless Steel Chafer
  • Loads of mixing bowls in various sizes and colors. When I bake, it tends to be in bulk, so I hate running out of large bowls.
  • 2-Tier Fruit Basket

Small household appliances

  • Cordless Steam/Dry Iron. The iron I currently have is about 15 years old and never seems to iron very well. I also liked the idea of having a cordless one.
  • Dyson Animal-Ball Technology Upright Vacuum Cleaner. We don’t have animals, but I sure do have long hair that ruins practically every vacuum we ever get. My hairs always get caught in the brush part of the vacuum.

Electronics

  • SparkFun Inventor’s Kit
  • Handheld GPS Navigator
  • Laser Printer
  • Vehicle Diagnostic Tool

Blu Rays

  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  • Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology
  • True Blood: The Complete First Season
  • Dexter: The First Season

Tools

  • Maglite flashlights (registered for 3)
  • Cordless Circular Saw
  • Clamp Kit
  • Multi-Cutter
  • Chalk Snap Line
  • 12-Inch Precision Marking T-Rule
  • Generation Green Bottle Cutter – Because all those pinterest tutorials involving string, acetone, and a lighter to cut bottles scares me
  • Forearm Forklift Lifting and Moving Straps
  • Jig Saw
  • Auto Laser Level
  • Black and Decker Work Bench
  • Staple Gun
  • Sander

Miscellaneous

  • Travel Steamer
  • Brother Serger
  • Electric Foot Warming Pad – to keep my feet toasty in my office during the winter months
  • Drying rack
  • Air Conditioner Cover
  • Weber Work Table (to go with our existing grill)
  • Akro Mils Plastic Drawers. We use these as small item storage in our laundry room and our current one was full.
  • Snow Thrower – for our small yard
  • Bed Sheets

Well, there you have it. What was on your registries? Do you have any registry regrets?

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Saturday Randomness

by Melissa on May 14, 2011

A few thoughts, none of which warrant an entire blog post, but just feel like sharing:

  • Two weeks ago, I went to the Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides in Washington, DC.  I went at 6pm.  There were still a ton of wedding dresses left on the racks.  A TON.  Glad I didn’t wake up with the crazies and hoard dresses.  Only a few caught my eye.  I tried on five.  I can, without a doubt, say that I do not like any sort of bridal-looking wedding dress.

Filene's Basement Running of the Brides 1 in DC


Photo 1

 

  • On the upside, a week before the Running of the Brides, I tried on some dresses from a designer that had caught my eye on the internet.  Her designs are only carried by one shop in the DC area.  I tried on several from the same designer, Saja.  The one I thought I would love, I still liked a lot, but I definitely liked a different one better.  The issue?  The one I liked better is $400 more than the other one.  Not sure if it’s worth it.  Now I just need my parents and sister to come visit for a day so I can take them to see the dresses. Which one do you like better?  (Images from www.sajawedding.com)

 

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  • I am working on the ultimate Wedding Playlist.  The most pressing problem is that it’s a bit heavy on fun, faster music, and a bit light on slower dance music.  I can’t help it!  I like fun, upbeat music!

 

  • I think we’re going to continue with our dance lessons.  We’re having a lot of fun, it gives us an excuse to get out of the house, since we always seem to be working on projects at home, and we’re both learning something together from scratch.  I am so proud of my fiance and how well he is learning how to foxtrot and waltz!  But neither of us like the Club Swing or Single Swing.  It’s just a very awkward feeling dance.

 

  • We still haven’t had our November 2011 wedding date confirmed yet by our venue.  The application period closed on May 1, so we should hear something any day now (it’s a National Park site, so the application process is kinda complicated).  If we don’t hear something by Monday, I’ll call.  I’m doing a good job of not obsessing about it, I’m just worried that the vendors we like will get booked before we hear back from the venue.

 

  • We had our engagement photos taken.  Well, they were actually taken in two parts.  We were supposed to meet our photographer at our picture location at 3pm last Friday.  The location closed at 5pm, so we would be able to get in our full two hours that the price included  (the photographer preferred to meet as late as possible to get the best light).  Well, the photographer was 30 minutes late.  Our session was rushed, she hadn’t scoped it out for the best picture locations (my fiance and I had been there before, but how are we supposed to know the best places for portraits?) and so we were running around like crazy.  So, I asked, and she agreed to do a second shoot at a different location just a few days later.  Even though she was only late by 30 minutes, the extra shoot went an hour.  I’m happy she was so accommodating, but, seriously, she was 30 minutes late!  We sat in the same traffic she did, and we were still there on time because we know how traffic is in this city and how long it takes to get places.  She assured us she wouldn’t be late for the wedding day.  She was super nice, but I just can’t seem to shrug the initial disappointment.  She’s a professional (read: expensive, and this is her full-time job, since photography is our top priority), so I’m hoping it was just a fluke.  I guess we’ll wait to see how the pictures turn out.

 

  • I’m a cheapskate, and hate how much it costs to get a haircut.  So, for years, I’ve been trimming my own hair and have never had a disaster.  Well, three days before our engagement photo session, I trimmed my bangs, just like I had done a hundred times before.  Well, I managed to cut off WAY too much. And rather than making it even, I decided to just leave it alone so that I wouldn’t end up with all short bangs (the shortest part was in the middle).  I have a fear of extremely short bangs after an unfortunate haircut in middle school that made me look like a little boy with a bowl cut.  So I figured, uneven was better than too short. For the next three days, I tugged on my bangs, massaged my scalp, and ingested many vitamins in an attempt to get my hair to grow back.  (not that I actually expected that to work).  Well, the day of the photos I think I managed to conceal it well and just kept rubbing down my bangs in between photos in an attempt to make them look longer.  This is an important lesson learned for my hair trim before the wedding!

 

  • We started our registry on Amazon.com.  The Gear for Your Kitchen book has been invaluable.  So many useful tips and tools that I would have never thought of.  Now that I’ve cleared some of the usual registry items, I’m trying to think of other things to register for.

 

  • We bought 10 digital cameras to put on tables at the wedding.  Yes.  Ten.  They were refurbished Kodak point-and-shoots for $49 each from an Ebay seller.  We figure we can sell them after the wedding.  Now we just need some SD cards for them, and we’re all set!  I think this is actually a very reasonable price.  Disposable cameras used to be in the $10 each range, but then of course getting all those photos developed was very expensive.  I think this will come out to be about the same price.

 

Happy Saturday!

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    Over the last several years, as friends and family members have gotten married and gotten knocked up, I have been able to look over a lot of wedding and baby registries.  Some items on their registries look useful, while other items just look like they either went happy with the scan gun in the store, or just put something on the list without doing background research on the product. 

    Example #1: I had budgeted a total of $100 for gifts for a wedding shower a few years ago. I skimmed  their registry and decided that I would buy multiple smaller items instead of one larger item.  But as I looked more in detail at the registry, I saw that many items that they had registered for had received terrible online reviews.

    Now, maybe I’m a bit compulsive.  I can’t begin to tell you how much time I spend researching product reviews for things that I buy, whether for myself or for other people.  But, to be honest, I was a little offended.  They registered for a $20 hand mixer that had gotten an average of 1.5/5 stars, with nearly 30 reviews.  As I read through the reviews, it was evident that the mixer motor broke after just a few uses.  So, should I buy a hand mixer with better reviews?  Or do I buy the crappy one they registered for?  I was torn.  Well, ultimately I avoided the entire situation by just buying a gift card.

    Example #2: More recently, I was reviewing a friend’s wedding registry. When I saw registry items for 80 dollar photo frames, cheesy reproduction artwork, a cat scratching post, and many, many other less-than-useful items, I was left scratching my head.

    Yes, I realize that these are things that this couple wants and therefore registered for the items.  And no doubt they like the products, at least in a superficial sense, otherwise they wouldn’t have registered for them.  But I really wondered how much thought they put into the items on their registries.

    Wedding Registry = One Time Opportunity

    How many other times in life can you ask so many people to buy you lots of nice, useful things that you can request specifically?  Umm, not many.   I know that some people would just prefer to ask for cash, but since that is considered tacky in many etiquette circles, we should make sure that the physical products that we register for are high-quality and have a definite intended purpose and don’t leave your guests dumbfounded.  So, here are my thoughts.

    This list focuses almost entirely on kitchen-related items, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on registering for other household items as well.

    Watch Shows on the Food Network

    While we may not like the recipes being presented on a particular episode, Food Network shows can teach you a LOT about tips, tricks, and methods in the kitchen.   I learned so much about food preparation by watching Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, and it totally changed my outlook on cooking.   No joke.  I know people have varying opinions of her and her food, but I have learned so much from her preparation and cooking methods. For instance, using a little hand grater for chopping garlic, using a garbage bowl to avoid repeated trips to the trash can, using a food processor to make homemade sauces (who knew spaghetti sauces could originate in something other than a jar!?), and the benefits of having a sharp, high-quality knife and cutting board.  Oh, and can I just point out that I used to completely butcher an avocado when I would try to peel it, but once I saw her technique, I never butchered another one!

    There is a lot to be learned from other shows too.  So, set your DVR to record a variety of Food Network shows and watch the types of tools that cooks and chefs use to help you figure out what might be most useful in your kitchen.

    Registering for entertaining supplies

    While registering for every-day type of kitchen items is obviously a plus, don’t forget about those things you may need when entertaining a large group of people, like when hosting a party or a holiday get-together.  Some things that I have and love when we host parties (but don’t necessarily use on a regular basis) are as follows:

    • A high-quality punch bowl for a signature party drink
    • Quality wine corkscrew (shameful confession: I drink box wine on a regular basis, so I have no need to use a corkscrew normally)
    • Large Serving trays
    • Cookie and Dessert tiered trays

    And for things that I take to parties that others are hosting:

    Know what various kitchen tools are actually used for

    I’ve got to be frank about this.  I have no idea how a wok is different than a big ‘ol frying pan.  Or what a dutch oven is actually used for except that certain recipes tell me to use it.  Or really, what serrated knives should be used for vs. straight edge knives.  So, a brief search led me to the book Alton Brown’s Gear for your Kitchen (take note of the excellent reviews).  I’ve been making my way through this book methodically.  I recommend that you do the same to get an idea of what would be most useful in your kitchen.

    Trading Up

    My fiancé and I have lived together for nearly two years in a home that we own.  I was 28 and he was 31 when we moved in together.  So, needless to say, we each had our own collection of low to mid-range cooking gear and supplies like pots and pans, knives, measuring cups and spoons, etc when we moved in together and we tended to keep both sets.  I have slowly started to accumulate better items as time has progressed, especially with regard to our entertaining-related items.  But, I need to take an honest inventory of our kitchen items and determine what we already have, but could benefit from having higher-quality items of.  And, of course, if we don’t get it, we won’t be heartbroken.

    Here are some things that come to mind:

    • I use a blender a lot, and I’ve never found one that has worked exceptionally well.  They either don’t blend frozen things well, or the motor burns out in less than a year.  This might be the perfect time to register for a Vitamix.
    • When we cook burgers indoors or other things on a bun, we like to toast the buns.  We have a toaster that works just fine, but if my fiancé plans to eat two sandwiches, and I plan to eat one, toasting three buns separately gets annoying.  So, I’m thinking of registering for a dual toaster.
    • Excellent quality knives and sharpener to replace our low quality knives
    • A larger food processor

    Similarly, look at what you already have, but what you could use an extra set of.  I use measuring cups and measuring spoons really often (all part of my WeightWatchers weight loss), so it’s nice having two sets in case one is dirty.  Think if there is anything else that you could use more of.

    A few other random tips

    • Someone once told me that they didn’t want to register for any large items because they didn’t have room in their tiny apartment.  I doubt they’ll live there forever!  So I would not let space be a deciding factor in what you register for
    • Please, do your research.  We live in amazing, consumer-empowered age.  Consumers can go online and write their unbiased opinions on products.  In addition to Amazon product reviews, just Google the product name + “reviews” and tons of other review sites will appear.  I get caught up in reviews way too often, and they can be a bit overwhelming.  But I would never buy a product without first reading reviews.  Hell, I even read reviews for pens now.
    • Don’t register for things just because they’re the “in” items to register for.  The top two things I have seen on recent wedding registries?  1) Kitchen Aid Mixer, and 2) Dyson Vacuum.  I will definitely register for a Mixer because I like to bake, but I will not register for a vacuum.  We have a cleaning service, so we rarely need to vacuum, but even if we didn’t have a cleaning service, I wouldn’t register for one even though  it’s on everyone else’s lists.  So, will your Kitchen Aid mixer look awesome but then just sit unopened in its box for years to come?
    • And please, don’t register for things that are on ANY “must have” registry list unless you absolutely “must have” them.  Crap Example #1, and Crap Example #2.  The wedding industry likes to take advantage of brides-to-be and tell them that there’s all this stuff they “need” from decor items to registry items.  Just remember that these companies are in business to make a profit and they make money telling you that you need these items.  Don’t let them play on your pre-wedding emotions.  Use your head to make your decisions.

    I’d love to hear from folks that are recently married and how they have used (or not used) gifts they received off their registries!

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