I’ve been married for 15 years and these are the wedding gifts we still use
What you'll really use 'til death do you part
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One of the most exciting things about getting engaged—other than the ring, of course—is having the opportunity to put together a wedding registry. It’s kind of like shopping for everything you’ve ever wanted, except that you don’t have to pay for any of it!
While it can be tempting to add pretty much everything in the housewares department to your registry—especially considering how fun it is to use the nifty little hand scanner—the reality is that many of the registry “necessities” don’t get used much in real, everyday life.
After 15 years of marriage, there are still a number of wedding gifts that we use almost every day—and even more of them that turned out to be superfluous. Here are my tips for putting together a winning registry, as well as 10 of our wedding gifts that we still use regularly.
How to create a great wedding registry
When you’re putting together your wedding registry, it’s important to be realistic about how you and your partner actually live. Register for items that you know you’ll use rather than things that you think you’ll use.
Stick to the classics
Styles and tastes change quickly, and it’s easy to get carried away registering for trendy items that won’t stand the test of time. We registered for a lot of “interesting” platters that ended up not being very practical and looking really dated really quickly. For ultimate longevity, opt for simple, classic pieces that can easily be mixed and matched with other dishes.
Skip the glassware
Glasses break easily, and in the grand scheme of things, regular, everyday glasses are pretty inexpensive. Refrain from adding a bunch of juice glasses to your registry and save the space for truly unique and special glassware that you definitely wouldn’t splurge on for yourself.
Think about towels
I have yet to find a bath or hand towel—no matter how expensive—that lasts longer than a year when used for more than just the odd guest. Plus, you can usually score great deals on towels (even fancy ones) during various sales throughout the year. Thinking of registering for fancy embroidered guest towels instead? Just remember that those have to be ironed—and no one likes to use those IRL anyway.
Be realistic about china and silverware
Let’s be real: Are you actually going to host fancy dinner parties that require a full china and silver service? Chances are that unless you’re marrying into some sort of Downton Abbey situation, most of your dinner parties will be casual potlucks. Still not swayed that you don’t need fancy china? It all has to be hand washed, and once you have kids you do not have time for that.
Wedding registry gifts we still use
So, what should you register for instead? Here are the 10 registry items that have stood the test of time—and that we still use on a regular basis.
1. A great set of cookware
Since my husband is a chef, I realize that we (okay, he) may use our kitchen more than the average couple, but if you do any sort of cooking, you can’t go wrong with a fantastic set of pots and pans.
We love this 10-piece set of hammered copper cookware by Thermo-Clad because they cook like professional restaurant pans, but they look beautiful when hanging in a kitchen (if you polish them, which I do not). Yes, the price is substantial, but this is a great gift for a group of friends to go in on together and split the cost multiple ways.
2. Classic enameled cast iron
There’s a reason Le Creuset items are on almost every wedding registry: they last forever, cook beautifully, and come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes for every type of dish.
We’re partial to the Dutch ovens for stocks, soups, and sauces, but the baking dishes are also practical.
- Get the Heritage Rectangular Casserole at Le Creuset for $120
- Get the Round Dutch Oven at Le Creuset from$160
3. A hard-working citrus press
Despite living in Los Angeles, I am not a green juice person (blech), but I do love fresh citrus juice—especially when mixed with vodka.
Our Breville juicer has made countless batches of grapefruit and orange juice over the years and lately it’s been put into service by our 7- and 8-year-olds for their weekly lemonade stand enterprise. If a 15-year-old appliance can withstand less-than-gentle handling from two kids under 10, it’s decidedly a worthwhile investment.
4. A stunning serving piece
While crystal glassware may not be a fit for normal life, I think it is worthwhile to register for a couple beautiful serving pieces that can be used for special occasions.
I like Simon Pearce bowls because they’re the perfect combination of modern and classic, and they look equally chic holding mashed potatoes or fresh lemons.
5. A set of really good knives
If you or your beloved are avid cooks—or have plans to become one—the most important thing you can register for are really great knives. There’s a reason why professional chefs guard their knives closely: Truly exceptional knives make meal prep easier and can be the difference between a mediocre dish and a marvelous one.
My chef husband swears by Japanese steel knives because they tend to be lighter and more precise than their German counterparts. If you take good care of your knives—don’t put them in the dishwasher, and have them sharpened professionally—they’ll last a lifetime.
We love our Shun knives and suggest that you register for a few different sizes so that you’ll always have just the right knife for whatever you’re preparing. Pro tip: These knives are razor sharp, so take a few minutes to learn proper cutting techniques so you don’t lose a fingertip before you walk down the aisle.
6. A cozy comforter
Pretty much all of the linens we got as wedding gifts have long since disintegrated, but the one thing that’s still in great shape is our down comforter.
If you love a soft and fluffy bed—or you’re perpetually cold like I am—you’ll definitely want to register for a cozy comforter. The Alberta Down Comforter from the Company Store is a classic, fluffy European down comforter that doesn’t leak feathers and can be machine washed so it will keep you warm for years to come.
7. An attractive stand mixer
The KitchenAid stand mixer is another classic wedding registry item, and ours has seen a lot of use over the years, especially during my COVID challah making kick.
I love that it’s practically indestructible, comes in loads of different colors, and has a variety of attachments that can be purchased separately to turn it into a truly multifunctional appliance. We’ve added the pasta cutter set as well as the ice cream maker over the years.
8. A powerful vacuum cleaner
While I admit that there is nothing romantic or sexy about a vacuum (other than a man who uses one without being asked), you simply can’t go wrong with this practical gift.
When we got married 15 years ago, robot vacuums didn’t exist, but if they had I’m sure I would’ve registered for one. Instead, we opted for the Eureka Canister vacuum and it has been going strong for all these years. If you have hardwood floors and are looking for a reasonably priced vacuum that does an excellent job, this is just the item for your registry.
9. Hardworking roasting pans
Chances are that you’ll be hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Rosh Hashanah dinner at least a few times once you’re married, and it definitely helps to have a roasting pan on hand that can handle a large turkey or a brisket.
My husband swears by this Mauviel pan for making moist, delicious turkey—well, this and starting it breast side down at 500 degrees Fahrenheit—and it’s beautiful enough to be used as a serving dish as well.
10. A chic set of luggage
Suitcases are a super practical gift that lasts for a long time and will literally go with you anywhere. In fact, I just retired the Tumi suitcase I got as a wedding gift because I wanted an Away suitcase with a built-in charger for (future) business trips.
If you and your future spouse are world travelers—or even just weekend road warriors—you definitely won’t regret registering for a set of chic suitcases to take with you on your next adventures.
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