Even though there are a lot of jokes about people getting married for the gifts, I think most brides are actually a little nervous about registering. Here you are, picking out items that are supposed to furnish your home, and last you a lifetime, and you’re exposing your taste in linens to the comments of your future in-laws.
That’s why I recently sat down Susan Hynes, a personal chef, and got her advice on what items for the kitchen should be on your registry. A former caterer, Susan knows brides and grooms; and as someone who goes into other people’s homes to cook for them, she sees a lot of kitchen buying mistakes!
1. Be considerate of your well-wishers
This is the number one tip for any registering you do. You should aim to have a variety of items at different price points, so that everyone can participate. If you have out of town guests and family, consider registering at national stores, and those with a reputable online presence.
2. Understand store policies
Stores that offer a bridal registry usually have people to walk you through the process. It’s worth taking the extra time to meet with this person and make sure you understand things like the return policy. Many stores have policies that allow you to “finish off your registry” by buying items you registered for but didn’t receive at a discount. Sometimes these policies have time limits, so again, ask questions and save the paperwork.
3. Register for a good set of pots and pans
Susan recommends Calphalon, All-Clad or Cuisinart brands. The most important things with pots and pans is that they’re a good weight, they heat evenly, and hold the heat well. Not all of your cookware needs to be nonstick, but Susan does recommend one nonstick 10-inch pan for eggs. A set of pots and pans is expensive, but it’s an easy thing for two or more people to go in on together.
4. Register for a good set of knives
If you get a good set of knives, you’ll never need to replace them. Susan recommends that whoever is going to be using the knives the most go into a store and hold them. They need to be a comfortable weight for your hand. Some brands that she likes are Henckels and Wusthof. Here’s an insider tip: If you don’t get these as a wedding present, you can get them for a much better price at Costco, a restaurant supply store, or an online supplier.
5. Think about counter space
Sure, that professional waffle iron looks cool, but do you really have space for it? According to Susan, in most kitchens, things that aren’t visible or easy to reach, don’t get used.
6. If you don’t know what a bamboo steamer is, you probably don’t need it
It’s very easy to get carried away when you’re registering. If you aren’t careful, you may start to believe that the magic wand in your hand can not only choose gifts, but also turn you into Martha Stewart. Your cooking needs will change as you become a family, but if you’ve never blanched or parboiled before, there’s no reason to think that getting married will turn either of you into a contestant on Iron Chef.
7. Buy (or register) for the kitchen you have
It would be nice to think that shortly after you get married you and your beloved will strike it rich and move into a huge mansion with a state-of-the-art kitchen, but the truth is, you probably won’t. This isn’t the only time in your life you’ll have a chance to buy cooking supplies. Better to register for things you know you need and have room for now.
8. On the other hand, this is a chance to learn some new skills
Consider getting yourself a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated (or placing hints about it with people who may buy you shower presents). This advertisement-free magazine has recipes with step-by-step instructions and illustrations. They also review kitchen items and brands. Looking through a few issues may give you some good ideas about how much things should cost, and what the recommended brands are.
9. Two big items to hope you get
A food processor (Cuisinart) and a stand-alone mixer (KitchenAid). No matter what level of chef or baker you are, these bosses of the kitchen will stand you in good stead, and you’ll never need to replace them. Susan says she’s had hers for 20 years each.
10. Don’t forget the smaller things
If you’re like most nearlyweds, you’re using hand-me down spatulas, measuring spoons, dish towels, aprons and pot holders. Don’t forget, these are all things you can register for, and they’ll give well-wishers a variety of items from which to choose.
Finally, since I write OneWed’s advice column, I get a lot of questions about gifts and gift giving. You’ll be much happier with your gifts (and your relationships) if you try and remember what a wedding gift is and is not. It IS an expression of good wishes. It is not required, not payment for dinner, and not an expression of how much someone cares about you.
Thanks again to personal chef Susan Hynes for sharing her expertise