How to... Create a Wedding Registry

Part of our "How To" Series of Wedding Ideas

How to… Create a Wedding Registry

Things You Should Know BEFORE You Register.

A Wedding Registry is a wonderful thing! Yay – lot’s of gifts for ME! However, there’s a lot to think about. Here are some thoughts and tips you may want to consider, along with general information to help make this a fun, easy and enjoyable!

POINTS TO PONDER: What to consider before going in

  1. When deciding where to register you’ll want to give your guests a couple of options. Register at stores that have both online and physical locations – people have different shopping preferences.
  2. Give your guests a price range. A great department store may work for some, but places like Target offer an amazing array of items at reasonable prices for everyone.
  3. Make sure you list more gifts than guests – about twice as many gifts as you have guests. There is no such thing as putting too many items on your list! You are doing your guests a favor by providing an overabundance of options.
  4. Decide on the theme, color and style your home will reflect before you choose your registry items. As you walk through the store or choose on-line, things will more easily fall into place if you have an idea of what type of décor you are creating.
  5. Don’t try to pick out everything the first time through. You can create a ‘rough draft’ and see what appeals to you the second, third or forth time around. You’re woman, and therefore, entitled to change your mind a time or two!
  6. Look closely at the details of how things are made. You’ll want to choose the best quality you can. These items will last a lifetime.
  7. You can buy the splurge items for yourself later, but you probably won’t. Have some fun! You’ll be glad you listed that home chocolate fountain when you get ready to host your first party!
  8. Timeless designs are always in. One beautiful crystal bowl can be many things. A salad dish, holiday centerpiece filled with ornaments or a lovely art object.
  9. More expensive gifts can be a great group offering or parent’s gift.
  10. You’ll become most attached to the gifts you use over and over again.
  11. Not everything has to have rhyme or reason. If there was ever a time to be impulsive on some things, this is it!

DINNERWARE DETAILS Before selecting your tableware, consider the following points. The answers will give you insight to your dining and entertaining style, as well as aesthetic preferences, and will help you select the tableware with which you will be most happy.

  1. How do you like to entertain? Buffet? Sit-down casual meals? Formal? Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres?
  2. Do you want tableware for everyday use, as well as for entertaining? Many couples select one pattern for everyday use and another for entertaining. Or, you may opt for classic white, suitable for every occasion, which provides a nice base for layering seasonal tableware.
  3. Which colors and shapes appeal to you?
  4. What kind of care is required? Most of today’s dinnerware, flatware and glassware are dishwasher safe, but for some styles, such as hand-painted earthenware, hand washing is recommended.
  5. Imagine you are hosting your family for Thanksgiving. Add two place settings to be safe. That’s how many you’ll need.
  6. Consider signing up for timeless white bone china. Different accents will change the look every time you use them.
  7. The same holds true for white ware serving pieces. Timeless, versatile and gorgeous.
  8. Oven to table casseroles will save you time.
  9. As you purchase your place settings, put them together in the store to make sure you like the way they come together. Take a look at the great designer tables in stores such as Pier One and Crate & Barrel. They are happy to share ideas!
  10. Appreciate that there are several types of dinnerware and know the differences. Most registries suggest you sign up for two sets. A set of china for more formal occasions and something more casual, such as stoneware or earthenware, for everyday.
  11. Bone china is the top of the line. Very elegant, thin dinnerware with an incredible strength and almost luminescent glow. It is of such a fine and translucent quality that light can actually pass right through it. Not to worry, day in and day out, bone china is the most durable, chip resistant material there is.
  12. Porcelain is sophisticated china for a little less expense. Made from three essential ingredients, fine white clay known as kaolin, quartz and feldspar, porcelain is very chip resistant and very durable.
  13. Stoneware, made from coarser clays than porcelain, is extremely durable, high-fired, non-porous dinnerware, which can go straight from the fridge, to the oven or microwave, then to the table and into the dishwasher. Reactive glazes give stoneware it’s smooth, kiln feel and clean modern look.
  14. Earthenware is usually a little less expensive than stoneware. This casual dinnerware is made of natural or terracotta clay and fired at lower temperatures than porcelain or stoneware. Earthenware is often hand painted in brilliant colors and designs. With all the great trends and colors, you may want to get more than one set and dress your table to reflect your mood!
  15. Most registries suggest 8-12 place settings each of your china and every day patterns. You will find purchasing these items in sets will be more cost effective.
  16. Usually china and every day patterns are available in 4-piece and 5-piece place settings. A 5-piece place setting includes a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, cup and saucer. While a 4-piece place setting substitutes a mug for a cup and saucer.
  17. Most registry retailers offer extras of the most frequently used pieces, known as open stock. This will include each of the individual pieces in a place setting, as well as the coordinating serving bowl, platter, sugar bowl, creamer and teapo


  1. Flatware comes in all shapes, sizes and prices! You’ll want to choose a good quality 18/10 stainless steel, a combination of steel, chromium and nickel, for shine. This is the best stainless steel on the market and is dishwasher safe.
  2. Pick up the knife and fork and pretend to cut with them. How do they feel? Consider the size and contour of the spoon.
  3. If it needs polishing, you’ll never use it!
  4. Register for extra serving spoons. No one ever seems to have enough.
  5. Start with as many place settings of flatware, as you have in dinnerware. The usual recommendation is 8-12, with an additional eight forks and spoons to get you through coffee and dessert.
  6. A 5-piece place setting includes salad fork, dinner fork, knife, soup spoon and teaspoon.
  7. Individual place settings are usually available in open stock, as well as serving pieces, such as pastry servers, serving spoons, pierced spoons, meat forks and steak knives.

GLASSWARE GROUNDWORK  There are many things to consider when choosing your glassware. Think about the number of people you typically entertain, what you like to drink, and the design and style (casual or formal) you prefer. You want to choose things you will use and not let sit idle in your cabinet.

  1. Most glassware falls into one of two basic categories: stemware and barware. Stemware includes any glass on a stem and is generally used for water and wine, while barware includes any glass with a solid, flat base. The exception is the martini glass, which is also considered barware.
  2. Shapes of glassware should be based on your lifestyle and the way you entertain. There are so many options, all serving a specific purpose: Rounded red wine glasses that breathe, fluted champagne for the bubbly, martini, white wine, goblet, cordial and shot glass. Most registries suggest you select two or three types of glasses, so give some thought to what you’ll need ahead of time.
  3. A complete stemware suite consists of glasses for water and wine, including goblets, red wine glasses, white wine glasses and flutes.
  4. A barware collection includes highball and double old-fashioned glasses, which are suitable for everyday beverages, as well as mixed drinks. A complete set includes glasses for beer, martinis and other cocktails and liqueurs.
  5. Decanting an $8 bottle of wine makes it taste better!
  6. Stock up on durable everyday glassware, appropriate for all occasions – juice, soda, water or wine.
  7. By being creative you will see some all-purpose glassware can be used for more than one function. Goblets or red wine glasses make a fruit salad festive. Brandy or margarita glasses work beautifully for sorbet. And martini glasses are great for serving cocktail nuts or candy.
  8. Twelve ounce is a great all-purpose size.
  9. Accidents happen. Sign up for a few extra on each glass size.
  10. Think of all the parties you’ll throw. You may want to register for a full bar.
  11. How many? Rule of thumb for red and white wine and water goblets: sign up for as many as you have dinnerware place settings and then add four extra to cover accidents.
  12. For everyday drinking glasses, get as many as your dishwasher can handle and then six more so you’ll always have clean glasses. Specialty bar glasses should number six to eight each.

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