Making A List

By Amy Winter

April 18, 2008 5 min read


A gift registry presents couple's wants and needs

By Amy Winter

Copley News Service

Gift registries are no longer limited to cookware, tableware or bed linens. This personalized list can also include leisure activities, furniture, home improvement items or honeymoon excursions.

"Couples should look to the future when selecting items for their registry," says Hilleary Kehrli, public relations manager for Williams-Sonoma. "This is an opportunity to build out their ultimate wish list, to choose products that will stand the test of time and that have unique qualities that will be treasured for years to come."

Since many couples are marrying at an older age, they don't need as many basic items for their home. Anna Pezik, senior editor at, says couples can upgrade and "look for items to fill the gaps." Mix new items with your old collections. Register for better-quality products.

Bright-colored casual dinnerware is becoming more popular than formal china. Amy Finley, group editor of LoveToKnow Weddings, says couples tend to have more informal gatherings rather than elegant dinner parties. But it might be a good idea to register for both casual and formal dinnerware. When it comes to china, many brides are drawn to the new Lenox Simply Fine collection at Macy's Home Store, according to Pauline Shiu, bridal marketing and events manager. Finley lists other top kitchen items as serving platters, small appliances, flatware, table linens and cookware sets. Kehrli adds waffle makers and blenders.

Outdoor equipment and accessories seem to be common on gift lists. Barware such as margarita mixers or stemless wine glasses could come in handy when entertaining, according to Anja Winikka, associate editor of

"Many couples may come into a marriage with the basics like blenders and toasters," says Finley. "But they would love to have outdoor furnishings and accessories to entertain friends and family on their deck or patio."

Upgrade bed linens and towels for the bedroom and bathroom. Shiu recommends Haven Purely Organic sheets from Macy's. Sheet sets, comforters, pillows and accent decor (picture frames or mirrors) are also requested for the bedroom, according to Finley. Select towels and guest towel sets. Spa-type bath gifts like towel-warming rods or special shower heads seem to be gaining popularity. Couples may need organizing structures to use as shelves in the bedroom or bathroom.

The All Clad Slow Cooker and the Breville Panini Press top the registry gift list at Williams-Sonoma. Kehrli's Top 10 list of popular items includes: stainless-steel cookware set, stand mixer, toaster oven, wine glass set, cutlery block set, coffee or espresso maker, roaster, French porcelain dinnerware, stainless-steel tool set and monogrammed ice bucket.

Some couples favor nontraditional gift ideas. For a larger ticket price, put down furniture items. A group of friends or close relatives could pitch in as a group to purchase a couch or coffee table. If you enjoy outdoor activities, include hiking gear, camping equipment or other hobby specific gifts on your list. Winikka suggests registering for your honeymoon. Guests can help pay for honeymoon excursions, dinners or hotel rooms. Don't forget to ask for luggage - it is important to have for the honeymoon and future trips.

Another option is to give charity donations. If you aren't in need of many accessories, guests can provide money donations as wedding gifts.

Small items such as picture frames, decorative vases, salt and pepper shakers or throw blankets are usually left off registries, according to Shiu. Stores provide consultants to help couples choose appropriate gifts. Finley says most stores have a "suggested" registry list to use as a guideline. Registries are available online, making it easy to update. And offers free personal wedding Web sites - couples can put a link to their registry on the site. Register at two or three places; it gives guests a range of different gifts.

"Gift registries have always been about timeless items for the home, from premium kitchen cookware to luxury bed and bath items," says Kehrli. "It takes the guesswork out of giving gifts, and helps to ensure you'll like what you receive as a present.

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