It’s time for part two of this little series, and I’m going to provide the same background information that I did with the first article in case you somehow made it here before reading the first part.
I’m engaged. After four years and five months of dating though college, I got down on one knee and popped the question.
If you couldn’t guess from the first sentence, she said “Yes” and now we’ve begun all the tedious planning that eventually results in a wedding. All the meetings, phone calls, rehearsals, and empty wallets can be major stressors while you’re planning this huge event, but one of the more fun aspects of planning a wedding revolves around something everyone enjoys: presents. The Wedding Registry for the soon-to-be newlyweds is one of the most beneficial and fun things for a couple to do. We recently made a “dry run” and made a list of things we liked/wanted after we get married, and being Captain Organized, I put it all in a spreadsheet. You can organized it by price, by how many pieces there are (for instance, a set of towels has 3 towels) how many units we would like, etc. After painstakingly entering all the information, I set about researching and comparing various brands of the same product to find the “best” one to put on the registry. By the time I was finished, I had come to a few realizations that I thought every couple making a registry should know.
A few things that you should know before we start: I’m going to give you the best advice that I can on some of the things that every newlywed couple should try and avoid on their registry. I’ve based my opinions on hours upon hours of researching that includes consumer reviews, forums, and even professors at my university believe-it-or-not. I’m not going to include the obvious things (flatware, plates, cups, etc.) unless there’s something special you need to know. Here are a few things to avoid and we’ll start with what might be the biggest shock of them all:
1. Cooking sets. Listen carefully, because what I’m about to tell you will save you time, money, and sanity. Never ever never ever never buy a cooking set.Ever. I’m going to spend a good portion talking about this, as it’s imperative that you get something that will last and help you make something decent to eat for years down the road. Good, quality sets are hundreds of dollars and the ones for less than $100 are mostly junk material. There’s a lot that goes into making a good starter set for a newlywed couple, and you’re better off getting everything separately. Some of the things in the sets you will never even use, and most of the time the things you need are not the right size. If you decide not to heed my warning, at least avoid the Teflon-coated sets. Even the best coats will chip off eventually. Go with stainless steel if you must, but only if it’s got a special thick bottom. The reason being that steel heats unevenly on a stove, but a steel pan with a copper/steel bottom will work well.
As I said, the best way is to make your own set through individual pieces, because you need different tools for different cooking jobs. Here’s what is on my registry and what I would recommend:A 12″ stainless steel skillet with helper handle for sautéing and being the general workhorse
A 10″ Teflon-coated skillet for eggs and other things that need non-stick (remember – not expensive as the coating will eventually chip off!)
A 2-quart stainless steel sauce pan w/lid
A 4-quart stainless steel sauce pan w/lid
A 12-quart stainless steel stockpot w/lid (not a bad thing to have if you love soup)
Two half-hotel pans for roasting dishes in the oven.
Again, make sure the stainless has a TriPly clad bottom or something along those lines to ensure heat distribution and prevent pan warping. I took cooking classes and I’m ServSafe certified, so take my word on the cooking set advice. The items I listed typically range from $20-50, and Wal-Mart carries a brand called Tramontina that is on the cusp of professional kitchen quality.
2. Plunger/toilet brush. Do you really want to unwrap a plunger in front of everyone and then have to thank someone for giving it to you? Do yourself a favor and buy it later, unless you’ve got a crazy pranking family or something.
3. Glass cutting boards. For reasons stated earlier, glass dulls knives really well. Therefore, avoid glass cutting boards and get a wooden or plastic one. I would personally get one of each, as plastic is good for meat cutting and prepping and wood is great for everything else. Either one is fine though; just don’t put the wooden one in the dishwasher.
4. Other things you probably don’t need include items such as an egg cracker, onion chopping goggles, flour sifter, fancy pizza stone (you’ve probably already registered cookie sheets and other pans anyway), and other things you just generally won’t use. If you still want that 16-square waffle maker, I can’t stop you from putting it on the registry, but I can give you some advice when debating on an item. If you’re not sure how often you would use it, think of how often your mom uses it. Then ask your fiancé the same question. If neither of you can think of your mother using it, then you probably don’t need it.
The bottom line is this: the registry is what you make of it. If you fill it full of the things you will most definitely need, it will treat you well. If you fill it full of expensive things that you might use every once-in-a-while, you’re not getting the full potential out of your registry. I understand that each individual situation is unique and some needs outweigh those of others, so this isn’t a 100% satisfaction guaranteed as much as it is a thought provoking process. Make lists, do the research, compare products, ask questions, get advice, and just be a smart shopper about it all. Register the necessities and you will make things much easier on yourselves, I promise you. Last but not least, have a little fun with it! You’re pretty much on a shopping spree with delayed prizes, and they give you this cool little gun to “shoot” the barcodes with. What more could you ask for?