Let's Ask For A Falafel Machine Instead

I rather think I should win some sort of medal for how much falafel I've eaten this weekend. I can see it now: a nice big silver trophy that I can place on the mantel, something large and showy and arresting, with "Excellence in Falafel Consumption" engraved in a swirly font above a nice big "April 2009."

Falafel is one of my favorite foods, and not just falafel, but all the things that go along with falafel, like hummus and pita bread and tzatziki (even just saying these things is fun!) On Friday evening, I paid a visit to my local Middle Eastern store---and by "local," I mean it's literally on my block---and made a feast of falafel, homemade hummus, Deb's Israeli salad, fresh pita, and grilled halloumi. It was so delicious and plentiful that we had it all again for lunch the next day, and then---if you can believe it---for dinner on Saturday night as well. (Keeping tabs on the falafel count so far? That's three times in 24 hours, for those playing along at home.)

Then on Sunday, we took a break in the middle of a day of wedding errands---which included starting a proper registry, trying on wedding bands (OMG, etc.), and investigating the likelihood of being able to rent a morning coat and top hat---and cast an eye about Union Square for something to give us the energy to continue caring about china patterns in Macy's. What did we spy? A falafel joint, one I've been meaning to try forever. So that was that---four times since Friday!---and it would have been the end of it, if I hadn't looked in my planner just now and realized that I'm meeting a couple of friends for lunch on Monday. The place I suggested last week, when plans were being made? Well go on, why don't you try and guess? OH YES, IT'S THIS NEW FALAFEL PLACE NEAR MY OFFICE. At this rate, I won't want to even see a piece of falafel again until roughly 2012.

By the way, I know I'm often inclined to hyperbole and exaggeration, but I really wasn't kidding when I said we were looking for a morning coat and top hat. While most men in America get married in tuxedos, you see, the standard wedding attire for a groom in England---which Sean has gamely agreed to play along with---is a little something like this:

Don't you think it's rather dashing? It's important to note, by the way, that the groom isn't supposed to wear his top hat on his wedding day, merely to carry it under his arm as some sort of token gesture of.....something. In fact, I rather think it might even be considered bad luck to wear the top hat, actually, although I just did a bunch of googling and nothing came up to prove it, so I suppose at least we won't be cursed for all eternity if Sean accidentally puts it on without thinking. Unless, of course, that curse is a wicked case of hat head in all our wedding photos.

Incidentally, while we're on the subject of morning coats and top hats, I thought it would be rather hilarious to show you a picture of my father wearing one. He's going to someone else's wedding here---which is presumably why it's alright for him to wear the hat, rather than carry it, though at this point I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I have FAILED at understanding top hat etiquette altogether---and I think we can probably surmise that this particular wedding is taking place smack dab in the middle of the 1970s.

Oh, really? You think? What tipped you off?

By the way, in case you were wondering, Sean and I have proven ourselves this weekend to be spectacularly crap at registering for anything. I think our main problem is that we've lived together for a million years already, so household-wise, we have quite a lot of the basic things we already need. The things we do want---a good set of knives, a good set of saucepans, a Dyson, a new down comforter, some proper luggage, and a set of china we can take out 25 years from now when we can afford to buy a place with a dining room (and trust me, it will be 25 years before we afford to buy a place with a dining room, so at that point we'll probably be using those plates for the first time ever)---are so ridiculously expensive that I feel terrible asking people to buy them for us. Especially when so many of them are already traveling so far and spending so much to be with us anyway.

Besides, do we even need these fancy $40-a-pop Wedgwood dinner plates for hypothetical Thanksgiving dinners in the future, or do I just think we need them because that's what you're supposed to register for when you get married? I don't know, Internet, I truly don't know. So then I get flustered, add another cute $20 cake stand to the tally, and call it a day.

Is it worth it, do you think, to register for fine china? To own some fancy silver flatware you'll only use on special occasions? To ask for champagne flutes you'll never be able to put in the dishwasher because they don't have a big "I-K-E-A" stamped on the bottom? I think it is, but I'm not sure. And anyway, I know nothing about knives. I know nothing about saucepans. Do you, perhaps? Can you help?

Camels & Chocolate
Apr 26, 2009

Now see, I'm hoping you'll help me with all of this if ever I decide to get married. You will, won't you? Because I haven't got the slightest clue!

Nothing But Bonfires
Apr 26, 2009

Someone has to help ME first! How am I supposed to know which knives are good? If they cut things, they're good, right? I mean, that's normally my only criteria for knives.

But yes, I will pass on the wisdom once it's passed on to me. It'll be like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Kitchen Appliances.

Mary Richardson
Apr 26, 2009

Like you, I was resistant to registering for all that "stuff" when I got married about a year and a half ago. My husband insisted on a gravy boat, which I thought was the most ridiculous thing ever. I'm kind of a minimalist, and besides that, I wanted fun things like ice cream makers and such. But you know, the nice china and wine glasses we got have been used and not even for very formal occasions-- just fun dinner parties with friends or special intimate dinners. I think you'll never grow wrong with classic items.

As far as knives, we got a decent line of chicago cutlery (not even the most expensive) and I love them!

Apr 26, 2009

Are you sure your mom doesn't have some china waiting for you to inherit? Moms tend to have stuff like that around.

I did NOT register for fancy china. I have a set of old Haviland china waiting for me at my mom's house. But honestly? I don't think I'll be using it any time soon. It feels silly to take it out and use it in my silly little eat-in apartment kitchen.

What you COULD do is register for some gorgeous, classic everyday type china. Bauer Pottery, in particular, is something you could begin collecting now and build your collection over the years. You could collect multiple colors and use only white for more formal occasions. I am collecting Fiesta (a cheaper version of Bauer) and it is so much fun to add pieces here and there.

As for fancy silver? Maybe try some antique stores and assemble a quirky mix of patterns.

Apr 27, 2009

If you're in doubt about the registering thing, you could give your guests the option of donating to your favourite charity instead, or setting up an "ethical wedding list" with Oxfam where you nominate different things that people can buy, such as a goat or a tree, for overseas projects. That way guests who can't afford the china or champagne flute route can still give you something special.

By the way, is that Jonny Wilkinson in the morning suit photo? If it is, I'm slightly intrigued as to why our top rugby player is dressed for a wedding!

Apr 27, 2009

really? Are mothers supposed to keep china for their daughters to inherit? In that case I have failed spectacularly... We asked for china when we got married - 15 years ago now - and most of it is broken. (But we did ask for Denby rather than the more expensive Wedgwood etc). We have bought ourselves 2 complete sets of cheap(er) china since then and some of that still survives although some of that has chipped or broken too. But then we used it daily and shoved it in the dishwasher (and then expected our children to help unload the dishwasher so actually it's their fault they've no china to inherit...)
Seriously though I think it's better to ask for stuff than just trust to people turning up with what they think is an appropriate gift - at least that way you may end up with 3 or 4 plates you really like and can then save up for more, rather than getting 16 hideous vases....!

Apr 27, 2009

The fine china and the silver we got for our wedding are in many ways way too expensive to use everyday, but it is the greatest of pleasures to use it on a random Wednesday night. I completely get why people don't register for these things, but if you want them go register and use it when you want to. As for the knives I would go for Kasumi or Sabatier. I haven't regretted either.

Apr 27, 2009

Holy smokes, that DOES look much better than just a regular ol' tux.

I'm afraid I can't be much help with the registry dilemma, though. I would feel really terrible and awkward to ask for expensive things, especially when they already have to do all the traveling. But then, I'm sure everyone would be happy to spring for some fancy china or whatever since, you know, IT'S YOUR WEDDING, after all.

Apr 27, 2009

Im sort of split on the china thing. We registered for it because it was "what you do." We got married right after college and I think we thought we were totally going to be living the high life or something with our champagne flutes, 3 kinds of wine glasses and fancy china.

We returned all but 12 wine glasses. We've used the champagne flutes maybe twice. The china is currently sitting in storage in Virginia, we live in Japan (Marine Corps). We've lived here for 3 years, are staying another 3 and I haven't regretted not bringing our china. There is NO room to store it in our 1100 sq feet of prime gov't real estate (more affectionately: the cement bungalow). I think its nice to have the china. We have used it from time to time, but I don't think I'd miss it if I never saw it again. How's that for helpful?

Truth be told we went a little nutty registering for things at Crate and Barrel and then when we got all the gifts started to realize we didn't need it all (or got duplicates of some things) and took it back (gasp, I know) for store credit. Tacky as it may be, we added up all that store credit and were able to buy some larger items that wouldn't have been affordable had we put them on our registry.

I wish we had registered for knives (I like Wustoff) and for whatever its worth on the pans....I spent the $ for a set of All Clad and think they are ok, but I have one Le Creuset pan and absolutely love it.

Dr. Maureen
Apr 27, 2009

I don't really care for registries, so all I registered for WAS china and crystal. I ended up with 8 place settings of china (which I LOVE, but then, I have a built-in china closet in which to display it and a dining room table on which to set it) and 493 wine glasses. OK, so 493 is a slight exaggeration, but before giving away a set of non-registry wine glasses about a year after we got married, we literally had 108 wine glasses of various shapes. And then, after giving some away, we got more (non-registry glasses) as gifts. So. Yeah. That's a lot of wine glasses. My plan is to put half away in a storage box as insurance against breakage, but I have to find a box first, so for now they are lined up in my china closet and it looks like a department store.

That said, the champagne flutes are my favorite ones because they are just so pretty even though the likelihood of ever needing 10 champagne flutes at once are slim to none.

But I think my point is you don't have to register AT ALL if you don't want to, but I actually recommend registering for the china, because at no other time will you get to register for china and it is very expensive and I really love my china so much.

Dr. Maureen
Apr 27, 2009

Oh, one other thing. We registered for 12 place settings of china and crystal because that's what you're supposed to do, but in retrospect, I would have registered for only 8 because only 8 people can sit at my table at once and I don't think I'll ever have a table that seats 12. And once you're having a buffet instead of a sit-down, it no longer matters if the dishes match. So you could register for just 4 place settings or something so that you don't have to store as many.

Apr 27, 2009

While I have never had to plan a wedding, I can tell you that these knives http://www.washingtonian.com/blogarticles/restaurants/bestbites/11659.html are very good AND they come in soooo many colors :-)

Apr 27, 2009

I registered for china under pressure from my MIL. I love the china, but ya know, I could have used several thousand dollars worth of other stuff a bit more.

Apr 27, 2009

Aw, now you've gone and given me a craving for falafel, Holly! And that Israeli salad - YUM. And Deb at the Smitten Kitchen is amazing. I've never yet tried a recipe of hers that I didn't love.

Anyhoo. I vote for china and silver you use everyday. My parents did this with their wedding silverware, and my father insists that regular use simply adds to the patina.

Of course, if I had my druthers, we'd forsake the whole wedding gift tradition and just give everybody cash to help with a down payment on a house... but I'm given to understand that's not exactly the most tender of ideas.

Apr 27, 2009

Here's what worked for me: sometimes you have to register for things that your guests might like to buy you (as opposed to things you might want.) For example, grandmotherly types might want to buy you crystal, or china, or something.

A couple of beautiful champagne flutes, fancy crystal ones are nice. And for someone who wants to buy you a fancy type of thing, it's not a terribly huge expense. (I'd say skip the china. My mom, who never had a set, got one on her 25th wedding anniversary and was excited about it. But 10 years later, she'll tell you that its nice, yes, and that she hates using it because who likes washing dishes for 10 after dinner on Easter, or Christmas, or Thanksgiving?)

Apr 27, 2009

My mom suggested to NOT register for china, because a) no one really uses it anymore and if you really want it, you could go antiquing and find something kind of awesome and b) if you don't get all the pieces, you're stuck with an incomplete china set and then you have to waste your gift cards on finishing it up. Most of MY friends didn't do the china thing, though a lot of Marc's (more traditional) relatives did.

Did you cry when you tried on wedding bands? I cried like a wee baby when Marc put his on. We ended up ordering them online (much cheaper), and when we got ours in the mail, I walked around the house like a nut wearing mine, but Marc wouldn't, for superstition's sake.

Apr 27, 2009

We haven't registered for china, or crystal, or fancy silverware or anything like that... a.) we barely have room for our everyday dishes, silverware, and wine glasses - I have NO IDEA where we would put china, b.) I know that stuff would rarely, if ever, get used, and c.) it feels kind of weird to me, to ask people to spend $200 per place setting on something that will spend most of its life in boxes, and get used 2 or 3 times, ever (not that I think it's wrong or bad to register for china - it just doesn't make sense for US). I would so much rather people spend their money on practical stuff that we'll use and appreciate every day - a nice vacuum, a new slipcover for our Pottery Barn couch (let me tell you, the damn SLIPCOVERS cost as much as a WHOLE COUCH, if purchased elsewhere), nice wine glasses (since we're big wine nerds), etc.

As for cookware, you cannot go wrong with Le Creuset. My mom has had a set of their pots and pans for probably upwards of 20 years, and they still look brand new. When I bought my house 5 years ago, my mom started gifting me a piece here, and a piece there - and now I have a pretty full collection. I have the stock pots, the dutch ovens, the large skillets, multiple small skillets, baking dishes, a few small sauce pans, a couple different griddles - even the salt pig, pepper grinder, and the stoneware oil and vinegar set! I love to cook, and in any given week, I would say I use at least 75% of my pieces, and they've all held up beautifully. Because my pieces are white (which you can no longer buy in any of the regular retail outlets - only at their outlets) they've acquired some stains over the years, but I figure it just makes them look well-used and well-loved. The majority of the stains that end up on the pots and pans come off with a quick rub of the Mr Clean Magic Eraser.

Sorry for the novel... but good luck with the rest of your registry! :)

Apr 27, 2009

So I rather eloped, and thus didn't create a wedding registry, but I might have registered for really heirloom pieces because like you, I have everything I need for everyday life.

However, a very good friend of mine and her lad got married in Chicago last year and since, like you, he was English and thus half their wedding party was traveling from overseas (and their friends all from New York), they actually only selectively distributed their registry list to the Chicago family; they felt very strongly that their friends who were traveling were already spending a lot of money to be there and didn't want to ask them for Wedgewood. So they made a really small registry of very good china and glassware, and just included their registry information for the Chicago guests.

As a result, they got a small but gorgeous collection of the china they really wanted from the small percentage of their guests who weren't traveling for the wedding, and felt better about that decision.

Just an idea! Registries don't have to be as all-consuming as we sometimes make them out to be.

Also (and this is a dirty little secret, but cmon) stores will take stuff back and couples frequently exchange smaller-priced gifts for larger-ticket items they didn't want to request of friends. We have a friend who exchanged almost all their C&B gifts for a couch. I mean, they needed a couch! I understand. I don't think wedding guests come to your house in the years after your wedding and DEMAND to see their gifts in use.

Apr 27, 2009

I haven't read the other comments, but I did read Krissa's comment above and have to agree - my husband and I had were doing the living in sin thing before we got married, plus I'd lived on my own before that, so we had a lot of basics. We registered for a variety of gifts at different price points and returned pretty much everything for a store credit which we could then use to buy the expensive, big ticket items we really needed. I don't really see the point in registering for stuff you have already and I felt the same way about having items on the registry which were more expensive than what our guests wanted to pay. Also, as far as product reviews (knives, cookware, etc., I really like this site - it's Canadian, but I'd imagine there is a lot of product similarity - http://www.wnetwork.com/tv_shows/shows/the_shopping_bags/product.asp#K

Blanche (Mrs. Higrens)
Apr 27, 2009

I have to say that even with a registry, you will STILL get some things that make you really wonder about the person who gave them to you. These will be the items you can't return because they are either (a) personalized or (b) of unknown origin so you are stuck with finding storage space for them until you can get over your feelings of guilt for not liking something that a friend/family member spent time picking out for you.

One thing I wish I had done was make sure that I really liked the handles on our knives before buying them (on the registry but ended up getting them with gift cards/credit on returned duplicates). I've since bought other knives of the same brand for our 2nd home that I enjoy using more because the handle is a different shape. Also, you don't need to get a "set" if you know you want specific knives but don't have use for the others, which may drop the cost to something a guest wouldn't mind spending.

Apr 27, 2009

As a former registry consultant, I'll tell you what I used to tell my brides-to-be and what I actually did for myself....

Knives- I'm a Wustoff girl myself. Be sure to take a look at the Santoku knives, I love mine.

Bedding- Some fabulously luxurious stuff you could never justify spending your own money on..

Cookware- The best quality pieces that you will USE. So many people register for the ridiculous "cookware sets" and then have to figure out where to store the 4 pans they never, ever use. The bulk of my cookware is Le Creuset, but I do have (and use) an All-Clad deep stainless steel fry pan, and a Calphalon One non-stick omelette pan.

China and Crystal- I did neither. I did, however, register for a really high-quality stainless. I ended up with a full set, and I use it just like sterling. The bonus is I get to toss it in the dishwasher and actually spend time with my guests instead of washing silver. And yes, all my drinkware has the IKEA stamp on the bottom... I never worry if a glass gets broken...

Dinnerware- My dinnerware is all white hotel quality from William-Sonoma. If I want something different, an antique salad bowl or a funky charger changes the whole look... Last but not least, I always encouraged people to register for pitchers and platters. There's nothing in my house that get more use than our Sangria pitchers and the four platters (four different shapes and sizes).

Apr 27, 2009

Holly, for knives, the most important thing is how they feel in your hand while using them. Go to a kitchen store like Sur la Table or Williams Sonoma with Sean -- both of you should try out several brands and styles (like the Shun Elite, Wusthof Classic, etc) and mimic cutting motions on a cutting board. If your knuckles are hitting the board, it's probably going to be uncomfortable to use. Whatever you do, also register for a honing steel that you can use after every use to keep the blade aligned (sales people will show you how to do this if you don't already know) and never put good knives in the dishwasher!

As for pots & pans, you'd be better off registering for individual pieces rather than sets -- this would allow you to tailor to your cooking style/needs and also allows guests to buy you a single pan rather than having to purchase a whole set. Avoid non-stick for the most part, as eventually it will need replacing (even the high-quality or "green" brands, as the finish eventually wears off). If you like it for omlettes, etc. get a non-stick skillet or two, and make sure to wash in the sink. The only true non-stick that lasts forever under good care is well-seasoned cast iron.

Apr 27, 2009

Don't bother with the china. Stick with something you'll use every day, something white that goes with everything. Also, if you're anything like me and my husband, something that won't break if you drop it on a hardwood floor. If you have those already, register for deliciously thick, soft towels instead. Those you'll be happy to have, and use.

Apr 27, 2009

We registered for (and received) china from my grandparents who explicitly wanted to buy it for us. While we have limited cabinet space and no dining room, we *have* managed to use it about twice a year for the three years we've been married, pretty much whenever the grandparents come over for dinner. However, we only registered for the standard pieces - the plates and bowls and tea cups and saucers. We knew that we wouldn't use the weird shaped items like platters and gravy boats and salt and pepper shakers, plus we didn't have the room to store them.

Apr 27, 2009

I am totally addicted to tzatziki sauce! I've even made my own at home. I'll find just about any excuse to eat the stuff. Mmmmm.

As far as registry stuff, well, I didn't register for China. Unusual, I know, but my grandmother had a set of China she intended to give to me (currently sitting in boxes in the basement because I don't have a China cabinet). I don't have a fancy set of silverware either, because we're just not fancy people. I'm perfectly fine with using our regular 18/10 stainless utensils for nice meals. We did, however, register for wine and champagne glasses (both Crate & Barrel), and I don't regret those one bit. We use them all the time, especially for entertaining.

Things we registered for and don't really use? Placemats and cloth napkins. If I had been honest with myself while registering, I would have realized I would never feel like washing them, so I would never use them. They do make nice food photography props though :)

Oh, and cake stands are totally cute. I registered for (and got) 2 from C&B for my wedding. Love them!

Apr 27, 2009

Since I get all flustered if someone gives me a $10 gift card to Starbucks, I'm no help on the wedding register issue, but I can say: FALAFEL. YUM.

Carry on.

Apr 27, 2009

Did your dad even fit in that car?

I second (third?) the suggestion of Wusthof knives. A good set of knives is absolutely worth the money because they're highly useful. They cut better than cheap knives.

But the china? It doesn't hold food any better than other dishes.

I didn't want china because it would be yet another thing to lug around when we move, only it would have to be lugged very carefully. And I would break it. The whole idea just doesn't make sense to me. I'd rather have a really nice set of everyday dishes that I can enjoy, well, every day. Even accidentally break without having a heart attack or feeling like I'd shattered something symbolic and meaningful.

But it's a personal taste thing! If you want those dishes and love those dishes and don't mind the care they require, go for it. Go forth and china!

Apr 27, 2009

I have to echo pretty much everyone else. We did not register for china. I felt guilt over registering for the Kitchen Aid mixer (so expensive), but my husband's parents were super excited to buy it for us at our wedding shower AND we use it all the time, so it was registry space well spent.

And, yes, my husband and I lived together before we got married, but we registered for and received really nice casual place settings and glasses and silverware. And donated our old stuff to Goodwill. We did the same with our bedding and towels.

My husband took over the registry for a few fancy knives. He's the expert there and we went for Shun. They're delightful!!

Apr 27, 2009

Personally, I would rather buy stuff for people that falls on the end of practicality. Like a Dyson. I have one, and it is fabulous. To be rather frank, I always wonder when people have China on their registry if their mom made them put it on because its the 'right' thing to do. I'm not saying thats the case, but unless you are really inlove with a certain pattern and are totally willing to go and buy whatever you don't get...or is that going to be something you roll your eyes at and think, 'ugh...why did I do this?' So there ya go...also, remember that sometimes people will go in on gifts together. Just because you are registered for something large doesn't mean a few people won't go in on it together. Don't be afraid of those big ticket items. Wouldn't they be fabulous to get?!?!?!

Apr 27, 2009

Delurking to say thanks for the pic of Jonny Wilkinson! Perfectly dashing!

Apr 27, 2009

We got married 10 years ago (!) and registered for both china and crystal. We have NEVER used either. I think we just got caught up in the whole registry thing, and didn't think hard about whether or not we'd use them. I envisioned using them for holiday dinners, but our families live far away, and those big dinners just don't really happen. When we do entertain, it's always very casual, and our everyday dishes do the job (We registered for nicer everyday dishes and flatware, which I still adore). The worst part is that we've now moved the china/crystal cross-country twice. So it can sit in our dining room looking pretty. Sigh.

My advice is to only register for things you will actually use in the somewhat immediate future. If you think you'll use the china, go ahead and register for it. But also make sure to register for some smaller, less expensive items as well.

Rachael W
Apr 27, 2009

I can't be much help with the registry, because I'm not married -- the only advice I have is to second whoever said to choose Fiestaware; my mom has a bunch and we use it every day. I would, however, like to add that the morning coat and top hat idea IS very dashing. Especially on that rugby player. =)

Apr 27, 2009

we didn't register for anything, didn't have a big wedding and asked for no presents. not only do we nor have space for anything, we also didn't want to make our special day about consumerism. but that's just us and i will not judge anyone who registers for fancy china -even if they never use it.
i also want to say: falafel YUM!
and: i love that photo of your dad; he looks like a giant. or a regular person in the land of teeny cars.

Apr 27, 2009

I cook all the time so I know knives and saucepans and can wholeheartedly recommend Global knives and Lincoln Wear-Ever pots and pans. Both of these are fairly pricey, but if you get the basics and then add as you go, it's not too bad. Both of these products are restaurant quality and will last forever if you take care of them properly (no dishwasher!). With a little online research, you should be able to find good prices, too. Good luck!

Apr 27, 2009

We didn't register for china because we figured we'd never use it and it's just one more thing to haul around when you move. We did get knives but I'm very unhappy with out selection (JA Henckels International). The steak knives are serrated and EVERYTHING sticks to the blades - not very helpful when trying to cut. I suggest non-serrated all the way.

Can you suggest gift cards for people so you can pool them together towards the more expensive things? I know some people might think it's tacky, but since they ARE spending a lot to travel, that's an option (again, we were in a similar situation).

Good luck!

Apr 27, 2009

Love your site! I too live in SF and I too require 25 years before I will have a dining room. I got married in 2005 and did not register for china. I kinda regret it now :( And if I add 'buying mw own china' to the list, it'll take 30 years to get that dining room so I say...go for it now. Buy the $20 cake stand yourself and let your friends get you the expensive stuff. You'll be surprised at people's generosity...the WANT to buy you expensive things. Cha-CHING!

Apr 27, 2009

Sorry if this repeats something someone else already said, but, for us, the decision was made when we realized WE would be in charge of buying the remaining china and silverware. We figured we'd only get a little of it and THEN what do you do? What if you only get 3 plates and two salad plates and 4 and a half sets of silverware? You have to fill in for yourself. And if you want 8 or 12 settings of everything, that's seriously expensive. Plus, I get tired of things and I didn't want to invest in something that I might not like in 5 or 10 years. We ended up registering for a combo of plates from Anthropologie (such cute home stuff!) and Crate and Barrel and then some nice glasses and flatware from C&B. That way, if something breaks, it's no big deal, I can get tired of it eventually and replace things, and it doesn't break the bank for friends and family. Good luck and let us know what you decide!

She Likes Purple
Apr 27, 2009

I didn't register for much (same situation as yours ... we had been living together for awhile before getting married, so we had a lot of the most popular registry items already covered), and the slimmer registry led to more gifts of cash, which was perfect, really. I did register for far too many champagne flutes than we needed, but I couldn't resist.

Apr 27, 2009

This is why I need to live in a bigger city. I need a falafel joint in my neighborhood... sigh

We were given 2 dozen Tiffany champagne flutes for our wedding. I had to return them - I just couldn't imagine breaking one...

Apr 27, 2009

Under pressure from both my mother and my MIL, we registered for china. They said I would always regret not having wedding china. But I was ambivalent about it, so we registered for some very expensive (but beautiful) china thinking no one would buy it. Um, not so much - we received almost all of it.

And now, seven years later, we have never used it. Not one time. I think it is the hand-washing hurdle. Plus we really like our every day crate and barrel stuff. I wish now that we could put all that money to something else. So I say skip the china. If you decide you want it 20 years from now, buy it then.

But the cookware? We use that every day. Knives too (we have wusthof).

jennifer in sf
Apr 27, 2009

I say don't register for the fancy stuff unless you are going to use it. If you want to start using fancy china on a regular basis go for it (I myself a few really nice plates and they are used on a regular basis). But if you'd really put them away for 25 years forget it.

Have you looked at Heath Ceramics for, ah, tableware at all? It's really nice, but I think it seems a little more everyday nice, and it's handmade right there in Sausalito which is nice. That's where I'd register.

As for knives, like someone said it does kind of depend on the person, and really hand size. But Global, Wusthof, and Henkels are all tried and true brands to test out.

Anne & May
Apr 27, 2009

Okay, for your knives, get Global ones! I took mine to the professional sharpener this weekend and he said, Oh, Global! My favorites! My aunt the chef got me hooked on them.

China is a toss-up. We registered for everyday china and I'm loving it. The plates are actually china but they have clean lines and no pattern. Plus, they are dishwasher and microwave safe.

And I ADORE my crystal glassware. Every piece of it. And I definitely wash them in my dishwasher. I know you're not technically supposed to but I believe in enjoying my stuff. And I'm not going to enjoy it if I have to hand wash it. They still seem to be in mint condition to me!

Apr 27, 2009

having never been married, I can't help you too much with registry etiquette but I DO know that good knives and pans are a worthy investment. china, I'm not so sure.

also, that pic of your dad is pretty much awesome.

Apr 27, 2009

I think this is just the weekend for tzatziki! I made some at home and have had it myself 4 times since Thursday (I made gyros and have been eating the leftovers as well as putting the tzatziki on tuna in a pita when the gyro meat ran out).

Mmmm. I still have some hummus to eat up yet.

As for the registry stuff, I never wanted for china until I saw a set recently with birds on it that reminds of linens from Anthropologie, and now I am in love. Definitely super soft towels, high thread count sheets (always good to have spares) and gift cards to help towards Le Creuset or All Clad pots and pans.

Knives: To start, I recommend a Santoku knife, I LOVE mine, it's my favorite kitchen knife. I use Henkels, but that is mainly because I can't afford Wusthof, and have been able to find them cheaper.

Apr 27, 2009

When we got married, we were in the same boat. We didn't need anything (in fact when we moved in together, we got rid of so much stuff). But we did want to do some upgrading and remodeling to our home. So we just told everyone "Home Depot gift cards." It worked out really well. More people than I expected were a bit upset that we didn't register. But later on they were happy to hear about the updates to which they contributed.

I know you two don't own yet, but perhaps you can go that route with something like travel. *shrug*

Apr 27, 2009

Holy smokes, your dad looks just like Willy Wonka! In fact, he even looks like Willy Wonka standing outside of the Chocolate Factory! That is scary.

When Hub-E and I got married almost 10 years ago, Hub-E, who is very "unique", decided to wear a morning coat in a charcoal grey color as well as a diagonally striped ascot. At first I thought this was ugly and weird because growing up and used to being the same as all the other sheep I expected him to wear a standard, boring tuxedo. But he insisted on wearing a morning coat with an ascot (no top hat) and we got married, and now that I'm more used to him I appreciate his uniqueness and now that I look back on our photos I appreciate his choice in suits. It really does...suit.. him. Haha. I'll have to dig out some pictures. Unfortunately they are all old skool and printed out. Nobody knew about digital photos back in them olden days.

Apr 27, 2009

I would like to know if that is actually a full-sized automobile, or some kind of prop car used at amusement parks and the like? Your dad, he is a tall drink of water. I'm thinking that he must have used a lot of public transport...

Apr 27, 2009

When I got married to my ex-husband, we registered for Wedgwood Strawberry & Vine china, Gorham Melon Bud stainless, and Noritake Royal Pierpont crystal. I use all of this stuff on a daily basis and it all goes in the dishwasher. In fact, the china and stainless are the only dishes & silverware I own.

I got to keep it all since my ex inherited tons of china, silver and crystal around the time we split up. He has way more of the stuff now than me, but I have the things I chose, which I love. Yay!

Apr 27, 2009

I got 2 place settings and four salad plates of my china. 10 years ago. I've never completed the set and am now annoyed about trying to eBay these pieces. Now that I have a proper dining room and room for a sideboard or china cabinet, I realize that my entertaining style is WAY more casual and funky than Lenox Landmark Platinum.

I second all the returning items suggestions. If anyone ever had the gall to ask to see the gift they'd given you, you can claim it's in storage (what with your small place).

My favorite registry items were:

Knives: All anyone needs is one huge, comfortable chef's knife, one good-quality bread knife, one paring knife and a Japanese water stone for sharpening. The rest is gravy. Lovely, hand-forged gravy.

Pots: I love my All-Clad stainless because they conduct heat well and can go in the dishwasher. (The other All-Clads should be hand-washed). I wish they'd had Green Pans for non-stick when I registered. Le Creuset for dutch ovens or braisers. (I like to mix it up...)

Apr 27, 2009

Yay for Top and Tales! I talked my husband into wearing tails on our wedding day, but he just wouldn't wear the hat... The very fact that your hubby-to-be is considering this means it must be done...for the sake of all Jane Austin inspired women everywhere.

Apr 27, 2009

Register at www.TravelersJoy.com for your honeymoon!

Sensibly Sassy
Apr 27, 2009

First of all, how did your dad fit into that car?!
Secondly, I like you, do not see the point in asking your closest friends for super expensive plates...I just don't get it. I think when I get married we will register with charities (since we have most of the stuff we need already) so if people want to spend money they can support a charity in our name.

Apr 27, 2009

Why don't you register for your honeymoon rather than stuff that you don't need? There are some fantastic sites that let your guests contribute to your honey-fund rather than random things.

Apr 27, 2009

We've already booked our honeymoon completely! That's been the most fun part of wedding planning so far.

Apr 27, 2009

I know nothing about china patterns, knives or saucepans, but I do know a but about vacuums. When I went to the vacuum store, I was trying to decide between a Dyson and a Miele, and I asked the salesman his opinion. He said far and way the Miele was better--there were several technical reasons which I cannot now remember--so I went with the Miele, and I must say I love it, love it, love it! (Who knew it was possible to love a vacuum?)

Apr 27, 2009

I had about $800 in credit at Crate and Barrel after it was all said and done.

I had the people at Crate and Barrel give me $800 worth of Cuisinart ice cream makers and then I took them down the street to Bed Bath and Beyond.

"OMG I got 14 ice cream makers for my wedding!"

They took every single one of them back and I turned them into 16 dinner and salad plates.

BB&B is the best because they will take things back NO QUESTIONS ASKED as long as it's on your registry. They will also give you CASH for anything on your registry!

They're the best. Highly recommend! (Because seriously, you will need to take stuff back.)

Scottsdale Girl
Apr 27, 2009

DO NOT BUY CHINA!!!!!!!!!!!! Total waste!!!!!

Apr 27, 2009

I agree, do not buy china!

We went to register for it and then my mother reminded me that she had 2 boxes of china from grandmothers that were never used and that some day I would inherit one. Also, we won't be hosting Thanksgiving for another bajillion years, what with both of our families to feed us so we didn't register. And finally (if you needed another reason) we had no where to store it! We actually had to buy a china hutch to store platters and all kinds of crystal crap that we were given because we could not fit it all in our cupboards!!

We had lived together about 2 years before marrying and had a lot of the necessities so we registered for things that we desperately needed but never wanted to drop the money on. ie: towels, really nice sheets, new every day silverware, a fancy wooden salad bowl, matching placemats/cloth napkins/table cloth... We use everything we registered for regularly and I'm happy we did that rather than register for fancy things that never get used. My mother in law has this terrible habit of buying us really fancy crystal things (champagne glasses, wine glasses, champagne ice bucket, bowls, vases, candle sticks...) We use it MAYBE once a year so keep that in mind. People will totally buy you things you never thought you needed eventually so why register for it?

Apr 27, 2009

You've eaten falafel 4 times in a weekend and I wouldn't know what falafel was if it bit me in the ass! ha! I'm not very food adventurous. :-)

P.S. L.O.V.E. my Dyson. Love it, Love it, Love it!!

Apr 27, 2009

A couple things: first, I had panang curry and pad Thai for FOUR MEALS IN A ROW last week, so I definitely sympathize with your falafel dilemma.

Secondly, I find it so charming that you've been a crazy Yankophile all your life--you insisted on a PROM! how delightful!--but now that you live in the U.S., you're aiming for a traditional English look for your wedding. Or at least for the groomsmen with those handsome morning coats and top hats. I am really looking forward to seeing those wedding photos!

And third... I recommend following your instincts, when it comes to registering for your wedding. Do you really care about fancy china and crystal? Do you think you'll EVER care about it? Do both sets of parents already OWN a bunch of that stuff, and will it one day be YOURS? (This is MY experience, and now I have THREE sets of dust-covered china in my overburdened china cabinet!) Aren't you and your man crazy for travel, for the outdoors, for crazy new experiences around the globe? Are there stores with registries that sell travel gear, camping gear (are you campers?), that sort of thing? Does Lonely Planet have a registry? or Patagonia?

And finally, here's a site that looks like it might be able to help...YMMV, but I think this is where I'd be spending a lot of time, were I in your about-to-get-hitched shoes: www.offbeatbride.com. I mean, how cool is THIS? One of the tabs is called WEDDING PORN.

I love your site; it's one of my new favorites! Much aloha from Caroline

Apr 27, 2009

Wusthof knives! I adore mine, especially my 8" chef's knife. I knew nothing about knives when we registered, but my husband had worked for a pizza shop that had one Wusthof that all the employees fought over, so he insisted we register for those. Now I'm spoiled, because the quality of the knife makes the work of chopping so much easier. I hate using inferior knives at other people's houses!

Apr 27, 2009

Have not read other comments. But, if you like china, get it. I personally like china, so when we moved to Africa I brought along the Royal Doulton. I don't use it often, but I certainly use it more often than if I'd left it in storage. (Also I felt rather colonial, bringing it, although I would like to go on record as never having used it in a tent while on safari, and not just because we're on the other side of the continent).
To sum up, if you like china, get it; if not, skip it.
And I love the Komachi by Kai knives--they are so fun! All different colours, but sharp too.

Apr 27, 2009

What we did was browse each store we wanted to register at once, then from there I did all the registering online. It was WAY too overwhelming to do it all in-store.

But what I WISH we had done was just register for every single little thing we liked at the store, and then made changes later online after doing research. That's the way to go.

Apr 27, 2009

confession: I didn't read all the comments before me, so apologies if this is duplicate info

Some stores offer a discount (5-15% off) to the bride and groom after the wedding date for any items left on your registry. This is why you should put sofas and rugs and dyson vacuums and other big ticket items on the list. Then you can buy things you want anyway, and at a discount!

Also, I didn't want to do a registry thing, but the in-laws rather insisted. Some extended family who weren't able to come to the wedding wanted to send gifts. A lovely gesture. So we capitulated and registered for a dozen things at Pottery Barn, including a full set of everyday dishes and flatware. We use (or returned for store credit) everything but the cocktail napkins we got. I still have no idea why I wanted them.

90% of our guests gave us things that were not on the registry, for what it's worth.

Apr 27, 2009

As a long and happily married practical/realist type, put me firmly in the "don't bother with fine china, crystal or silverware". Your generation has too great a sense of style to fuss with all that "old-fashioned" stuff. I'm sure you could set a spectacular table from Pier one and World Market. Things get broken -- better the "things" should be more easily replaced -- fewer tears that way. Plus, if you really fall in love with an old piece or two you can find them at Flea Markets for far less than high-end registry sources.

One huge caveat to the above opinion: if you love it, and if it will make you happy to have it come from someone who loves you in recognition of the happiest day of your life, then by all means ask for it!

Apr 27, 2009

I'll nod my agreement for the Wusthof knives. The two most essential are a good chef's knife and a paring knife--those are the only two we got that we registered for, and I've not really needed any others. We did not register for china, crystal, or silver, but that was a personal choice because we wouldn't use them much and I am prone to breaking fragile items. Choose what you want; if you truly want a set of china, go for it. If all your items are a little pricey, just add a few small things (such as little kitchen gadgets and dish towels) so that those who like to have an actual gift to wrap have something to give. Guests can always opt to give you a gift card if they can't afford the fancier things you have on your list, and many people find it easiest to do that or just give cash, knowing they will be contributing to some of your larger wants. We ended up using cash and gift cards to get a few larger items that no one would have been able to afford to give us on their own.

Don't stress too much about it, and try to have some fun with it. I loved seeing items disappear from our registry and guessing who might have chosen each thing for us.

Apr 27, 2009

I would like to second (or 10th) the other ladies and former wedding registrar from above.

We also opted OUT of china, knowing we didn't have the need or the space, but instead registered for some plain, nice, white dishes and heavy stainless @ Pottery Barn. We received enough to have a full set for holidays, and the stainless goes in the dishwasher. Also, if one gets broken (has happened) they are easy and inexpensive to replace, but they don't "seem" cheap, if you will.

The added bonus is that Williams Sonoma & Pottery Barn are interchangeable, so when we received 24 cordial glasses (when we registered for 4) we could take them back and put them toward a nice deep Le Cruset stock pot or some nice 500 count sheets that we'd never really justify purchasing (VERY worthwhile.)

Operation Pink Herring
Apr 27, 2009

We're not registering for china. We just don't have space. I figure if we really, really want it later on... we'll buy it. I've got my eye on a set of blue Martha Stewart Kitchenaid mixers (stand and hand mixer!) instead.

Apr 27, 2009

Never been married, might get there someday. Only one month until 40!

So, you see, I've got my own stuff, too. And, I tend to date guys my age or nine older, who have been married before. Meaning: we've both got our own stuff.

So, I may be older, but the situation is similar. Have things, don't need some of the stuff a bride of 25 who owns none of her own stuff might.

Skip what you have and don't need. But DO register for the china and crystal. My sister is three years younger than I, and married for almost ten years. She did both. If you make it a point to use the pretty plates and glasses even at non-important meals, you will a) make non-important meals feel special and b) feel great that you are using pretty things.

The other stuff, I sort of feel as if it's fleeting...my tastes in pots, cutlery, basic pitchers and platters, etc., has changed. But you get some nice china and glassware, great.

Honestly, the best wedding gift is a check. But then again, I live in NJ, and we're pragmatic and hard-headed here. Most weddings, you see very few gifts, and a lot of envelopes, and I think that is GREAT.

Anne in SC
Apr 28, 2009

Think of it this way...the stack of plates won't take up much more space than a single cake stand. And you will you china. If you don't want casual and formal - just order lots and lots of one or the other (like 24 settings of one instead of 12 of both). You'll literally use it everyday. I have 16 settings of my everyday and I'm glad I do.

Anne in SC
Apr 28, 2009

Oh, and people are going to get you gifts anyway - so you may want a registry just to give them some ideas instead of getting multiple kitten statues that you definitely don't have the shelf space for.

Apr 28, 2009

My wedding "china" was Denby and the main criterion for its selection was that it bounces if dropped. I knew I simply would not use anything too valuable and/or fragile and I have never regretted the decision. When I have broken some part of it, I can just buy a replacement and I get the pleasure of using it regularly.

Apr 28, 2009

We registered recently and went for a simple set of dinnerware from Crate and Barrel, and 8 sets of lovely china. I like to tell myself that I won't be too cautious with the china, I'll use it for birthdays and anniversaries. I hope that is true. I didn't spring for particularly fancy champagne flutes or flatware. But we registered for good quality wine glasses.

Registering made me discover strange fetishes that I have...for example, I cannot seem to register for enough mixing bowls and cutting boards!

Apr 28, 2009

We registered for china from Macy's, 12 settings. They discontinued the setting once we had about 8 settings, and some people had already ordered them and gotten thank you's but we never got the gift (I assume they were reimbursed). I'm still a little bitter. But we do use them when we have people over, not just for fancy parties (which we never have). We didn't register for china, unless Riedel wine glasses count?

As for the other, expensive things - just register for them! Friends might chip in and get them for you as a group gift. If not, you get these 10% registry completion discounts after the wedding. Combine that with coupons and other deals they send you, and you can get the big-ticket items a lot cheaper.

Apr 28, 2009

Oh man, I do love me some hummus. Many days, I'll eat that and some pita chips for dinner. Until I got horrible acid reflux and the lemon juice bothers me. Now only hummus in small doses, which SUCKS!

Also, I used to think the same way about expensive registry gifts, but my friends who have gotten married set me straight. People want to buy you something. They especially want to buy you something you want and will use. Plus, you'll get a ton of gift cards that will help you purchase the whole set. I mean, I may not buy you A plate, but I would give you a gift card so you could do that.

I mean, wouldn't it be kind of ridiculous to buy and wrap just one plate?

Apr 28, 2009

A) I LOVE that outfit for Sean. Seriously. Can't wait to see it!

B) We didn't register for China. I think it's too much to ask for and not really worth it. I'd rather have skillets and mixing bowls and all my friends and family at my wedding to celebrate with me.

But, to each his own.

Apr 28, 2009

Um, "China" so did not need to be capitalized. My bad. Who WOULD register for such a large country? What would you do with it?

Apr 28, 2009

we are having the same registering dilemma. we've lived together for 4 years, plus i love to cook. so guess what christmas and birthday gifts have been the last few years? yup, nice kitchen stuff. i've gotten comments that our registry is "incomplete". but dangit, i already HAVE a lot of stuff, and i'm PARTICULAR about what we put in our SMALL condo, and i don't WANT to register for something just because everyone THINKS you should. how many people do you know who registered for all these expensive appliances and fancy not-everyday dishes and have NEVER since used them because they don't really cook or entertain? exactly. and i DO cook and entertain!

we are also running into the problem that most of what we still need is the more expensive stuff i feel bad asking for, plus i don't like the idea of people buying us wedding gifts that will need to be replaced in a few years (i mean, come on, rubber spatulas? hand towels?). but if you DON'T register, people make you feel bad for not giving them options for gifts. so we just had to suck it up and register.

rant over. in short, china is overrated. just don't do it.

Apr 28, 2009

We did not register for fine china because my grandma had an extra set to give us. Nothing fancy, but a full set. And we registered for "fancy" flatware and stemware. To be honest, we've used it once in the almost 11 years we've been married.

My nice set of knives, however, I use almost every day. I love them, and if I had to do it over, I would register for a nice set of professional cookware and more nice sheets and towels (boring, I know).

And the less you register for...the better the odds that people will just give you cash.