woman with red nail polish eating oysters with pearls inside

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Once you’ve gotten engaged and set a date, your friends and family will want to start showering you with celebratory gifts—and parties, whenever gatherings become feasible with social distancing top of mind. As a silver lining to quarantine, you now have the time to give some thought to your registry, and how you live with the items, objet, and appliances in your home. While creating a wedding registry used to involve a trip to your local department store and a scanner gun, the internet is chock full of resources to source all you’ll need to update your current living space together, or create the look for your newlywed home.

As etiquette goes, your family and friends should be planning engagement parties and bridal showers events for you, but those who’ll attend won’t come empty handed, or ideally, without sending a gift in advance. Your loved ones, colleagues, and friends will turn to your registry (which you can list on your wedding website), so it’s best to get yours together ASAP.

Don’t let the idea of a registry overwhelm you; yes, you can register at multiple places and for items in a wide range of price points. And, the process of compiling your wishlist is one of the few wedding planning tasks that grooms prefer to participate in, so you shouldn’t have to go it alone. Here, how to curate your registry—and the best products to get you started.

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1. Register ASAP. Gifts Come Whether You’ve Curated Them or Not.

Building your wedding registry is one of the first things you should do after getting engaged. You’ll want to make sure it’s complete before save-the-dates go out or engagement parties and showers are scheduled. Your friends and families will buy you gifts, and punctual people will look to do so immediately, so make sure you’ve at least compiled the bones of what you need and desire on your registry. List the link to any and all of your wishlists on your wedding website, to avoid having to answer countless questions about where you’re registered.

KitchenAid

Metallic Mixer

williams-sonoma.com

$629.95

An artisan stand mixer, like this rose gold select, makes an elegant  addition to any countertop while also making baking a breeze. 

La Cuisine

Cast Iron Cookware

bedbathandbeyond.com

$419.99

Opt for enameled exterior cookware for pots and pans that will last for years to come. 

A sleek and chic wall clock will withstand the test of time, and look far more polished than anything digital. 

2. Don’t Forget the Basics

You can register at more places than one, so choose the retailers that make sense for you and your personal style. Zola offers easy, all-in-one registering that allows couples to register for products from other e-shops, while keeping everything organized for you and your guests.

Our tip? Browse each of the shops and land on one or two to register for the kitchen, bed, and bath basics. Then, add decorative objet, books, and statement pieces from other sites to your Zola cart to make your registry feel unique to you both individually, and as as a couple.

kate spade new york

Measuring Cups

Update your old measuring cups for a set of metallic ones. It’s a small touch, but it will make baking at home that much more polished, and give you one more thing to display on your countertops.

Ninja

Nutri Ninja Blender

A blender might be the most basic registry item, but this smaller, smoothie-ready version is great for individual drinks, dips, soups, and dressings.

Coltellerie Berti for MATCH

Kitchen Knives

It’s easy to forget about a nice knife set, but a great set will be something you use every day. While knives are a notoriously inauspicious gift to give, traditionalists suggest gifting each of them with a penny for good luck. 

3. Manage Your Shipping & Receiving

Receiving gifts throughout the wedding planning process is a recipe for chaos—especially now, when everyone is spending more time at home than ever before, and a decluttered space is key.

You may not have the room to store your new gifts just yet, so create a hold registry. Most online registries will send you a notification when someone has purchased a gift off your list, and will wait to ship them until you’re ready to receive shipments at home. On Zola, if you change your mind about an item, their registry allows for the option to exchange or return your product before it’s shipped to you—free of charge. Our advice: Wherever you choose to register online, be sure to check the “hold” option when prompted.

A chic bowl or display vessel is never a bad idea. One that is neutral in color will work with most of your décor, and won’t look dated as time goes on.

A classic game—backgammon, dominos or chess—not only offers hours of fun, but can serve as chic, interactive décor. 

eclectichomeneworleans.com

$1,313.00

An elegant end table will level up any room, and will likely be something you don’t automatically think to add to your cart. Start here, then add a small vase of fresh flowers.

4. Opt for Heirlooms

Register for pieces that will withstand the test of time in style–and in quality. This isn’t a time for disposable products or impulse purchases. Rather than listing a long list of products you think your friends will want to buy you, consider editing down your registry to less items at higher price points, and allowing guests to pitch in for items rather than buying them in full.

These products will live with you over time—long after the blender you registered for has died—but be sure to register with a company that allows you to shift your credit (or group gifting) to allow you to make adjustments to your registry along the way.

French Market Collection

One-of-a-Kind Accents

An upholstered bench is stately, eclectic and adds a print and texture to any space.

Dressing Room Interior Studio

Vintage Greek Mirror

dressingroomsinteriorsstudio.com

$495.00

Add a vintage mirror in a style that feels like a slight departure from your furniture, but that speaks to your personal style.  

Malene Barnett

Original Painting

malenebarnett.com

$2,800.00

Now is the perfect time to start the art collection you’ve always dreamed of.

5. Plan Ahead for Entertaining

Think about products you’ll love using at home together, and when you entertain—like these chic colorful glasses by Estelle Glassware, pictured here.

Couples tend to entertain at home much more as they get older. And when hosting your closest friends, what drinks you’ll be serving, and what glasses and stemware you will want to use should be top of mind. Sometimes the tiniest touches, like multi-colored cups and decanted wine, can make your guests feel extra special.

MF Cristal de Paris

Technicolor Glassware

Invest in barware. Even if you don’t drink often, gorgeous glassware on a well-appointed bar cart goes a long way in any sitting area.

William Sonoma

Wine Chiller

williams-sonoma.com

$59.95

A marble wine chiller works double duty as objet when it’t not in-use.

RICHARD BRENDON

Diamond Decanter

Don’t skip the things you’ll wish you had later in life—like a decanter that will impress as you’re enjoying amazing bottles of wine for milestone anniversaries.

6. Treat Your Registry Like You Would Your Closet

Register only for items that you will use and love, and don’t shy away from adding in a few items just because. If that barware, cookware, or traditional gravy boat has no place in your lifestyle, find something else you will use with greater frequency. Think of your registry as you would your closet: start with the basics, then add layers, and a few statement pieces to really make the look stand out.

Just like planning your wedding, never choose something you think is what you are “supposed to do,” but that doesn’t actually feel right. With that said, try to think ahead; there will certainly be things you’ll wish you’d registered for down the road. More on that later.

Don’t be shy about adding items to your registry that aren’t essential. Many of your guests will want to buy you something special and outside the ordinary. 

Breville

Espresso Machine

bedbathandbeyond.com

$699.99

Now that you’re making more coffee at home, opt for the espresso machine you’ve had your eyes on for years, but never splurged on. A craft cup of coffee is key for wedding planning, working from home, and all the brunches, breakfasts, and dessert parties you’ll host in the future.

Away Travel

Luggage Update

Planning ahead for your future honeymoon? Add your dream luggage set or a posh carry on to your wishlist.

7. Play With Prints, Color, & Texture

The best registries are a collection of products that work well together, without being too matchy-matchy. To avoid anything clashing, or a look that’s too uniform, review your selections and edit them as a collection. Mix and match your dinnerware. Select four place settings, each of four different patterns, which will give you 16 sets in total when you mix them all together.

You don’t have to commit to just one style; inject variety into your dinnerware. An assorted, layered tabletop is far more interesting and visually captivating for both you to enjoy and for the guests you’ll impress and entertain.

Los Encajeros

Embroidered Cocktail Napkins

A set of floral embroidered cocktail napkins are ideal for entertaining. Trust us: with a mix of other prints and patterns, they won’t stand a chance of looking too feminine.

Lisa Corti

Printed Placemats

matchesfashion.com.uk

£148.00

Not everything has to match perfectly. Opt for bold prints, then pair them with solids, textures, and complementary patterns.

Royal Copenhagen

Fluted Platter

A printed serving dish adds personality to your tabletop, and is ideal for serving desserts, vegetables, or appetizers.

8. Opt for Multi-Purpose Items

Register for products that can be used in multiple ways. A footed glass isn’t just for drinks; it can hold a single stem or be a vessel for cheese sticks when entertaining. A cake stand or butter dish can also serve as a trinket tray on your vanity, and a cloche can house fresh flowers or baked good on your countertop. The more uses an item has, the more value it will have for you in your home—for years to come.

Cover your cake or display some fruit for a decorative element that is elevated in all the right ways. 

Monique Lhuillier

Dessert Stand

A three-tiered dessert stand can display cookies or small bites when entertaining—and earrings and rings when you’re not. 

Small bud vases double as decor for freshly cut flowers or can hold breadsticks or candy at your next intimate gathering.  

9. Fine China Isn’t Only for Special Occasions

Every single one of your registry items should be accessible all the time and not be stuck in storage–even fine China. And, like with fashion, you can mix high and low so to ensure a sophisticated look still feels casual when the occasion calls for a laid-back, effortless feel.

Vera Wang

Marble Dinnerware

bloomingdales.com

$105.00

A classic white, or in this case subtle marble, place setting should be enjoyed daily, not tucked away. 

CASAFINA

IBIZA SALAD PLATE

Opt for layering plates that accent and add texture to your dinnerware.

Carnets d’Equateur

Cup and Saucer Set

Chinoiserie prints are never a bad idea, and these cups and saucers are case in point.

10. Mix High and Low

Your guests will likely be more comfortable if you provide them with a range of price points to choose from. This doesn’t mean that you have to register for cheaply made items, but be sure to break up your list of expensive items (China, crystal, flatware) into individual pieces so that people can build up to a price-point they are comfortable with. Keep a wide range of brands in mind; some of the best made pieces are from brands that won’t break the bank.

Laboratorio Paravicini

Zodiaco Dinner Plate

Unique pieces that are purchased individually break up an otherwise pricey purchase. 

Sambonet

Stainless Steel Flatware

saksfifthavenue.com

$85.00

A classic set of flatware that can be purchased by set is a helpful option for your guests who want to split gifts. 

Baccarat

Crystal Champagne Flutes

A pair of crystal flutes are classic and timeless. For an extra touch, gift these with a bottle of your (or the couple’s) favorite Champagne.

11. Look to the Future

Don’t consider only what you will use now, but also things you will want to use down the road. Hosting Thanksgiving may not be in your two year plan, but in a few years you’ll be wishing you had registered for that gravy boat, or those larger pieces of cookware.

Additionally, now is the time to stock up on bed linens. Your city condo may have you snuggled up in a queen for the next few years, but if a bigger home (and bed) is in the future, consider registering for your favorite linens in multiple sizes to accommodate your future bedroom, and possible guest rooms. Use your wedding registry as an excuse to donate your current dishes or things you’ve outgrown to a younger sibling, or your local Salvation Army. See this as an opportunity to outfit your abode with well-made items to last you throughout your life together.

You may not want it now, but your future self will thank you when the time comes. 

collectoworld.com

$420.00

Pick plates that speak to your personal style—now and forever. 

Linen sheets are a must and add that imperfectly perfect texture to your bedroom. 

12. Don’t Forget Décor

Look beyond linens, tableware, and kitchen gadgets. A nice mirror, a lamp, throws, and pillows will help make your marital house feel like a home, and guest will love seeing their gifts displayed and in daily use whenever they pop by for a visit.

Opt for chic decorative pillows that add personality and a pop of color. 

Rejuvenation

Light Fixture

A chic light fixture will elevate any room and is most likely something you’d forget to add to your wishlist.

Use this opportunity to ask for help paying for a larger item you wouldn’t be able to splurge on at the moment. A velvet sofa feel luxe without being over-the-top, and adds texture to your living space. 

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