My Wedding Registry Essentials: Kitchen and Dining

Not gonna lie, my wedding registry was a hot mess.

First of all, I used Blueprint, which I do not recommend. The interface was just annoying, and something kept malfunctioning on the platform where it didn’t register gifts as “bought.” So every few weeks, like clockwork, my roommate and I would receive the exact same Le Creuset cast-iron skillet. (Even a weird blog lady can only use so many identical skillets!)

I also ended up registering for a lot of stuff that I didn’t actually need and forgetting a few things that I did. Based on my extensive research (aka my group text), this is a pretty common registry dilemma. Whether you already have a lot of your kitchen and home pulled together (my kitchen was pretty well-stocked going into the process), or you’re starting from scratch, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and register for a bunch of unnecessary shit that will just end up languishing in cabinets or wasting prime real estate on your countertops. (Cough…stand mixer…cough.)

God knows it’s tempting to go HAM in Williams-Sonoma with that little laser thingy and beep the smokers, and deep fryers, and decorative copper pots, but you gots to control yourself if you want to avoid the dreaded “registry remorse.” So, while I can’t tell you what platform to use—although many of my friends dig Zola—I’m hoping I can help streamline your registry process by breaking down what I think are the essentials. The basics that will make cooking, entertaining, and hanging at home easier, cozier, and that much more fun for years to come. For the sake of convenience, we’re gonna do this thing in two parts: Kitchen & Dining (below) and Home.

Happy registering, lovebirds!

p.s. Whether or not you’re getting married, I’m hoping this master list of my kitchen and dining favorites will be a helpful resource for anyone looking to build their kitchen from the ground up.

My Kitchen and Dining Registry Essentials:

APPLIANCES

Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee MakerI’m a drip coffee person, and I have fallen deeply in love with this machine. It makes an incredibly smooth cup of coffee (in record time!), and it looks particularly fancy/impressive on the counter. If you’re not a drip person, treat yo’self to a great pour over coffee machine or espresso maker if you don’t already have one.

Instant Pot/Mealthy Multipot. Here’s the thing, I don’t particularly love slow cookers or pressure cookers (just not my jam), but they are extraordinarily convenient in the “set it and forget it” sense. I’d register for an Instant Pot over a traditional slow cooker, since it can perform both functions and takes up slightly less counter space.

Vitamix Professional Series 750 Heritage BlenderIf you’ve been on the fence about getting a Vitamix, now is the time to get someone else to bite the bullet for you! A Vitamix is the Ferrari of blenders (hence the price tag) and can be used to whip up everything from smoothies to soups and hummus.

Cuisinart Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor. 4-Cup Mini PrepI don’t know how people who like to cook/cook a lot survive without a food processor. Whether you use it for dips and sauces or simply to chop or shred vegetables, it makes your life in the kitchen infinitely easier. I like this super simple Cuisinart machine. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles (which I’d likely never use anyway), but it’s reliable, reasonably sized, and easy to clean. Hallelujah.

*KitchenAid Stand MixerThis one is EXCLUSIVELY for the bakers. I debated leaving it off this list because I feel like this is something people always register for and then never use. (I got one six years ago, and I’ve used it a grand total of…twice. Plus it’s heavy as shit and takes up SO much space.) With that said, it’s an essential for those who bake on the reg, or who would like to bake more. Just think a little about whether you’ll actually put it to work before adding it to your list. If you’re on the fence and don’t tend to cook for a crowd, the mini version might be nice.

COOKWARE

Le Creuset 4.5-Quart Signature Cast-Iron Round Dutch OvenI feel the way about my LC Dutch oven the way I’m sure most people feel about their dogs. I spend quality time with it every day, it makes me happy, and it has never let me down. This size is large enough to fit everything from a big batch of soup to a whole chicken but not so large that it’s unweildly. If you register for one piece of cookware, let this be it.

Le Creuset 12-inch Signature Cast-Iron Fry PanEveryone needs a good cast iron skillet. Lodge is great, but I prefer Le Creuset. (Gwyneth hair fip.) It has a smoother interior, and it’s easier to clean.

Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron SaucepanI love this enameled cast-iron pot for cooking grains and warming soups and sauces. Functional and kinda cute.

Le Creuset Stoneware Rectangular Baker with Platter LidThis is just a good casserole dish, and I dig that the lid (which makes it easy to transport something to a picnic or potluck) doubles as a serving platter. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Lagostina Nera Nonstick 10” & 12” Skillet SetI rely pretty heavily on true nonstick pans, especially for things like eggs and fish. They just make cooking a little easier, you don’t need to add as much fat to the pan, and cleaning is a breeze. I have these Lagostina ones, and I actually use them for most of my everyday cooking. (FYI: Despite the nonstick coating, they still do a pretty bang up job browning meat.)

All-Clad Tri-Ply Stainless-Steel 7-Piece Cookware SetSeven pieces sounds like a lot, but this is really just a skillet, large sauté pan, large saucepan, and a heavy bottomed soup pot with their accompanying lids—the essentials. I have a big collection of All-Clad stainless, and I really like them for their even heating and non-reactive finish. (I cook tomatoes in mine, and it’s fine.) If you want a full matchy-matchy collection, you can also get the 10-piece.

*Obviously, these sets are pricey. A lot of registries let you pick a group gift option so that people can contribute what they like, but you can also register for each pan in these sets individually if you like.

Calphalon Elite Nonstick Square Grill PanFor those of us who don’t have access to an outdoor grill (blergh), a solid grill pan comes in handy. If you prefer cast-iron, Le Creuset also makes a good one.

Apilco Deep Oval RoastersI have a bunch of these and use them for baking everything from casseroles to oatmeal. They also double as great serving dishes for sides and salads.

COOK’S TOOLS

OXO 15-Piece Kitchen Tool SetIf you’re looking for a basic set of kitchen tools, this one covers all your bases, and I trust OXO products.

Shun Classic KnivesGood knives are a game changer, people. I’ve been using a Wusthof set for years, and they were fine, but I registered for Shun classic knives, and they are glorious. You can register for one of their sets if you like, but I built my own set based on the knives I use the most (6” and 8” Western chef’s knives, 4” paring knife, serrated utility knife, utility knife) and store them in this knife holder.

Williams Sonoma Edge-Grain Carving Board in Cherry. I use crappy plastic cutting boards for most of my day-to-day-prep work, but at least one good, heavy cutting board is still a necessity. This carving board looks pretty on any countertop and can double a giant cheese board.

Copper Mixing Bowls. Every home cook needs a set of stacking mixing bowls. I like this copper set because I like pretty things, BUT they can’t go in the dishwasher. So if that’s a deal breaker (no judgment), go with plastic or glass.

TABLETOP

Vietri DishwareA full set of matching plates and bowls feels very adult and really classes up your meals, people. I mixed and matched white dinner plates, salad plates, cereal and serving bowls from the Vietri Incanto collection, but if you’re more of traditionalist, I also love the Bianco collection.

Year & Day DishwareIf you have a more modern aesthetic and are into the idea of having a minimilast dishware collection in a fun color, Year & Day is for you. I use my Big Bowls in Midnight for all my sassy desk lunches and bowl meals.

Flatware. Like dishware, having matching flatware is the grown-up thing to do. Picking flatware is really personal, so you gots to do you, but I went super basic with this stainless steel Aston set. If you like to party, I’d register for 12 settings. Whatever set you choose, you may want to add on a few matching serving spoons/forks as well.

Laguiole Jean Dubost Bintage Steak Knife Set. If you eat steak…

Olivewood Salad BowlA fancy salad bowl is guaranteed to be put to good use. Honestly, I think it’s good to own two or three, but I would only register for one. For whatever reason, some folks love to go off-registry, and I guarantee at least one of those people will give you a salad bowl. (I was the lucky recipient of five…) Oh, and you should probably get some matching servers.

Brooklyn Slate Cheese Board and Cheese Knives. A good slate cheese board will get a ton of action over the years. This one is a classic. Make sure you get a set of cheese knives too. (I have this one.)

Placemats. While I regularly eat dinner directly on the table with a paper towel “napkin,” placemats are much more civilized. I’m into neutral woven ones (something like this), which look chic with almost any dishware/flatware. I suggest getting 12 mats.

Cloth Napkins. Here’s the thing. Cloth napkins are kind of a bitch to clean (I often use disposable ones that look like fabric by MyDrap), but they are nice for dinner parties/holidays. Williams-Sonoma has an okay selection, but I’d canvas your favorite home stores for a pattern/fabric that speaks to you. I’m still on the fence about napkin rings (dated?), but it doesn’t hurt to have a set on hand should a Martha Stewart moment strike.

*Glassware and Barware in the Home Essentials registry post.

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