How To: Registry Pains

Here’s how to stock up on the best Philly has to offer — without the stress

Where to Register

After the china comes all the rest: flatware, glassware, serving pieces, linens – and then the fun stuff like vases, kitchen gear, and the murky “miscellaneous”– category where a couple’s personality can really shine through. But while it’s really easy to get carried away and want to register at a different place for each of your shared interests – one for camping gear, another for wine paraphernalia – rein it in and take heed of one standing rule: the rule of three.  
“It’s not nice to make people do a lot of research,” says wedding planner Kendall Brown of Media’s Eclatante Event Design. “Make it easy for people to please you – that’s the whole point of a registry.” Register at one or two stores with different flavors of everything – a department store, Crate & Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond—and then at independent shops or with designers whose work you love. Local ceramicists Liz Kinder, Teresa Chang and Linda Johnson all work with couples to create one-of-a-kind collections of tableware, and a number of independent local boutiques such as Bruges Home in Old City and Home Grown in Haverford take registries. At Foster’s Homeware, also in Old City, you can register for everything from mixing bowls to cooking classes.  

Beyond collecting things that not every single one of your married friends has, other benefits of registering with an independent store or designer are the one-on-one service and smaller selection, which prevent the special brand of shopping fatigue that comes from spending an afternoon in a mall. Often, it’s this registry that excites you the most and feels the truest to yourselves. And Brown has seen a lot of brides and grooms registering even further outside the box – for artwork, for a first-anniversary weekend. “One of my couples registered for a weekend in New York,” she says, “for the hotel along with a show.”

Finishing Up
One more rule that brides should heed (and this is the last one, promise) is to think about what your guests can afford. “Have a range of different price points,” says Brown. Make sure you’ve got as many options for your starving artist friends as there are for your well-off relatives. And if you think there are some groups that might feel comfortable pooling their funds for big-ticket items like a couch or a large appliance, it’s okay to include one or two.

The biggest rule is to relax and to avoid being a slave to “should.” “Look at this as an exercise in trying on different lifestyles and trying to figure out which one fits,” says Rosen. “Have fun with it – do it as a couple.” And know that even if you fall out of love with some of the things in 10 years, they’ll still have special meaning to you. “I know that the gifts we receive will be cherished for our entire lives,” says Shannon, “even if our grandchildren end up telling us that cupcake dish-towels are ‘so 2008.’”