The 11 Types of Gifts You Should Have on Your Registry Right Now

Registering for china, gadgets and 500-thread-count sheets is one of the best perks of your engagement, but deciding what to put on your list isn't simple. Our advice? Start with the stuff you love the most, add some necessities, and then use this list of the hottest home and registry ideas to fill in the rest.
by Lauren Kay
Cocktail and barware registry ideas
photo by Barware, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Macy's; Bar Cart, Threshold, Target; Glasses, Mark and Graham
  1. Cocktail Party Essentials

    Cocktail and barware registry ideas
    photo by Barware, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Macy's; Bar Cart, Threshold, Target; Glasses, Mark and Graham

    Whether you consider yourselves master mixologists or plan to occasionally host a few friends for an impromptu drink, you'll want a well-stocked bar. Glasses should be on the top of your list, closely followed by a bar set that includes must-haves, like a shaker, jigger, bottle opener and tongs. Don't forget the accoutrements too, such as appetizer plates, linens for your table, cheese boards and platters—all aimed at hosting a crowd.

    Tip: When it comes to entertaining, you'll want to add a few bigger-ticket items to your list—bar carts, for example, are trés chic. Planning on starting a wine collection? Why not register for a fancy wine fridge to stow all those bottles. While you're at it, you can even register for wine!

  2. All White Dinnerware

    White dinnerware set registry ideas
    photo by Dinnerware Set, Crate and Barrel; Patterned Plates, Vietri

    There's a reason most restaurants and caterers serve on all-white plates: It's the best color for presenting food. Going white with your everyday dinnerware allows you to mix and match with colorful accent pieces (like those fun colored wineglasses or graphic patterned napkins) for total versatility. Best of all, white dinnerware can be easily dressed up (hello, holidays!) or dressed down. Look for plates that are durable, and dishwasher and microwave safe—so it's pretty and functional.

    Tip: If you're looking for something a little more exciting than a simple white plate, search for dishware with white-on-white patterns or textures along the rim. These subtle details add character to your table, while still giving you the opportunity to use a variety of hues on the table.

  3. Dressed-Up Flatware (Especially in Gold!)

    Gold flatware registry trend
    photo by Clockwise from top: Oneida, Macy's; Argento, Lenox; Sambonet, Bloomingdale's

    Why go for fancy flatware? Because it's easy to glam up the dining table without going overboard on unnecessary pieces. Gold is really hot right now and you'll find it in a range of styles -- from traditional patterns with ornate embellishments to more sleek-and-modern sets. Before you totally dismiss the idea for practicality reasons, know this: Many sets are dishwasher safe and sturdy enough for everyday use.

    Tip: Not ready to commit to just one metal? Lots of companies, like Royal Albert and Lenox, offer gold flatware with silver accents, giving you the best of both metals and a chic contrast on your table. It's also a great option if you've selected a primarily silver china pattern but still want to get in on the "gold rush" trend.

  4. Mugs (Not Teacups)

    Mugs on wedding registry
    photo by Platinum Rim, Lenox, Macy's; Floral Print, Marchesa by Lenox, Bloomingdale's; Blue Interior, Anna Weatherley, Bloomingdale's

    Thanks to our country's coffee addiction, a ton of retailers make matching mugs for china sets. So go ahead and skip the cup and saucer and go straight for the mug. Bonus: Teacups are the most expensive part of the place setting, and most of us prefer mugs anyway, so it's a sensible swap.

    Tip: If you're uber coffee drinkers, look beyond your dinnerware and register for a separate set of colorful mugs you'll love to have on display in your kitchen.

  5. China With Classic Patterns

    Timeless china patterns for wedding registry
    photo by Lenox, Macy's; Vera Wang Wedgwood, Bed Bath & Beyond; Vera Wang Wedgwood, Bloomingdale's

    Granted, right now you may order takeout every night, but in 10 years you could be hosting holiday gatherings for 20. And since gift-giving events like this come around once in a lifetime, plan for the long haul and register for a more timeless china pattern. Also, timeless doesn't have to mean boring—look for patterns in chic neutrals or metallic colors.

    Tip: Even if you're only hosting dinners for two now, register for 12 place settings. It's not fun to think about but some patterns end up getting discontinued, so it's best to register for more up front.

  6. Fun Accent Plates with Animal Motifs

    Animal motif dinner plates on wedding registry
    photo by Animal Print, Mikasa; Frog Prince, Saks Fifth Avenue; Fish, Vietri; Zebra, Scalamandre by Lenox, Bloomingdale's

    Whether you're having a few friends over for dinner or throwing an elegant dinner party, appetizer and dessert plates are like entertaining game changers. Seriously – pick a few fun and colorful accent plates, like small casual dishes with bright fish splashed across the top or whimsical frogs painted on top of small china dessert plates, to change the entire look of your table.

    Tip: Match your accent plates to your entertaining style. If your entertaining vibe is more casual, pick plates that go with your everyday dinnerware. Like the more formal gatherings? Look for sophisticated prints that feel upscale and pair well your china pattern.

  7. Rimmed Soup Bowls

    Shallow rimmed soup bowls wedding registry idea
    photo by Clockwise from top: Mikasa, Bed Bath & Beyond; Cacharel, Saks Fifth Avenue; Monique Lhuillier, Bloomingdale's; Wedgwood, Bloomingdale's

    Take our word for it: Rimmed soup bowls are totally underrated in the registry world. While the traditional five-piece place setting includes a dinner plate, a salad or accent plate, a bread-and-butter plate, and a cup and saucer, the thing that's missing is a great bowl. And shallow rimmed bowls can be used for more than you might imagine – use them to serve pastas, salads, desserts – just about everything!

    Tip: Most brands have soup bowls in their collections, but check just to be sure before you fall for a particular pattern.

  8. Colored Glassware

    Colorful glassware registry trend
    photo by Double Old-Fashioned Glass, Bed Bath & Beyond; Flute, Waterford, Bloomingdale's; Wine Glass, Crate and Barrel

    Don't get us wrong: Clear glasses definitely have a place on your registry, but don't be afraid to experiment with colored glassware too. Barware, crystal tumblers or any other accent glasses are ideal candidates for color. Look for deep, solid hues that will pop on your table but still mix seamlessly with your other glassware.

    Tip: If you're feeling bold, try mixing two hues in a similar shade, like purple and indigo. If you're color shy, opt for a set of ombré glasses for a more subtle splash.

  9. Charity Registry

    Charity donation wedding registry
    photo by Luminaire Images

    Couples who feel like they have everything they need usually end up registering for donations to their favorite charity.  And now there are sites that make it really easy to do. For example, encourages guests to donate to a charity of your choosing -- you can even set a fund-raising goal. "If you have a family member touched by a health issue or who has passed away, it's a great way to honor their memory," notes the I Do Foundation. Other sites, like, will even help you create charitable wedding favors supporting a community organization or another cause close to your hearts.

    Tip: Just because you're registering for dinnerware and luggage doesn't mean you can't register with a charity too. The Knot and the I Do Foundation are partners, so for every dollar spent on gifts from registries listed on your The Knot wedding website, we'll make a donation to the charity of your choice.

  10. Hobby Items

    Hobby wedding registry: barbecue, camping tent, bicycles
    photo by Shutterstock

    Tents, power drills, mountain bikes and barbecue grills are fair game for registries too. And we say, if those are the types of things you both want and will use together, go for it.

    Tip: Just about anything with a bar code can go on your wish list, thanks to the idea of an aggregate registry. In other words, if you love the grill sold at the store down the street, you should be able to scan it and pop it on your list!

  11. Luggage

    Wedding registry luggage ideas
    photo by Samsonite, Macy's; Travelpro, Macy's; Rimowa, Bloomingdale's

    Ditch the hand-me-down roller bag you have and register for a nice set of luggage. A suitcase with wheels is a must—it can be hauled through international airports and stowed on trains with ease. A smaller, carry-on bag is also an excellent investment, especially with current baggage fees and restrictions. Look for something that's lightweight (for hoisting into the overhead bin) and meets the general airline guidelines. If you take a lot of business trips or usually travel with a lot of formalwear in tow, go for a garment bag.

    Tip: Think about the trips you take most often. Maybe instead of large luggage, you actually need something much smaller. A couple really nice duffle bags for weekend getaways could be the way to go.

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