Drop that scanner gun! Before you head to your favorite store to register for your wedding dinnerware, you have some important homework to do. Creating the ideal registry for your lifestyle isn't hard, it just requires you to be honest with yourself about the way you like to eat and entertain.
Are we formal or casual entertainers?
Crystal, silver and fine china are great if you throw fancy dinner parties or intend to host your family's courtly Thanksgiving feast every other year. But if the menu at most of your parties is beef sliders or lasagna, chances are you'd rather have a more flexible and durable set of everyday china instead.
How do we like to serve?
Think about what your dinners or parties at home usually look like, then choose pieces to fit that vibe. A couple who have lots of family-style dinners could use lots of big and deep oven-to-table dishes, while buffet-style, nosh-and-graze-type folks might like to have several tiered pieces and divided dishes that stack high and put food on display.
Do we prefer open stock or standard place settings?
It can be boiled down to this: Would you like everything to perfectly match at your table, or would you rather pick and choose pieces to mix around at will? If it's the former, register for complete place settings (plus coordinating accessories). If not, you can spread your picks across different lines, brands or even stores, and then complete your sets over time.
What extras do we want or need?
A registry associate will likely try to sell you on gravy boats and sugar dishes and everything in between. Before you ever head to the store, try to decide which of those accessories you really need in your life and, here's the important part, stick to your list. It will keep you from impulse scanning in every aisle.
How many place settings will we need?
Registry associates will suggest that you register for at least eight place settings (and preferably, 12). But it's all about what you need and what you have room to store. A couple without children and who don't entertain much might find that just four place settings suits them just fine. And don't feel compelled to stick to the same inventory for every piece. Maybe you need eight dinner plates but only two pasta bowls. Do what works! Don't let the conventional advice steer you towards something that won't work (or won't fit) in your life.