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Our Lifestyle Director Taryn Williford Helps Answer All of Your Tricky Wedding Registry Questions

published Sep 25, 2020
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Credit: Nathan Rigaud

When Apartment Therapy’s Lifestyle Director Taryn Williford and her husband got married, registering at Crate and Barrel was an obvious choice. It turned out to be one of their best wedding planning decisions — and one of the most fun parts of the whole experience. She’s here today to answer your questions about what to add to your own Crate and Barrel wedding registry. We asked three couples what wedding registry questions are currently stumping them. Here’s Taryn’s expert advice!

Taryn’s Registry Tip:

When it comes to creating a registry, the number one thing to keep in mind is to be yourself! There are a lot of guides to help you decide what to register for, but you should treat them like guides. Use them to start your thinking and begin conversations with your partner, but ultimately, register for things that get you excited.”

“Why is registering for actual items better than simply having a cash fund?” —Alayna & Taryn

Registering for a cash fund instead of a registry full of actual gift items is an increasingly popular choice for engaged couples. Yes, it simplifies things to some extent, but Taryn warns against it. The reason why is both practical and emotional.

“The best thing about a wedding is feeling all the love from your people,” she says. And that good energy will last a lot longer if your friends and family give you actual items that you can hang on to for years and years. “The gifts we got from our wedding are still with us every day, and make me feel like little pieces of our loved ones are here, too.”

Taryn has a KitchenAid Stand Mixer — a hard-working and colorful addition to your countertop — in Crate and Barrel’s exclusive Shaded Palm hue. It makes her think of her cousin who gifted it to her every time she uses it. Her cousin encouraged her to register for a mixer big enough to make double batches of cookies, and she’s so glad she did. Taryn also brings out her simple, stylish Appetizer Plates and toast-worthy stainless steel Moscow Mule mugs when the friends who gifted them visit.

Taryn’s Registry Tip:

“I think it’s good to register for a mix of things at different price points. When my husband and I were getting married, we even had some $1 dishes on the list, and some under-$10 kitchen tools, too. Some guests used those to fill out a gift basket—which ended up being the perfect mix of useful and creative.”

“What will we regret not registering for?” —David & Chandler

Taryn is super happy that she and her husband chose to add a professional set of cookware to their registry. Before their wedding, they mostly had hand-me-down kitchenware and really didn’t cook all that much. But over time, it’s proven to be one of the best things they got as a wedding gift. This set from Calphalon is a sturdy, easy-to-care-for option that has all the pots and pans they need for everything they cook.

The pieces go from the oven to the stove to sear, fry, sautée, simmer, roast, and bake, then make for easy cleanup in the dishwasher. It might seem like a lot of pieces at first, but that’s the beauty of this gift: You’ll grow into them. Taryn recently got into making soups and now relies the big stock pot she’d never used before. The set is something they may not have splurged on for themselves, but someone else was happy to give, so keep that in mind when thinking about your own registry.

Taryn’s Registry Tip:

“Your space belongs to both of you. So it’s not a bad idea to go into your registry experience by setting some guidelines. Is it important that you both agree on every item? Or will you allow for each partner to add a few “just for me”-type gifts to the list — and therefore, add them to your home? Setting the framework for those kinds of compromises early on helps you establish good communication and respect for each other’s style.”

“We’ve been together since college, so we already have a lot of stuff, but we’re ready for a step up in quality. What are some upgrade items we should consider registering for?” —Brian & Jill

For couples whose homes are already pretty well-equipped, Taryn recommends focusing on upgrading items that get used every day. “I think towels are a great option for an upgrade: You can recycle your old ones and enjoy some nice new towels every day,” she says. Her favorites? These plush bath sheets that come in a multitude of colors. They’re made of luxurious Turkish organic cotton yarn, so they’re extremely soft, plush, and dense. and come in a multitude of colors.

Another great idea is to upgrade your everyday kitchen items, like kitchen knives, to something that will last you forever. Taryn and her husband recommend this eight-piece set of razor-sharp knives from Shun. They’re handmade in Japan and carefully crafted in a 100-step process inspired by ancient sword smiths — exactly the type of gift they wouldn’t have normally splurged on themselves, but is perfect for a registry. To make more expensive items like this more affordable for guests, she recommends using Crate and Barrel’s group gifting feature, which lets guests go in together on bigger gift purchases.

Whatever you’re registering for, Taryn says to keep in mind that your friends and family are excited to celebrate you. By choosing a wide range of items at different price points, you’ll be doing your guests a favor by giving them lots of gift ideas that fit their budget and which they can feel great about giving.