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Registry basics

Decisions, decisions. Once you choose a china pattern, think of it as a beginning - not an end. If you change your home décor down the road or simply want a new look, no problem. It’s easy to add accents to your table to update a pattern or give it new character. Colored stemware, bold accent plates or unique serving accessories are just a few ideas.

Financially, it's obviously not feasible to trash everything you own. But do take advantage of the chance to start fresh with many items in your home. Now's the time to upgrade from “college chic” and hand-me-downs as you blend your style as a couple.

Who says all registry gifts have to be based on need and logic? Think “want” and “desire.” If you truly want an item, you're more likely to use it.

Don't be afraid to register for trendy items, but keep it in perspective. Trends come and go, while classic design stands the test of time. Accent with some less expensive, fun items, but the bulk of your registry should focus on quality basics.

The basics & beyond

  • Fine dinnerware is generally sold in a 5-piece place setting - dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate, teacup, and saucer.
  • A 5-piece place setting of flatware includes a dinner fork, dinner knife, teaspoon, soup/dinner spoon, and salad fork.
  • A suite of crystal refers to a water goblet, wine glass, champagne flute, and iced beverage glass.

It’s easy to register when you use these basic groupings, but keep in mind that all these items can also be registered “open stock.” That means you can register for individual pieces as needed. So, if you have a large extended family, you might want to start with 12 place settings of dinnerware, but add an extra six dinner and salad plates “open stock”, to use for holidays or when you entertain buffet style.

Don’t forget serving accessories and entertaining essentials. Platters, bowls, gravy boats, salt & pepper shakers, and sugar & creamer sets are also important pieces to own. You may even need multiples. At Thanksgiving, for example, you may need extra serving pieces to serve the entire table. (It’s OK to mix a china gravy boat with a silver one at the opposite end of the table.)

Whatever you think you’ll need, you’ll need more. Here’s proof. Put a sample menu down on paper. Now jot down what type of serving container you’d need for each of the food items on your menu. Chances are, you’ll find yourself using two, or even three bowls at a time. And don’t forget, for each serving bowl or platter, you'll need a corresponding serving spoon or utensil.

Our advice? Don’t be a minimalist. Plan ahead so that your registry will reflect the items you'll truly need and use.

*Prices Reflect All Savings and Offer excludes kate spade new york, Donna Karan, Reed & Barton and Marchesa merchandise.