Nice Trays

I Just Got Married, And These Are The Things I Use Most from My Registry

These items are all about starting fresh and smart storage.
By Mary Shannon Wells
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Thanks to rom coms like 27 Dresses and Bride Wars, I thought that registering for my wedding would entail walking around a department store with a price scanner, trying to stop my future husband from adding something silly like a strawberry huller to the list. While we had a few close calls (looking at you, gourmet espresso machine), and there were no portable scanners, registering for our wedding was a better experience than even Nancy Meyers could dream up. We had so much fun deciding which plates we'd eat homemade dinners off of or which wine glasses we'd enjoy our Friday night glass of red from.

There are plenty of ways in which getting married in 2020 was different than other years, but one of the most interesting was the gift registry. This list is in no way representative of all the things a newly married couple could want or need, but it's simply the items we find ourselves using practically every day. Because we just moved into our first home with less-than-ideal storage space, most of these wedding registry items actually double as smart storage solutions. Other gifts from our registry have to do with starting fresh. Instead of towels with my old monogram on them or the gray towels my husband had all through college, a set of soft, white towels got our linen closet off to a beautiful start. And then there were the purchases that we may not have even wanted if it weren't for our pandemic situation. We're both working remotely, so a nice set of trays was essential for the nights that the home office didn't get cleaned off the kitchen table. And since we eat every meal at home, a stylish dish drying rack is the most popular spot in our kitchen.

If you're looking for functional items to add to your wedding registry, trust a 2020 bride and start here. You just might be surprised by how much you use that mini whisk.

Related Items

Everyday Flatware
Credit: Food52

Everyday Flatware

Buy It: $40 per five-piece place setting; food52.com

This might seem obvious, but there's no underestimating the difference a fresh set of flatware can make in the kitchen. I love to break out the good silver as much as any Southern hostess, but having dishwasher safe flatware to use every day is essential.

NonStick Baking Sheets
Credit: Crate & Barrel

Non-Stick Baking Sheets

Buy It: $29.95; crateandbarrel.com

If you think you don't need a set of three, think again. We use these sheet pans practically every day. If we're just broiling two pieces of salmon (or need a tiny cookie fix in a flash), the small pan makes for even cooking and is so much simpler to maneuver. If we're roasting veggies, the medium pan is just right. And if we're making one of our favorite all-in-one sheet pan suppers, the large pan makes cleanup a breeze. Plus, the rimmed edges ensure there's no burnt sauce drippings in the oven.

Spoon Rest
Credit: Food52

Spoon Rest

Buy It: $24; food52.com

Adding a spoon rest to your wedding registry feels trivial, but I actually didn't have one at my old apartment. I simply used a small plate or set cooking utensils right on the countertop (I know, I know…germs. But I did live alone and am very clean, y'all!). It's something we constantly use, and my counters would be a lot dirtier at dinnertime if it weren't for it. Plus, it looks prettier sitting next to the stovetop than a random plate reserved for the same use.

Fresh Bath Towels
Credit: Brooklinen

Fresh Bath Towels

Buy It: $59 per set of two; brooklinen.com

When we got married and moved in together, we both did some major cleaning out and organizing. Ditching scratched plates from college and enough clothes to fit into our shared closet was therapeutic. We absolutely had to start fresh with bath towels. We got two sets of plain white, monogramming one to set out when we have guests and leaving one plain.

Cast Iron Skillet
Credit: Amazon

Cast-Iron Skillet

Buy It: $22.97; amazon.com

My husband already owned a cast-iron skillet from his grandmother, and we used it so often we knew we'd love another one around the house. Every Southern cook realizes what a valuable tool a cast-iron skillet is, and now we have two that we use all the time. Plus, this affordable option comes with a silicone handle holder, which is a lifesaver (er, hand saver).

Nice Trays
Credit: Amazon

Nice Trays

Buy It: $39.99; amazon.com

If we had gotten married any other year than 2020, I don't think this would have been on my registry, but thank goodness it was. Since my husband works in our home office (he works remotely even during non-pandemic times), our dining table became my makeshift office space. Yes, I should be cleaning my "desk" off each night before dinner so we can have a proper meal at the table. But anyone with a job and a life knows that most days don't go as planned. The wooden trays we got have been a lifesaver for couch dinners that don't feel so sad. Plus, they're pretty enough for us to use as serving trays when we're eventually able to host friends and family again.

Trivets
Credit: Crate & Barrel

Trivets

Buy It: $19.95; crateandbarrel.com

Another common kitchen item that I simply didn't own before, trivets have become part of my daily cooking routine. While I formerly used a potholder or tea towel in its place, a trivet is so much safer, and not to mention nicer to look at. Since we're short on storage in our home, we wanted something that looked nice sitting out on the stovetop or our butcher block when not in use. And yes, I'm saying trivets plural because we got two! After realizing how much we use them, I'm so glad we received more than one. Plus, anytime you say, "Can you pass me the trivet?" you basically HAVE to say it like Ross says, "PIVOT!" on Friends. It's just the rules; I don't make 'em.

A Good Vacuum
Credit: Lowe's

A Good Vacuum

Buy It: $499; lowes.com

I know, y'all. I know! This is an insanely expensive vacuum. But hear me out: It. Is. Actually. Worth. It. The mini vacuum I was using in my one-bedroom apartment was not going to cut it in a house with another human (and later on, a puppy). This vacuum is truly heaven-sent. It's so lightweight and easy to use, and you never have to worry about tripping over a cord again, which is especially comforting once you have a puppy running around your feet as you try to clean. Cleaning the house is actually enjoyable with this vacuum because it's incredibly satisfying to use.

Utensil Holder
Credit: Amazon

Utensil Holder

Buy It: $24.99; amazon.com

Unfortunately, my old apartment kitchen had more storage than my first home's. I used to store kitchen tools like large spoons and spatulas in a drawer. In our new home, a sturdy and pretty utensil holder is necessary for our storage issues. Plus, utensils are more readily available while we're standing at the stovetop.

Dish Drying Rack
Credit: Crate & Barrel

Dish Drying Rack

Buy It: $49.95; crateandbarrel.com

We cook almost every night, and it seems like the dishwasher is always running, but we use a lot of nonstick cookware, glassware, and knives that aren't dishwasher-friendly. This drying rack has made a world of difference in our dishwashing routine. It fits perfectly over one side of the sink, and it doesn't look like a total eyesore when company is around.

A Sleek Wine Rack
Credit: Anthropologie

A Sleek Wine Rack

Buy It: $38; anthropologie.com

In my former apartment, I didn't have room for one of those cute bar carts that are all over Instagram. Wine bottles sat on the countertop without a proper home. Now that we have a nice place for our barware, a wine rack was essential for stylishly storing our favorite reds.

A Mini Whisk
Credit: Amazon

A Mini Whisk

Buy It: $8.99; amazon.com

I realize this one sounds a bit ridiculous, but this little guy gets put in the dishwasher night after night of use. "But why do I need a tiny version of something I already own?" I'm glad you asked. Sauces, dressings, seasonings, a single egg—there are countless things we whip up each day that only require just that, a mini whisk. If you have a small bowl of garlic oil to mix up before you brush it on some roasted potatoes, your large whisk might not even fit, and even if it can, it won't properly mix everything up. Enter: the mini whisk.

Neutral, Dishwasher-Safe Dinnerware
Credit: Food52

Neutral, Dishwasher-Safe Dinnerware

Buy It: $172 per 12-piece set; food52.com

My china pattern is near and dear to my heart, but I can't hand wash the dish I eat a turkey sandwich off for lunch every day. When we got married, our dinnerware selection included mismatched bowls and scratched-up plates. A clean new set of dinnerware that can go in the dishwasher is an absolute must.