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Wisest Wedding Registry Choices

This is a very busy time for weddings, and for wedding registries.

So, if you're getting married, or know an engaged couple to whom you'd like to give a gift, you need a plan.

On The Early Show Friday, design expert Susanna Salk went through things the modern-day bride should register for when it comes to tableware, to create an ideal foundation for her home.

Salk visited the flagship store in Manhattan of The Early Show partner Pottery Barn to show some examples.

She observed that brides often ask, "What's the right way to register?"

Obviously, there's more to creating a dream registry than going to a store and grabbing a clipboard or a scanner. There are questions: What should you register for? How many stores should you register with? Should you think about the prices of the items on your registry?

Start by thinking about the items you'll need for your new household. Most likely, you'll want to register for basic appliances, cookware, formal and casual china, crystal, flatware, and bed and bath linens. Whether you plan to set your table with fine china and glittering crystal, host holiday and family get-togethers, or just cook for two, now is the time to stock up on culinary and entertaining must-haves.

When you register, either in-store or online, you'll find registry checklists that contain every item you could possibly want. Although you may not need every item listed, these checklists can help you avoid overlooking key items you might otherwise forget. And because your guests may have a wide range of budgets, it's important to register for items in a variety of price ranges. Often, decorative pieces are beautiful, yet relatively inexpensive registry additions.

It's also best to register in national department or specialty stores; stores that offer online wedding registries. Such registries are especially convenient for out-of-town guests and others who prefer the ease of ordering gifts online.

There's no "correct" number of stores to register, nor is there such a thing as creating to many or too few registries. Base your decision on your needs and circumstances. A traditional department store registry and a smaller "lifestyle" retailer may cover all the bases for some couples.

Other couples, due to their unique interests or geographical locations, may decide to register at as many as four or five stores. By doing so, they're providing their friends and relatives with a wide range of gift and price choices, as well as increasing the chances that the gifts they receive are "just right."

Whatever you decide, just make sure there are always enough items, in different price ranges, available on your registry. The goal should be to receive gifts that you'll cherish, but also use all the time. A beautiful gift doesn't do much if it's stored away.


Don't feel funny about giving the couple an "unromantic" gift such as towels or a spatula. We've said it before and we'll say it again: If it's on their registry, they will be thrilled to get it. New bedding and luggage might not sound too thrilling to you, but the newlyweds will get tons of use out of both for years. Also, don't feel strange about buying one silver fork or two plates out of the twelve the couple requested. Once other guests see a few have been purchased, they'll follow suit.


Use a bridal registry checklist (many are posted online) to get a grasp of the range of items needed to create a foundation for your home. However, don't register for everything! Hone in on some classics and some accent items that can work together to maximize possibilities. "The table top, entertaining basics can give you the most pleasure and play," says Salk, who adds, "I wish I had known this when I was registering!"


Your dinnerware will be the foundation of your table setting, so select it first, then add coordinating flatware and linens. Most experts advise registering for enough dinnerware to host a meal for 8-12 people. Consider additional pieces to allow for breakage over the years and so you don't have to wash dishes in between courses — as is often the case with a salad and dessert plate-in-one.

8-12 Basic White Dishes

White dishes are the most versatile, enabling you to accessorize as you please. They are as classic and useful as a white T-shirt; you'll use them every day and mix them in with your dressier pieces. Your place setting should include dinner plates, soup-pasta plates, salad-dessert plates, cereal bowls, and a cups-saucers. You may even be able to opt for matching mugs in place of the traditional cup and saucer for your setting.

8-12 China Dinner Plates

No need to register for full place settings of fine china. Instead, register for just the dinner plates, making sure they get along with the other items you've selected. These will be the plates you use for dinner parties. Keep in mind, these are pieces you shouldn't be afraid to break! No matter how pretty, if they're too precious you won't use them.

8-12 Accent Salad-Dessert Plates

Color and pattern add a lively touch to your table. The key is to mix and match, adding colorful accent pieces to an otherwise white setting. The idea is that they can work with your basics or be paired with your china as a salad plate.

8-12 Accent Salad-Dessert Plates

Additional accent plates in another pattern can work as a dessert plate if you're using your other accent plates as salad plates.

8-12 Gold Charger Plates

These really complete a table and give your existing china a "charge."


8-12 Colorful Glassware

Brighten up your table with some colorful stemware! Use them as a water glass for dinner parties or on their own for less formal occasions.

8-12 Stemless Glasses

The new basic! These stemless glasses add a modern touch and are very practical; use them for red wine or white wine or as a water glass. They can stand on their own or be paired with colored glasses.


8-12 Flatware Place Setting

Select enough settings of one flatware that you can use from breakfast to dinner. It's more important to have a lot of one kind that you'll use all the time, instead of stowing away a second "good set" for special occasions. Too often, brides end up cobbling together their fancy flatware (which they didn't get enough of) with their regular flatware when entertaining large groups. Find one you love that is well-designed and at a mid-price point, and ask for lots of it! Most flatware comes in 5-piece place settings: dinner fork, salad fork, knife, soup spoon and teaspoon.


In addition to a place setting for everyone at the table, you'll need all kinds of extras to complete your service: platters, bowls, side dishes, etc.

4 White Serving Plates-Bowls:

These serving pieces, matching your basic white dishes, will give unity to your table/buffet dinners.

1 Holiday Serving Platter:

A beautiful platter makes a main dish especially appetizing. Select a special design to freshen up the table for holiday occasions; that also works well with your dinnerware. Don't underestimate their importance (and how special it is for someone to give it).

4 Pair of Serving Utensils:

These are the unsung heroes at the table. There's nothing worse than serving great food with mismatched or wrong utensils. It's like wearing old sneakers with a pretty dress!


Table linens bring together the various elements of your table. They dress it up and set the tone for the meal, from a formal dinner to an afternoon lunch.

1 Classic White Table Cloth
2-3 Runners, consider different colors and patterns
8-12 Napkins; set of formal white linen napkins & set of basic everyday patterned.

Make sure colors-patterns go with all your dinnerware, so you can mix and match!


Don't forget the importance of having a pretty and functional cocktail hour to welcome your guests. Instead of obsessing about registering for all different types of barware glasses, ask for:

8-12 Double Old-Fashioned used as basic glasses for serving liquor straight up, as well as mixed drinks. Also ideal for soda and water.
8-12 Champagne Flutes
1 Ice Bucket with Scoop-Tong; set the tone!


Register for accessories such as candlesticks and vases in a range of shapes an sizes to accommodate different types of displays:

Candlesticks should work with your china (don't get too fancy or you won't use them)

Hurricane lamps

Vases should be decorative, modern looking, especially in white and glass

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