The Homemakers

Registry specialists Katy Winzler, Emily Anderson, and Jennifer Hill help couples make a list and check it twice.

Wedding Registry Experts

photograph by jj miller

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes equipping your home with every gadget you’ve ever dreamed of. Help is on the way: Katy Winzler, manager of Didriks, Emily Anderson, manager of Abodeon, and Jennifer Hill, co-owner of KitchenWares by Blackstones are skilled at helping soon-to-wed pairs navigate the often-daunting task of creating a registry, whether they’re outfitting a room from scratch or just upgrading the space they already live in. “Registering isn’t just about receiving gifts,” Anderson says. “It’s for guests to show their love and support. I try to remind couples about the community aspect of a wedding.” Adds Hill, “It’s all about the energy and excitement and planning the next stage of their lives, and it’s awesome.”

When should couples start registering?

E.A. Based on most people being engaged for about a year, I would say immediately to up to four months before the wedding. But I think the sooner the better. 

K.W. A lot of people aren’t sure of what to register for and what they need. If you have more time, you won’t end up with things you have no use for, whereas you might if you’re rushed. 

What’s the typical process? 

J.H. Initially, we interview brides and grooms to find out what their needs are. We have a checklist we go through with them to assess what they’re looking for. If you make cookies, you’re going to need a rolling pin. From there, most people are looking for input and advice.

E.A. We have a conversation to get a sense of their aesthetic and what each of them is excited about. 

K.W. I get couples who come in and they’re like, “We want this glass, these, and these, and that’s it.” And then I have others who say, “What do we want? What do other people do? What should we get?” I tell them to register for whatever they like and we can adjust from there.

How many stores do you suggest registering at? 

E.A. We recommend three. 

J.H. I would say at least two or three. It depends on their age and their needs.

If a couple registers at a local boutique, do you recommend they register at a national retailer, too?

J.H. At KitchenWares by Blackstones, we specialize in the kitchen and bar. If they need to set up a whole household—bedroom, bathroom, right down to the tabletop—there aren’t as many small specialty retail ers that cater to all of those different aspects. 

Should people register for items across a wide price range?

K.W. It’s best to have several low-ticket items and several high-ticket items. Sometimes bridesmaids want to chip in on something together.

E.A. You want to make sure that you have a range so that guests can be excited about what they give you. 

How does the list change if a pair have been living together for years?

E.A. A lot of times it becomes upgrades, so you’re choosing the things that you’ve always wanted, but maybe couldn’t afford or couldn’t justify. 

K.W. There are a lot of couples who come in and just register for their china or better-quality dishes. At that point, they know what they want.

Any tips for brides- and grooms-to-be who are stressed out about registering? 

K.W. I tell most couples to get what they like. A lot of people are too hung up on what they should have. If you’re not going to use a bread plate, don’t get a bread plate. If you don’t entertain a lot, don’t register for 12 plates. People also get nervous about asking for too much, but having a large list doesn’t make you look bad. It’s just you saying, “These are the things we need.” 

Do friends and family members come to registry appointments? 

J.H. I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s going to be a stressful situation— you don’t want to be even more stressed out because of the mother-in-law who wants you to do it her way. 

K.W. Sometimes we have mothers who come in and scope out the scene first. 

What’s your favorite part about working with couples?

K.W. I generally suggest that we put table settings together. So we’ll clear off a table and set everything up, and they love it or they hate it. That’s the fun part, when they see it all together.

E.A. My favorite part is helping them have a successful experience. I enjoy seeing their excitement and happiness. 

Abodeon, 1731 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-497-0137, abodeon.com; Didriks, 190 Concord Ave., Cambridge, 617-354-5700; 2284 Washington St., Newton Lower Falls, 617-467-4847; didriks.com; KitchenWares by Blackstones, 215 Newbury St., Boston, 857-366-4237, kitchenwaresboston.com.

TIPS

For the consummate entertainer, five must-have items from Katy Winzler, Jennifer Hill, and Emily Anderson.

Fondue Set

It implies a fun, friendly atmosphere and happy times to come. —E.A.

Wine rack

For couples who love to entertain, this offers practical, attractive storage, as well as a way to showcase their best vintages. —E.A. 

Wooden salad bowl

They go with every genre of home décor and are lovely used on the table or set out as a decoration. —K.W. 

Glass hurricane

A romantic candle burning in a beautiful hurricane is a great accent. —K.W. 

Dutch Oven

A Le Creuset or Staub, at least 5 to 7 quarts. They are among the finest pieces of cookware available, and should last a lifetime. Bonus: When not being used for cooking, roasting, braising, or baking, they can also serve as beverage and wine buckets, or even punch bowls. —J.H.

Cake plate

At least one day out of the year you’ll be having cake. A nice plate and proper servers will make that day and that cake extra special. —K.W.

For additional tips from the pros, check out more advice from Wedding Experts.

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