Essentials to Put on Your Wedding Registry

Get started building your registry with our a super-comprehensive checklist of list registry essentials, straight from our team of experts, that will cover ALL of your needs and help you build the newlywed home of your dreams.

By Emily Forrest

wedding registry gift essentials including a blue Le Creuseut dutch oven, measuring spoons, a yellow citrus juice, and a turquoise citrus juicer
Photo by Zola

While some couples find the process of putting together a wedding registry one of the most enjoyable parts of wedding planning (picking out stuff!), some couples feel overwhelmed by the number of choices they must make. You want a unique wedding registry but you also want those must-have wedding registry items.

Where do you even start when it comes to choosing the items that will surround you throughout your years as a married couple? Luckily, Zola has not only made the registry process easy and simple for every type of couple—those just starting out in life, and those who have more established homes—but we know exactly what kinds of gifts, and how many of each, you should put on your registry. Use this guide as a wedding registry checklist to direct your wedding guests to the household items you really want as you step into your lives as newlyweds.

What to Put on Your Wedding Registry: The Basics

Registries are evolving with the times, and today’s modern couple needs different things from their wedding registry than previous generations. At Zola, we find that most couples like to build registries that combine the following mixture:

  • Physical gifts, like a KitchenAid stand mixer or a set of china, for those who like to give more traditional wedding gifts.
  • Experiences, like a cooking class or an Airbnb gift card, for those want to give gifts to support your lifestyle and newlywed adventures.
  • Cash funds to use on your honeymoon or for a big investment like a home renovation, for those who want to contribute to your long-term future.

When it comes to the physical gifts that you should put on your registry, think about the different rooms in your home. You could probably use (or upgrade) items for your kitchen, your dining area, your living room, and your bed and bathroom. Straight from our team of experts, we’ve put together a checklist of list registry essentials below that will cover allllll of your needs and help you build the newlywed home of your dreams. For an up-to-date list of our top picks, check out our article on Wedding Registry Ideas which lists our favorite specific registry items by room and price.

Want to start shopping for your registry right now? Shop our essential picks for your registry:

Expert Wedding Registry Tips

No one has more knowledge about what you should put on your registry than Zola’s registry experts. To help you make the best choices, here are some pointers on three popular registry categories—cookware, dinnerware, and knives—that will help explain the different terminology and options you’ll encounter when deciding which products to add to your registry.


Cookware Material: The decision between cookware materials is largely up to you and your preference for how your pots and pans look and perform. Zola carries a range of materials, from fashionable copper to stainless steel to hard anodized aluminum, which resists the metal's natural oxidation to provide a non-stick and scratch-resistant surface. While the professionals prefer stainless steel for its durability, ceramic is also a popular option because it is naturally non-stick, requires a lower heat, and heats up faster.

Pro Tip: If you choose ceramic, remember to use wood utensils to avoid scratching the ceramic finish. Copper cookware will turn dark after any use, but you can clean it regularly with materials you already have at home: vinegar, salt, and/or lemon juice.

Ply: The word “ply” refers to the number of layers of metal that make up the cookware. Tri-ply (or 3-ply) is usually a combination of stainless steel, aluminum, and sometimes copper to yield a quick and even heat distribution and conductivity. Most people prefer 3-ply or 5-ply cookware.

Cookware Sets: Cookware sets are groups of matching pots and pans that are sold together in one convenient bundle of essentials. They’re a great way to either get started or to upgrade all your cookware at once. Many brands offer nested sets, which make purchasing an all-inclusive set more space-efficient. Add in additional specialty items, like a wok or a paella pan, on top of your cookware set.

Accessories: Don't forget to register for cooking utensils and oven mitts. Zola also carries all types of baking pans and tins for your dessert needs.


Dinnerware Material: Depending on your preference and affinity for dinner parties, Zola offers a range of dinnerware materials. Stoneware is great for everyday use. Porcelain and bone china are thinner and more delicate, but the material itself is stronger than stoneware, making porcelain and china durable enough to last for many generations.

Place Setting Sets: We recommend buying 4- or 5-piece dinnerware sets that include an entire place setting for one person (such as a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, and mug), so you can purchase all the coordinating essentials with one click. For value-oriented couples, look for expanded sets of 16-pieces, which include full place settings for four people. We recommend that you register for 12-16 place settings.

Formal vs. Casual: Traditionally, couples used to register for both fancy china as well as casual, everyday plates. This decision is totally up to you and your style of entertaining. Currently, many couples register for a set of everyday dinnerware that’s somewhere in between and then purchase additional dishes, like elegant salad plates, that can be mixed and matched to dress up the table for special occasions.

Accessories: Once you have chosen your dinnerware, don't forget to add coordinating flatware, drinkware, table linens, and serveware to your registry.


Urban Legends: Don't believe the superstition! It's an old wives' tale that gifting knives is bad luck, but knives are actually a highly coveted item that couples love to register for (and really hope that they receive).

Forged vs. Stamped: Forged knives are shaped from a single bar of steel and tempered, creating stronger steel that will last a lifetime with proper care. It can be slightly pricier than a stamped knife, but well worth the investment if you're looking for longer-lasting quality. Stamped knives are perfect for your first knife set.

Full Tang vs. Half Tang: A full tang means that the metal blade is one solid piece, as opposed to half tang where the width narrows around the handle. Full tang knives are stronger and last longer, and also have better weight and balance, but also cost slightly more.

Knife Sets vs. Open Stock: Knife sets are a great way to upgrade your knives to a group of beautifully matching essentials, and often come in a knife block which offers easy, safe storage. Many sets also include a group of steak knives, which are much trendier these days to set at the table (instead of butter knives).

Accessories: Don't forget to also register for related tools such as a knife sharpener and quality cutting boards.

What to Add: Wedding Registry Essentials

This is it: the definitive checklist for what to add to your wedding registry. Whether you’re building your first adult home, combining possessions with your partner, or upgrading your well-established space, this list of registry essentials will have you covered (you know, for life).

Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen Appliance Essentials

Dining Essentials

Drinkware Essentials

Serveware Essentials

Bakeware Essentials

Cleaning & Organizing Essentials

Bedding Essentials

Bath Essentials



  • Could include: gift cards to airlines, cruises, hotels, home rentals, car services, and activities

Food & Wine

  • Could include: wine, cheese, and meal kit subscriptions, gift boxes, and restaurant gift cards


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