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Bridal registry is an important part of the wedding process. Not only does it ensure you receive the gifts you want, it makes it much easier for those who will be buying the gift.

Every giver wants to give a wedding couple a truly memorable and welcomed gift. Today, brides can register at a variety of different stores. In addition to major department and speciality stores, it is also possible to register at more and more discount department stores.

Wherever you register, knowing what you want before going to the store helps make the registry process much easier. Many couples become confused when faced with the wide array of possibilities and choices. Here are some guidelines to help you decide on what type of gifts you want to receive. Let’s begin with the dinnerware.


First decide what type of dishes you want. Many brides select a formal pattern, usually china, as well as an everyday set of dishes, usually stoneware or earthenware.

  • China comes in two types — bone and porcelain. While both types of china are delicate in appearance, they are extremely durable and chip-resistant. Good quality china has a glass-like texture and is actually translucent.
  • Most china, except those with metal trims, is dishwasher safe, although hand washing is preferable. They are not microwave safe, however. China should always be stored with paper between the individual pieces to prevent scratching.
  • For everyday dining, many brides select stoneware. Earthenware is another popular choice for casual dining. It is often glazed and decorated in bright colors for a pottery look. While not as strong as stoneware, it is still very durable and less expensive than stoneware or china.
  • Dinnerware is typically sold in five-piece place settings. Fine china usually includes a dinner plate, dessert/salad plate, bread and butter plate, cup and saucer. In stoneware sets a soup/cereal bowl is usually substituted for the bread and butter plate and a mug replaces the cup and saucer.
  • Most brides register for 12 place settings of fine china and between eight and 12 settings of stoneware. Don’t forget to include the accessory pieces, such as butter dishes, salt and pepper shakers, sugar bowls and other serving pieces. These pieces will help complete your look whether you are setting a formal or casual table.


There are two basic types of glassware for your table — crystal and glassware. The difference between glass and crystal is that crystal contains a certain percent-age of lead, while glass does not. The lead adds weight, clarity and resilience to the glass, as well as a higher cost.

  • Before selecting your crystal pattern hold the stemware. Make sure it is comfortable to hold and use.
  • If you are selecting cut crystal, make sure the cuts are sharp and precise. Finally, crystal should be clear and sparkling, with smooth edges and a uniform shape. Fine crystal should have a definite ring when the rim is tapped.
  • Your glassware selections will fall into two categories: stemware and barware. Stemware includes wine glasses, water goblets, champagne flutes, sherry and liqueur glasses and brandy snifters.
  • Barware refers to crystal or glassware without stems that is used for everyday beverages or cocktails. Most barware includes old-fashioned glasses, highball glasses, juice glasses and Pilsners or beer mugs. A bare basic setting of crystal should include one tumbler or highball glass, a tall glass, a champagne flute and a wineglass.
  • Many couples today are registering for red and white wine glasses. (The red wine glass is fuller and rounder, the white wine glass is more narrow and tapered.)


The final component in selecting your table registry items is the flatware — your knives, forks, spoons and serving utensils. Flatware generally comes in three types — sterling silver, silverplated and stainless steel.

  • Sterling is the most expensive type of flatware, but also the most durable and valuable. A good set of sterling flatware will become a family heirloom for generations to come. Because federal standards imposed on sterling silver are very stringent, it holds its value well.
  • Flatware pieces are considered sterling only if they are 925 parts pure silver. The piece should be stamped “sterling.”
  • With regular use, it is surprisingly easy to maintain. Many people have visions of spending hours polishing the silver. Daily use helps maintain sterling’s luster and shine. Sterling used everyday only needs a light cleaning two or three times a year. Make sure to rotate the pieces to ensure even wear.
  • If you are going to register for sterling silver flatware you should also register for a silver chest to help prevent tarnishing and protect the silver.
  • Silverplate flatware is a metal alloy base coated with a thin layer of 100 percent silver through electroplating. Although silverplate feels different in your hand than sterling, it is still a perfect complement for fine china and will usually last as long as silver.
  • For everyday use, stainless steel is a good choice. It will not tarnish or wear out and it needs no special care. The best quality stainless is 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel.
  • You should register for the same number of flatware place settings as you have in china.
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