December 2018

Kitchen equipment for your registry

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Before I owned my own wedding business, I was a manager and buyer for a kitchen store. One of my main responsibilities was helping couples register for their wedding gifts.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when registering for your kitchen. There are countless options. Everything seems to come in every shape, size, and color. The bride-to-be would often say to me, “I don’t even know where to start.”

That’s when I took the lead. I would walk through the store and show them items they needed. My belief then was the same as now:  It’s all about having a few quality items. I would almost always begin by saying to the couple, “When you register for your kitchen, you have two options: You can go for quality or you can go for quantity.”

I once had a lady come into the store and she bought an onion chopper, an avocado slicer, a garlic press, a tomato knife (only to be used on soft skin foods like tomatoes), and a lime juicer. Clearly she was preparing to make guacamole. I remember ringing her up at the cash register and thinking to myself, “for the money she’s spending on all these items, she could purchase one really good knife.”

I remember as she walked out of the store with her bag of gadgets thinking, “it sure would take a lot less time to clean, put away, and store one knife rather than all those gadgets.”

After I would share that story with the couple, they had a better sense of what their focus should be. I would continue by walking them through the store and showing them the quality items. The items that they actually need. I always made it a point to say to them, “Some of these items, if you take care of them, will last you a lifetime.”

I just celebrated my 13th wedding anniversary and the things I use in the kitchen everyday are the same items I registered for over 13 years ago. The key is to choose timeless, simple, high-quality products.Couple in the kitchen

Here’s my TOP TEN LIST for your kitchen registry:  

1. Cookware

A really high quality cookware set for everyday cooking. I personally use All-Clad cookware and I love it. It’s beautiful, it cleans up really well, and it lasts a lifetime. I used to tell couples, “Yes, it’s an investment, but would you rather buy one set one time or buy a new cookware set every seven years?”  I always suggested registering for both a set and each piece individually. Most of the time, the couple would at least receive one or two pieces. They could always add to the collection overtime. 

2. Dutch Oven

One high quality large dutch oven for preparing soups, chili, roasting meats, etc . I personally use a Le Creuset dutch oven and it just gets better with time. I personally recommend a neutral color so you don’t ever get tired of it. A Le Creuset dutch oven is an investment and you certainly don’t want to not use it because you no longer like the bright color you once chose. Mine is white. It may not be the most exciting color, but it goes with everything.

White dishes

3. Dishes and Glassware

Speaking of white, food is most appealing when served on a white background. This is why when you go to a nice restaurant, almost always, your meal is going to be served on a white plate. I suggest really simple, timeless, everyday white dishes and serving platters. (I believe the same with glassware, just keep it simple. You’ll find plain highball and old-fashioned glasses in my cabinets.)

4. Non-stick Pans

It’s also important to have one or two non-stick pans. If you enjoy eggs for breakfast, non-stick is the easiest clean up you’ll find. I have one large non-stick pan and one small one in my kitchen.

5. Bowls

I love when I can find something that serves more than one purpose. This saves so much space in the kitchen and for me, that’s a huge win! I use at least one item from this glass pyrex set (with lids!) every single day. From mixing bowls to casserole dishes to storing leftovers (who needs tupperware?), this really is so much value in one set.

6. Utensils

A utensil crock filled with a variety of utensils. I don’t like to have many items that live on my kitchen counter. I just can’t handle the clutter. There are, however, two items I make an exception for and allow to hold permanent residence on my countertop. One being my utensil crock (the other is #7 on this list). I’ve never understood why anyone stores their utensils in a drawer. When I need a utensil in the kitchen, the last thing I want to do is rummage through a drawer in an attempt to find it. I like to be able to cook at my stove and see all my available utensils right beside it. I’ve had this large white crock for over 13 years and it’s perfect. I really like that it’s larger than your standard crock allowing room so the utensils don’t get tangled together. Mine is filled with a variety of utensils I use often. I use olive wood spoons, stainless steel utensils (solid turner, slotted turner, solid spoon, slotted spoon), and I love oxo for my whisk, tongs, and non-stick turner.

7. Knives

One really good, high-quality, santoku knife. If you can only register or purchase one knife, this is the one. I’ve had the J.A. Henckels Pro Santoku knife since I first registered for it over a decade ago and I still use it today. I also strongly recommend a knife block (the one other thing I allow on my countertops.

Cutting board

8. Cutting Boards

Epicurean cutting boards. I use cutting boards all the time. I’ve had these for over 13 years and they are as good today as they were then. They are lightweight, stain resistant, and dishwasher safe. I recommend registering for two or three different sizes.

9. Dish Towels

Simple, white flour sack towels. I probably own 30 of these. They dry everything so quickly from dishes to a spill on the floor. They wash up beautifully and last forever. I can’t recommend them enough.

10. Sheet Pans

The most used item in my kitchen without a doubt is a sheet pan. I use sheet pans and half sheet pans all the time. They are great for roasting vegetables, baking bread, cookies, etc. I highly recommend this set because it includes another one of my all-time favorite kitchen items, the silicone liner. They make baking so easy! (If you love baking, they make a great 6-piece starter set and an entire bakeware set in this same line.)

Thirteen years later and I’m still using every item I registered for on this list. It can be tempting to want all the fun, colorful gadgets, but your future self will thank you if you select simple, neutral, high-quality products that will last you a lifetime.

Help finance your honeymoon with a Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

About Jessica Zimmerman

Voted Top Wedding Planner by Southern Living Magazine, Jessica Zimmerman has mastered the art of designing and producing unforgettable weddings. She’s worked with celebrity clients and her designs have been featured in major media publications including People magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, Country Living, and more. Visit her site at

In an industry full of beauty and flowers, Jessica has been described by both colleagues and students as the “missing component” with her business expertise. As she often says, “It’s one thing to make a pretty floral arrangement, it’s a whole other thing to make money doing it.”

In a field that is often tight-lipped, Jessica’s tell-all, tough-love approach has made her a sought-after speaker for the industry’s top events.

Born and raised in Arkansas, she’s a proud wife and mama to a 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old twin boys. Her greatest passion is designing a life she loves to live while encouraging other businesswomen to do the same.  

Want to hear more from Jessica? You can join her newsletter list here:

Interested in learning more from Jessica?  Her highly sought-after course, The Business Behind the Blooms, opens enrollment just once a year. You can learn more and get on the waitlist here:

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Let your photographer dp his jpb

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

10 Tips for Great Photos from a Wedding Photographer

By the time you walk down the aisle, you have spent countless hours planning your perfect day. You’ve debated all the all the details, hemmed and hawed over flowers and dresses and whittled down a guest list to include the people most important to you.  These decisions will all be immortalized in the photos of you and your loved one.

After all that time planning, you want to make sure your pictures reflect just how special the day is. Unfortunately, nerves can take over, brides hide behind bouquets, grinning uncles sneak into first kiss pictures, flower girls pick their noses…we’ve seen it all.

Ten Invaluable Tips From A Wedding Photographer

Here are ten tips from our veteran wedding photographers on how you can help ensure your wedding pictures are as beautiful as the day is.

1.      Let’s see that face.

Hey brides, when walking down the aisle, keep your bouquet in front of your belly button. Many brides get nervous and don’t notice their bouquet rising. It can make it look like you are trying to hide behind it. Also, if someone is walking you down the aisle, make sure you pause for a few moments to look at each other and smile.

 2.      Stand up straight.

During the ceremony, be mindful of your posture. Keep your chin up and a smile on your face. Even if you are nervous, keep smiling so it doesn’t show in your photos.

3.   Don’t hold back those emotions.

The goal of the photographer is to get emotion-filled candids of your special day. Concentrate on the person that you are marrying and let everything else fall away. A good photographer will be on the lookout for those little candid moments that will take your breath away for years to come. The more outgoing or emotional you are, the better the photos will be. If you are reserved and don’t show emotions, it will reflect in your photos.

Tips from your wedding photographer

4.   Let’s be seated.

Having a chair for each person gives the photographer the best line of sight in all directions. If there are multiple people standing, they can be a distraction to the photographer getting you that incredible shot.

5.   Don’t stifle creativity.

It’s fine to have a list of shots that you would like to get on camera, but remember, your photographers are the professionals. They are the ones that have been doing this for years and have a system of getting great photos for you. Talk through their process beforehand to ensure you two are on the same page. If you want them to stick strictly to your requests, you may be limiting their creativity and missing out on great shots you hadn’t thought of. A good photographer will always give you the option to fulfill requests after he/she has everything they need to round out your day photographically.

6.   Get outta the way, Father Joe!

Make sure the officiate steps out of the kiss photo. Your first kiss is epic at the end of your ceremony, and one of the most amazing photos of your day. Please make sure your officiate knows to get out of the way quickly after you have been pronounced. Then your photographer can get a great shot of this memorable moment without someone standing right behind or in the middle of you.

7.   Herd those cats.

Assembling a hodgepodge of different family members and friends for group shots can be one of the most challenging parts of the day. Have a plan and communicate that clearly to everyone involved. If family members need to stick around for pictures after the ceremony, let them know ahead of time, or else you will waste 10 minutes crowbarring Uncle Roger away from the cocktail bar.  A good photographer must be polite but also firm to get the photos they need, so trust us. If we get a little “firm” it is because we are there to capture your big day.

8.   Trust the pro.

The photographer you hired to shoot your wedding knows how, when, and where to get the best shots. Although most of your guests will likely have a camera on their phone, the best pics will come from the pro. Amateurs will take multiple photos while a professional photographer will know where the best shots are, when to get them, and what light they need to achieve the desired photo. If your guests are all holding up their cell phones/ipads/selfie sticks then these are likely to be a distraction in your photos.

9.   Trust the pro (Part Two).

Your photographer also brings with him or her the high-tech camera equipment to get the best shot. You may have guests with fancy cameras, but again,  you might have a great set of pots and pans at home… but does that mean everyone can cook? Your professionals know what they are doing… trust them.

10. This is the most important one RELAX AND HAVE A GREAT TIME.

Life is short, and this is a milestone moment. This is one of the most special days of your life. You and your guests should be enjoying the day stress free. Let the people you paid worry about everything else. This is your day.

Keep these ten tips in mind, and your photos will be a source of laughter, joy, smiles and cherished memories for years to come.
Enjoy your day for the best photos

Help finance your honeymoon and other wedding expenses with a Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

Bio: Florida Gulf Beach Weddings provides beautiful and affordable Florida Destination Beach Wedding Packages for all beach locations in Pinellas County, Sarasota County, Manatee County and Tampa Bay. Choosing the right company can be time-consuming and exhausting, especially when you are booking online or 100’s of miles away.  Let us take care of all the stressful organizing, so you can really enjoy your big day!

Your team of Wedding Professionals can help with all of your wedding plans:  Intimate Elopement, Vow-Renewal, Small Family Wedding or Second Marriage, Large Formal Weddings & Commitment  Ceremonies.

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