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.
Here’s my TOP TEN LIST for your kitchen registry:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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 https://www.zimmermanevents.com.
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.
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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: https://www.zimmermanevents.com/bbb-waitlist-landing