By: Elisheva Blumberg, Lubicom Staff
One, two, three, four… uh-oh. I was having six people for Shabbat lunch — and had only four clean dinner plates left.
“Mind if we just use plastic?” I smiled to one of my guests, who was helping me set the table.
“Go right ahead,” she said.
Then, lowering her voice to a whisper, she said, “Don’t feel bad. When I have guests for seuda shlishit, they usually end up eating on those paint-your-own-pottery plates that my kids bring home from birthday parties.”
The takeaway? You can never have too many place settings.
In other words: if you’re setting up a Jewish home, you’ll need more than just a generic, catchall wedding registry checklist. Whether you’re the bride-to-be, a family member, or a helpful friend, keep these tips at the top of your mind when creating a registry or shopping for newly-minted household.
You’ll thank us later.
Stock up for Shabbat
My first set of formal china was bought for 75% off at Fortunoff’s going-out-of-business sale. Score one for frugality, right?
At the time, a formal set of dinnerware for 8 seemed more than ample. Flash forward years — and many broken dishes — later, and I’m out of luck: there’s no way to purchase additional settings of my chosen china pattern.
When registering for dinnerware and flatware, remember that a Jewish home revolves around Shabbat and holidays; though experts typically recommend purchasing a set of formal dinnerware for 8, you’ll find you won’t regret having more than that.
If you’re creating your wedding registry, put at least 12 place settings on your wishlist. With a handful of guests, you’ll easily burn through all those dishes within one Shabbat. And when Yom Tov comes around, you’ll be grateful to have the extra clean sets around. The same goes for flatware and drinking glasses.
Oh — and maybe buying china from a store that’s going out of business is not the best idea. If you fall in love with that closeout pattern, be sure to buy twice as many sets as you think you’ll need.
Gizmos & gadgets
Registering for big-ticket appliances can be risky, especially if you don’t have too much experience in the kitchen.
Those universal wedding registry checklists you’ll find online often list every single machine out there — from ice cream makers to waffle irons — but ideally you should only register for items you know you’ll use.
For instance — when it comes to appliances for making challah, everyone seems to have a personal preference. Some swear by a Bosch, while others opt to knead their challah by hand.
When it comes to wedding registries, there is no one size fits all.
Another example: If you or your spouse-to-be is a coffee connoisseur, go ahead and add that Keurig or Le Crueset French press to your wishlist. If you’re not the caffeine-crazed types, leave it off your list.
When it comes to appliances that are pricey, space-hogging, or just plain whimsical, make sure to think hard before putting them on your registry. (I know, I know, that $199 vintage popcorn maker cart seems like an awesome thing to display in your living room, but you’re more than likely going to end up regretting it.)
Some small appliances that are definitely worth acquiring for your new home:
- Food processor
- Hand mixer
- Blender and/or hand blender
- Shabbos urn
- Toaster oven
- Knife sets
Put it away for Passover
After you amass all your new weddings gifts, you might be surprised at how much you don’t end up needing. Seven mixing bowls? Five serving platters? Twelve shot glasses? What was I thinking?
Instead of spending the first month of marriage running around to various stores to return the extras, consider keeping the items for Pesach. Though you may end up relying on the hospitality of the ‘rents for the next few Passovers to come, one day in the eventual future you’ll end up feeling mega thankful for those extra mixing bowls you set aside for Passover.
Some couples opt to create registries at more than one store. If you’re looking to cover all your bases, consider adding a Judaica registry to your list.
Here’s a list of Judaica basics that you’ll use for years to come:
- Challah board/knife/cover
- Kiddush cup
- Washing cup
- Mayim acharonim set
- Havdala set
- Mezuzah cases
- Holiday items such as a menorah, seder plate, honey dish
- Kosher cookbooks
- Tzedakah box
- Shabbat lamps
- Hot plate
If you’re just starting out, filling your household can seem daunting.
But think of these words of wisdom that are usually told to brides and grooms: “A wedding isn’t the end — it’s only the beginning.”
Though in the moment it feels like disaster if the bridesmaids don’t all wear the exact shade of midnight emerald or the macadamia nut cookies never make it out to the dessert table — it surely won’t matter in the long run.
Same goes for wedding registries. The wedding gifts you’ll receive will give you a headstart in your new life, but if you make some wrong choices it’s not the end of the world. You’ll have many years to curate your home and kitchen.
And truth be told: whether you serve your guests on Wedgwood, plastic, or make-your-own-pottery plates, you’ll be doing an awesome job.