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Maybe it’s Time to Re-think the Wedding Registry

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Contemporary weddings are keeping the wedding and related industries thriving. As an event-planner, I don’t see that changing much, but I have observed something very interesting regarding the wedding registry. Younger brides-to-be focus on what’s trendy and expensive while mature brides focus on sustainability. Perhaps the former are building households while the latter are more established. Whatever the case, there is something I believe, and that it is time to re-think the approach to registering.

Why? Well, there is something missing in many black homes: antiques and heirlooms. Fewer and fewer people are valuing (or valuating) those things their mothers and grandmothers cherished like pots and pans, soup tureens, tea sets, carafes and more. There are younger black women who have never ever seen a soup tureen or been served from a carafe or tea service. Some think of those things as old and antiquated. They are probably correct but those items are also potential heirlooms to be passed down through the generations, a point I will return to later.

Re-thinking your wedding gift registry begins with one simple thing: Knowing what you want. Your tastes and hospitality-style should always be a consideration.

Here are some suggestions that can help you:

  • Ask a personal shopper or concierge at your registry store to show you items that can potentially be passed on as heirlooms. There is no shame in asking.
  • You can also bring in an heirloom item and ask for suggestions for more contemporary items that can serve as complements.
  • Take an inventory of what you own and love and what you want or need. For example, if you have modern china, find a few classic pieces that match or are compatible that you can use and add to your collection.
  • Some antique stores will let you add something to a registry.

Here are a few items you can add to your registry or ask close relatives to pass on to you: lace tablecloths, silverware, serve-ware, and candleholders. Disclaimer: When asking for family items, try to be sensitive to possible family friction.

Most elder family members are not only flattered to pass on their ‘good’ items but are honored to do so. If you are fortunate enough to have such a relative, be sure to ask them questions about the gift they are giving you (the origins, a story behind them…).

Re-thinking your wedding registry is less about the gifts and more about passing on a legacy. You are not only choosing things you love and will (hopefully) pass on to your children but you are also passing on a slice of family history.


Anthony Rodell is the co-principal and Chief Architect Officer of Reid Rodell, an event partnership in the greater Washington, D.C. area. For over a decade, Anthony has planned meetings, corporate, gala, and wedding events around the globe. His clients are both well-known and people simply in need of his assistance in organizing and planning events with a unique vision.


He has planned events on six of the 7 continents.


Anthony is also an avid traveler and epicurean, who enjoys eating culinary delights from around the world.


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  1. May 1, 2019 / 7:08 pm

    Applause sent on this one… she made excellent points on the registry process and brought valid reasons.. I just hope more takes heed to her suggestions. Being in the estate business.. it’s horrible to see such valued China wasted or trashed because it’s “old”.. the sentimental value far reaches the dollar value.

  2. L Short
    May 2, 2019 / 1:54 am

    Regretfully we opted not to have a wedding registry. Thought it would imply bringing gift cards etc. Additionally heirlooms weren’t on our radar. Incredibly insightful read! Thank you!

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