Gift Registry
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The 14 Wedding Registry Must-Haves

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Halley Ganges/BRIDES

Don't go crazy with that registry gun and end up with way too many versions of a chip-and-dip set. BRIDES' editors pare it down to the basics. (Whatever else you register for is just gravy—hello, flat-screen TV!)

1. Dinnerware A casual set of plates and bowls will definitely get more use than fancy china, so pick a style you love and wouldn't mind seeing every day, whether for informal dinners with friends or just the two of you.
Tip: Choose a neutral color or pattern that won't clash with changing tastes and can be accented with fun colors.

2. Glassware A set of standard glasses is a staple of day-to-day dining, so register for ones that are sturdy but also won't break your heart should they meet their demise.
Tip: Break a glass? It's okay to mix and match.

3. Flatware No table setting is complete without the eating utensils. (Duh.)
Tip: Make it easy on yourself—register for something dishwasher-safe. Silver will tarnish if not used on a regular basis, so also keep that in mind.

4. Mixing bowls Great for prepping ingredients for your first meals as a married couple.
Tip: Get a supercute one, and it can double as a serving bowl.

5. Mixer The horsepower of a mixer will save you a lot of time when it comes to baking and cooking.
Tip: An old-fashioned stand mixer is more expensive than a hand mixer, but it's stronger (especially good for making dough) and a great way to decorate your kitchen.

6. Cookware Whether you're an experienced chef or a beginner, good basic cookware is a must. Look for a set that includes basics like a saute or fry pan, a stockpot (for boiling pasta), and a saucepan.
Tip: For optimum fashion and function, an enameled cast-iron pot (which usually comes in fun colors) is great for stews and sauces.

7. Bakeware A baking sheet (for cookies), a roasting pan with a rack (for meats), and a casserole (usually glass) are oven essentials.
Tip: Go for something nonstick; this will make it easier for you to clean up.

8. Toaster oven Bigger than a toaster but infinitely more useful. You can reheat leftovers (like pizza) without their going limp, cook small batches of cookies, and even, uh, toast bread.
Tip: Choose a stylish finish or color to match your kitchen decor or appliances.

9. Blender For making frozen drinks, smoothies, prepping ingredients, or pureeing soups—this appliance has more uses than you can shake a whisk at.
Tip: Get it! Did we mention frozen drinks?

10. Wineglasses Nothing is more grown-up than serving wine in wineglasses instead of beer mugs. Don't go fancy with these (see the glassware entry, above).
Tip: Wash wineglasses by hand to avoid dishwasher residue that can affect the taste of your next Bordeaux.

11. Cutlery Good-quality knives tend to be a bit pricey, but with the right care, they should last you forever. Be sure to pick up the basics: a paring knife, a serrated knife, and a chef's knife.
Tip: Splurge for the wooden chop block to store your knives in. There's less of a chance they'll get bent in the drawer or lose their sharp edges (and it's safer for you, too).

12. Serving platter As soon as you wed, friends and family will be rushing over to see your new home. Be prepared with a nice serving tray to make entertaining easier (and elegant).
Tip: Don't let uncooked meats make contact with your serving platter—that's a food-safety no-no.

13. Luggage Most people won't splurge on good luggage and don't think about it for the registry, but it's probably the first thing a new husband and wife will use—on their honeymoon. Woo-hoo!
Tip: You'll come back home with more than you left with, so pack a foldable duffle bag inside to put gifts in on the return trip.

14. Bedding Your first year of wedded bliss will include time between the sheets, so overlooking this category would just be a shame.
Tip: A higher thread count will cost extra but feels oh-so luxurious.

—Taryn Berkowitz, BRIDES magazine

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10 White Hot Wedding Trends


  • Photo by Adrienne Page

    October is the new "it" month for weddings. The weather is cooler, prices for venues begin to dip, and bright fall foliage provides gorgeous photo ops galore. It's estimated that 31,050 couples were married this Sunday, 10/10/10. That's 10 times more than the typical Sunday! In honor of October's rise to fame, the editors of BRIDES offer up the top 10 trends for weddings that will take you from 10/10/10 and beyond.—Jackie Lebowitz, BRIDES magazine

    Engagement
    Chic, fashion shoots aren't just for the pages of magazines anymore. Stylish couples are having fun propping and dressing up for professional engagement photos that incorporate their fashion style, quirky personalities, hobbies, and favorite activities. It's also a great way to try out a photographer to see if you like his shooting style.


  • Photo by Halley Ganges

    Registry
    Canapé or hors d'oeuvre plates are all the rage. Usually used for small bites, they're a great opportunity to register for tabletop that's bold and maybe a little out there (compared to your formal dinnerware). They are great for casual gatherings and cocktail parties.


  • Photo by Amira Mor

    Fitness
    Is your daily appointment with the treadmill making you feel like a hamster? We hear you. A fun—yes, you heard us—way of keeping that wedding-worthy shape without dreading a trip to the gym is to enroll in a belly-dancing or Zumba class. Not only will the instructor keep you focused and motivated, but once you've mastered the moves, you can even practice at home.


  • Photo by Thomas Iannaconne

    Fashion
    From 3-D glasses to 3-D dresses, the more in your face, the better. This year, it's about big dresses that really pop. Our favorite pattern? Giant floral appliqué skirts.


  • Photo by Matt Lever for Redken

    Hair
    You can thank the TV show Mad Men for an increased interest in the structured dresses and polished tresses of '60s style. The hottest hairstyle trend right now is the updo. From the pony and the knot to the twist and the bun, and whether it's structured and formal or loose and flirty, the updo is back!


  • Photo by Condé Nast Digital Studio

    Makeup
    Any makeup artist will tell you that foundation really is the key to a flawless complexion. After that, keep it simple. Layer on bright red lips or a bit of bronzer on top and that's all you need.


  • Photo Courtesy of Kirk Kara

    Jewelry
    For engagement rings, floral designs with colored gemstones are huge right now, as are black diamonds. On the wedding-band front, rose gold, a warm metal that works on all skin tones, is heating up as an alternative to platinum and gold.


  • Photo Courtesy of A Bryan Photo

    Reception
    More brides and grooms are totally obsessed with props and games at their receptions. Whether it's fake mustaches to wear in the photo booth, a bangle bar where guests can choose their own favors to wear, or croquet and horseshoes, it's all about having fun and not being stuffy. A wedding reception is just one huge party, after all!


  • Photo Courtesy of Rosanna

    Dessert
    Cupcakes continue their dessert dominance. Whether they're quarter-size morsels from Baked by Melissa or giant-cupcake cakes from Crumbs that can feed an entire table, they're a fun way to end any meal.


  • Photo Courtesy of Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

    Travel
    There's one way to make the honeymoon last—take two of them! Short weekend trips close to home to places like Newport, Rhode Island, and Miami (for East Coast dwellers) or Scottsdale, Arizona, and San Francisco (for the West Coasters) is the perfect warm-up or "mini-moon" before the blowout honeymoon.

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5 Tips on Combining Your Stuff With His Under One Wedded Roof

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Photo by Getty Images

The first challenge of a newly married couple is combining 20-plus years of accumulated stuff, times two, into one space—and then finding a home for all the wedding presents. Check out BRIDES magazine's tips for making room before you find out there isn't space for that carnival-style standing popcorn maker you registered for:

First, you purge.
•Each of you should edit your own stuff alone.
•"Trash anything broken, and donate clothes or appliances you haven't used in the past year," suggests Jennifer Ford Berry, author of Organize Now!
•Toss mementos from previous relationships. "You don't want to bring old baggage into a new beginning," explains Diane Albright, an organizing expert in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Second, choose your non-negotiables.
•You should each make a list of up to three things you absolutely can't live without. The lists will prevent arguments and help you recognize when to compromise.

Next, discuss decor.
•Decide on your home's style and color scheme.
•Give each room a purpose. Be specific, advises Berry: "Rather than just calling a room 'the den,' decide that it's for watching TV and reading and that its purpose is comfort." This will help you decide what to keep by making sure it suits the room's intended use. You'll be surprised at how many items are just hogging space.

Then, make a merge list.
•Start with furniture. Limit multiples of big items like sofas and kitchen tables to one keeper—and make sure it fits your new pad before giving the other away. (If you need help, try the room-planner tools at ikea.com.)
•Use a blank bridal-registry list (you can find one at brides.com. Check off items you already have in good condition, and decide which to keep if there are doubles.
•Avoid the "we need a spare" mentality, unless you have lots of space.

Finally, register!
•Once you've given away the mismatched juice glasses, you'll see there are things you actually should register for, even if your cupboard seems full. If you plan ahead, your married life will have a clean start—and there will be plenty of space to stash all that glorious loot.

—Jennifer Goldstein and Marina Khidekel, BRIDES magazine

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An Easy, Painless Way to Write Thank-You Notes

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Photo: Andrew McCaul/BRIDES

Writer's block? Consider these tips and sample notes when thanking your guests for their gifts—even if you're not quite sure what some of them are!

Someone gave you money
Don't mention the amount, but do explain how you'll use the cash.

Dear Aunt Melissa and Uncle Marc,
Chris and I were thrilled with your generous and thoughtful gift. You've brought us one step closer to our dream house. Looking forward to seeing you again when we're back home for the holidays!
Love,
Emily

You don't know the person who gave you the gift
Mention that you're happy about meeting her at the wedding.

Dear Mrs. Bergen,
Thank you for the gorgeous crystal bowl. It will look absolutely perfect on the coffee table in our apartment. My mother has always spoken so fondly of you—Chris and I look forward to finally meeting you at the wedding. (I'll be the woman in white!)
Sincerely,
Emily

You don't know what the gift is
Focus on the giver's kindness rather than the mystery.

Dear Jane and Tom,
Chris and I want to thank you for the wonderful wedding gift. You are such a creative, caring couple, and we feel lucky to count you as friends.
Best,
Emily

It's a group gift
Send individual thank-you's, but give a shout-out to the group as well.

Dear Lisa,
Thank you for the gas grill. It's so snazzy and high-tech—just what we'd been wanting. We're lucky to have friends who know us so well. You'll have to come by for some of Chris's famous ribs soon!
Warmly,
Emily

You already have one (or already exchanged it)
Don't acknowledge the situation or say how you'll use it; talk about the gift instead.

Dear Derek,
Chris and I want to thank you for the vintage cocktail shaker. The art-deco design is so sleek and handsome—you are clearly a man with good taste! We're so happy you were able to make it to the wedding.
Sincerely,
Emily

You hate it but can't return it
Don't be a phony-baloney and rave about the gift, but do say something positive.

Dear Grandma,
Thank you so much for the fish platter. The color reminds me of the china we used for family dinners at your house, and I'm delighted to see it again! We're thrilled that you'll be at our wedding, and at having the entire Goodman family together.
Love,
Emily

— Lexi Dwyer, BRIDES magazine

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