Last Call: Building A Worthwhile Wedding Registry

For all kinds of reasons, doing the dishes is even more of a slog these days than it has ever been. But to add insult to injury, I have recently begun pulling items from the dishwasher and finding that nearly all of them have chips. The mugs, the dinner plates, the salad plates, the cereal bowls, the pasta bowls—every last one of them marred seemingly by nothing more than their daily journey from the cabinet to the Quick Wash cycle. The chips range in severity from flecks of worn enamel to entire chunks missing from the rim, and I have my mother's voice in my head as I think about the bacteria that might be sitting in the unglazed surface of each one.

These items were all gifts from my wedding registry, and I only just celebrated a fifth anniversary. Shouldn't a set of dinnerware have a bit more longevity than that? (My marriage has certainly managed to, for what it's worth.) I guess I figured that, barring a dramatic kitchen mishap or minor earthquake, these basic white dishes would carry us into our golden years, as reliable and Instagram-friendly as the day they were so generously purchased by our loved ones. It's sad to think that these items, which I always associate with each gift-giver as I lift them from the dishwasher, might soon leave our household altogether.

Other registry items, meanwhile, still feel new and sexy and exciting every time they're called into action. My cookie sheets remain pristine thanks to my diligent use of parchment paper, and I'll find nearly any excuse to pull out our fancy cheese board, even though it's a bit annoying to clean. These are things I really do think can last a generation—after all, they're a bit more earthquake-proof—and most importantly, they're timeless enough that I'll want them to. As I built our wedding registry six years ago, I went a bit crazy on the chevron-patterned housewares, and a number of those items have been quietly thanked for their service (in true Marie Kondo fashion) and donated.

What are the best kitchen items to put on a wedding registry, and which are a waste of time? And can we agree that my plates and bowls should be holding up better against the sands of time?