We’re coming up to our first wedding anniversary. I can’t believe the year has gone by so fast. I’ve suffered a serious case of post-wedding blues and if I could do it all over again I would – every year. I truly had so much fun planning our wedding. The week leading up to it was incredibly stressful as we had a destination wedding (we live in Vancouver and got married in Toronto), so it might be better to say that I’d do it all over again with a few tweaks. One thing I wouldn’t change is any of the gifts that we registered for and subsequently received.
The one item that I was most apprehensive about registering for was the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. Apprehensive because it cost so much and I wasn’t sure how often I’d use it. I didn’t want someone to gift it to us and then for it to sit and collect dust. As our wedding happened in another city we didn’t end up receiving many hard gifts but rather came back home with some gift cards and money. When the husband and I started talking about how to spend our gift cards (our money all went to an unmentionable caterer who charged us twice as much as he’d quoted) I brought up the beloved Stand Mixer and how I’d pined for it for years and felt it was a good investment to sink our gift card money into. And he agreed!
I’m an impatient one, so we rushed over to The Bay to pick up the little beauty. It truly was love at first site. The only difficult part of buying it was that I coveted so many of the gorgeous colours it came in. Buttercup, Pistachio, Ice… they were all so beautiful and each would work in our red-walled kitchen, but I finally settled on Empire Red.
The Beautiful Machine
I was still somewhat wary about how much I’d use it. Had we I just tossed away $400 on something just because it was pretty? At first I made a concerted effort to use it at least once a week. I’d bake cookies or muffins or cupcakes just to ensure what we’d bought didn’t go to waste. But if I kept up that routine we’d be gaining 5 pounds a week. So I stopped worrying so much about it. And yes, I’m sure there were a few weeks there that it sat unused (but never unloved), especially during the Olympics when things were insanely busy, but lately I’ve found that I go to use it every few days. This past week, for example, I’ve used it to make the dough for pasta, extract the pasta itself (by using another wedding gift card-related purchase – the Pasta Attachment), make cupcake batter and icing for said cupcakes. It is a timesaver, a helper, a cheerleader (I’d never made pasta before but felt confident in doing so with my little KA friend) and a work of art. I really do love my mixer.
Another item we purchased with gift cards is the KitchenAid 5 Speed Blender. While we don’t use this as much as the mixer, the husband enjoys making smoothies and it’s useful for other things like hummous and other dips. I’m sure when I have more time to experiment with cooking I’ll have more opportunity to use it so I don’t regret the purchase, I just have to find ways to incorporate it into our daily life.
Makes the best smoothies
Lest I sound like a KitchenAid pusher, I’ll switch gears and tell you about the most frequently used item that we received for our wedding. Our Henckels knives. Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir with this but, when you can afford it, get yourself some good knives. Even one knife. I’m by no means a chef, but I know that it is the one tool in your kitchen that will change the way you cook. I’ve lusted after Henckels knives for as long as I can remember and when it came to registering for gifts they were probably the first things I put on the registry. Wait. Let me go off on another tangent here for a moment…
When we decided to start registered for things we I decided that it made the most sense to purchase good quality, last-us-until-our-50th-anniversary kind of items. We’d both lived on our own for more than 10 years and had a decent collection of kitchen things. The husband less than I, but still, we basically had everything we needed. So we decided to make fill our registry with everything we wanted. It also made more environmental sense to purchase one thing once in a lifetime than to purchase one thing several times due to it breaking down or wearing out. Hence, our registry became full of rather expensive, high quality items. We hoped people would pool their money together or give us gift cards. And that’s exactly what happened. Now back to the knives…
Originally, we’d only put a couple of knives on the registry. Again, I was originally somewhat apprehensive about people seeing the items we wanted and getting sticker shock, but then we decided that if someone didn’t want to purchase something, they wouldn’t. We wouldn’t compromise on what we wanted just to make it work for our guests’ budgets. Plus, registries are there to guide those who want to give a gift. Not to say, “Buy us stuff!”
We were gifted with two of our knives from my parents who bought them deeply discounted on a trip to the US. The other two, plus a knife block and scissors we bought with gift cards. We opted to go with the Henckels TWIN Cuisine series which I highly recommend. I really like the way it sits in my hand – the weight and the grip combined offer excellent control.
The chef's knife is the most frequently used in our home
In addition to the chef’s knife we have a paring knife (also used at least once daily), a peeling knife, a bread knife and scissors. I especially like the scissors for herbs, cutting up pita and berries.
And now back to KitchenAid. What? You didn’t think that I was done with them yet, did you? When we registered for cookware I’d actually picked out a few individual pieces and then one big set – opting to see how things would pan out. (Oh dear. No pun intended). I haven’t been around the big department stores much in the last couple of months, but I know last summer cookware sets were 60-75% off. Maybe this is something that happens every year around wedding season? Whatever the case may be, we lucked out and were gifted a 12-piece KitchenAid 5-ply, full cap, copper base cookware set. (Sadly, I can’t find any pictures online to show you their beauty). While the pans do tend to be rather heavy, I’ve found them to be easy to cook with and they can go from stovetop to oven with no worries. We use the steamer set a lot more than we used our bamboo steamer (although we do still use it) and they are easy to clean. Having gone from $25 a piece cookware to this has changed the way we cook and the way we care for our pots and pans. We also tend to do a lot more cooking at home now that we have the right tools.
And finally, my brother gave us another hotly coveted item. The Le Creuset French Oven. Need I say more? Let’s just enjoy its beauty.
Yes, more red
We were given other things, too, but these items are the standouts. (No offence to the other gifts, of course). If I could’ve removed things from our registry after the fact, I would. We received a lot of towels. A lot. That may have been in part because my aunts and bridesmaids decided to give me a surprise “Bath & Boudoir” wedding shower. I think we had registered for two sets of two towels, a bath mat, a soap dispenser and a soap dish in terms of bathroom items. And we received them all. I love all of these items, but I shouldn’t have put them on the registry because they weren’t on the top of our wants list.
We ended up buying all of our own dishes because no one purchased any of them for us. And who can blame them? I guess buying a place setting isn’t terribly exciting. Since we ran out of gift cards buying our luxurious mixer, blender and knives we decided to spend our own money on the dishes when they were on sale. We chose a white Sophie Conran (for Portmeirion) set. Simple and elegant and should stand the test of time. We lucked out when we went to purchase them and got 4 free pasta bowls included. We also managed to find a 12-piece set that only included dinner plates, salad plates and cereal bowls instead of it including a coffee mug or tea and saucer. We felt we didn’t want to spend the extra money on mugs or cups that we would so infrequently use.
Ours didn't include the mugs
We were also given a few other Sophie Conran-designed pieces: a roasting pan/lasagna dish, an oval plate and a creamer which we use for salad dressings and sauces. I think there is a trend in couples registering not so much for the flowery, gold-rimmed tableware of previous generations, but of simpler, less expensive, more practical pieces. Maybe we all assume we’ll inherit those flowery dishes from our parents?
I’m thrilled with the items we registered for and do put all of them to use at least a couple of times a month (and much more frequently for most). I did spend a lot of time researching the products that we selected and lest you think I chose everything myself, we do have a Panasonic flatscreen TV in our living room that the husband picked out all on his own.