For Sammi Wong, a 25-year-old Portland native who got married in October, creating a wedding registry was less about adding and acquiring wish-list items (super-fancy cookware or a KitchenAid mixer), and more about building a brand-new home with her then-fiancé. Not only were Wong and her partner Randy cohabiting for the first time, but they also began the process of buying a home when they got engaged last January. So, in crafting their registry, they were envisioning their new life together — and learning about their respective tastes at the same time.
As a part-time content creator and full-time planner for corporate events, Wong already had a vision for their space. “From TikTok, I learned the main colors should be 40% and 30% and the other colors 10%, 10%, and 10%,” she explains. “Our house includes lots of gray, black, silver, and white. I like a lot of muted tones and pieces that look modern, luxurious, and chic.”
Randy supported her vision, and the home decor pieces they selected for their registry reflected a minimalistic vibe that also accommodated Randy’s interior contribution (“excessive amounts of plants,” Wong laughs).
And while creating a registry can feel like a welcome antidote to all the stressors that come with planning a wedding (family drama, logistics, budgets), it can also serve as a relationship stress test of sorts. For Wong and Randy, it shedded light on their different purchasing habits: He tends to jump at the first item that excites him, she likes to take her time and explore other options before making the leap. “This led to a little tension because he wants to get things done,” she says, “but I like to take my time looking for quality items.”
The entire registry process spanned several weeks, with the two examining what they truly needed (and wanted) before whittling down their selects. “The first day, we were like, ‘Wow! We have all these options!’ We put a ton of stuff in. And then the next day, we had to be realistic," Wong reflects. “And then the third day, we were [adding in] more durable, worthwhile pieces at a higher price point, things that our friends and family would want to support us with.”
The pair used The Knot as their official wedding website, synching it with the registry program they created on Crate & Barrel. They requested — and received — about 20 to 30 items from the retailer. And in the end, the entire ordeal brought them closer together. It was an exercise in envisioning their lives together. “The registry was very fun because you realize that you’re going to live a certain life together and you’ll have all these tools to help you — or make your life easier,” she says. “The idea of hosting all these fun dinner parties and Thanksgivings came up during the process, so it sparked our goals for our future together.”
Keep reading for all the ways Wong created their registry that married — literally — both their tastes.
“We like to make cocktails a lot with our friends, so we requested wine and highball glasses from Crate & Barrel. We also got an appetizer set — it has little platters you can assemble on a tray. Randy is Korean, and in Korean culture we eat a lot of side dishes with our meal, so the dishes that come with the platter fit in perfectly. We use it when it’s just the two of us eating together at home and when we have friends over. Our friends always say, ‘You guys are serving food like a restaurant!’ We take a lot of pride in that [because] our love language is making food for other people. We feel like we’re sharing our culture. Also, food displayed nicely makes it taste better.”
“Putting together the registry for our kitchen was the easiest part. We were mostly on the same page about what we wanted. But I would add pots and pans, and he’d suggest ones that were better quality. Crate & Barrel has really nice flatware pieces, so we included those. We also got a pour-over kettle that Randy loves and uses every day. The design is really elegant, which is why he likes it. Anytime someone comes over, they always point it out. My favorite kitchenware piece is our wood and marble platter. I put stuff I’ve baked on it, or I make a charcuterie arrangement on it.”
“We received Crate & Barrel gift cards, and we also returned some items for store credit. I’m still holding onto it because at the time, we wanted to build [our house] starting with the basics, which for us, was the kitchen. I did want to put bathroom towels on our registry, but Randy said we had enough. For our guest bathroom, I want to include a little health station with storage units for toothpicks, Q-tips, pads, and tampons, so my guests can use them when they stay. I also definitely want to get a painting for the bathroom, and also a diffuser.”
“With our registry, we were so focused on the kitchen, so we neglected including items for our bedroom. It’s really simple right now, and a lot of my followers keep asking me to show them our bedroom and how we decorated it. That’s my project for 2022 — to finish the bedroom. We’re missing a chandelier, and we want to look for a Crate & Barrel piece as our main light source. And we also need two table lamps for both sides of our bed, as well as a full-length mirror. In the winter, I get really cold, so I’m looking to invest in a really nice, soft duvet comforter.”
Written by Hilary Shepherd, Illustrated by Irene Servillo