"Helping people who help people"

To the “Silly arguments in wedding planning” theme, I will share my rather miserable experience in what should have been a fun evening of zapping things to our hearts content.

The back story is my husbands grandfather was in school to become a chef when he was drafted in WW2. He lucked out being able to be a cook in the Navy and there he built his cooking skills as well as kitchen management skills. When the war ended he became a restaurant supply manager and restaurant manager. This means he KNEW ABOUT KITCHENS… he knew about kitchen gear, and he raised his daughter, my mother-in-law, to be very knowledgeable. She passed this knowledge on to my husband. I affectionately call them “kitchen snobs.”

So while most women have pretty broad freedom to registry for anything they want because more women cook then men, or because some men just don’t care even if they DO cook, I thought, naively, this would be a fun time registering for “stuff.” It wasn’t.

My husband and I have grown together, as all couples do, but one way that we were very different was in spontaneity. Like, hey this widget is only $5, I’m going to get it! My husband doesn’t care how cheap or expensive something is. He’s a very thoughtful person and automatically thinks through purchases to the point he rarely buys anything unnecessary on a whim. You can probably see where this is heading….

The myth out there is you go to a department store and have fun with the zapping gun, finding stuff you want, you need and then some fun stuff that your guests may enjoy buying for you. But if you are lucky enough to marry someone like my husband, there will be NO unnecessary zapping! He had excel spreadsheets for every room of the house, he researched, talked with his mom, we spend time thinking through our desired future lifestyle. We talked about our families and who might buy what. My family is not a Fine China family and his is – so if I had married someone differently I don’t think I’d own fine china.

My husband never controlled my opinions and in fact by educating me I had more choices then I knew existed. Those fancy pans we got have two main brands. One brand is way heavier than another so he had me lift both to determine if I liked one over the other because there was a price difference. He didn’t care which ones we got and wanted me to be part of the decision. (By the way, COPPER is the best pan but few people, especially my husband and me, want to maintain the metal!)

I remember asking him at one point whether it was FOOLISH to be registering for all this nice stuff since we didn’t even use our crappy stuff! He said yes, that weddings are the one time you get this stuff and that we WILL use it all some day. (He was right.)

But let me tell you, trying to convince my mom we need some $50 roasting pan when her $10 worked just fine was not easy. My mom grew up on a farm and is very practical. She (nor I) know much about kitchen equipment nor do we generally put much thought into it. So there I was trying to remember why this stuff was worth the money to my mom who spent HER entire life cooking for big and small dinner parties, and never needed nor used half the stuff we were registered for.

I have a dear friend whose husband is the same way as mine so I know I’m not alone! I did get a few Registry items by fighting to zap them. One of them we didn’t end up getting but the other is now the worlds greatest popcorn maker – a Whirley-Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper. We absolutely love it and will never go back to our air popcorn maker. (Hint: use a LOT less salt and seasoning on the oil popcorn because it sticks much better. We had quite the salty first round of popcorn!)

But lest you think my husband was a killjoy, we never use the napkin rings I insisted on getting, rarely use the place mats I wanted, and I have now adopted his philosophy of extreme thoughtfulness before getting even the silliest of things. Anytime I veer off it’s rarely a successful purchase. I can now go to a store, “feel” myself getting pulled into some fabulous deal, 75% off! 90% off! And still say “no”. Perhaps it’s only because I can see my husband rolls his eyes at what I could bring home, but I think it’s because I never regret nor miss any of those amazing deals I’ve passed up over the years.

I had no idea even the wedding registry could teach you about marriage. What felt like the most consumerist aspect of a wedding turns out to be great conversation fodder for your married life.

Check out our book, or website: http://www.thefirstdance.com for more musings on wedding planning and relationships!


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