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Crazy About Kitchenware

By Kirsten Valle

Posted: Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009

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Photo by Critsey Rowe

Kirsten Valle is a business reporter for the Observer. She can be reached at kvalle@charlotteobserver.com.

Read more "Getting to 'I do.'"

This might come as a surprise: I was not excited about registering for wedding gifts. It's not that I didn't want to do it, exactly – it just wasn't at the tip-top of my "wedding things I'm looking forward to" list.

That all changed, of course, the minute we learned to work the electronic gun and made our first pass around the perimeter of a south-Charlotte kitchen store.

Let me back up. We hadn't thought much about registering for gifts in the few months after the engagement, and frankly, the whole thing felt a little ridiculous – like distributing a birthday wish-list to your closest friends, or dropping not-so-subtle hints about the expensive things you'd like for Christmas. It felt too early, and it also felt a little intimidating, choosing the china patterns and color schemes we'll have to live with for the next couple decades.

But we decided to give it a try in the weeks after our September engagement party, buoyed by the bottles of wine and cards we received – and the accompanying realization that getting wedding presents is pretty fun.

Reese and I wandered into the store one Saturday after lunch, feeling almost as jittery as we'd felt shopping for rings a few months earlier. We stopped and looked around: a wall of copper pots in one direction, a glass case of kitchen knives in another. To our left, baking sheets and rolling pins. To the right, cookbooks and mixing bowls. I should mention that, while I like to cook and enjoy the thought of decorating my house as much as the next girl, I've never been the type to get excited about dishes and utensils.

Complicating the matter further, I don't know exactly what our future kitchen will look like. The condo Reese bought recently, where I'll move after the wedding, is still being built, and although we have a floor plan, it makes it a little more difficult to pick out the things that will adorn it.

But, we told ourselves a few times that day that we could always update the registry or return anything that didn't work. Then we marched up to the counter and told the clerk we were ready to start registering. We filled out a form, learned to work that electronic gun and were on our way.

We headed to the everyday dishes and tentatively aimed the gun at a simple white porcelain plate. Multiply that by eight, and repeat for bowls, teacups and bread and butter plates. Easy enough. We chose silverware and serving platters, and lingered a little too long in glassware, fingering delicate wineglasses and sturdy tumblers and imagining the very grown-up dinner parties we'd host one day.

We indulged a little, registering for an impractical and expensive monogrammed beverage bucket and a handsome cheese board. (Really, who needs that?) And we were jolted back to earth by the fact that, while the copper pots were pretty, they were made for "real chefs" and priced to match. We went with a more reasonable stainless steel set. Somewhere in the middle of all this, we realized we were having a good time.

An hour in the store passed quickly, and it wasn't much longer before Reese managed to corral me out the door in time to catch the remainder of the day's college football lineup.

But I wasn’t done. The next day, I logged into our registry online, thinking I'd chosen too much, only to find myself adding things like a panini press and ice bucket to match our beverage bucket. Had I gone crazy? Or had I finally become that girl I never thought I was? Excited about kitchenware?

There's something about the idea of starting fresh, though, that's too appealing to brush off. As much as I dislike moving, I've always enjoyed going through my room and tossing the things I don't need, rearranging my furniture in some new place and anticipating the good times I'll have there.

Come July, it will be even sweeter: a marriage, a new life. Our new home won't just be a rental, a temporary spot where we'll live while we make our way through school or our first jobs. It will be our first taste of real life and our first chance to really approach it as a team. The things we fill it with are just things, of course, but they're things we've chosen together and things that, even decades from now, can remind us of the beauty and excitement and anticipation of this new start.

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