The Crappy, Old Stuff (Groom With A View)

One night Evin coerced me into sitting down with her to register for wedding gifts. Her parents had been pestering us to get this done because friends of theirs — strangers to Evin and I — wanted to get us engagement gifts. We had at the time only four dinner plates. Two from my previous marriage, and two scratched, cobalt blue ones from Evin’s post-college days. I guess they weren’t good enough anymore. So to the Bed Bath & Beyond web site we went and sailed though the kitchen section. We chose plates, mugs, glasses, and a few necessary items for Evin’s baking needs, something we all benefit from. This was fun.

“I need new socks and underwear,” I joked.

“Gift cards will put you in new socks and underwear,” she replied and I think she was serious.

But I was a little uncomfortable, too.

We already have stuff. We have lots of nice stuff. We even have lots of crappy, old stuff, too. And I was attached to the crappy, old stuff. The mug I stole from the sublet when I first moved to New York, the drinking glasses my brother bought me when I moved into my first rental, the silver salt and pepper shakers my parents got me when I bought my first apartment, my sister’s old pots and pans, even a few spoons and bowls (shh, don’t tell Evin) from my first marriage. What would happen to it all?

One Saturday we went to the store to see flatware. Which fork felt better? Did it have good weight? What gauge stainless steel was it? Was it balanced? Do we need to have the guests who were buying this for us over for dinner so they can use it? New things in, crappy, old stuff out.

Often now our UPS guy brings us boxes bigger than they need to be, then smiles and slaps my back—he knows what’s was going on. Even the owner of our building and her daughter and son-in-law who know we got engaged have started to notice the boxes and are now dropping hints about being invited to the wedding. One day, eight new Loft by Rosenthal, 11 inch, white dinner plates arrived. As Evin unpacked them, I went and removed the four old ones from the cabinet. They sat on a bench in our dining room for a few days until we could decide what to do with them. I swear I heard one of them scream at me one day, How could you do this to us?!

Shiny new things were coming into our lives. But the crappy, old stuff held memories for me. And now they’re in the garbage. One night we ordered Chinese takeout and Evin suggested we eat off of the new plates. I have to admit, they are nice. I guess we’ll just go ahead and make new memories with them.

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  • David H.
    12/07/12 at 12:41

    You bring up an excellent point about the objects that define us. Even if they came from a place we are no longer part of or fond of, the objects themselves bring comfort in their familiarity. You and Evin have already been using these items together so they’re part of your shared experience as well.

    On the other hand….my parents accumulated a 5000-sq foot home’s worth of such objects and my brothers and I got rid of most of it, holding on to only a few talismans that meant something to us — but I have a full closet of such things myself that I have no place for or time to sift through nostalgically. What will my kids think of them some day?

    Registering for gifts is even a weird ritual, if you think of it — you are not leaving your loved ones to their own devices, but filtering their cash through your shopping spree. Will you look at the white plates and think of the (3?) friends who chipped in for them the same way you would a think about the person who gave you the vase that wasn’t on the list? I suppose it depends on if you hate the vase of course.

  • 12/08/12 at 09:09

    In with the new. I never liked your old plates.

  • Ella
    02/20/13 at 05:30

    My fiance and I have had a few conversations about our registry, but as to adding items, he’s added a few when I gave him a tutorial on how our online, super-high-tech, ultra mod universal registry with works. (I am more tech savvy than he is, in most cases.) So, out of the INSANE 250 items, he has added maybe 3. But, he reviewed them all with me one night. Our challenge is that he is super busy and REALLY dislikes shopping, and also basically knew very little about wedding planning (as I am sure is the case with many men.) So, I have said we should trim it down to maybe 175 or 200 items (we have a guest list of 125 people, meaning that’s all the people we’ll invite but of course not all will feel the need to or will buy us a gift.) What we registered for includes (besides the usual suspects):

    *** Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter,and Fourth of July decor and both universal and holiday themed gift cards and wrapping paper (this would be stuff like Christmas table clothes, foam gravestones for the yard, Chistmas tree skirt, stockings and ornaments, lights, special dishes for these holiday themes, etc.)

    *** board games, some DVDs (specifically of stuff we’re both into like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and The Lord of the Rings)

    *** cookbooks (a ton of these, with various cuisines from around the world because we both really love ethnic food)

    *** a bunch of ‘non-holiday’ various colored tableclothes and napkins to make various color combos, various scented candles for the bedroom and living room – including battery-operated ones

    *** a bunch of gift cards including spa treatments, the NBA and WNBA (fiance loves b-ball), various restaurants, bed and breakfast association of America.

    *** two sets of assorted wines (whites and reds) from around the world, gourmet crossiants, a set of gourmet cheeses, other things you can freeze or save for dinner parties

    *** tools, storage for tools, battery charger, rechargable batteries, a really good flashlight, co2 detector, programmable thermostat, shower head for water conservation, weed wacker, tiller (and as with the technology thing, in our relationship I am more of a hardware store home repair person, so these are all things I thought of)

    *** a shower curtain of Monet’s waterlilies and other pond/waterlily themed bathroom decor, including a basin sink with koi fish, lilies and pads we saw on overstock and want to use (when we get our own place) – the sink is what inspired the rest of the decor, actually

    *** we have most basics for the kitchen but we added waffle iron, crock pot, and a few other small appliances, as well as several sets of cookie cutters, some cute salt and pepper shakers, a wine rack/bar stand, kitchen twine in holder and so forth


    I guess you can tell…. *I* do like to shop :)

    Happy White Plates to you, man!


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Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colors -- from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest's name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests' names.
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