Stems and Stemless

Simplifying glassware registry

Crafting a registry with your fiancé is one of the most exciting tasks on the wedding planning to-do list. It is something many brides anticipate years before becoming engaged. As most do not realize until stepping foot in the store, the registry world of selecting everything you need for your life together can easily become confusing, overwhelming and stressful. 

Some of the best advice I received when registering with my fiancé this past spring was, “Pick out things that will make you want to get into the kitchen and create traditions together. Over-register. Give your friends and family options while picking out everything new that will make you happy.” This advice was hard for me to swallow as I already had a kitchen full of new-ish pots, pans and tools. However, once we received a tour at our first registry spot, my shopping expertise kicked right in. Registering is a time to think of you and your fiancé as a couple — and to choose the things that will last a lifetime. 

Glassware is a section of the registry list that can get messy with the plethora of options; yet, dividing the choices into three categories can help simplify the process: the everyday, the better and the best. Depending on your lifestyle and interests, you may want to register for one, two or all three of these categories.



Everyday glassware is meant to be exactly as it sounds … to be used every day. These are your more casual pieces that can be thrown in the dishwasher and are not easily broken. Furthermore, if a guest breaks one, it’s not tragic because you have many –– and they are easily replaceable.

Casual juice glasses are the perfect size for a splash of citrus or milk anytime of day. Look for a classic style to last. Register for eight to 12 of these.

Water glasses have a cup that is large enough to serve still or sparkling water with ice. Many times they have a thick stem and can also be used for a better presentation of iced tea or juice. Register for 12.

Tumblers are sturdy glasses without a stem that usually come in a variety of sizes. Look for a line that can serve both hot and cold beverages. These can be used for juice, water or tea. Register for 12.  

From morning coffee to a late-night cup of tea, a series of matching mugs will help top off your everyday table setting. Whether it is for hosting a brunch or a casual dinner, feel free to dress your table in your everyday suit to include your matching mugs. Register for eight to 12.

A versatile pitcher (or two) is a necessity for any sort of host or hostess. A nicely structured glass pitcher can make the presentation of lemonade, iced tea, margaritas, sangrias or even iced water look all the more thirst-quenching. Register for two pitchers of different sizes and shape.


Red wineglasses are where the beginning of the registry confusion lies. Walk into any registry shop and you will find dozens of different wineglasses. Unless you are a wine connoisseur, look for a generic “red wineglass” with a rounded bowl to accommodate everything from a Cabernet to a Merlot. Register for 12.

As for white wineglasses, look for a glass with a tall enough stem to keep the bowl from being warmed by any size of hand. Again, look for a bowl that is a little more vertical in shape and can accommodate different varieties of white wine. Register for 12.

Champagne flutes are a necessity for most celebrations. Whether it is a new job, a new home or a friend visiting from out of town, the arguably best way to serve Champagne and sparkling wines is through these festive flutes. Register for at least eight but ideally 12.

A Double Old-Fashioned glass is short, stout and works well for serving mixed drinks or fruit juice. If you’d rather not register for specific “juice glasses” this is a great alternative for a more well-dressed table. Try to find one with a thin lip for even better sipping. Register for 12.

Highball glasses are tall glasses with thick sides. These can be used for tall mixed drinks like a gin and tonic or mojitos. Highball glasses also suffice for sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages with ice. Register for eight to 12.

Martini glasses are great to have on hand for guests who enjoy a mixed cocktail without ice. Anything from martinis to sidecars, these glasses are incredibly versatile and can even be used for a new way to present desserts. Register for six to eight.



If you so desire, you and your fiancé may want to register for a crystal or cut-glass pattern. These stemware pieces are more fragile but add a touch of elegance to the table for a special occasion. These are to be hand-washed and dried and carefully handled. There are many different crystal patterns, and choosing one is solely based on your preference and style. Find one that complements your choice for fine china. Cut glass is a great alternative to fine crystal due to its increased durability but same refined style. At times, well-crafted cut glass pieces can even be hard to distinguish from fine crystal. Register for 12 red wineglasses, 12 white wineglasses and 12 Champagne flutes.

Fine crystal or cut-glass decanters and carafes are a beautiful counterpart to these special stemware pieces. Decanters are perfect for storing liquors while also serving as a staple in the bar area. Carafes work wonders for a red wine that needs to air before being served at the dinner table. These items come in all shapes and sizes and at least one of each should be present on your registry.



Bar tools and a cocktail shaker are necessary add-ons to be fully prepared to host guests in your home. Within the bar tool set, look for a cocktail strainer, stirrer, jigger, ice tongs and bar knife. The cocktail shaker will cool the libation quickly without diluting or leaving large ice cubes behind. 

Registering for a large enough ice bucket to accommodate one to two bottles of white wine can be convenient during hot evenings on South Carolina porches. At the same time, a nice small ice bucket for drinking ice is also a necessity for crowds of more than two to four people. On the same note, a marble wine chiller will work perfectly for an already cold bottle of wine to rest on the table during dinner.

Specialty glassware can be a fun addition for themed parties or for your discerning friend who likes a trendy brew or cocktail. Pilsners are great for beer lovers, and many prefer them pre-chilled in the freezer. Margarita glasses are not a necessity unless you frequently host with margaritas. These have a wide, shallow bowl with a thick rim to accommodate salt. If you are running out of room in your cabinets, a double old-fashioned will work just fine for that guest. Moscow Mule cups, Brandy glasses and Cordial glasses might be good additions if you see yourself entertaining in that capacity. Port or Madeira glasses are also important if you plan to serve these dessert wines as an after-dinner drink. For any of these, start by registering for six and go from there. Also, don’t forget the specialty ice trays!

Stemless wineglasses in the plastic variety are great for outdoor dinner parties or lounging by the pool. Look for a line that is dishwasher safe to make cleanup that much easier.

A well-appointed wine opener can save you from that embarrassing moment when you can’t pull a cork out of the bottle or worse, break the cork completely. Your registry would be a great place to splurge and add a top-of-the-line item to your wish list. Your guests will appreciate your quickness and finesse!

Linen cocktail napkins are great for entertaining and are at many times a conversation piece. Take these to the next level by having them monogrammed!

This is one of the most exciting times of your life, so enjoy picking out your favorite things with your future spouse. These items will soon become your “go-tos,” and choosing a classic style and one you can see yourself using for years to come is key. Columbia offers many local resources for all of your registry needs. Best wishes!