Eco-Friendly Living, Wedding

An Unconventional Wedding Registry, Part 2: Going Vintage

Last week I told you about the difficulties we had choosing traditional items for our wedding registry. Now I’m back to tell you how our Macy’s registry came to a close and another, more fitting registry, was born.

So to summarize Part 1:  Ryan and I didn’t want to register for a lot of the traditional kitchen gadgets and home items, but we did want to register for something instead of receiving random gifts or trinkets because we’re both so anti-clutter in our home and lives.  Yes, I know that really just means we’re picky.  It doesn’t come from ungratefulness but rather from the fact that we are just happier having a simple home.

But there are some items we’d still love to fill our home with.  The problem?  Most of them are vintage!  We both prefer vintage furniture and I have a personal obsession with vintage serving dishes and Pyrex cookware.   Additionally, I’m dragging Ryan along on my mission to avoid new products that are made with unethical labor, aka sweatshops, especially overseas.

Vintage Pyrex Mixing Bowls

A wedding registry Made in the USA?

Shortly after my experience with the pushy registry consultant at Macy’s I went to Crate and Barrel.  I was struggling with the fact that all our items at Macy’s were manufactured overseas.  Mostly in China.  At Macy’s I couldn’t find a single bath towel or bathmat that was made in the USA, or even Canada. How sad is that?

I already knew that Crate and Barrel had a stronger environmental and social responsibility policy than many traditional registry stores (i.e. Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond) and much of their furniture is made in North Carolina from sustainably harvested wood.  That knowledge alone had me wanting to switch our registry store,  because if ‘m going to support (or encourage others to support) a mainstream retailer, I’d like it to be one that’s at least making an effort.

Then one day I spent a good hour at the store, notebook in hand, listing all the products which were made in the USA.  Many of the items we might want for our registry were on the list, so that pretty much sealed the deal.  (I’ve since misplaced my list, so I can’t share it. Whoops.)

I immediately cancelled our Macy’s registry and streamlined us down to a small registry at Crate & Barrel.  It contained items like an electric mixer, flatware, and a few other items we’d like to have in the house.

But wait, there’s more!

During this entire process I kept saying to Ryan things like

“The problem with wedding registries is that they’re all for new items.  I don’t want new mixing bowls, I prefer vintage Pyrex ones!”  


“I’d much rather have a house full of vintage glassware and furniture from the vintage store.”

And Ryan agreed.

So one day I asked Lance, who owns an amazing mid-century modern furniture shop in Littleton, NH, if there was any way we could somehow register for vintage gifts.  We’ve been loyal – if distant – customers of Just L ever since we found it during our fall road trip in 2010.   To my great surprise and excitement, Lance said yes!  Creating a vintage registry was a new adventure for him, but I loved the enthusiasm with which he tackled the challenge.   I may or may not have danced excitedly around the house.

Creating the Just L Vintage Registry

To create the registry, Lance took me on a virtual tour of the shop.  We connected using FaceTime, which is like Skype, and Lance held his iPad out in front of him so I could see the shop as we talked.  He spent over an hour walking me through the entire sales floor, showing me every item and holding the iPad up close to zoom in on the details if I had questions.

When we were done, Ryan and I had a nice, small registry assembled.   It consisted mostly of vintage kitchen items that we loved and a few larger pieces of furniture towards which people could buy gift certificates.   Lance put all the photos up in an album on his shop’s Facebook page (the only website they use) and in each photo he included the item description and price, as well as the number people could call to order.

I also had to explain it on our wedding website, but I think I did an OK job with that.  My mom stopped worrying after she saw it. . . or at least stopped asking so many questions!

In case you’re curious, here’s a peek at some of the items we registered for in addition to gift certificates towards larger furniture purchases:

I can not wait to serve chips and dip with this gorgeous lime green “tiered” serving bowl:

And I think these blue and gold cocktail glasses are just to die for with their most amazing Moroccan style pattern.

Just L Briard Cocktail Glasses Blue

On a more wacky, less classy, note – I know that some people are surely raising an eyebrow at these vintage Pyrex lab beakers, but I just love them – either for use as serving jugs (after a full sterilization, of course) or for use as vases (more likely).  How awesome are they!?

Vintage Pyrex Lab Beakers Just L

There will also be some decor changes in the Borrowed Abode this June!

Just L Mid-century modern sofa

This wooden mid-century sofa and chair set is part of our registry – not that we expect anyone to shell out the entire $875 for it, but because it is the primary large set of furniture that we’re excited to pick up in June when we go there.  Lance got major points in my book with his willingness to hold onto that set for us.  Hmm. . . wherever will we put it?  😉

And that’s the story of how we came to have the perfect (for us) wedding registry.  I’m so excited that we were able to register for items we  really loved – and support a small business in the process!   And after the wedding, I can’t wait to incorporate these items in our home, and think of our wonderful friends and family every time we use them.

Psst: My blog buddy Jeannine is getting married in June, too. She’s been a much more responsible blogger throughout the process.   🙂  Check out her experience with the Macy’s wedding registry here.

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  • Reply Kimberly at 6:20 pm

    Um….can I give you my vintage kitchen Osterizer? Cause, you know, hubs would be so very very happy to have it out of the house.

  • Reply Becky Hull at 7:48 pm

    We have those multicolored nesting bowls!

    I think this is an awesome idea for your registry.  So much better to get things that actually fit your style rather than one-size-fits-all clutter that you’re supposed to “need.”

  • Reply Stephanie at 10:35 pm

    That is really awesome. And those Moroccan inspired cocktails glasses are fantastic!

  • Reply Jamillah at 11:19 pm

    yay for a registry that is you!!! i completely die over that serving bowl, it’s really beautiful and it will look gorgeous all wrapped up on your big day. 

    P.S. I am not laughing at your beakers! I totally want a set but can’t really bring myself to spend the money.

  • Reply Loren Cline at 11:59 pm

    This is way cool, I love the tiered chips & dip bowls. And that the store owner was willing to work with you specially to make a wedding registry.
    Also it depends on how many guests you have coming from out of town, did you know created a plugin for firefox that lets you put items from any store on your wishlist. Even from Etsy. I used it to make a Christmas list last year and it totally rocked. (Boyfriend managed to get pretty much every gift off my wishlist.)
    I like to pretend I am ‘anti-clutter’ but really I am just super picky like you all 😉

  • Reply Tara at 11:17 pm

    Great registry idea!

  • Reply April was in CT now CA at 3:48 pm

    This is AWESOME!!!  

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  • Reply Liz at 9:47 am

    I love this!! I wish I had thought of this when we were putting together our wedding registry – I totally would’ve done the same; I’ve bought a lot of our Pyrex and Corningware from a consignment store here in Houston, and we probably could’ve stocked our whole kitchen with things from there. I hope you don’t mind I’m mentioning this in a blog post – – and I would love for you to do a guest post if you’re interested!

    • Reply Jane at 10:28 am

      Hi Liz! Thanks so much for the kind words and for the blog mention 🙂 I loved your post!

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  • Reply Ande at 3:49 pm


    It’s been awhile since you posted this, but am quite interested in vintage and socially responsible registries.

    I love that you appreciate the outstanding quality of many vintage products. I applaud your enviro/ health concerns and buy U.S -made, and reused / reloved items. I cheer your values around environmental and social responsibility and that you were/are willing to walk the talk. I can also appreciate the effort that when into the mentioned vintage shopkeeper going the extra mile to make a registry happen.

    I would like to challenge you further in terms of living those values. Where I lost you you in this post is when your registry necessitated taking place via Facebook. I am surprised, given your other values that you allowed that to happen. If I had been your friend and wanting to use your registry, I would have felt caught between a rock and a hard place as I would have to compromise my own socially responsible and ethical consumer values to buy you something from the shopkeeper via Facebook (which I quickly ceased to use for the same reasons). I have to sign in to Facebook to use your registry – thereby giving Facebook my personal info to do with exactly what I do NOT want. Few other companies besides Facebook (and Amazon) put one in that position.

    There are 25 solid reasons that Facebook is the polar opposite of a socially responsible company – not the least of which is that they use your personal information for financial gain and marketplace power without either your knowledge, consent, or compensation. I won’t bore you with a list of the others – the newspapers are full of articles surrounding their poor ethics and more – all available online. I understand that using Facebook for a company website is extremely convenient and a very cheap way to go. But from an ethical point of view, once a business is up and running and “in business” – not offering your customers an alternative to access your merchandise other than through an unethical company (Facebook) who will rip-off your customers in myriad ways is not exactly a socially responsible business model.

    Besides, there is little excuse in terms of cost around having one’s own website as it is a business expense, and therefore all associated expenses for it are business tax deductions /write-offs.

    All that said, both you and the shopkeeper should be commended for all efforts toward making alternative registries a viable option for the masses -now and in the future. I would just like to make the point that part of being socially responsible is not only paying attention to what we buy and how and where it made, but how we buy it and how it is sold to us. The entire chain matters.

    • Reply Jane at 8:55 am

      Thank you for taking the time to share your point of view! I am a big proponent of companies having their own independent websites, for sure. It’s much better for the business in the long run to control their information, not to mention that Facebook is always changing algorithms to try and extort more ad revenue from business pages.

      However, the owners of the shop do not yet have a website, and use Facebook photo galleries to show new items in the shop. They were in a great period of growth in their business and were extremely busy at the time. I wouldn’t expect them to create a website just for my registry. However, the great news was that my guests didn’t have to have a Facebook profile to see the items. The items were photographed and listed in a photo album on their Facebook page, and the settings were made public so my guests could view the album without actually signing into Facebook. Then, they called Lance and Greg at the shop to order the items.

      The hidden up side to this was the phone interaction. Several of my wedding guests later commented on how much they enjoyed their conversations with Lance and Greg when they called to order a gift off our registry. How often do you hear that about a phone call to any big box store? Not often at all.

      But I digress. I do appreciate your comments and I understand where you are coming from. The way I see it, I just encourage people to do the best they can. One person’s “Best” effort may not look the same as another’s.

  • Reply Hanselmann Pottery at 2:49 pm

    We’re a small company that makes ceramic dinnerware by hand, in Corrales New Mexico USA. We make place settings have been hugely popular registry gifts, and they are durable, long-lasting heirloom pieces. We ship across the North America. You can get in touch with us at

    • Reply Jane at 10:08 am

      That’s awesome – thanks for sharing!

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  • Reply Susan at 4:02 pm

    I love your vintage registry story! I registered at Macy’s 24 years ago and have since replaced every single new gift (except my Dansk flat wear) with vintage items!

    Fast foRward to now–to appeal to my creative side, I recently opened a vintage housewares shop on Etsy (345glenhaven) and I have been thinking about how I could construct a wedding registry and would love to fine an interested couple. I have some great ideas on how to connect couples with the vintage items they truly want as gifts!

    • Reply Jane at 1:39 pm

      That’s such a great idea! I hope it works out for you. I really treasure the vintage items we were gifted.

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