For me, getting married was all about becoming an adult. Back when I was engaged, I used to say that you could be an adult without being married, but you couldn’t be married without being an adult. Which meant, of course, that life—and all of its responsibilities—was coming for me. And after spending our twenties doing art and being very broke in New York City, getting married right before we turned thirty felt like the moment that we went from being young adults to being real grown-ups.
Looking back, there were two totally unexpected things that really made me feel like a proper adult. They were not any of the things I would have predicted—walking down the aisle, saying our vows, leaving for our Honeymoon… though all of those things ended up being really meaningful for me. No. The things that made me feel like an adult were far more mundane: combining my finances with David, and getting all of the kitchenware and serveware that we’d registered for. (Including his beloved Le Creuset, which we never could have afforded during law school.)
So when Crate and Barrel recently unveiled their exclusive new graphite grey Le Creuset collection and invited us to talk about celebrating the everyday in marriage, I knew I wanted to use it as an excuse to put together a bonkers celebration of our nearly nine years as a married couple. Le Creuset is one of those brands we genuinely love in our house, as David is a serious cook and swears by their products. Plus, my dad was the cook in our house growing up, and he also swore by the brand, so it’s a multi-generational thing for me.
Their new graphite grey collection—with on-point gold details—is just understated enough to work for the everyday, while being cool enough to break out for when you want to entertain… and they clearly warrant a donut display at your next party. Since I come from the tradition of men who cook, I am really in love with this new color. It’s super hip… while still being husband friendly. (Because while I love millennial pink, David’s not going to ever go for all pink cookware.)
Graduating from the kids’ table
In the midst of all the symbolic changes that were happening in my life when we were getting married, it was the reality of a set of matching plates and enough platters and pitchers to actually host a dinner party that made my day-to-day life feel markedly different. We went from being the kids of the family, who would serve you a meal on mismatched plates and rickety chairs, to being the married couple who could easily host Thanksgiving. And that transition felt like a coming of age. (One with really good barware.)
As the years have gone on, we’ve slowly added to our collection of dinnerware, along with inheriting a few really beautiful pieces. So that means when we host the big holidays (this year we hosted both Thanksgiving and Christmas), we can set a really good-looking table. But what I’ve learned over nearly nine years of marriage is that while it’s nice to be able to serve a group of ten for a holiday meal, the important part is remembering to make the everyday special. It’s key to give a little bit of traditional and ritual to your family’s day-to-day life. And better than that, to remember to celebrate the little things.
Eat Wedding Cake for Breakfast
One of the delightful surprises of married life was discovering anniversaries. Our wedding anniversary felt like a surprise holiday… a secret celebration that we didn’t unlock till after we got married. These days, some of my favorite holidays are the ones that only recently became mine: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and our wedding anniversary. I always say that what makes those holidays different is that they are the ones you earn. My birthday happens once a year, just by virtue of me being a year older. But I have to work for the holidays that celebrate the relationships in my life. And as wonderful as marriage can be, it’s no walk in the park. So every time that we get to celebrate making it through another year and keeping the spark alive, it feels really important. (Plus, you can usually get people to watch your kids on your anniversary, so you can get away for a night.) I have friends that celebrate birthdays by letting their kids eat birthday cake for breakfast, so I decided that for this anniversary we should celebrate with wedding cake for breakfast.
But as you know, on the APW team, we’re team #GoBigOrGoReallyBig. So we filled my dining room with balloons, made Funfetti cinnamon roles in our new Le Creuset square baking dish, and topped it all off with a healthy dose of disco balls.
Here is the funny thing that happened as we pulled together this whole bonkers celebration. Even though this wasn’t our real anniversary (we’ll hit nine years in August), and even though we didn’t really eat wedding cake for breakfast (we ate it, and it was delicious, but by the time we were ready to do that it was lunchtime)… it still ended up being pretty magical.
When David first walked into our dining room filled to the brim with balloons, with newly framed wedding pictures, his eyes sparkled. I mean, my husband is dedicated to playing the role of the lovable grump, so he’d never admit any of this to you. But he clearly was delighted that after almost fourteen years together, our relationship still deserved to be celebrated with a room full of balloons.
make every day feel like a party
But all of this brings me to those of you who are getting ready to register for your own weddings and figuring out what you want. Whenever we work on a shoot like this, we empty out half of a Crate and Barrel store, spread the product all over our studio (or my living room floor), and figure out what we want to use. It also means that we figure out what we love the best. And it’s always easy to tell what I really love, since it lands in the “maybe forget to return this” pile. So with that in mind, here is my personal short list for what I think you should absolutely put on your registry:
The new Graphite and gold Le Creuset: If you want a practical kitchen item that will become an heirloom, you want Le Creuset. I’ve inherited some from my grandmother, and our kids will probably inherit the exact same pots. They last forever, and their quality cannot be beat. The new graphite grey collection is exclusive to Crate and Barrel, is trimmed with gold accents, and is perfect. As much as I like Le Creuset’s millennial pink option, that’s never going to find a home in our kitchen. This deep grey and gold, though? It feels super hip, but just understated enough to work on our stove.
Marin Dinnerware: If I were registering today, Marin Dinnerware would be my pick for plates. It feels like a really elevated take on a lot of the handmade stoneware that’s all the rage right now. It combines slightly irregular lines with a glossy white finish. Or as I put it, while gently stroking the plates, “It’s organic, without making me feel like a hippy.” I went so far as to ponder if a person could reasonably use two sets of day-to-day plates (they can’t). And instead settled on buying a set of the Marin mugs.
Raven Matte Black Tea kettle: I brought this matte black tea kettle on set because it was so good looking. I’m getting my own because it is so profoundly functional. I’m a really serious tea drinker, and my husband—like most of the rest of America—drinks coffee. He makes me tea every morning, and he tries his level best, but it just never tastes like the tea I get at my family’s breakfast table when we’re in England. (I do have perfect cups of tea in my life, but they’re the ones Maddie makes at work.) This kettle removes the guesswork and replaces it with science. You heat the water directly on the stove, and the temperature gauge at the top tells you when it’s the exact right temperature for green tea, herbal tea, or black tea. At that point you can drop in the basket for tea (all that loose leaf Fortnum & Mason tea I buy in bulk on the cheap at Heathrow Airport can finally get put to use). Once your tea is ready, you pull out the tea leaves… and the best part is the teakettle keeps your tea warm for plenty long enough to have two or three cups.