It's wedding season: We've got the hottest gifts on this year's registries

First comes love, then comes the wedding registry.

In fact, when it comes to starting a life together the first march down the aisle for nearly weds is usually done at their favorite home furnishings store, bar scanner in hand, check list at the ready.

According to a 2016 study by online wedding planning resource the Knot, 88% of brides and grooms, or 1.6 million couples, create at least one gift registry via store or online website, and previous surveys have revealed most brides would prefer guests stick to the list.

To find out exactly what gifts couples are hoping to love and to cherish happily ever after, we asked experts at popular registry sites to dish on the latest trends and reveal the items that continually crop up on everyone’s wish lists.

A wedding gift they’ll actually use: ‘The 8 x 8 Cookbook’ and a classic Pyrex dish

“There are three things you can count on in life,” said Jennifer Spector, director of brand for online wedding registry site Zola: “Death, taxes and that the KitchenAid Stand Mixer will always be the top registry gift.”

She was spot on.https://www.zola.com/

Almost every registry in our unscientific survey of most popular registry items included the mixer. Offered in a range of colors, sizes and with a variety of attachments, the desirability of the coveted kitchen appliance appears to rank second only to the wedding rings themselves.

Couples are also saying yes to experiential gifts, adventure gear (think luggage, outdoor equipment), cooking subscriptions and cash.

“In 2016, two-thirds of couples added cash funds to their registries,” said Spector. “We encourage couples to personalize their funds… instead of registering for a general honeymoon fund, to create funds for specific dinners, excursions and activities they’ll be doing together.”

Giving cash and pooling resources to purchase luxury items are not new ideas, but digital registries are making it easier. Now, instead of hounding cousin Vinny for his portion of the foosball table, everyone can pay their share online.

“Group gifting is a major trend,” said Spector. “Over 25% of couples [on Zola] enable the group gifting option so larger items can be broken up into smaller contributions without breaking the bank.”

Julie Cassetina, spokesperson for Wayfair.com, agreed. “For example, one couple who registered with Wayfair received a $3,300 hot tub after nine people contributed.”

In spite of all the high-end hoopla, however, the majority of items on wedding registries remain devoted to daily needs, simple luxuries (think: plush towels), household maintenance and organization.

Crate & Barrel reported that versatile dinnerware remains a mainstay of registries across the board and marble and copper accents represent the most popular design trends in the kitchen category.

“Couples love metallic and marble,” agreed Spector. “This is the biggest home décor trend we see today, and it’s not going anywhere. [It’s] reflected in all areas… from copper appliances to rose gold flatware to marble dinner ware.”

The following are darlings of this year’s wedding registries:

Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome

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