Planning your wedding can be stressful, but the fun part is registering for gifts! Unfortunately, some people get carried away at the thought of all the presents coming their way and register spontaneously, not methodically. You have to remember that you're going to live with these gifts, and your friends and family are spending real money on them, so you better like them! Beyond that, you should think about what you need, not what you want, so you can really "set up house" — that's kind of the point. I have a few tips that will make it all easy for you. To hear them,
- Consider your timeline. If you're having any sort of engagement party, try to register by the time the invitations for that party go out, making sure you've covered all the price points. Many of your friends and family will want to buy your engagement and wedding gifts as soon as they hear about the engagement and get it out of the way. Don't feel rushed; you can always go back and add more items later on. If you're not having an engagement party, about nine months before your wedding day is a good time to register; it doesn't make you seem as if you're either rushing or procrastinating.
- Do your Spring cleaning, and take note of what you already have and what you need for your home.
- Then, get together and make a list of things you both want for your home.
- Before you start checking boxes, cruise around to a bunch of stores and decide which one or which few suit your tastes the most. Stick to three stores or fewer to keep things uncomplicated, and make sure one of them is a national department store like Bloomingdale's or Macy's.
- Most major stores have some sort of registry system, if not an online one. However, if you love a certain boutique or specialty store, they may not. But most will be more than willing to work something out with you, so just ask!
- Go through all the questions. Figure out what kind of return policy each store has, how shipping works, whether they take phone orders, whether they have an online database to track orders, etc. Your older generation of friends and family may only want to shop by phone or in store, so there should be something available for them. And it's ideal to be able to track the orders as they come in, so you can add more items at different price points, or remove items if need be.
- Use our downloadable registry guide to make sure you've covered all the bases for your housewares, and go ahead and register with each store, giving as much detail as possible to make it easy on guests. Choose size, color, brand, etc.
- You can also use MyRegistry to register online from a variety of sources, giving your friends and family a central place to shop for you.
- OK, so let's say you already have all the table runners and Le Creuset pans you could ever want. What then? Nowadays it's not uncommon to have an alternative registry. If you'd like, you can register with a charity or even to pay for your honeymoon. Although it's not the most proper of moves, if you really need help with your finances, you can even register for stocks or cash for big ticket items you may need.
- Once you're registered, there's some etiquette you should follow for getting the word out. It's a bit taboo to send your registry information out with your invitation. If you have a website for your wedding, you can post it discreetly there. It's also common to have your maid of honor send out the details with the invitations for your bridal shower, and the same for the bachelor party. You can ask your family members to pass the word along to the guests as well. And, if your guests ask you up front where you are registered, go ahead! If you are sending out a package to your guests with other details about the wedding (maps, hotel information, etc.) apart from the invitation, you can slip in a printed card with the registry information.
- Most registries remain active for at least a year after the big day so guests can make purchases after the fact. And many stores will give you a discount on the items that weren't purchased, so that you can buy them for yourself.