18 July 2012

WW: Registry Tips

It's that time to put aside your own checkbook and ask your guests for goodies!  But, where do you start? There are several options for couples getting married and couples generally fall in to one of two categories: those who have nothing and those who have everything.

The Couples Who Have Nothing
A wedding registry is the opportunity for your guests to give you a little something to congratulate you on your nuptials.  After treating them to a few hours of celebration in honor of you and your new spouse, this is their opportunity to shower you with something that will help you in your new marriage.  So, really think about what you could need for your marriage and start registering! 

Now, where should you register?  That is a tricky question as many stores have advantages and disadvantages.  However, many sources recommend you start with where you shop, because you obviously like their stuff!  So if you're a Target addict or a Bed, Bath & Beyond frequent customer, register there!  Having multiple registries is acceptable and I, personally, recommend having two (maybe three) registries.  Some stores are pretty limited on their selection, so it helps to have another store registry to help top off your list.  The problem with doing too many registries is it starts becoming a lot to manage and you just don't want to confuse your guests.

What should you register for?  You should register for what you will realistically use, in my opinion.  If you are a cook, register for things you know would make your cooking experience easier, more fun, or broader!  If you're not a cook, I recommend sticking to the basics to make your cooking experience easier, but then registering for things you do think you will use more.  Some people might need bedding, some might need shelving, some might need dishes and glassware, some might need a vacuum cleaner or a space heater.  I think there should always be a few "this is who we are as a couple" items.  For instance, if you like to bike riding, maybe register for some biking equipment: new chains, a better helmet, reflective gear, etc. In your world, these are some of your needs more than a 17-piece cookware set.  However, if you don't have any cookware, I recommend registering for some.

The Couples Who Have Everything
The same applies from the couples who have nothing.  This is an opportunity for your guests to congratulate you, shower you, and start you off on a good foot.  If you already have cookware and linens, many people are opting for honeymoon registries or experience registries, such as tickets to a concert or cooking lessons.  More and more internet registries are created for this sole purpose, making it easier for couples to ask for gifts such as these.  Since money is still considered a taboo gift, these registries are a bit more polite -- and fun!  Here are some of my favorite sites for these things:
  • ListCharming: a free online registry where your "register" for an item, but guests just give you a monetary value for the item for you to go an purchase yourself.  That way, you can list "china" and then end up going to pick up your china in person (since it's really hard to tell on the internet what you would prefer).  Here's the fun thing: you can register for anything like items to cooking classes or the opera!  My favorite: people registering for a pig roast to celebrate their first anniversary!  
  • HoneyFund: a free online honeymoon registry similar to ListCharming but for honeymoons, that way you can save a little money after financing your wedding and enjoy your honeymoon.  Want to go zip-lining in Brazil?  Now you can, thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Jones, your favorite aunt and uncle!
Of course, there are several websites out there like this, but these are two free resources I have found of late to accomplish these trends.

Another idea that is also becoming increasingly popular is the charity registry.  This provides the guests an opportunity to donate to a cause that is close to the couple's hearts.  A popular online registry for this is the I Do Foundation.  Though, I think that this is a great idea, the I Do Foundation has only a few charities to choose from that are pre-selected by JustGive.org.  If there is a particular interest that you have outside the list provided by I Do Foundation, I recommend you talk to the organization or foundation directly and they can maybe work with you to set something up.

My Personal Advice
Register for everything you think you need... then go back and delete items that no longer sound practical.  It's a lot easier to get rid of items when you're seeing them side by side to other items, versus deciding at the moment of scanning/clicking.

Register for a wide variety of items with varying costs.  Some guests may be able to afford that great 12-piece cutlery set from J.A. Henckels for $279.99, however others might not.  Therefore, if you really want that cutlery set and think you would realistically use it, then register for it!  But also register for something a little bit more affordable, like a toaster for $59.99.

Do show your interests as a couple.  I already mentioned an example for bikers, but there are so many other options.  If you love wine, register for some wines or a wine cabinet.  If you love beer and are interested in homebrewing, register for some supplies.  If he's a videogamer and she's artsy, maybe register for a game for him and some supplies for her.  However, in my opinion, the registry is more for the both of you, so maybe keep these items to a minimum.

Start medium and add later.  In my opinion, you don't want to overwhelm your guests.  I know a lot of sites recommend adding a lot for options, which is a great point.  But I have heard a lot of guests talking about feeling overwhelmed, which also occurs with too many wedding websites.  I've been recommend creating a medium registry then adding items as time passes and as guests start purchasing other items.  You never know how generous some guests will be, but it'd be a bummer to get some less important items over the more important items because your guests didn't know.  Either way, some stores offer discounts for the couple to purchase the remaining items on their registry after the wedding.  This might be something to consider when choosing a store in which to register.

Traditionally, it has not been appropriate to include registry information in invitations.  However, more and more people are doing this.  It's recommended that you should just include the information in your wedding website and then continue spreading the information by word of mouth, but this can be fuzzy for those couples choosing to forgo the wedding website.  This, like many other wedding formalities, is up to you and your significant other to decide.  If you aren't having a website and just think it's the best way to announce your registry, throw in a small card in to the invitation package.  My advice for this is just don't include it on the invite itself.

Think about your space.  This is particularly important if you will be having a smaller living space once you get married.  Some couples who have smaller living spaces register for large items and then get a storage space until the items go in to use.  This is just one of many options.  My fianc√© and I are just registering for pertinent items now, because we aren't sure what we'll want to fill our space when we finally move in to a larger, more permanent space.  Of course, this is an individual opinion, but since tastes tend to change and it's near impossible to anticipate what your future living space will look like or require, I think it's a good idea to just think about your space immediately after your married and registering for that space.


My Favorite Items Off Our Registry
From top, left to right: J.A. Henckel's 10-Piece Knife Set, Hotel Collection bedding, KitchenAid Stand Mixer in Majestic Yellow (different color shown), Rocket Blender (amazing invention -- I use almost every day), Wilton Armentale Acanthus silver platter, Blu-Ray player (Duncan has specific requirements), Cuisinart Stainless Steel Cookware 11 Piece Set, Star Wars: The Complete Saga, and this to-die-for wood cheese dome.

We received everything on this image except (sadly) the Star Wars blu-rays.  I think our guests knew our personalities really well when choosing what to gift us because even though we only got a fraction of what was on our registry it was all the best, most cherished items that would be used the most by us.

Lastly, I personally recommend GiftRegistry360.  Many of our items were from Macy's, but also from Amazon.com and other retailers for the more unique items (at one point we had a wine cabinet from a wine cabinet retailer on our registry before we received an awesome hand-me-down one).

Great Resources
Martha Stewart Wedding's Registering for Table Settings
Martha Stewart Wedding's Registry Checklist
I Do Foundation's Charitable Partners List
How ListCharming Works
Zankyou: a cash wedding registry, a combination of both ListCharming and HoneyFund
GiftRegistry360, the Knot's all-in-one registry resource
The Knot's Choosing Your Store
The Knot's Registry Q&A
The Knot's 26 Top Tips


  1. This is some really great advice! Registries are a lot of fun, but they can be confusing too. I definitely think that brides appreciate everything you've said here {and I agree with it all!}.

    Thanks for linking up today Amy!


  2. […] about making your wedding registry with tips I had found helpful. You can read the in depth article here, but I’m going to sum up a few key points for making your life (and your guests’ lives) a […]


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