Wedding Registry Tips

by Andrea K. Clark

Planning a wedding can be a lot of fun, but it can also be pretty stressful for couples as they have a ton of questions that need answers and more than enough (think future in-laws) people who are willing to answer for the happy couple. This is probably why a lot of couples look forward to spending a day (or two) alone as they complete their wedding registry.

Wedding registries are created because everyone wants to help newlyweds get off on the right foot, yet they don’t know exactly how to help. Therefore, the future bride and groom create a gift registry that contains a list of items (from various stores) of the things they don’t have, but would like as they begin their new life together. This ensures that guests are able to give the couple a wedding gift that they genuinely want.

The day that my then fiancé (husband now) and I spent registering for our wedding was a lot of fun. While registering is fun and exciting there are a few things that couples should keep in mind as they work their way through the registering process.

1. Keep Store List Short – Nowadays, almost every store has a way for couples to register with them. It doesn’t matter what type of store it is. Don’t give in to the temptation to register at all the stores you like to shop at. If possible, try to keep the registry store list down to 3-4 places. The best thing to do is choose the stores where you shop the most frequently that have the majority of the things you need under one roof. For example, you could register at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Dillard’s, which should allow you to register for everything you will need!

Keeping the store list short will still give your guests flexibility when shopping for your wedding gifts, while keeping the return trips (and yes, you will have some returns to make) easier for you. Plus, there will always be guests who prefer to give cash gifts, so use those gifts to purchase the items you need that aren’t found at the stores you registered with.

2. Register for Items You Need – One thing that always irritates me when I browse through wedding registries is to see couples registering for things like DVD’s, beach towels and candles. While those may be things that the couple wants are they things that they need and will be used often? Try to think logically about the things that you and your future spouse are really going to need in your life together before you scan the item to your registry. If it is something that you think would be cool to have but probably won’t ever use, then leave it off the registry. Your guests want to give you a gift that you not only want but will use for years to come!

3. Don’t be Afraid to Register for Big Items – When my husband and I went to register all those years ago, I was very hesitant to register for the big items like a vacuum and the Emeril pots and pans set that I really wanted. Why? I didn’t want my guests to think we were being unrealistic and expecting them to buy me expensive gifts. However, we did go ahead and register for the vacuum and cookware set that I wanted because they were both items that we would use. It turned out that we received three (yes three) of the vacuums that were on the registry. However, we didn’t receive the cookware. The cookware was at Dillard’s and unbeknownst to us, Dillard’s allows couples to come back and purchase any of the items on their registry that they didn’t receive for an additional discount after the wedding! So, we used the gift cards and cash to go buy the cookware we wanted.

Don’t be afraid to register for the big ticket items because you never know what your guests will budget for your wedding gift and the store may offer an additional discount when you buy an item on the registry after the wedding that you didn’t receive.

4. Register for All Budgets – While you and your fiancé may enjoy the finer things in life, try to think of all your wedding guests. Not everyone is able to afford expensive gifts. So, while you shouldn’t be afraid to register for the big items, you should look for smaller, less expensive items also. I mean, we all need mixing bowls, cooking utensils, irons, etc., right? Giving guests a variety of items in various price ranges will allow them the ability to pick out a gift that they know you will like, but that they can comfortably afford too.

5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – All too often, we get caught up in the moment and forget about the things that are truly important. For example, couples often get in petty arguments when they register together because one prefers on set of mixing bowls over the set the other picked out.

For my husband and I, it was our dishes. I don’t even remember which set I wanted but my husband-to-be was dead set on a blue set from Dillard’s. I thought it was crazy that he even had an opinion on the matter, but he did and at first I argued with him. However, after about 10 minutes of arguing, I agreed to the dishes…which we are still using. I realized that it really wasn’t important what the plates looked like, as long as the set was of good quality, because the important thing was that we were getting married and this was obviously something he felt strongly about so why get all worked up over it?

Just remember, registering is supposed to be fun. Don’t let the little things skew your view of what is really important. Yes, you will have disagreements, but the important thing is that you learn to compromise with each other and have fun! Ten years from now you aren’t going to care about which sheet set you received or if you’re still eating off the blue dishes (which I’ve grown to love)…all that will matter is that you’re enjoying your life together.

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