If you are engaged, one important task on your wedding to do list is to create a wedding registry.
You may spend a few hours with your fiance choosing a store to register for your wedding gifts and actually picking the items to appear on the list. Some people find the process so overwhelming that they continue registering over the course of a few days.
If you are recently engaged and planning to create a wedding registry, here are a few tips to make the most of your registry:
Register at two stores
As a courtesy to your guest, keep in mind that people have varying budgets. It is fine to register at a high end store, but if you only register there, the guests who have a limited budget will likely find many of the gifts out of reach. If you also register at a more moderately priced store (think Target or Kohl’s, for example) you will likely have items that people can afford no matter their budget.
Buy doubles of the essentials
When we married over 10 years ago, we found an everyday plate set that we loved, and we asked for 8. We got 8 plates, bowls, and mugs. Fast forward to the present, and now, 3 kids and endless accidents later, we are down to about 3 large plates and 2 bowls. We both love the set and wanted to replace the items that were broken, but the line has been discontinued.
Knowing what we know now, we would have asked for at least 16 of each item.
Avoid current trends
Ideally, the items you register for will last decades into your marriage, so picking classic colors and designs may be your best bet. Orange seems to be a hot color now, but will orange be out of fashion 5 or 10 years from now? You don’t want to be stuck with orange plates or worse, large kitchen items (like a Kitchen-Aid mixer, for example), that looks dated. The Knot suggests you “add the trendier items as accents” (TheKnot.com)
Don’t feel obligated to register for expensive china
If you would like fancy china, by all means, register for it, but don’t feel you have to.
My mom loves her fine china, so she would pull it out for holiday dinners, but that just meant washing it before use and after (with fear of accidentally breaking a piece). We also had to be so careful during the meal that I learned to dislike using fancy china. It was not on my registry even though several people urged me to add it.
Another reason you may not want to register for your own china is that you hope a family set will be passed down to you.
Try to avoid too many personal items on the registry
The wedding registry should be comprised of items to help you set up a home, not necessarily for personal hobbies.
When my friend registered for her gifts, her fiancé felt everything on the registry was for her (even though it was basic everyday goods—cooking utensils, pots and pans, etc.), so he registered for some things he would like including a beer making kit as well as the refill kit and a keg-o-rator (like a refrigerator for a keg).
Needless to say, many guests weren’t pleased to see those items.
Consider stepping outside the box and asking for cash
Generally, asking for cash is bad form, but there are a number of websites that have popped up that offer you the chance to register for cash to help fund your honeymoon or down payment on your house.
Alternatives include sites like Feather Our Nest (but be careful because there is a $300 fee if you don’t use one of their realtors) and Our Wishing Well (which also has steep fees of 5.95% to 10% per transaction).
However, be careful with this option not only because of the fees involved but because you run the risk of offending your guests who may not like the idea of the bride and groom specifically asking for cash.
Wedding registries may seem like a lot of work—you have to choose the store and then the items, being careful to choose what you want in a variety of price ranges for all guests.
However, if you choose wisely, the items you receive can last you decades into your marriage. Some people may want to request cash, but be careful both in asking and in using some of the sites that have popped up to handle such requests. You may find a great deal of your gift money disappears in fees.