I won’t lie, one of my favorite parts of the wedding planning process was registering for gifts that I would never have to buy for myself. Or perhaps the idea of registering was the most fun…because I will admit, as a professional shopper (not really, but in my make-believe world), I found the process to be a little stressful. There you are, all excited, with gun in hand. Now what? What do you need? How much of it? Where do you start? Is it rude to register for the $600 orange standing mixer? But what if I really want the $600 standing mixer? I mean not enough that I would ever buy it for myself, but hey, if you’re buying…then I really want it. I will admit, I was really ill prepared. Plus I had my fiance’ with me, who does not enjoy shopping even a little bit, so after 45 minutes of chaos I agreed to just leave the store.
That’s when I discovered the online registry (insert angels singing here). I mean, is there really anything better in the world than sitting in your pj’s at your computer and clicking away to your hearts content all the things that you desire?? Le Creuset casserole dish- check! 12 bottle wine cellar, check! Mellon baller (because everyone needs one!!)- check! Totally and utterly addicting! And totally and utterly dangerous!
I realized that I should have been better informed and prepared before jumping into these muddy waters. Therefore, I have decided to take what I learned, all of my trade secrets, and share them with all of you newbies.
Tip # 1: Pick 3 stores to register at. The reason for this is that sometimes your favorite store is inconvenient for your guests. You may love William Sonoma, but maybe your cousin out in Kansas doesn’t have one by her. Make sure at least one of your options is a large franchise (like Bed, Bath and Beyond – but more about them later). Also, make sure all of your stores have websites so people can buy your gift online if they so desire.
Tip # 2: Don’t go anywhere without a plan of action. My biggest mistake was walking into a store on a whim. What I should have done was spent some time at home checking out my existing inventory as well as going on line to see what products are popular and what brands are good. Decide what types of items you want to get and what you don’t want to get (China and crystal, for example). Make a comprehensive list of what you plan on registering for. If you are a member of My Wedding Binder (and if you are not…well I mean really, why aren’t you??) then you have access to the extremely helpful registry list that I created. It tells you what items are important to register for from your dining room to your garage as well as how many of each items are necessary to have.
Tip # 3: Make your registry eclectic. Make shopping fun for your guests. Nothing is more of a bummer than going to pick up a gift for a friends shower and realizing that all that is left is a toilet bowl cleaner and an electric nose hair trimmer. People want to be excited about what they are getting for you so have a large variety of items that you want. And make sure you update your registry (from home of course) so that your guests always have options (unless you just want money – than leave it alone! They’ll get the hint eventually!) Additionally, be eclectic with your price ranges. You know your guests better than anyone else. Have a handful of really expensive items (for your rich great Aunt Gertrude and for your bridesmaids to chip in on), but also have a nice variety of price points so that people do not feel put off. A big portion of your items should be in the $20-$30 range.
Tip # 4: Consider store policy. This is super important. Some stores have the most amazing return policies and some totally suck. Here is when I give my major shout out to Bed Bath and Beyond for being the most awesome and bride friendly store ever!!! Lets discuss just how sick they are. First, with their abundance of 20% off coupons in circulation, your guests would be hard pressed not to be able to get their hands on one to use when buying your gift. Not only does BB&B take expired coupons (1998? No problem), but they have ZERO restrictions! That’s right, so that $600 standing mixer….just became $480! This is the best place to register for your expensive items because they could be bought using a coupon, thus you are more likely to end up receiving those items. The second thing that makes BB&B totally kick ass is that they have the absolute best return policy known to man. Anything bought off your registry can be returned FOR CASH even if you have already used it!! Yes, you read that correctly. I got a set of knives that I kept throwing in the dishwasher (whoops) and they all rusted. 6 months later I brought them back, no box, no problem! I got $80 back in cold, hard, cash!! If you get something not from your registry, they will also take it back in any condition and give you store credit or an exchange. You can not do better than that! (Psst – if you really want cash more than anything else, and you can’t find a good way to ask for it, just register for lots of gifts at BB&B and return them for cash afterwards! Don’t tell anyone I told you that!!)
Tip # 5: Think outside the home goods store. Are you currently living with your soon to be significant other? Maybe you already have all the chafing dishes and garlic presses a person could possibly need. Don’t get suckered into being traditional. More and more couples these days are opting to register at stores that suit their needs better. If you are moving into a new house, maybe you would prefer to register at Home Depot for renovation materials? Planning on installing a pool or putting in a garden? Check out registry options at specialty stores pertaining to your needs. Mr. N and I actually registered for our honeymoon! Guests had the option to contribute to the trip overall or purchase an activity for us (swimming with the dolphins, massages). In reality, they really are just contributing to your honeymoon costs because the website just sends you a check for all of the money your guests contributed (so really, you can spend it however you want). Check out www.honeymoonwishes.com to see how you can register for your honeymoon!
Whatever you do though, don’t be tacky. As much as I’m sure you are craving those really cute jeans from Bloomies or that necklace you saw at Saks, make sure that your registry items are things that you can both use as a couple.