Monday, March 24, 2014

12 wedding registry tips {to make your life easier}

We finally got around to setting up registries for our wedding and to say it's a process seems like a bit of an understatement. After talking to friends and family who are already married we chose three stores, all with varying price points, all available to shop online, and in different locations to try and give everyone options. As of right now we have completed one registry in store, one online only, and we have started one online that we will add to in store soon. We elected to register first and foremost at Bed Bath & Beyond, which is our one completed registry and it was quite the eye opening experience.

Image via. featuring items from Bed Bath & Beyond

I set the registry up online before going to the store which saved us some time when we got there. The store manager talked to us about our wedding, what we wanted and needed, where the main focus on our registry would be, and set up a scanner for us before walking through the store. If you're uncertain in any way about different cookware sets, appliances, or more expensive registry items I highly recommend registering at Bed Bath & Beyond first. Matt, the store manager, was incredibly helpful and I cannot say enough good things about him! He knew about every product in the store, was able to answer any questions we had, and if we were unsure about what to put on our registry a short list of our preferences usually ended up with him giving us one or two options to choose from. (And no, he did not always recommend the biggest, most expensive, newest/top of the line items.)

We spent four hours in the store getting that registry created. It was a nice surprise that so many items we thought we would be registering for at other stores were available through BB&B (including our Kate Spade dinnerware!) We were tired by the end, but we had a lot of fun! We didn't have any problems or argue about what color towels or which storage container set we wanted - it was all really easy for us. After we got home we made some changes, started our other registries, and reviewed the rewards booklet. In the weeks since we have made more decisions, cut some things we realized we didn't need, and today I'm sharing some tips for registering for a wedding.
1. Talk to other couples and read up on return policies for a few stores before you go. We heard about a few stores that have awful return policies and that are difficult to work with from friends. While they may have been stores we regularly shop we didn't want issues with our wedding gifts - there are too many other things to worry about - so we elected to pass on those. Make sure the return policy will work for you. Also, check into any rewards programs they offer or discounts given for items that do not get purchased.

2. Talk about things you do and do not like together before you register. Jason and I have very similar tastes and even though we didn't talk about colors for our bathroom or anything before we went, we didn't have any problems. If you know your significant other has completely different tastes get an idea about color palettes, designs, whatever you need to talk about before you leave the house. Many couples do get into arguments when registering, it's silly, but it happens.

3. If you're throwing an engagement party and people are likely to send gifts for it - register early. Otherwise, I suggest registering closer to any bridal or couples showers you may have, which will ultimately be closer to your wedding date. The later registration gives you more time to evaluate your wants and needs, but it also keeps your registry up-to-date and you're less likely to run into issues with items no longer being available. Many stores cycle out kitchen, dining, and decor items by season, so if you do elect to register early check your registry every few months and remove anything that is no longer available for purchase.

4. Pick two or three stores with items that have varying price points so people have options. Not everyone is in the market to buy you a pricey kitchen appliance so be considerate.

5. Some stores send someone out with you to register (like Bed Bath & Beyond) and others don't. Either way have some kind of checklist on hand, it helps! Some stores will provide registry checklists or you can always find great lists online or in wedding magazines.

6. Make a decision about fine china before you leave your house. Formal dinnerware isn't a big deal to some, but it's very important to others. We want to throw formal dinner parties so we registered for it, but we have friends that have no interest in that and only asked for casual, every day dinnerware. Some stores really push their fine china sets as a traditional registry gift, so it's best to be prepared for the pitch and know what your response will be.

7. Do not register for things you don't actually need or want for a genuine purpose. If you really need a new cookware set and just kind of want food processor but you're not sure what you would use it for - register for the cookware and nix the food processor. If you don't cook a lot, skip the expensive knife block set too and figure out which knives will be key for your everyday and just register for those. Yes, the fun part is registering for things you want, but if something will not get used, what's the point? There were a lot of popular registry items we skipped over because they wouldn't be used.

I can see it now, if we registered for gifts we wouldn't use much those would be the gifts we were given, not the things we wanted and hoped to receive. Closer to your wedding if you notice your registry is being bought out and more gifts need to be added (some stores will call you if this happens) go back and add a few of those 'we-would-maybe-use-this-eventually' items.

8. We were told to ideally register for twice as many gifts as we intend to have guests. We're planning for 150 guests, absolute maximum, so at most we should register for 300 gifts. I'm not sure that we will actually register for that many, but some couples will have no problem hitting that mark. And don't feel bad about having a large registry - your guests want/need lots of options!

And don't be afraid to register for appliances. I was hesitant about a few things but we learned that kitchen electrics are the first items bought off most registries.

9. If you're already living together like us, take the opportunity to upgrade. Don't try and convince yourself that the pots and pans from college are good enough when you know they aren't. Consider when your current items were purchased and their condition, then decide whether or not you need to upgrade to something better, newer, more durable.

10. Do not register for ridiculous things that are over-the-top expensive and that no one is likely to purchase. Examples of things I have seen on registries that I would consider ridiculous for normal people: a $6,000 headboard and eight formal dining chairs at $350 each. These items were not purchased (not shocking) but what made it surprising was that the couples registering for them were all average couples from financially stable, but not crazy wealthy families. If you're family is well off and you know these things will be purchased and it wouldn't be abnormal, then go for it! But if your mother would roll her eyes at you for suggesting someone else should fund your $6,000 headboard you should probably not put it on the list. (My mother would probably laugh in my face for thinking anyone might buy us a headboard in the first place, but she would probably disown me if she heard that price.)

11. Feel free to register for a lot of items and then review them further when you get home and make more concrete decisions. Our stores offer our registries online where we can edit and update as we see fit which is incredibly helpful. If you're not sure about something it's no big deal to register for two of something and decide later.

Along those same lines, at times, because someone was helping us, I felt pressured to register for things I knew I wanted from other stores. I didn't want to be rude and tell the store manager "Oh, your wine glasses are nice, but I want the ones I found at Crate & Barrel." It was easier to just remove items later.

12. Send thank you cards as soon as gifts start arriving and make them personal. Everyone does their own thing, but etiquette dictates that you don't actually open and use gifts until after the wedding because in the event that anything happen and the wedding is called off gifts are to be returned. BUT you shouldn't wait months to send a thank you card and chances are you may forget who sent the gift and ultimately forget to do it altogether.

Do you have an registry advice that you think is worth sharing? I would love to hear it! (Especially since we have one more registry to complete.) I will also be sharing a list of our top ten registry items for every couple soon!

*We were not compensated in any way by Bed Bath & Beyond for this post. We just had such a positive experience registering with them and I wanted to share!*


  1. Love each and every one of these tips. My favorite has to be the ones about being considerate to guests and registering in every price point. We tried to keep in mind what WE could afford vs. what our parents could afford, and then we also threw in some things that friends who weren't even working could pick up like small kitchen pieces. Great post lady! :)

    1. Thanks girl! I genuinely felt bad asking for a few things and refused to put them on our registry. I know several couples who have asked for a Margaritaville blender (aren't those $300+?) - I could never, it seems so impractical. I just keep thinking "No one actually owes us gifts, it's just a nice gesture." I think some people forget that.

  2. Registering early was one of the best things we did while wedding planning. It gave plenty of time for out of town and shower guests, plus registering is so much more stressful than you'd anticipate it being so it's best to have it out of the way! We took my mom with us, which was great because she was someone who knew what it was to actually run a house and what you really NEED. Your tip on china was great too. We went for a classic white plate (everyday) set and then registered for some nice serving ware to match. I wouldn't do it any other way --we love those plates and they always look nice and make it easy to dress the table up with a nice tablecloth, cloth napkins, flowers, etc. They always go with anything.


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