With so many options to choose from, your registry experience might feel like being a kid in a candy store. From basics such as linens and cookware to heirloom pieces such as silver candlesticks and serving platters, your gift registry will cover an array of household needs for your home as a married couple. As you plan for your home together, this part of the wedding planning process can be the most fun and exciting.
WHEN TO REGISTER
Consider registering for a few of the absolute must-haves immediately after you announce your engagement. These selections provide close friends and family with ideas for engagement gifts and is especially helpful if you are planning a wedding shower. If you are not planning an engagement party, you can create your gift registry six to nine months prior to any showers or your wedding date. Some products may become unavailable, so periodically check on your registry to determine if you should select additional or replacement items.
WHERE TO START
It is best to select two or three stores when registering for your wedding. Since guests will need to accommodate their own budget when selecting your gift, it is thoughtful to include options across a wide array of price points. Also, be aware of whether items may be purchased in-store or online. While this may be convenient for out-of-town guests, it may be an added expense for those who live in the area and want to personally present their gift. Registering with a store that provides both options is usually the best of both worlds.
An important step in determining where you wish to register is to educate yourself on the store’s registry fine print. Large retail stores can record guests’ purchase history and any shipping addresses, thereby making thank-you notes a breeze. However, some stores may limit the number of returns or exchanges without a proper gift receipt, making it difficult to exchange duplicates. Ask the store about their return policy, if they keep a purchase history of your items and how guests will be able to access your registry selections.
Gift registries have become more and more popular over time due to the convenience of online ordering and shipping directly to the newlyweds’ home. There are a variety of sites offering services with a niche appeal, such as gifts for the environmentally conscious bride. On these websites, a couple can register for gifts from green merchants as well as cash gifts such as donations to charities. Many sites also include a “partial” gifting option to accommodate the couple that wishes to include more expensive gifts. Whether you choose to utilize a cash or product-driven online registry, the biggest benefit is that guests can save time and money by avoiding busy stores, expensive gift wrapping and possibly shipping costs. Should you decide to register with an online service, make certain the site is user-friendly.
Start by taking a thorough inventory of your combined belongings to determine your needs. Take note of any items you are missing or that need replacing. Envision your home in five to 10 years. You may not host dinner parties now, but will you in a few years? Do you see yourself hosting holiday events such as Thanksgiving or Christmas? Before skipping over certain areas like flatware, try to envision your future lifestyle.
Just like wedding planning, you should first cover your basics when developing your gift registry. Items like sheet sets and linens, towels, pots and pans, cutlery and stemware are everyday essentials that you will use for many years to come. When browsing through the options, we suggest sticking to neutral colors. Crisp white sheets and towels match any décor and are easy to treat and protect. Investing in a neutral palette will extend the life of your gifts.
After the basics are covered, move on to items you want for day-to-day tasks such as slow cookers, kitchen mixers, coffee makers, laundry baskets and decorative lamps. Selections should include low, medium and high price points. Tip: Compile your list categorized by room so you can easily remember these items when you hit the stores.
The last items to add to your registry can be any unique and special gifts like china, silver flatware or engraved picture frames. These items may appeal to close family members and friends who wish to give you a wedding gift that will become a true keepsake for special occasions. These items should be classic and timeless in design, thereby assuring you will use them repeatedly, regardless of your change in décor. If you can’t resist, select a few fun and charming items that strike your fancy.
REVIEW THE LIST
Remember to check back with each store’s registry from time to time to add items that you missed the first time around or to make changes after receiving items from wedding showers. When receiving gifts prior to the wedding day, it is proper etiquette to send a thank-you note within a week or two to verify that the gift arrived and is deeply appreciated.
If there are gifts still left on your registry after your wedding, many stores offer a completion program via discounted pricing on items remaining on your list. Some stores send a completion coupon several weeks after your wedding date, so it may be wise to hold off splurging on big ticket items until then.