A crash course in Wedding Registry 101
May 22, 2014
Congratulations: You are getting married! One of the fun parts of the pre-wedding whirlwind is that you get to register for all the supplies you’ll need to start your new home.
First, take stock of what you have and will keep, and what you need and want. Think about everything from barware to bedding, and don’t forget about formal dinnerware. Even though you may not be ready to serve a three-course meal on fine china this year, it might be in your entertaining future.
Next, make a list of your desired items and how many of each you’ll need. Plan to register at two to four stores that are easily accessible for guests. Even better, pick a place that offers your registry online or via fax or phone. Look for stores that have the brands and styles you want in a variety of price ranges, and carry both traditional products like a meat grinder and vegetable people, and fun ones like an ice cream maker or pizza stone.
Ask how the retailer maintains your registry. If an item is purchased, when will it be reflected on your list ... in 10 minutes or 48 hours? You want it update fast to help prevent you from getting three coffeepots when you only asked for one.
While you will get many gifts in person, some may come through the mail. Make sure gifts can be shipped to an address that’s convenient for you, whether it be your home, office, your mom’s house, etc. That way, you can easily receive your gifts. This arrangement also benefits guests who may not want to carry a heavy gift to your engagement party, bridal shower or the wedding itself.
Look for a registry that will stay posted for at least a year after your wedding date. Some people prefer to purchase an item after the wedding as a housewarming gift. In addition, others may look to your registry for gift ideas for anniversaries or other milestones.
Getting doubles of gifts is just unavoidable, and some folks simply prefer to get you a unique gift that wasn’t on your registry at all. But you needn’t be stuck with three vases that look alike. Find out about the store’s exchange and return policy. Some questions to keep in mind: How long do you have before you can return or exchange an item? Do all items fall under the exchange and return umbrella or just some?
Don’t be afraid to ask about the fringe benefits. Sometimes you can get discounts on any registry items that aren’t purchased. You may get a percentage off of anything on your registry for a year after your wedding, or you may get the discount on a one-time shopping spree. Ask registry consultants about discount specifics.
Once you choose where you will register, set up an appointment. You may be walked around the store by a registry specialist or be able to register yourself with a hand-held scanner. Whatever you do, take your time. You can always come back later to add items or delete some should you change your mind. (You can often manage your registry online from your home computer so you don’t have to do it all at the store itself.) Remember that’s it’s okay to register for a lot of items. That way, you give your guests plenty of gift-giving options in a range of prices. You may also want to register for necessities first, like coffee mugs, and then add on specialty items like a cappuccino maker after the essentials are bought. That way, you aren’t stuck with a cappuccino maker but no cups.
Keep back-up items in mind. Since you are registering in advance of your wedding, certain items may become discontinued before your big event occurs. Check your registry often for such cases, and add replacement items instead.
Most importantly, don’t forget to express your gratitude for your registry gift (or any gift for that matter) with a handwritten thank-you note. Remember, even though you’ve registered and are getting married, gifts are not mandatory. Show guests you appreciate their thoughtful gesture.