*Photo via Zola
When couples get engaged, many are surprised to hear that getting their wedding registry up and running is one of the first things they should do. Sounds fast, right? While it may seem speedy, it is recommended that newly engaged couples should start registering within a few weeks of getting engaged. This means that family and friends who want to send an engagement present have an idea of what to get you and that your registry is completed by the time your invitations go out. If you have recently gotten engaged and are ready to start registering for your wedding, follow these tips and etiquette advice to make the process as easy as possible!
Take Note of What You Already Have
It is a good idea to actually figure out what you need before diving into the registry. That way, you won’t get carried away with registering for items that you already have and don’t need replacing. Make a list of the things that you and your fiancé plan on keeping, and the things that you need or would like to replace. You may want to make lists of more everyday items, as well as more formal or special occasion items. From the stock that you are keeping, take note of a color scheme and theme that meshes well with them, and use that to guide you during your selection process.
Keep an Eye on Perks
Before you decide on where to register, look into the different perks that stores offer. Some places, for example, offer a completion program. This allows you to buy whatever items are left on your registry that do not get gifted at a discount.
Choose the Perfect Places
It is ideal to pick around 2 to 4 places for your registry. This gives your guests choices, but isn’t overwhelming. You may want to focus on grouping different stores for different types of items. For example, you can choose one store for bedding, one store for kitchen essentials, and so on. This makes it easier for you when picking out items, as you won’t end up with similar items from different stores.
Some common large retailers that have wedding registries include Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and Bed Bath & Beyond. It is also popular to use a service like Zola, where you can choose registry items for a variety of different stores and list them in one place. If you are including a local store for your registry, make sure you also have a nationwide retailer, or that the local stores have easy online shopping options. That ensures out-of-town guests don’t have difficulty getting you a gift.
Don’t Feel Tied to Traditions (But Do Think Long-Term)
Don’t feel pressured to add items to your list that you traditionally would include. If you have absolutely no use for a gravy boat or a tea kettle now or in the future, don’t register for one! Think of your lifestyle and the items you actually need and would use, and use that to guide your registry.
That being said, you should keep in mind that your lifestyle and needs may shift a bit once you get into married life. While you might not be much of a host right now, maybe you see yourself throwing dinner parties or hosting family holidays in a few years. This could also apply to bed linens—if you think you’ll upgrade from a queen to a king in a few years, it might be best to register for king size linens. Keep the long-term needs in mind as well when registering, and think of the items that might be valuable to you a few years down the line.
Pick a Variety of Price Points for Every Budget
Every guest will have a different budget, so make sure you include items that cater to everyone to avoid putting anyone in a tough spot. Make sure you have a good selection of items under the $50 mark, as well as more expensive choices as well.
Take It Slow
There is no need to register for everything all at once. You can make your initial list for the early-bird gift purchasers, and then add as you get closer to your wedding. If you rush the process, you may end up adding items you don’t truly want or need, so it is best to leave ample time to browse through choices and narrow down some options you are excited about.
Hint Towards What You Really Want
When it comes to that initial list, you may want to add the things that you really want or need. Maybe you’ve been wanting to replace the pots and pans you’ve had since college or your dinner plates that don’t match the rest of your kitchen. Add your top choices first, as they will be much more likely to be purchased. As these top-choice items start to be purchased off the registry, you can start to add other items.
Think Beyond Items
It is becoming increasingly popular for couples to register for experiences, especially if they don’t particularly need a lot of new material items. You can simply create a honeymoon fund, or ask for experiences like a couple’s massage or a romantic dinner for two. Honeymoon funds are also great for guests who are on a budget, as they can put in however much fits with their needs.
Review Your List
As you add new items to your list, make sure you double-check that everything is correct. Look if you forgot to take something off that you ultimately decided against, and check that the quantities are correct.
Put the URL On Your Wedding Website—Not the Invitation
A major wedding etiquette rule is to leave the registry off the invitation. Instead, put the wedding website info on the invitation, and put the registry details on the website. These details can also be communicated through word-of-mouth. The registry info can, however, be on the invitations for the bridal shower or engagement party, as these typically aren’t thrown by the couple.
Check-in on Your List
Typically, online registries will take an item off the list within seconds of it being purchased, so you shouldn’t have to worry about guests buying the same gift. You should, however, consistently check your registry to make sure there are enough items or experiences for guests to purchase. Most wedding gifts are purchased two weeks before the wedding, so make sure you check a bit before then and replenish the list if necessary so that guests have options.
Don’t Forget Your Thank Yous!
Remember to thank your guests not only for the gifts but for celebrating with you on your big day. Make sure you put a tracking system in place for receiving gifts, so that the thank-you writing process is as easy and efficient as possible.
If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You will have the chance to meet with wedding professionals from Georgia and the Southeast who can help bring your vision to life!