A – ask for advice – You might want to ask your friends who have already tied the knot if they have any advice about items to regiester for and which ones you might want to skip. Taking into account that everyone has different taste it seems that almost everyone has a few items (waffle maker) on the wedding registry that they received and have never used so you might want to find out what those are and skip them.
B – be respectful – Lets be honest for a lot of people just traveling to the wedding, paying for that travel and the hotel and then on top of it taking time away from work and/or family is difficult. You might want to offer some inexpensive items on your registry or offer an enclosure card that offers some sweet words about just having all your friends and family at your wedding is enough. Don’t forget you are not the only one who is getting married and your guests might be attending 3, 4, 5 or more weddings in one wedding season (my husband and I topped out at 7 one summer!)
C – count your items – You don’t want to over do it and you don’t want to under do it so make sure you count your items and have a healthy amount of items for your guests to select from. If you have hundreds of items for your guests to pick from you will end up with a surplus of items you don’t receive and viceversa if you don’t have enough items people will start buying off the registry (gasp!).
D- Don’t go with trends – If you register for trendy items, like the Kate Spade dragonfly china set that everyone was registering for 5 years ago you might end up regretting it. Think about going with items that will always be in style and with neutral colors likes whites, creams and beige so you can mix and match as your taste and needs change. This does not mean that you have to be boring it just means you might want to rethink the “must have” item of the moment.
E- eat, drink & decorate – So many people fill up there registry with items for their kitchen and dining area and they forget to think about decor items. I actually like to buy a nice framed picture or a beautiful vase for couples because I feel like it is something that will stand out in their home for years to come. The kitchen and dining areas of the home are really important but don’t overlook the decor items you could add.
F- fill it in correctly – Most couples will register for gifts online and when you do the company will ask you questions like your name, your fiance’s name, your address, wedding date and state. If you make a mistake in any of these fields your guests will have a very difficult time finding your information. Most of the systems out there allow guests to fill in a last name and the wedding state and then a list will come up with matching criteria. Think about things that could make your listing hard to find and avoid them such as your formal name verses your nickname: listing Maggie and not Margaret or Jon not Jonathan. Also, most of the time it will ask for your wedding state (the state where you will actually get married and have your celebration, not where you live) but I can’t tell you the number of times I have found couples listing the state where they live and not the state where their wedding will take place. Keep in mind distant family or out of touch friends may not know where you currently live (well she works in NY but does she live in NY or NJ or CT?) but they will defiantly know where the wedding is thanks to your beautiful invitation which arrived in the mail.
G- give a little back– It is nice to fill up your new home with items but don’t forget about the many charities out there who would love a donation in your name. Several sites offer this service and you can offer this option to guests which is just a nice way to give back to a charity who could use some help.
H- have a plan– Don’t go “scanning” crazy. When you first get the scanning gun in your hand it is like that scene out of 27 Dresses where Katherine Heigl’s character goes crazy and scans everything in store but no matter how long you have waited for this moment you need to take a few minutes to compose yourself so you don’t end up registering for fake display apples (true story from a girl I know).
I- invest in good items– Many couples will use their registry for items that they don’t want to have to spend their own cash on but feel are important for their new life together. This is exactly the right idea! Think about those expensive cookware sets, china patterns and silver items that you would like to have for the bulk of your life and add them to the list. People are always happy to give a gift they feel you will use for many years to come.
J- just because items – It never hurts to have a few “just because items” on the list. You may not get the cashmere blanket or the towel warmer but it never hurts to put a few high ticket items on the list, you might just end up with a group of friends all going in on that item together.
K- keep the gift receipt– You would think that since you hand-selected all the items you want that those would be the ones that actually ended up at your doorstep but that is just not true. When you get a gift off your registry and you either don’t like it, its does not match the description or it is just not what you had listed, make sure you take the receipt back to the store with you. Many times just because you had it on your registry list does not mean a store will take the item back.
L- look in person– The temptation to register online is overwhelming but I would advice you to head out to the store and take a look around in person. You don’t have to actually do the registering there at the store but it might help you decide what you like and what is not worth adding to your list. By not looking in person you might end up with a cookie sheet that is 3 sizes too big for a normal stove (guilty as charged!)
M- monogramming somongraming– My husband and I once were shopping on the registry of a wedding we were attending to try to find the perfect gift and we soon noticed that every single item (I mean every single one) requested that it be monogrammed with the couples names, initials or wedding date. I get it, you are excited to have your new name but lets just keep it in check. If you want to have some items personalized that is perfectly fine but try to offer a variety of monogrammed and non-monogrammed items so your guests have a choice. We ended up buying a cast iron frying pan (which was on the registry) and including a note that said “good luck monogramming this!”
N- note what you have– When all of those gifts start rolling in you will need to have a plan in place for how you will mark which gift came from which guests. Many times a gift note will come with an item and you can just tuck that inside the gift until you write your thank you note but often the only way to know who a gift is from is by reading the return label on the box (which might end up in the trash). Take the time to make a spread sheet or at the very least have a dedicated notebook and write down each item, when it arrived, who it was from and what store they bought it from. This will make life so much easier come Thank You note wrting
O- over registering happens– It seems like this happens to everyone I know, you start down the path of Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Williams Sonoma and everywhere else and you can’t hold back. One thing to keep in mind is if you over regiester for items you will have a large surplus of gift left not purchased and you will not receive cash which so many couples are hoping for.
P- put it on social media– Don’t get me wrong, no one wants to see unending Facebook updates about the gravy boat you just registered for (for when you host your first Thanksgiving of course) but it might be worth spreading the word once or twice on your FB, Twitter and if you have one your wedding website. These outlets will eliminate some of the searching for your guests and allow them to go right to the source.
Q- quietly ask for cash– You really can’t have a big announcement added to your invitation that says you would rather receive cash but you can spread the word through your family and your fiance’s family that cash would be a nice gift. Most of the time you will receive cash from relatives so spreading the word in a dignified manner through your family’s grapevine might be the way to go.
R- return policy info– Before you start to register for items make sure you understand the return policy. Some stores will not allow you to return items after a certain number of days (but we were on our honeymoon!) while some stores give you cash back for gifts and some only store credit. Whatever the case may be just take a few moments to understand how, when and why you can or cannot return items.
S- soup, salad & breadsticks– Unless you are a entertaining diva the chances that you have already hosted several formal meals is probably not high but moving forward in your married life you may want to and probably will get to so make sure you regiester for items you don’t have yet: soup bowls, salad plates, bread baskets and more!
T- take inventory– Whether you are currently living with your fiance or not make sure you take inventory of what you both have so that you don’t end up with 3 toasters and 2 blenders and 0 spoons. Make a quick note of how many dishes you have, the ones you know you want to keep when you merge items and what you both would like to add to your collection.
U- use your discounts– You may not know it but many retailers offer a discount for items that you registered for but did not receive as a gift. After your wedding day has passed and you have received what seems like the bulk of our items you can use your discount to purchase those left over items.
V- visit often– It makes no difference if you registered in store or online you need to visit your registry page often to make sure there are no issues. I once went to a registry page where every single item was “currently on backorder” and I was left with no options. Just pop over every so often to make sure things are running smoothly on your pages.
W- wait a little before registering– He popped the question and you said yes, now wait awhile before filling up those pages with goodies. Engagement gifts might come but wait at least a few weeks between saying YES, and saying “yes, I really love this china pattern”
X- x it off the list– When you receive an item in the mail make sure you head over to your registry and make sure it was updated as “already fulfilled”. I was once with a friend who received a toaster with a beautiful stainless steel finish and then a few days later the same one arrived and then a few days later she received the same one. Clearly, the retail company was having tech issues and their system was not marking items as already purchased. Just double check when you get an item that it actually was x’ed off the list.
Y- you don’t need everything– It is easy to start adding everything in the store to your list but remember you don’t need everything and certainly not all at once. You might actually want to save a few items to add to the registry after events like a shower so you can refresh the registry again in preparation for the wedding day.
Z- zero in on a select few key items– If you really really really want to make sure that you receive that beautiful cookware that comes with 20 different pieces then you might want to limit the number of other items you have listed. By featuring key items your guests will be able to zero in on the items you really want and you will be able to make sure you receive them.