You’re full of hopes and dreams of building your lives together, but before you and your fiancé grab the scanner and head down the aisles to create a wish list for a wedding registry, here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider.
1. Don’t forget to register. There’s a lot going on in the wedding process, but Jo Anne Hewlett of Make a Memory Event Planning in Newark says registering for gifts is something that shouldn’t slip through the cracks. If the couple doesn’t live together or is just setting up a household, it’s even more important. “Plus the guys really like it,” Hewlett says with a laugh, referring to the scan gun they get to use. But don’t get too scan-happy your first time through the store. A 20-page registry can be daunting. Keep in mind that registries are not a once-and-done thing. Check your registry regularly and update it as needed. If you notice everything under $100 is gone and nothing over $100 has been purchased, replenish the lower-price items only.
2. Don’t forget to research your registry. According to wedding planner Nicole Bailey of Elevee Events in Rehoboth Beach, most brides know where they want to register because it’s where they shop. Even if you’re familiar with the store, you’ll still want to verify what its policies are. Suzanne Edgar of Everything But the Kitchen Sink in Hockessin suggests you find out if the store delivers, charges extra for shipping or provides gift-wrapping services. Ask questions. The people in the store are professionals and want to help you. “Registries are so easy,” Bailey says.
3. Don’t register for items you don’t want. It seems obvious, but wedding traditions can be hard to break. Just because your fiancé’s great aunt says fine china is a must-have, you aren’t required to pick out a set. Every couple is different. Many brides today are older and more established. Some have been married before, and others are just starting out. Hewlett also recommends thinking long term. You’ll keep a lot of these gifts forever. You should consider a set of sterling-silver flatware or solid wood salad bowls. Register for what is right for you today and down the road as well.
4. Do look for alternatives. If fine china isn’t right for you, Bailey suggests you pick out something of equal value, such as a set of crystal bourbon snifters. If you already have bath towels, consider replacing bed sheets or your second-hand frying pan. There are websites that allow wedding guests to donate to a charity of your choice. Hewlett advises you also think outside the box. While you should never ask outright for cash, there are websites where guests can help fund your honeymoon or contribute to a down payment on a house. Let your guests give you experiences on your honeymoon like a photographer for the day or a parasailing excursion.
5. Do register for multiple-price points. Your guests are likely to be a diverse group of people with a range of incomes, and you’ll want to give them options. Some guests like to buy several smaller gifts to give together, and sometimes people will join in to buy a higher ticket item. Edgar recommends you register for items from $1 to a few that are several hundred dollars. “It’s a big wish list,” she says. “It’s one of the few times in your life where you get to say, ‘I want this and I want this and I want this.’”
6. Do consider your guests. Though traditionally expected, no one is obligated to buy you a gift. Be mindful of the thoughts and feelings of your friends and families. While guests might find it charming to help fund the honeymoon for a couple who is just starting out, they might be offended if you’re hosting a wedding with a six-figure price tag. If your in-laws are vegetarians, don’t register for the deluxe chicken rotisserie. What is a high-priced item on one registry may not break the bank on another. Even though your registry is a wish list, you want to consider how much you are asking guests to spend. For instance, if you’re having a destination wedding, factor in the cost of getting to the location. Says Bailey, “We all know what our families can and cannot afford.”