• Brittany

Registry Basics

You’re getting married! Congratulations! Besides the typical wedding preparations such as ceremony location, reception venue, flowers, music, and wedding clothes, many couples need to think about what items they want to add to their wedding registry. Creating your wedding registry is tons of fun, yet has this underlying stress to it. Where should I register? What items should I put on the list? How stuff is too much stuff? What price range should I stick to?

I remember when my husband Paul and I went to register for our wedding like it was yesterday. We set aside a few days to visit stores and do some shopping. I already had a good idea of what stores I had in mind, and had a basic idea of what we needed. I made a short list of things I wanted to remember to look at or keep in mind when going through the store. I was excited! I was going to be fun picking out things with my fiancé and imagining our married life together.

We went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, quickly set up the registry, and were given a scan gun so we could add items to our list! Whoo hoo! But after a few hours, I was getting a little pooped out. Paul noticed, and I admitted I was getting sort of overwhelmed by everything we needed and everything we were asking for. Thankfully Paul is a champ and gave me a quick pep talk and we finished up what we came to do. Looking back, we still laugh over my “melt down” (not really a melt down, but it’s the closest I ever came to one in my life haha) and how long it took us to go through the store!

Was registering fun? Absolutely! Was I expecting the process to take as long as it did? Yes and no. Paul and I were in the unique position that we both still lived at home when we got engaged and were in the throes of house hunting while making wedding plans, including starting our registry. We were well aware that we needed a lot for our eventual new house! I’m one of those crazy organized people who loves to color code things, make spreadsheets, and lists, and yet registering almost got the better of me for a minute there.

But have no fear! I have made all sorts of checklists for you to go through to make your life a little easier as you create your registry! I’ve broken down the lists to general topics of items you will need and will go over each topic with you so you can decide what does and does not work for you and your life! Sound good? Great! Let’s get going!

In this post, I’m going to generally talk about what to think about when you start your registry and not the specific items to add. We’ll get to that in later posts. The main things you should think about before running out to the stores should be:

  • What you need or want

  • Where you want to start a registry (or registries!)

  • How much you plan to add to the registry

  • Price points

  • What to bring when registering etc.

Let’s start with the what.

But Britany! You said you were’t going to talk about specific items in this post! You’re right! But you still need to get a general idea of what you need or want for your married life. Maybe you are in the same position as Paul and I were and need everything for a house. Maybe you have been living on your own for awhile and already have a head start. So then think about what things do you still need, or what things do you either want more of, or would want to upgrade? Perhaps you don’t have a complete dish set. Or your bathroom towels have seen better days.

You also need to think about how you live your life. Do you cook? Do you plan on starting? If the answer is no, then why bother registering for kitchen items you will never use? Focus on the things you will use and what you do need. Once you start thinking about what you need you’ll be in a much better position to think about where you want to start your registry.

The Where

What are some of your favorite stores? As obvious as this is, it is probably where you want to start! There is really no point in registering somewhere if it doesn’t match your style or your needs. When Paul and I registered we started at Bed, Bath, and Beyond because let’s face it, it’s one of the greatest home stores ever. No matter where your family lives, they most likely have a store nearby to get you something, they always have a large selection of items, and let’s not forget that 20% off coupon that we all love! Plus, I personally find it very helpful to actually be able to see, look, and touch most of the things I will be registering for. Lots of times there are things in the store that you might not come across when just browsing online. Maybe you’re different and are fine with going solely with online registries such as Amazon, and that’s ok!

You can also quickly look online for each store’s benefits of registering there. Some stores offer completion discounts so you can buy whatever was not purchased at a specified discount after your wedding date. Others might give you a registry gift for simply starting a registry with them, and others might have an online list of who purchased what item so you can easily send those thank you notes off!

After BBB, Paul and I registered at Macy*s and Pottery Barn. Between the three stores we were able to round out our list and felt that we had enough for our family and friends to select from, which brings me to our next point!

How much should I add to the registry?

There will be lots of varying opinions on this topic. And I’m going to give you my personal take on this. I don’t think you can add too much to your registry, but I do think you can have not enough items on your list. I treated my registry as my personal checklist of everything we wanted for our new home. It wasn’t only a list of suggestions for things people could buy me and Paul if they so wished, but it was also a way for Paul and me to keep track of what we still needed. I didn’t want to have a list for us to remember to buy at a later date and a separate list for people to peruse through for my bridal shower.

Now I might be biased because for 25 years my parents owned their own restaurant. The restaurant held private parties, among them bridal showers. I worked for the family business once I turned 18 until my parents retired almost two years ago. I worked our private parties, and so I have literally been to hundreds of bridal showers. So I have a little insight to what guests talk about in regards to the registry list at the bridal showers. More times than not if you did not add enough items to your list your family and friends will be in a slight panic because they did not know what to get you once all your registry items were purchased. Even people who know you best might be in a bind trying to figure out what to get you!

And this is where it gets a little weird: people tend to buy you things that they like. It doesn’t matter that you made this list yourself and these items are going to you. People need to feel some sort of connection to what they buy you, so the more options you present them with, the more likely they will find something that speaks to them. I’ve heard some guests say they tend to stick to practical items when giving gifts; others seek out luxury items on registries to give something special to the happy couple. I rarely ever heard anyone talk about a registry having too many items. And the few times that a large registry was brought up, it was never mentioned in a negative way. It was more of a “Wow! We had so much to pick from!”. Much better than the too often heard “Oh my gosh, what did you get them? They had nothing on their list! I didn’t know what to do!”.

So moral of the story? If you see something you like, want, or need, add it to the list. Your guests will thank you for the large selection. Plus a large selection tends to give leeway to my next topic: price point.

What price points should I aim for?

This is an important thing to keep in mind. Everyone has a different budget/price point when selecting a gift. Having an array of price points helps people have a variety of things to choose from. However, don’t neglect to add those nice sheets or pot and pan collection to your list if you really like them just because they are a little bit more expensive than the rest of your registry. I’ve seen lots of instances where aunts or cousins all chip in together and buy an expensive gift, so you never know! Also don’t steer away from adding all those kitchen gadgets that are less than $10 thinking no one will buy them because they don’t cost a lot. I’ve seen plenty of people buy a basket and fill it with a ton of the smaller registry items because everyone needs them and they are useful! And when you add it all together it can easily equal the cost of a blender or other popular registry item that people snatch up when buying gifts. It’s all about balance! And to be honest, most registry items are going to fall into the middle of the road, so you should be fine. So I said it before and I’ll say it again: if you like it, want it, or need it, add it!

What to Bring etc.

This might seem weird, because you only need to bring you and your significant other, right? True! But you might want to bring your list with you to make sure you add everything you want (check out my lists!). I brought a small notebook and pen with me where I had written down a small list of things I didn’t want to forget to register for. While I was in the store I used the notebook to jot things down I either wanted to remove from the list, or things I wanted to look further into at a later time etc. For some reason when Paul and I were registering at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I kept adding ladles to the registry. I’d find one and then go into the next “room” and find a better one that I liked and add that one. So I wrote down that I needed to whittle down my ladle selection when I got home because I didn’t want to waste time in the store taking care of that. Five years later, I can still make Paul laugh over my ladle obsession that day. But hey! We have the right type of ladle for every use in our house! I was also not sure if I wanted a slow cooker on our registry because we weren’t sure if we would use it (I know, the horror to lots of people!). So we picked out the slow cooker we would want if we decided it was something we would use, added it to the registry, and I made a note that I might hide it from the registry. (For those of you curious, I didn’t have it visible on our registry until after my bridal shower. We still don’t have one-and to be honest I’m good without it!)

I also suggest wearing layers and comfy shoes when registering. Paul and I went registering after the Christmas holidays but I made sure we left our jackets in the car because I didn’t want to hold our coats while trying to look at items and holding the scan gun. I saw lots of other couples either going back out to their car to drop off their coats or leaving them with the sales associates in the registry department. I’m glad I’m a sneaker lover because Paul and I spent over six hours in Bed, Bath, and Beyond the day we registered. I never in my wildest dreams thought we would take that long, but like I said, we had nothing really for our house, so picking out everything took some time! When I was younger, and before I met Paul, I was talking with a woman who was getting married and she mentioned she spent nine hours at one store registering for her wedding. At the time I thought she was nuts! What could possibly take that long? Well I found out! If you already have a lot of house items you probably will take a lot less time registering so don’t let me story scare you! And if you find yourself in the same boat as Paul and I were, don’t fret! You can easily divide your trip up into smaller sessions if you need to! And I should note-I don’t consider myself a “shopper”. I don’t often do marathon shopping sprees or just go shopping for the heck of it. Paul and I were shopping for a long time but we still managed to have fun and I enjoyed the process more than I thought I would.

If you think you are going to register from more than one store, I would suggest keeping your visits close together so everything is fresh in your mind. If they are spaced too far out you might not remember exactly everything you put on one list or who has the better, softer towels. Just a thought!

This one is a bit harder, but not impossible depending on your schedule: try to go to the stores during the weekdays. We live in northern NJ where Blue laws still exist in our county (ie. No stores can be open on Sundays) so everyone is forced to go to the shopping malls on Saturday, causing high volumes every weekend. We wanted to avoid that, so we decided to go on weekdays when we took off after the holidays. It was much easier!

Still with me? Good! Because I think that’s about it! In future posts I’ll break down my individual lists and go over everything on there so you can think about what works for you! First up: the kitchen! Until then!


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