Scanner in hand, you roam the aisles of your favorite store clicking at the items that catch your eye. Registering for wedding gifts is often exciting and can feel like free shopping, but it can also quickly become overwhelming. Do you need eight sets of dishes or 12? Is a glass or plastic blender better? Should you get a stand mixer, a hand mixer, both, or neither? The options are seemingly endless, and the experience can turn from fun to stressful in the blink of an eye. Preparing ahead of time can help you reduce the stress and make the most of the experience. Here are some things you should do before creating a wedding registry.
1. Make a List
Stocking up on items for your home is a big task, whether you're building a new home together or replacing worn out items and filling in the gaps. Before you head to the store, make a list of the things you'll need room by room. In addition to the big items, remember to think about the small things like measuring cups and toothbrush holders. Online checklists can be a big help during this step; check out a few lists and modify them to fit your needs.
2. Start Your Wedding Registry Early
You don't need to run to the store the minute you get engaged, but it is a good idea to start a registry early in the wedding planning process. Some people like to use the registry to purchase engagement gifts, particularly if you're planning an engagement party. So create a registry early and put a few items on it, then add to it when you're ready.
3. Pick Two or Three Stores
Choose stores that you like and that carry the kinds of items you want. In general, it's a good idea to register at two or three stores. This gives wedding guests options for shopping without being excessive. Include at least one national retailer and an online option for guests who live out of town or don't like shopping in stores. Be sure to also include a physical store for people who don't feel comfortable shopping online.
4. Consider a Honeymoon Registry
Creating a honeymoon registry is becoming more common, and with good reason. It's a fun way to let your guests contribute to a special time for you and your new husband. Add specific events that guests can fund, like a romantic dinner or a safari ride. Thank them for the experience they gave you when sending thank you cards.
5. Register for Tangible Items
Although honeymoon registries and gift cards are great, some people want to give something concrete, so register for tangible items as well. Make some of the tangible things traditional items for people who like the time-honored approach.
6. Choose Items at Various Price Points
Give wedding guests plenty of options when shopping for gifts; this lets them feel like they can choose something meaningful to give you. Mix up the price points so that there are items to fit various budgets. In general, it's good to have about a third of the items be inexpensive, about a third mid-range, and about a third high end, but think about your guest list and adjust accordingly.
7. Start with Must-Have Items
Register for must-have items first. If the registry is a bit lean, add items you want or think it would be nice to have. Aim to have around two or three items on your registry per guest.
8. Keep it Simple
The beautiful, colorful pattern that catches your eye today may not be your favorite in 10 years. For basic registry items like dishes, cutlery, and linens it's usually best to keep it simple and stick with items that stand the test of time. Neutral colors that mix and match well are a great choice. Then add a few serving dishes or décor items that reflect your personality and keep things interesting.
9. Ask for Help
Don't feel like you have to do it all alone. Sales associates are there for a reason, and helping couples navigate the process of registering is part of their job. They can help you work through the store and provide helpful information about products or answer questions you have. Your wedding planner is also a good resource for creating a registry. They have checklists and information that can help you through the process.
Cut the stress of creating a wedding registry by doing these things before getting started. Then enjoy the process of stocking up with your partner.