Guess what? A home decor insider told me that January is the biggest time of the year for registries. That’s right, couples have made it through the holidays, wiggled their ring-clad fingers in front of co-workers and great aunts at all the holiday parties, and January is the time to get down to business.
When my home decor insider (Okay she’s my best friend and college roommate) told me about this January registry bonanza I remembered that I my wife and I did, in fact, register in January. We registered a full nine months before our wedding, and I recommend you do too. So Tip #1: Register early. Chances are you have a bridal shower ahead and it’s best to get a jump on your registry. The earlier you do it the more time you have to modify it. When you’re wandering through Crate & Barrel with that scan gun in your hand you get trigger happy. There’s a good chance you want some time between wielding that power and sharing it with your wedding guests. Maybe you salivated over a pistachio colored artisan standing mixer. You had to have it. I so feel you on this. You scan it. You go home. You look at your kitchen. Live in a city or a small space like I do? Then it’s either you stash your coffee maker, paper towel holder and mixing spoons in a closet or you accept that now is not the time for this mixer. I mean, do you even bake?
Tip #2: Less is more. Choose well-made, necessary items that you’re going to be excited to add to your home. Adding home decor piece “for when we move” can be a dangerous game, so try to stick to classic items like cook wear, crystal stemware for those guests who have some money to spend, and okay fine, throw in that pretty copper pepper mill.
Tip #3: Price variety. You don’t want your college friend to sign onto your registry with a $75 budget only to find that the items available are all $250+. Some people do not want to write you a check. Some want to present you with a gift, so it’s important to have this option. Go ahead and add that big stuff but include smaller items to keep your registry inclusive. I cannot stress this enough: We are not owed gifts simply because we’ve decided to marry. Whatever your loved ones spend, be grateful. My wife and I received wildly expensive gifts that were totally unexpected. We also received small items from those whose budget was limited, and we were so very thankful that we got to celebrate with each and every one of them. It’s so easy to caught up in the hullabaloo of wedding planning and easy to forget the expense that our loved ones incur if they’re traveling to be with us, booking hotel rooms and buying us gifts.
With that in mind, Tip #4: Register with your type of wedding in mind. Is your wedding on a private island that requires guests to charter a plane? Then it might be nice to say, “We appreciate you getting here and celebrating with you is gift enough.” Don’t worry, you will still receive many gifts. Maybe every single one of your college friends got married in the last five years and you’ve flown all over creation with registry gifts in tow, then by all means, it’s okay to expect the same in return.
Creating a gift registry is an odd thing for those of us who stopped creating birthday and Christmas wish lists once we turned 10 (Okay fine, I think I was a teenager but that’s because one year “Santa” bought all of my gifts at the JC Penney juniors department then lost the receipt). I felt a little weird choosing all these things that I expected people to buy for me, but it was also really fun, and because you’re not explicitly calling your cousin that you see at weddings and funerals and saying, “I need a Keurig like, I will die without it,” it feels more like a mere suggestion for those who want some guidance, and less like a requirement. And if you don’t need stuff, but you’re saving up for a honeymoon in the Maldives, then register for a honey pot! You can even create a registry around your honeymoon location and add items like a couples massage or an oceanfront sunset dinner.
The beauty of the internet is that you can essentially register for anything you’ve ever wanted. Almost nothing is off-limits any more. Just keep your guests in mind, and get it done early. If your soon-to-be mother-in-law throws you a surprise shower and you don’t have a registry, expect to receive some random items.
This leads me to Tip #5: Don’t put your registry info on your wedding invitations. This can be added on your wedding website, your shower invites, or simply shared via email by your bridal party.
Are you a guest? Be careful if you’re going off registry. Going off registry can produce great results if you know the couple’s aesthetic, but it can be also be a waste of your money if you don’t. Years ago I attended the wedding of a college friend. This was probably my first time going to a wedding where I wasn’t related to the bride or groom. I figured I would write a check for the wedding, but for her shower I went rogue. I bought her what I thought was such a sweet and thoughtful gift; a wedding tea set. There were delicious teas and a set of two saucers. I loved it. When the bride-to-be unwrapped it, however, the look on her face instantly told me one thing: Just because I love tea, doesn’t mean she does. I wasted my money on something she clearly was not into.
My tried and true rule of thumb: I shop registry for the shower and write a check for the wedding.
And here’s a picture of me (about 5 chardonnays deep) and Sam opening gifts at our bridal shower: