Tying the Knot

The Dos & Dont’s of Creating a Wedding Registry

Our digital content editor's shares tips for creating a wedding registry in a blog documenting the journey to "I do."
Credit: Thinkstock

This past weekend, Jeff and I started a daunting process I’d been dreading for some time now.

While most brides probably can’t wait to get a scanner in their hands to register for overpriced gifts they’ll never use, I was hesitant.

I only recently moved out of my parents’ home into my own apartment (where my roommate has literally every kitchen utensil and appliance you could imagine, including a gravy whisk!) and I had no idea what I would need for my own home. Cue the panic attack.

Some stores, such as Macy’s and Crate & Barrel have events where couples can scan items for their registries all while enjoying mocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dessert while shopping for wedding gifts. You’ll also receive helpful tips from consultants on how to build the perfect registry.

This can all be slightly overwhelming when dealing with a retailer that is a “one stop shop.” To help with this, the consultants provide each couple with a checklist outlining the most popular departments and the “must haves” to include on your registry. Need to know how many towel sets or place settings to scan? The handy checklist will help you organize all of it. They even have a table with a template laid out to help you arrange your china for an evening of fine dining.

For the most part, Jeff and I aren’t a fancy couple, so I don’t foresee us hosting any extravagant dinners that require fine china and sterling silver flatware in the near future. That’s just not us and we’re not going to pretend to be something we’re not for the sake of padding a registry.

We’re also very conscious of costs because, essentially, we’re spending other people’s money. This caused us to evaluate every item we scanned: Do we need this? Will we use it? Do we actually like it or is it just “nice”?

I’ve been a bridesmaid twice and have been to enough weddings to know that they can be quite the financial burden for everyone involved, not just the couple and their families. I didn’t want to be “that girl” who registers for a $500 Waterford vase knowing good and well that her family and friends can’t actually afford that.

Besides, who really needs a $500 vase anyway?!

So my advice is not to be scan-happy: Use common sense while registering, otherwise your bridesmaids will smile to your face and talk trash behind your back. #truth

With that being said, here are a few registry tips we learned along the way that may be helpful for you as well.

Let the scanning begin!

Let the scanning begin!

Do’s and don’ts for creating a wedding registry:

Make a list: Choose a Saturday to take inventory of what you already have. Then make a list of the items you still need and/or would like to have. Hitting the stores is less stressful when you have a game plan.

Don’t get scanner happy: Ladies (and gents), I know it’s tempting, but try your best not to scan everything in the store. Chances are a) you don’t need it; b) you won’t use it; c) just like dessert, you only want it because it’s in front of you.

Divide and conquer: One of the registry consultants suggested tackling one room at a time throughout multiple trips. Start with hardest (dining); then the kitchen; and, finally, bed and bath. She also recommended shopping for bedding two months before shower as selections will change according to the season. But whatever you do, don’t try to accomplish everything in one day. You will unnecessarily exhaust yourself.

If possible, make it private until it’s final: You don’t need your Aunt Bertha questioning your fine china selection until you’re ready to share your wish list with the world. This is also helpful in case you do find yourself getting a bit scanner happy and would later like to eliminate some items.

Know your audience: For 150 guests, the consultant actually recommended we select 200 items. Just because your rich uncle can swing a $300 flatware set, that doesn’t mean your bridesmaids can. Be sure to include items at various pricepoints to satisfy all budgets.

Continue to replenish your registry: It’s true that early bird gets the worm (or best selection), when it comes to buying gifts off the registry. Don’t penalize procrastinators who may wait until the last moment to get you a gift. Many bridal blogs recommend periodically checking on your list and adding gifts as items are bought.

Think outside the box: Just because most couples register at big box retailers such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and Crate & Barrel doesn’t mean you have to do the same. If you’re a more unique couple, or you’ve been living together for years and can’t think of anything else you “need,” consider an alternative registry, such as Amazon, or a honeymoon registry, where your guests can pay for excursions and other parts of your trip. Or consider a honey-do registry for guests to contribute to help you complete home renovation projects.

YOUR TURN: What are your tips for creating a wedding registry? What is the priciest thing you’ve ever seen on a registry? Let us know or offer us advice in the comments!

About L’Oreal and Jeff

L'Oreal and Jeff

L’Oreal and Jeff met in May 2008, became friends and went on their first date at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium in May 2011. They currently reside in Chicago and are planning a fall 2014 wedding in Baltimore with a LOT of purple details. Despite rooting for rival NFL teams, they love laughing and having fun together and look forward to getting married!