7 Practical Ways to Create Your Awesome Wedding Registry
Did you know the wedding registry, as we know it today, is a fairly “recent” tradition? It’s been said to have been started in 1924 by Macy’s department store. Can you believe it? However, even though a guest gift exchange is a fairly modern phenomenon, families have been exchanging gifts at weddings in the form of a dowry paid to the Bride’s family dating back to several centuries B.C.
But enough of the history lesson for today. Wedding registries are still a hot commodity, even though they are taking on many different forms. This is because, in today’s world, couples are waiting longer to get married, and there is an increase in numbers of couples living together before marriage. Therefore, they are acquiring many of the items typically seen on a gift registry such as pots and pans, linens, and general household items long before they get engaged.
Whether you need everything from a can opener to a couch, here are 7 practical ways to create the perfect registry that is right for you:
Take a good look around your space.
Look at what you have and what you need. If you are going to be moving in together after the wedding, you may need a lot of items. Combining possessions can be a fun, yet arduous task. Perhaps you have a set of pots and pans but need new ones. Maybe you’ve always wanted a fancy coffee maker. Are you getting a larger bed and need new sheets, or even something as basic as an iron and ironing board? Take a good look and start making a list.
Make a list that has items at all various price points
You want to make sure your registry has items spanning a wide range of prices, from $1 wooden spoons to pricier items such linens, a vacuum, kitchenware, or china that could potentially cost well over $200. Why the price variation? Your guests are going to be coming from very different financial situations. Some guest may (and can afford to) splurge on the expensive china or kitchenware, while others may combine some of the smaller, less expensive items into a basket or give you some of those less expensive items with a gift not on your registry. (Yes, just because you have a registry, that doesn’t mean everyone will purchase from it).
Always put more items on your list than what you think you need
There are a few reasons for this. One, like I mentioned before, some people may purchase a lot off your list at once, and you want to make sure that everyone who wants to get something off the registry can. Second, you aren’t going to get everything, but you want to make sure you don’t run out of items, either. You will, most likely, get gift cards to wherever you registered, so, if you do not end up getting that coffee maker or all the sets of china you registered for, you can go back and finish the list at a later date. Think of your registry as the ultimate Christmas or birthday wish list: There are going to be things on there you need, things you want; but you can also put “wish list” items on there, too. We never thought the really expensive items would be purchased from our list, but they were, to our great surprise.
Register at more than one location
Just like you should have items in many different price ranges, you also want to make sure you register at more than one store. Why? You are not going to find everything at one store. Plus, not everyone lives next to a Crate and Barrel, or Bed, Bath and Beyond. Granted, with the Internet, it doesn’t really matter, but some people like to actually see what they are buying before they purchase it. Also, different stores have different price ranges. Some guests may just be able to afford items from the more affordable stores, while others can afford higher price points usually found at high-end niche stores.
What if you don’t need or want any more “stuff?”
If you and your fiancé really don’t need or want any materials items, you might want to consider a Honeymoon Fund or a Honeymoon Registry. A quick Google search will generate sites like these where you plug in where you are going, and they populate a list of things to see and do while you are there. For example, if you are going on a cruise, you might have a spa treatment or shore excursions on that list which people “purchase.” Basically, you are saying something to the effect of “$75 will allow us to get a spa treatment; $150 will allow us to go parasailing,” and so on. Your guests aren’t purchasing that item, per se, but rather just giving you enough money so you can do it.
Make a charitable donation
Again, if you really don’t want or need any more “stuff,” you can ask guests to make a gift to your favorite charity (or charities) instead of purchasing a gift for you. Perhaps there’s an animal shelter that’s near and dear to your heart or a medical facility that has personal meaning for you. Maybe it’s a community organization looking to raise enough funds to build a playground. Whatever the case, asking guests to make a charitable gift is a great alternative.
What if you just want cash?
This is a delicate subject. If you really just want cash, coming out and saying you just want money, is, well, rude. In my opinion, there are only two ways to give guests the hint that you don’t want gifts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll just get cash. One is to not have a wedding registry at all; the other is stating on the invitation “no gifts please.” Most guests will get it, but it won’t guarantee you’ll only get cash. You might still get gift cards, maybe small tokens. Maybe you won’t get anything at all if you say “no gifts.” However, there are polite ways to work around this delicate subject. I’ve known couples who live out of state who were flying in for their wedding, and because they couldn’t check or ship gifts back, they asked for “no boxed gifts, please.” You may still get people who take that literally and will put a gift in a bag instead, but most people will understand what you mean, especially if they know your travel circumstance.
You might also tell your close family and bridal party to politely spread the word if anyone asks. If someone asks them what they think you’d like, they can say something like, “I know they haven’t registered for anything, so I’m just going to give them a check to add to their down payment on their house (or splurge on a nice meal on their honeymoon, or save it for a new car).” It’s a bit passive, but that will at least put the idea in the guests’ mind that money or a check may be the best option for a gift. Is it a sure-fire grantee? No, but it’s a start.
Did you have a registry and how did you build it? Did you not want any gifts at your wedding? How did you handle that?