Wedding Registry Wisdom
Newly engaged? Congratulations! (Was it the Engagement Chicken?)
One of the first things on your wedding planning to-do list is your gift registry. The purpose of the wedding registry is to help couples set up a home and get a smooth start on their new life together.
While choosing presents may sound like a ball, our just-married-three-weeks-ago associate producer Lauren was a stress case when she set out to do her registry. She was so worried that when it came to choosing a place setting or knife that would last 30 years, she would simply get it WRONG – and therefore be doomed for a lifetime of bad decor in the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom departments.
Well, luckily for Lauren, we had a few fail-proof strategies up our sleeves. We have both been married, and spoke to many of our girlfriends about the subject (Michelle, Effie, Dori-Ann, Ursula, Joanna, Lilli, Heidi, and Sara just to name a few!), and we are here to share all our collective wisdom with the world of what we’d do differently with our wedding registries if we knew then what we know now:
Quality over quantity
High quality cookware and dishware is a must. Remember, you want it to last at least 20 years, if not a lifetime. Choose items that you know will survive frequent, everyday use, and you won’t need to replace everything in a few short years.
Dori-Ann: In hindsight, the only thing I wish I had registered for was a really good set of pots and pans. When I got married I already had a set that I thought was “good enough” but it wasn’t anything that would last a lifetime and now I need to go and buy a new set.
Heidi: The things that have proven most valuable have been the ones that have stood up to repeated use.
You may fall in love with today’s hottest dishware pattern or a super-trendy linen & towel set, but be honest: will you still love it 2, 5, or even 10 years from now? Your tastes are bound to change, as did ours.
Kristina: I registered for something too trendy in terms of colours and styles. I’m still using these pieces but they don’t really suit my current tastes or decor. When it came to towels, I chose colours to match my then bathroom. That was about five paint shades ago! I should have gone with plain white. Same holds true for dishware.
Stick with timeless, neutral styles for the majority of your choices. Boring, you say? Maybe so, but you can have fun with patterned accent pieces like placemats, serving bowls, throw pillows, and shower curtains—things that can be easily and inexpensively replaced as your style evolves in the future.
You may feel like a kid loose in a candy store when making your wedding gift list, but don’t let your choices get out of hand. Are you really going to use all those gadgets and specialty items, or will they just take up valuable space? Before you even look at a registry, make a thorough list of your absolute must-haves, and then do your best to stick to it.
Be family wise
If children are definitely in your future, choose indestructible items for your list. For example, go for quality, heavier, chip-resistant dishware (e.g. Denby stoneware) for everyday use, and avoid choosing precious breakables. Reinforcing #1 and #2, always think quality and timeless, as quality will hold up against the kiddies and timeless will ensure that if something DOES break, you can replace it.
Joanna: If you want to have a family, don’t be too precious with your choices and choose timeless items that you can replenish.
While many westerners are uncomfortable with the idea of asking for money in lieu of wedding gifts, in many countries (China, Japan, Italy, Poland, Greece, Spain, Armenia ) it’s customary and expected.
If asking for money outright turns you off, set up something specific that guests can put money towards, like a honeymoon, a house down payment, a car. Be sure to set up a gift registry too (albeit on the modest side) since some guests just won’t want to “buck” tradition.
Make it easy for guests to FIND your registry
Last but not least, if you want people to stick to your registry, make it easy for them to find it!
Anna: Whether you add an extra slip of paper in your invitation, make it prominent on your wedding website, or put the MOH on registry duty, make sure guests do not have to hunt down what gifts you would like or email countless people to find out where you are registered – otherwise you will end up with art.
What are some wedding registry tips you’d share with the newly-engaged?
Photo caption for above: Lauren’s husband’s excitement of being married, but also for receiving the beautiful Le Creuset dish they registered for!