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#10 – Registry Fun!

For #WeddingWednesday we give you our monthly check in with bride-to-be, Elizabeth…

The tradition of giving wedding gifts is said to have developed as far back as 3000 BC. from the dowry given by either the bride’s parents to the bride and groom as part of the marriage arrangement or given by the groom’s family to the bride’s family as a form of payment for their daughter. The families of the wealthy groom offered money, land or an ownership in the family business as “payment” for the daughter’s hand in marriage while the brides family provided the groom with the necessary items for the bride to start a household, such as linens, towels, silver, china, glassware, silverware and other household needs. Fast forward a couple thousand years to 1924 and Macy’s unveiled the first ever wedding gift registry.  After that pretty much everyone jumped on board! Nowadays couples can register at almost any store, setup honeymoon registries and even register for cash.

So a few weeks ago, Tom and I spent a fun Saturday registering for all the items we will need to “start our household” and the fun began at Crate & Barrel.  Thanks to a friend of Tom’s, we learned of a special breakfast Crate & Barrel hosts about once a month for engaged couples.  In the two hours before the store opens couples are treated to coffee, mimosas and munchies while being given a tour of the store with experts on hand to explain those kitchen items you’ve heard you need but have no idea why you actually need them. I must say, this was the best way to start our registry. We never felt pressured by the sales associates to sign up for items we didn’t want and as someone who is easily overwhelmed by crowds (and decisions), this special private time at the store was essential in putting together a well thought out registry of things we actually need and want . To find your own Crate & Barrel “Wedding Party” visit their website or click here.

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After Crate & Barrel, we headed over to Bloomingdales which provided a much different experience, although just as enjoyable.  While we had our own little registry scanner at Crate & Barrel (which is just as much fun as it looks like), at Bloomingdales, we had our own registry person!  Yes, an associate designated to us, who spent close to two hours with us, explaining products and lines, answering all of our questions and scouring the store for items we were looking for. To top it off, she is also available to us throughout the whole engagement and a year after we are married.  Any time we or our guests have a question – she can answer it. Gotta love Bloomies!

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So, of course, after our fun excursions I have some advice for other engaged couples out there…

Include a variety of items at various price ranges. Most wedding etiquette professionals suggest that registries have a mix of both prices and types of items, so that all of your guests will feel comfortable finding something they will be excited to give you. And while it’s okay to have more than one registry, it’s suggested to draw the line at three or four. The idea is to be helpful by offering your guests variety, not self-indulgent by listing your every wish in the world.

– Take your time.  We needed at least 2 hours at each store when we started our registry.  This is not something you want to rush.  Now is the time to do your research, pick up and feel the china and silverware. Envision the items in your home. Ask yourself if you will actually make good use of the items. Then take your time and allow yourself a few weeks to fill in and adjust your registry. Registering was a blast but after 5 hours we were maxed out. Just like the venue search, dress shopping and menu tasting, the registry process can be overwhelming and hard to do in one swoop.  So we continued to add to and fine tune our registry in the weeks after our first excursion. We refined our lists as we realized there were things we had registered for that we didn’t really need or want.  Which brings me to my next point…

– Register for what you want. Sounds simple, right?  But in the cloud of wedding books, articles, and magazines it’s easy to fall into the trap of listening to what certain people say you “should” be registering for.  In this day in age, couples are marrying later in life and it’s more common to be living together before marriage.  Meaning, many people find themselves already owning some of those quality items that they would traditionally register for.  If you already love your current kitchenware, then perhaps register for gardening equipment, camping gear or explore the idea of a honeymoon registry.  Most importantly, don’t feel pressured to register for something just because a list in a magazine told you to.

– Be aware of the store’s return and exchange policies. Typically, many wedding registry retailers have amazing customer service to accommodate to-be-weds’ needs but being aware of the store’s return and exchange timelines will help you better plan and manage your registry.

With that I’ll leave you with this really awesome guide to some of the most popular stores to register with and what perks they offer, from Brides.com: “The 24 Best Places To Register”

—Stay tuned for the next months installment from Elizabeth… 6 months to go!