10 Common Registry Questions
Is there a benefit to registering online as opposed to in a store?
Absolutely, for a variety of reasons: Building an Internet registry is easy on all parties. Your guests don’t have to hit the stores (crucial if they live far from your chosen outlets), while you and your fiancé can shorten shopping time merely by picking out patterns and textures in person, then going online to flesh out the collection. You can log on to the websites at any time to add or delete items, change preferences, and see what has already been purchased. Many sites show you who ordered what, in case you lose the card taped to the top of the box.
How do I know how much to register for?
Sign up for more than you think you should. It might feel presumptuous, but remember―no one guest is going to take on the responsibility of filling all your requests. Rather than judging you for being greedy, guests are more likely to become frustrated if they can’t find an item that fits their taste or price point. The bottom line: Your only limiting factor should be what you know you will use, love, and have room for. In other words, don’t sign on for a carving knife if you’re a vegetarian―you just might get it.
A couple of nonconventional options: You can register at depositagift.com or myregistry.com for cash gifts to fund a large purchase or at weddingfutures.com for stocks.
My fiancé and I have different tastes. How should we handle our registry?
Divvy up the list by interest. If he’s the better cook but could not care less what the food is served on, let him pick knives and kitchenware while you select the china and silverware. If you have a flair for decorating but he’s color-blind, choose the bed linens and let him register for electronics.
An alternative: Mix and match items like mugs and towels so that each of you scores some picks. (Of course, this tactic doesn’t work when it comes to registering for matching sets, like silverware and china.)
It’s also worth it to throw your fiancé a bone―and a scan gun―and let him register at a hardware or home-supply store. These retailers often cater to grooms, but do-it-yourself brides will find plenty to love, too.
At how many retailers should I register?
No matter how long your guest list is, pick at least three. The idea is to give guests a range of options without overwhelming them. Select:
- a high-end store
- an inexpensive retailer
- a wild-card company (such as a charity)
- Look for stores that offer “completion packages”―typically a 10 to 20 percent discount on unpurchased items for about a year after the wedding―so you can buy leftovers yourself.
- Many retailers partner with wedding websites, such as theknot.com and weddingchannel.com. If yours do, have someone spread the word that your registries are listed on the wedding site in question. All guests have to do is search for your name and click and they’ll have access to all your registries.
Is it possible to have too few inexpensive items on my registry?
Yes. Ideally, you should have an equal number of midrange and lower-cost items, then a smaller grouping of big-ticket ones. Take particular care when choosing the inexpensive pieces. Pick items that reflect your personality so friends on a budget feel as if they’re giving something you’ll care about.
If you already own less-costly items (every-day flatware, coffee cups, place mats), it’s perfectly acceptable to register for what you do need―expensive items, like a couch or another piece of furniture, for example. Friends or family members can band together to buy you one item―just be sure you make that wish clear.
What if I have limited space for gifts?
Request that presents be sent to loved ones with large basements. More important, register only for things you adore and want to incorporate into your life right away. Know, however, that most companies maintain registries for up to two years after the last logged activity, so friends and family may rely on it for future gifts, which may keep showing up at your chosen location.
Another option that requires no space: registering for donations (to those in need, not for your own house fund). Check out idofoundation.org, which helps you register for donations to charities such as UNICEF and the Sierra Club. At justgive.org, you can register for global charities or ones closer to home.
How do I tell if a gift that arrives is intended to be for my engagement, shower, or wedding?
It’s all about timing. Gifts that arrive soon after your announcement are probably intended as engagement presents; toward the middle, as shower gifts; and close to or after the ceremony, as wedding gifts.
But for the purpose of thank-you notes, the occasion doesn’t really matter. Your note should reflect your relationship with the sender and your feelings about the gift, not the occasion it commemorated. “We broke in the blender with a banana smoothie on Sunday morning, and our relationship has been sweeter ever since” works fine, without any mention of your wedding.
How do I let guests know where I’m registered?
Never, ever include the sites in your paper invitation. It is considered gauche―and guests may take it to mean that you expect an expensive gift. Relegate that information to a link on your website (often busy guests’ go-to source for wedding information). And rely on your maid of honor, best man, and parents to pass on the details to inquiring guests.
When should I send thank-you notes?
Jot and mail a card as soon as possible after receiving a gift. Penning hundreds of personal notes in one sitting could drive you batty, so at the very least, try to write them in stages. But also keep in mind: If you’re swamped with responsibilities, etiquette dictates that you have a year to finish note-writing duties, just as guests have a year to give gifts.
Even though it might feel like cheating, sending a single note for a shower and a wedding gift is perfectly acceptable. Reference both in your message, though, to assure the sender that you have received and you appreciate each gift.
Is it appropriate to skip the registry and ask guests to contribute to our honeymoon?
Entirely. Look at sites such as thebigday.com, honeyluna.com, and honeyfund.com, which allow guests to fund aspects of your trip (surfing lessons, a candlelit dinner, a hotel suite). Guests feel as if they are buying you a memory instead of a household item. Of course, some friends and family members may not be comfortable with this option, so create a registry―however small―for them.