Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DIY Wedding #10: To register or not to register, that is the question!

Amidst all of the planning and scheduling, there are a few, rare gems that are completely stress-free and fun to do. The Wedding Registry, my friend, is one of them. It's one of the few times in your life that you can ask people for exactly what you want in a gift without being selfish--because people are arbitrarily asking. Plus, it gets those gears turning on thoughts of home decorating and coveted kitchen tools. You can ask for all of the things that you wouldn't normally buy, all of those things that make your house your home, and things that will aid in establishing a foundation for your married life.

We all love presents and shopping, I don't need to blab on about why this is so great--you know! So in order to help you decide on where to register, I've compiled a list of stores & benefits that in my opinion/experience are among the best. Keep in mind that these are my personal picks! This is a short list and certainly inexhaustible when it comes to registry options. But first I must mention some basics...

Why you might not want to register...

For those of us who are moving long distances after marriage, it might be in your interest to not register and kindly ask for money or gift cards instead. Granted there will always be someone who wants to give a tangible gift and it is really fun to register, so if you must (like we did):
  • Consider registering where returns are easy and shipping is cheap. If that same store exists where you're headed, you can return it and buy it with that store credit once you get there. 
  • Ask guests to have the item shipped to your future address rather than bring it to the wedding. This isn't always possible, but it's a good option to consider.
Registry Etiquette...
  • Register early. Register early--which shouldn't be hard--so that your guests have time to save up or plan to purchase whichever item they're eyeing up. 
  • Register at more than one place. This way there are more options for your guests. This is especially important if your guests don't live close to say, a Crate & Barrel but have a Target nearby. Also know that older guests will prefer to shop in-store and not have to utilize technology as much.
  • Don't advertise your registry in invitations. As mentioned in the "Invitations & Save-the-Dates" post, it's technically rude to do this. Mostly because it makes guests feel as though you only want them to come because they'll bring a gift. Instead, include a URL for your wedding website.
  • Don't ask for money outright. If you're moving long-distance as mentioned above, there are ways to ask for money without being rude. The fund idea listed at the bottom of this post is a great alternative for this situation. Or you can kindly explain in your invitation why you aren't registering and want to pack lightly. I still pick the first option--I think it's a great idea!
  • Say "thank you!" Make sure to stay on top of your thank-yous. Write lists to keep track of who gave what and when. Try to write back within 6 weeks. I failed at this miserably, I blame it on moving right after, school, and my computer crashing with my list on it. Still, I felt horrible having to write late cards--I didn't want anyone to think that I wasn't greatly appreciative. They don't have to buy anything, even though it's an arbitrary requirement for attending a wedding. So be grateful and let them know you're thankful for them and their gift. 
Advice before we shop...
  • Keep in mind that not all of your guests will be able to afford the $1,000 cookware. While some may go in on a group effort for expensive items, try to add in variety of price-range
  • At the same time, don't be afraid to ask for some really nice items. Things that you couldn't afford on your own, but would be a worthy investment. What's the worst that could happen--you don't get that item. Things that you might want to invest in would be: cookware/utensils, linens, and a dining set. Most other things can be DIY'ed, thrifted, or bought at a cheaper price for similar quality.
  • Make sure to read the reviews before buying something just because it looks nice. I found that a lot of reviews for things that attracted me initially weren't very good, especially at variety stores. It's better to invest a little more money and get something that is actually worth it. Think: will the plates break or scratch easily? 
  • Think outside of the box--use checklists to remind you of items that you need but forgot. Don't be afraid to ask for quirky gifts like tents & and games. If it reflects you as a couple, go for it!
  • Keep in mind the possibility of change. Maybe you're the type of person that has a set-in-stone style, which is great. But for a creative person (that got married young) like myself, my style immediately changed after the wedding from vintage-rustic to modern-industrial-rustic. Perhaps the vintage wedding filled that craving and then I was on to other itches to scratch. With that in mind, I highly valued neutral items that could fit in with an ever-changing style. Such as white dinnerware and neutral linens. Granted, I'm more of a "neutral-with-pops-of-color" person anyway. But it's still valuable to think through as you're shopping. 
My favorites places to register...

I'll admit that at first I was completely against registering here. Why? I thought that over-all things were overpriced or that they had limited options because everyone registers at Bed, Bath & Beyond. However, with some research, I found that though some things are over-priced, there are some good deals and exclusive items that can be found there. I finally broke down and registered for some items due to the perks of the store.
  • What do they specialize in? Wedding Registry. Due to this there is a lot of variety for kitchen & fine dining items. I found it easier to register online, as in-store was a bit overwhelming and I was only looking for a few items. However, I've heard that they are very good at customer service for starting your registry in-store. 
  • What are the perks? Popular store at varying locations--easy for guests to find and purchase from. Also, easy returns, 10% completion discount, and regular 20% coupons. Make sure to enroll in the Start-to-Finish incentive program where you'll receive free gifts for you and your guests in registering for certain items. 
  • What are the cons? In my opinion, they aren't the greatest in the home decor department. So I would go for the specialty items and snag a nice set of dining ware or something like that. Watch out for things that can be overpriced and read the reviews to make sure it's an item worth getting. 
  • Why do I like them? Because they specialize in registries, I found it very easy to find what I was looking for. The online list is very organized. And I found that most of my guests gravitated towards buying from here because it's well-known and most have one close by. 
  • What are some of my favorite items?


No lie, I love me some Crate & Barrel. It is perhaps more expensive than say, Target or Wal-Mart, but when you're asking for things that you wouldn't normally buy--why not? I found that most things were reasonably priced here, similar to Bed, Bath & Beyond. 

  • What do they specialize in? Unique dining items such as earthenware, bone china, and glass. They present a more modern feel in their products. 
  • What are the perks? Fast and relatively cheap shipping. Great packaging--you don't have to worry about anything breaking! It's easy to register on-line, which is almost necessary because there aren't as many of these stores around. Also, they offer easy returns within 30 days, 10% completion discount, and have regular sales that are actually sales. Not to mention you can post this registry on FB or register through mobile apps, they are very techy. 
  • What are the cons? There aren't very many stores to visit in person, at least in my area. 
  • Why do I like them? I liked that they are more of an up-scale, modern type of store with unique products, but aren't as pricey as Pottery Barn or Williams & Sonoma. I did register at both of the latter two, but I wanted to make sure that most of my requests were within a reasonable price range and Crate & Barrel was a great option for that.
  • What are some of my favorite items?


Who doesn't love Target? And where can't a Target be found? It's a great place to consider if you're looking for an all-in-one situation.
  • What do they specialize in? Let's just say, it's the classy version of Wal-Mart. So they dabble in a little bit of everything--particularly cute, practical, and reasonable home decor, kitchen, and dining items. 
  • What are the perks? They are everywhere, with super easy registration in-store and online. Everything is relatively affordable so there are several great options for guests to choose from. They aren't going to be great at personal registry assistance, but we like being on our own and didn't want anyone bothering us anyway. They are great on shipping fast with easy returns. They offer a lot of variety in style and items for you to choose from. PLUS, they give you coupons and a gift-card, just for registering there. This is how I got the Pro Crest White Strips for half-off. They are also mobile, and offer a 10% completion discount.
  • What are the cons? Being more of a variety store, not all of the items will be quality items. Again, make sure to read the reviews! Also, there is an ongoing flow of product resulting in gain of new items but loss of others. I had to replace several items because it was no longer available online and/or in-store--but there were plenty of things to replace it with.
  • Why do I like them? They have great candles, cute decor items, and the main kitchen items that I was looking for. Plus, it's a regular go-to store so gift cards were great for me to have for later trips.
  • What are some of my favorite items?

It's certainly expensive, but I found that most of the items are worth the money because it compensates in quality. Offering a very distinguished, modern-rustic vibe, it's a beautiful store with inspiring items. 
  • What do they specialize in? Linens, dining sets, and rustic-modern, but expensive, home decor items.
  • What are the perks? Things are very well made with very few bad reviews. I also have a Pottery Barn outlet nearby, which I recommended to local guests. I averaged the pricing to be $10-15 less than in the retail store. You'll receive a 10% completion price on your registry, as well as anything you add to your registry up to 6 months after your wedding! Also, they are very organized when it comes to registering--with things such as: registry workshops, personal consultants, and registry checklists. 
  • What are the cons? It's expensive for the name-sake. But if you want something quality, this would be a good place to go for those nicer items that you want to last, like: bedding, towels, or dining sets. 
  • Why do I like them? They make you feel special and they give out quality product, investing in the little things like packaging. I love my dining set from them! In fact, it was much cheaper than most other registry places for a nice dining set. 
  • What are some of my favorite items?


Perhaps my favorite option, especially if you can't find it all in one store or want to ask for donations towards a certain fund. An aesthetically appealing registry with trending item ideas & every help to get you started. This allows you to compile all of your wish-list to one place--keeping you sane and your guests happy. Plus, it opens up options to ask for items at non-registry stores such as World Market and Anthropologie--both are favorites and come highly recommended! 
  • What do they specialize in? Compiling all of your registry wishes into one place, with the option to create funds and ask for donations rather than gifts.
  • What are the perks? It's all in one place, which is easy for your guests to search and for you to keep track of. As mentioned above, you can create funds for guests to donate towards such as "the mattress fund" or "honeymoon fund" or "the new house fund." It's limitless, allowing you to personalize your registry and ask for what you really want.
  • What are the cons? If you register entirely through this site, you'll miss out on the perks of registering in-store with those that offer it, meaning: completion discounts, coupons, and consultants. 
  • Why do I like them? I love that you're able to mix & match, pulling from sites that don't offer registries, as most of my favorites were not registry-stores. Especially if you're moving and need money more than gifts, I love the "fund" option.
  • What are some of my favorite items (to add from non-registry stores)?


As I said before, this list is truly inexhaustible--but these are my top favorites in what I used or would use if I had to do it again. I hope that this has helped you navigate the waters of registering or perhaps inspired you to register somewhere that you hadn't thought of.

Next Monday, I'll be posting on everything flowers. Choosing a florist vs. doing it yourself, styles of bouquets, types of flowers that are affordable, and tips to keep in mind. Hope to see you then!

No comments:

Post a Comment