So you’re ENGAGED! Now, REGISTER!
Just this morning, my lovely VUL, who is recently engaged, asked “how did you decide where to register?” and I was reminded of how daunting the process felt.
When Bugsy and I got engaged almost two summers ago, I spent the first few months of our engagement frozen in indecision about when to register, where to register and what to register for (strange considering I had our wedding almost fully planned within the first 6 weeks).
In retrospect, I guess it’s no surprise that the process of registering can be overwhelming. The reality is, when else is it socially acceptable and are you encouraged to ask people to buy exactly what you want (all with the added pressure of having to determine what you might want to use for life for your most elaborate dinner party in your prospective dream home)? YIKES!
Here are a few helpful tips:
1. Determine the level of your fiance’s involvement: Does he/she want to be involved? And if so, how involved? Figuring this out early will help you to avoid squabbles down the road and help you and your fiance form realistic expectations about the process. After all, these are gifts for you both. If he/she wants to be super involved, then his/her opinion should matter from the outset (from where you register to what you register for). On the other hand, if he/she wants no involvement, then you won’t form any unrealistic expectations about your fiance wanting to participate (i.e. save yourself the headache of having his/her eyes gloss over while discussing the intricacies of flatware) and you have the added bonus of free reign over what makes the list (weeeeeee!) The third possibility is that he/she will want limited involvement (i.e. care about very specific things, like decor style or specific items). Figuring this out at the front end will help you frame what you register for and ensure that certain items make the list. For example, Bugsy wanted one thing and one thing only – a foreman grill – and so it was registered.
2. Get started as quickly as you can after your engagement: Whether you’re having an engagement party or not, many of your closest family and friends will want to send gifts for your engagement. By having a registry, you can avoid receiving gifts you don’t want and give gifters some guidance and assurance that they are giving an item that you do want. Although I would not volunteer that you are registered unless asked, you’ll be surprised by how many people will.
3. Choose three (or two) places to register: As a practical point, there is nothing more difficult that trying to fit more than three registries onto an invitation. And, if you’re smart about registering, you can find most items within three (or even two) places. After having gone through the process myself, if you plan on registering for traditional items (i.e. you have not opted for a honeymoon fund or cash fund), you must register at Bed Bath and Beyond (although I admittedly harbored some inherent aversion to BBB – that it was too commercial, too suburban, too mommish – BBB actually has the largest and best selection of just about everything (i.e. same brands at bloomies) and they’re everywhere – physically and online and have constant sales and coupons). As a second place, I’d choose something that suits your personal style, i.e. a place that will have interesting decor items and novelty items that you won’t find in a place like BBB. You will have already registered for basics at BBB (glassware, china, silverware, household items), so this is your opportunity to get things that are a little out of the box and unique (Horchow at Neiman Marcus, ABC Carpet & Home, Fish’s Eddy, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware). And, as a third, figure out what you want that is not as accessible in other more mainstream stores (i.e. electronics, tools (consider Amazon), or even a honeymoon fund).
4. Have a range of price points: This might be your chance to get free goodies, but be reasonable. The last thing you should do is register for $$$$ items only and leave your friends and family who may have limited finances (but the best intentions) feeling terrible that they can only afford one crystal glass or piece of flatware.
5. Do not get held up by indecision: Remember, almost every place you choose to register will have an online store, so you can always edit your list (and you can always return later). If you can’t decide which china pattern you want, then register for two or even three and edit after you’ve had an opportunity to see the universe of items and general themes for decor and style.
6. Have fun: Grab your fiance, mom or best friend, go to brunch, drink a few glasses of champagne to take the edge off and start zapping.
Happy Registering and Congrats!
Love – MY
Scenes from Wedding Prep.