One of my best friends is getting engaged soon. In honor of the occasion I thought I'd kick off some posts sharing tips I learned when I was engaged. Registering for gifts is one of the most fun activities of the newly engaged process, and you might be tempted to just jump right in and register everywhere. But beware new kallah, there are some serious registry pitfalls to avoid and some ways to get the most out of your registry.
Why register in the first place? It's a service to yourself and your guests. While many of your guests might be the type to give you checks or cash, others may prefer to give you non-monetary gifts. Having a registry makes shopping much easier for them. Some wedding guests enjoy picking out a gift on their own but like to look at your registry for a sense of your taste and the items you need. Having a registry also lets people know what you've all ready received. Avoid receiving twelve silver serving platters, some of which you have no idea where to return or exchange, and register. Registries also come in handy if you are having a bridal shower. Besides, it's fun!
How many retailers should you register with? That depends on how much traffic you expect your registry to receive. If you expect few people to use it, registering at only one store may be appropriate for you. If this is the case try to pick a place that is convenient for most of your guests. If you are expecting more people to use your registry you may want to register at several locations. Each place has it's benefits and drawbacks (see below) and different guests like to shop at different places. Just remember if you are cross listing items, make sure you can return them in case you get multiples.
How do you get your future husband to come with you? Well, some people may prefer to leave him at home. But if you are the type that would like his input (I was!) and he is reluctant to come, you have a few options. First let him know that many stores give you a scan gun that you walk around the store with. You scan items you like and they magically appear on your list. Promise him that he can wield the scanner. You'd be surprised how well this works. The siren call of a cool gadget has wooed many men into accompanying their brides to the department store. If this does not work you may consider letting him update your registry from the comfort of his own home. Most stores allow you to update your registry via the web. This is also a great option for brides who do not have the time to spend visiting house-ware departments. Online registration can take place 24 hours a day at your convenience.
How will people know about your registry? They will ask you or a close friend or they will search fro you at sites such as wedding channel.com. You should never give this information unsolicited or print it on your shower invitations. This makes you look like a gift-grubber and is extremely tacky. Your friends will help spread the word and people who are interested are not shy about asking.
Perks: Stores that participate in bridal rewards programs show you how to get free gifts from companies when you register for their items. Most retailers also give you 10% of items on your registry that were not purchased for you. This includes furniture!
Where to Register? There are lots of places each with it's own perks. Here's a listing of the most popular places. I prefer retailers that allow guests to view your registry online as this makes their life easier and they can ship things directly to you.
1) Bed Bath and Beyond: This is one of the most popular places to register. They have a relatively large selection. Registration is in store and online. Most of your guests will have heard of it. Best Features: You can return things for cash so long as they were purchased from your registry. Your friends can use those 20% off coupons. They will ship to your home. Participates in bridal rewards programs. Drawbacks: The prices are not great, they do not carry every brand.
2)Macys: One of the largest wedding retailers there is. Allows you to register online and in store. Most guests will have heard of it. Best Features: Ease of registering, participates in bridal rewards program plus has its own rewards program. They will ship to your home. Drawbacks: Price is not great, returns are with packing slip and only for store credit or exchange.
3)Williams-Sonoma: This is solely for kitchen type items. A fnacy schmancy gourmets store with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos. Registry updates online or in store. Best Features: Some very sophisticated products that cannot be found elsewhere. They will ship to your home. Drawbacks: This is an extremely pricey store. Returns are only for store credit. You cannot register for cleaning/bathroom/bedroom items.
4)Crate and Barrel: This store has your run of the mill items as well as furniture. Registry is online and in store. Best Features: Variety of cool lamps and the like. Will ship to your home. Drawbacks: Price is high. Selection of kitchen items is not great.
5) Amazon: The huge onlne retailer is now handling registries. Everyone knows the website. Online registration only. Best Features: GIANT selection of every posible item. Will ship to your home. Fantastic thank-you note manager feature. Great prices. Drawbacks: Returns are confusing so you must make sure you want to keep everything you get. You cannot see the items in real life, unless you find them at some other retailer. Sometimes the giant selection can be overwhleming. Your guests must have internet capabilities.
6) Bloomingdales: Large department store. Has some higher end vases and decorative items. Registration is online and in store. Best Features: Will ship to your home. Participates in bridal rewards programs. Good selection of high end items. Drawbacks: High prices. Return for store credit only.
7) Charity: For those who prefer their gifts go to charity there are services out there that will handle this for you. Online only. Best Feature: If this is what you want they make it easy for you to do. Drawbacks: Not all of your guests want to go this route. They may want to give you a gift whether you want it or not. Your guests need internet capabilities.
8)PotteryBarn: Furniture and housewares. Registration online and in store. Best Features: Furniture. Will ship to your home. Participates in registry rewards. Drawbacks: Price is not great. Returns are for credit or exchange only.
9)Travelers Joy: You allow people to make donations towards different travel items you are planning: your honeymoon airfare, hotel stay etc. Registration online only. Best Features: You put gifts towards a nice experience together. Drawback: Your guests may prefer to just give you cash and let you deal with it yourselves. Guests need internet access.
10)Tiffany's: The store with the little blue boxes also has fine china and some housweares. Registration online and in store. Best Features: Many high end items. Drawbacks: Outrageous prices.
11) Adelaide's Alley: 517 kingshighway and east 3rd street in brooklyn. Cute assortment of housewares in brooklyn. Best Features: Extremely nice staff that is flexible on returns and guides you through registration. Carries great items. Drawbacks: You and your guests must be Brooklynites. Return for exchange or credit only. The items are great but selection is limited. They only deliver in Brooklyn.
12) The Yellow Door: A clasic brooklyn store with some online capabilities. You can start your registry online but it's a long process. Best Features: Handpicked items Drawbacks: You and your guests should be familiar with the Brooklyn store. Prices are not great.
13)East Side China: The famed Brooklyn China store now has a website but you need to go in to register. Best Features: AMAZING prices. Will return for cash. Drawbacks: You and your guests need to be familiar with brooklyn or boro park. They ship in the tri-state area only.
What should you register for? This is a post in itself and I will get working on it shortly!