Sunday, April 27, 2014

What No One Tells You about Registries

I'm going to let you in n a little secret that no one will ever tell you- wedding registries are HARD. I was there too- A new bride to be, all excited to nest into her first place, marry the man she loved and get lots of great stuff she didn't have to pay for. For some reason we all seem to have this idea that you just breeze on in to a store, grab a registry gun and walk around hand in hand with your fiance, playing lazer tag with the scanners and wahlah presents! (I think Hollywood may be to blame for this) But boy did I get a reality check. So, Here are some of my tips to make this a smidgen less of a nightmare.

  1. Do your research. Walk around your parent's/ sister/brother's/aunt's/grandparent's/married friends houses and identify all the thing you can't live without, wish you had, or are accustomed to having. Search the Internet for registry lists or ask your married friends/relatives what they registered for or what they wish they had registered for.
     2. Make A list. Long before you head to the stores, write down everything you want or need. To make this easier on yourself, group them into categories or rooms (or both) put all the bathroom stuff together, kitchen, living room, etc. This will help you from accidentally skipping over items when you start the registry. Also make several copies of this list so you can cross off each item as you register for it at each store- and have a blank one to cross off items as you get them. This will make it easy to see what you still need to buy with any gift cards/money from returns you might receive.

   3. Style. Determine what your color scheme and style is  before you start to register. Have in mind what you want each room to look like- this will save you time in the long run because you can look only at black toasters instead of all of them at once. This will also help things match.

  4. Decide where you want to register. This is important to know beforehand. I suggest choosing 2-3 places because it's very possible one store won't have everything you want. Call ahead before you go and find out:
  • If they do registries
  • If they have a functioning scanner (One of my stores didn't)
  • How long your registry stays open after the wedding. Etiquette says a guest can send a gift up to a year after.
  • Make an appointment to ensure you get to register

  5. Register for Everything. Jake lives in an apartment with some roommates, so he has his own dishes, microwave, toaster etc; but I'm registering for all that stuff anyway because
                1) Jake is a college student his belongings are...eclectic (to put it nicely) and worn. Buying new stuff will ensure that everything matches, and is functional
                2)If no one buys us the new replacement items, we still can use the old ones to get by until we can afford new ones- but if they do buy us new stuff I can sell the (nicer) old ones at a yard sale and get money for things we need.

6. Don't Do it All At Once. It's tempting, and I did it- but I have something like 63 days before my wedding- so I'm rushed. Trying to do it all in one shot is exhausting, it's frustrating and you will get cranky (I'm pretty sure I bit Jake's head off more than once, and even cried). It's not fun or fast or easy like it looks in movies. You're making a lot of big decisions and wading through tons of crap to find what you want. This will take time. Days. It took me four days  (mostly after work, so close to 50 hours total) to complete mine.

7. If You Want it, Register for it. When my fiance and I finally went together, he floated towards the electronics and was fidgeting with the scanner. I asked him if he wanted to scan something and he nodded and told me a ps4- but that he knew no one would buy it, so he shouldn't bother, and that registries weren't for that and that he shouldn't register for selfish "for him" items. I told him to do it. It takes 3 seconds to scan, and if no one buys it, it doesn't hurt us any. If they do- he got something he really wanted, that we can't afford. Not every gift has to be useful, some can be just for fun. My MoH registered for a freezer- and got it. She said it was the thing she was the most happy about registering for. She also registered for movies, and regrets not registering for more.

8. He Doesn't Care- and that's ok. Save yourself a bucket load of stress right now by realizing that your wonderful fiance loves you, he really does- and it's not personal that he doesn't understand why it is so important the appliances match, or what color the guest towels are. Don't pick fights with him or stress over it- guys just don't really care about those kind of details- and if he does have an opinion- listen to him, ask why he does or doesn't want an item, or why he thinks something else is better. Explain how you plan to decorate and make sure he approves- but don't fret if he shrugs or says "what ever you like" or "If you're happy I'm happy." It means he trusts you and doesn't hate it. If he hates it, he'll let you know (probably).

9. Register in all price ranges. This one is the obvious one that everyone tells you. Register for cheap things and expensive things. Some people will buy a bunch of little things and give them to you together, some people will want to group together and buy you a big item, and sometimes, people's generosity will just plain surprise you.

and now onto my big, personal tips..
10. Register online. This may sound like a bit of a hassle, and it kind of is. It probably takes longer than traditional registering- but here's why I like it.
  • I can do it in my pajamas, while laying in bed
  • I can eat and drink while doing it, which helps keep stamina up- trust me, you will need this
  • I can compare prices and stores instantly
  • I can read reviews on each item, or look it up on other sites for reviews
  • I can do research on items, like how big a 1.3 cubic foot microwave is, or what to look for in an iron
  • I can do it at my convenience. I work until 6 pm, and I don't want to spend my Saturdays with Jake registering at stores. This way I can start after work and go until I'm tired without worrying about store hours or other people.
  • I can instantly see all the products the store offers, and narrow it down by color, price, etc.
  • It's easy to edit, alter and change
  • If/when you decide to go to those stores in person, you can skip the set up process and just get started (which will save you OODLES of time)
10. Register at Bed Bath and Beyond FIRST. When someone I knew registered there, I thought they were being snobby. All the items on their registry could be bought at walmart for 1/3 the cost. I thought it was a pride thing. When I talked to my Matron of Honor, she told me she didn't register there for that reason, and because she didn't think there was anything there that she needed. Wow, we were so wrong.
  • Bed Bath and Beyond has everything. Jewelry, pet supplies, grills, microwaves, massaging cushions, beauty products, fryers, fine china, you name it- they got it.
  • Their site is SO easy to use. It is organized, quick and user friendly. It was by far the best registry experience I had.
  • They have registry incentives. If you receive so many dollars worth of certain brands- that company will send you free gifts (just for getting gifted their stuff)! Gifts include hostess sets, wine goblets, utensils, etc.
  • They offer consultants if you go in in person

My advice is to go through your list at Bed Bath and Beyond first, then if you can't find items you like or want, use target or walmart (or other similar stores) to fill in the blanks.

*As a warning- registering online at walmart was the worst experience I have ever had. I spent 12 hours STRAIGHT working on my online registry there, and completed one room. If you want to use them, know exactly what you want before hand.

**As a side note, if you go to Target in person to register (which I did for a few last minute items) they give you a small stack of very cute thankyou cards, some coupons, and a card for 10% off everything left on your registry after the wedding.

11. Multiples when I was going through things, I'd find several lamps I liked- so I registered for them all. I can go through later and delete the ones I don't like as much. Same goes for registering for similar items at different stores. When you are done registering, go through and clean it up. This will save time and stress in the long run.

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