The concept of a wedding registry was started by Marshall Field’s department store in 1924 as a way for newly engaged couples to let family and friends know their chosen china, crystal, and silver patterns. Although Marshall Field’s may no longer be around (FYI – it’s now Macy’s), nearly 90 years later newly engaged couples are still creating wedding registries. Having a wedding registry is a smart way to give your guests an idea of what you need and where they can purchase it. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start your wedding registry adventure.
Friends and family will be so excited about your new engagement that they will want to shower you with gifts… seriously! If you have a registry available soon after you get engaged, then you can expect to receive gifts that you actually need instead of getting things you don’t want or can’t use. Some of you may be thinking, “But Emily, we already have everything we need!” If that’s the case, this would be a good opportunity to upgrade the items that you already have.
While you have the option to go to a brick and mortar store and scan items for your registry, many (especially the guys) may find it to be a daunting task. Thanks to the handy-dandy internet, couples can do most everything registry related online. Imagine… you can start your registry online while watching The Bachelorette and then your fiancé can add a few items at a later date, all in the comfort of your own home. Be sure to check that your retailers offer this service on their website.
Give your guests options
The registry that you create when you first get engaged is the only registry you should have throughout all your wedding festivities. You don’t have to worry about having separate registries for different engagement parties, showers, and your wedding. With that being said, be sure you include a wide range of gifts at different price points. While you may have pricey items on your registry (hey, everyone wants that KitchenAid mixer!), you should also include a mix of lower priced items for those who want to contribute but may not have a lot to spend. Also, really give some thought about what items you will need and will use in your new life together and skip things that you know you won’t use. Just because your parents have a cabinet full of nice china doesn’t mean you necessarily need china too.
Another way to give your guests options is to register at multiple retailers. Two to four retailers is a safe number but remember, you don’t want to register for the same items at different places. If you choose to register at that high-end store where you’ve been eyeing those beautiful towels, then be sure to include an inexpensive retailer too (hello Target!). Keep in mind where your guests are located in relation to your wedding. Local stores are great for those who live in proximity to your wedding events, but if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, then consider choosing a nationwide retailer that offers both local and online shopping. Some retailers may offer a discount on items not purchased from a wedding registry, so be sure to check and see if your retailer offers this discount!
Don’t place registry information on invitations
It is a wedding faux pas to include registry information on any wedding stationary, including the save the date and invitation. So, how are guests supposed to know where you are registered, you ask? One acceptable way is to include your registry information on your wedding website. Along with details about how the couple met, where the wedding will take place, and who is part of the bridal party, your wedding website can certainly include a note about where the couple is registered. The better option is to let registry information out the good ol’ fashioned way – word of mouth.
The exception to this “no registry information on invitations” rule is for shower invitations. Since pre-wedding showers are typically hosted by close friends or family and not the wedding hosts, and the whole point of those events is to “shower” the couple with gifts, it’s certainly acceptable (and expected) for those invitations to include registry information.
Source Bridal Guide
When can I use my gifts?
Traditionally, you should wait to use your gifts until after the wedding. Many may view using gifts before the wedding as bad luck, while others feel more sentimental waiting until they’re officially husband and wife. While there really isn’t a right or wrong answer, it is important to know that if the wedding is cancelled for any reason, all the gifts should be returned.
Send thank-you notes
First of all, you should send all your gift giving guests a thank you note. If you feel comfortable inviting 500 people to your wedding, then you should feel comfortable writing just as many thank you notes. Not only is this polite, but it lets your guests know that you received their gift. If you receive a gift prior to your wedding date, then a thank-you note should be sent within two weeks. You have one month from returning from your honeymoon to send thank you notes for gifts received on or after your wedding date.
One last thought…
Some couples may be inclined to ask for cash instead of receiving gifts. It is not proper etiquette to ask for cash, so please don’t do it. Promise me you won’t! The occasional couple may not even want to register for gifts because they only want cash. Since some guests will refuse to give cash as a wedding gift, I highly suggest you register anyway. It would be better to receive something you want and can use (and can return or exchange), rather than receive an unfavorable gift from an unknown store.
Having a registry is a smart way to provide a little guidance for what guests can purchase as a gift. If a “traditional” wedding registry isn’t your thing, try finding a charity or organization that your guests can contribute to in lieu of a gift. And don’t forget… complete your registry before sending out the wedding invitation!