Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shopping Sans Spending

Creating a wedding registry may be the only part of wedding planning that doesn't cost a couple financially. However, that's not to say the process won't cost a couple mentally or emotionally!

NavyGuy and I began the process today, registering for gifts at Macy's. I/We choose Macy's primarily for two reasons: they had the china pattern than I fell in love with approximately eight minutes after NavyGuy proposed, and there are lots of stores in Wisconsin which is where the majority of our guests live, so hopefully it will be easier for them. According to Karyn, our Macy's bridal consultant, approximately six months before your wedding is a good time to open registries. (In our case, we started now because my 'maids are throwing me a bridal shower over the Christmas holidays, and I was instructed by my matron of honor and wedding planner that as soon as the invites went out, I had better be registered because folks will start peeking.)

Honestly, our shopping spree was fairly uneventful, but that's mostly because a) I had picked out many things online ahead of time, b) NavyGuy and I have somewhat similar tastes when it comes to housewares, and c) NavyGuy tended to defer to me when there were any conflicts, knowing that the color of the guest bathroom shower curtain is infinitely more important to me than him. Yet, a post about gift registries wouldn't be complete without a few fun tidbits and tips for future couples:

1) Somehow we registered for four different napkin patterns, each of which we selected a different quantity (4/6/8/9?). (Who knows.) The problem was, my grand plan of keeping a clearly written checklist quickly fell by the wayside as we were trying to carry an electronic scanner, clipboard, pens, purse, cups of coffee, and still have hands free to grab items. I am going to attempt a different organization system when we got to the next store to register. Luckily, Macy's has a consultant talk through your list with you afterward (our lady was very nice and non-pushy thank goodness), so we caught the quantity discrepancies and other goofs we had on our registry.

2) The reason our registration process only took two hours was because I did my homework ahead of time. I researched products online (settle on a china pattern before you go, or for god's sake at least narrow it down, because otherwise you might as well just forward your mail to the fine china department), and did a comprehensive inventory of what we already had at home. This is especially critical for couples who are marrying later in life, have established households of their own, have already moved in together, or who are remarrying. Our registry was more about filling in gaps in our existing household goods, rather than "setting up house" for the first time. There are lots of helpful online lists of suggested items to register for; a few of the ones I found most helpful were Real Simple's list here, Farm and Fleet's list (don't snicker - they have a lot of useful stuff!) here, and a downloadable list from Wedding-Perfect. In the end, I typed up my own list combining items from all three.

3) Plan to be exhausted when you're done. Bring snacks. Near the end, my throat was scratchy, I had had to double-back for the clipboard which I'd inadvertently left on the flatware drawers, and we were both pretty convinced that there was not a single item left in the Macy's housewares department that either of us could ever want or use. Despite the work, registering is a fun part of the engagement where you and your fiance get to daydream about your life and home together after the wedding craziness subsides; the dishes you'll serve Christmas dinner on, the griddle you'll get out each Saturday morning to make pancakes, the towels you'll use to mop up the laundry room when the washer leaks - all the future memories.

What item would you suggest I be sure to have on our wedding registry? If you could register for your wedding again, what would you add to your list that you don't have originally?


keby November 23, 2008 at 6:57 PM  

Also, be prepared to go back and add/subtract new things to your registry during the months leading up to your wedding. Let alone after the wedding, when you return the things you don't want, exchange the things that broke in the mail or the things that fell apart. I don't know how many times Ben and I went to Crate and Barrel this year. I think the workers were cringing by last few times we came in with a towel that I had exchanged THREE times before because it was falling apart. (which, btw, started fraying again this week!)

I recommend registering for big ticket items like furniture or expensive vacuum cleaners. Stuff we never would have been able to get for ourselves, bu are wonderful to have in our new home. We had a really large registry since we had so many people were coming to our wedding so I don't know what else I would have added. Have fun with your registry Mugs and NavyGuy!

Anonymous,  November 23, 2008 at 7:55 PM  

Be sure to register for everything you want, need, or think you may want, or need. Many stores, like Kohl's or Target, let you purchase any items on your register that you did not receive at a discount. Very handy way for you to finish filling in the holes in your cupboard without spending millions... and you'll have all that wedding moolah to spend anyway!

Remember to also have items of all price ranges. Like Keby said... furniture or vacuums are expensive, but great gifts for a family or group of co-workers to purchase together! Smaller items are perfect for gift baskets as shower gifts or for a 35 week fetus to put their "name" on at the wedding reception. :)

Glad you had fun! Now... off to Target??


Anonymous,  November 24, 2008 at 7:26 AM  

I agree with putting everything on there. You can either buy it afterwards, exchange it when you realize you don't need it, etc. Make sure to have the crockpot, the big meat pan, the serving trays and all that random stuff that you don't use that often, don't want to spend money on yourself, but know your doing to need.

I also recommend having the moms, bridesmaids (and wedding planner!) pimping the registry as much as humanly possible. You go to all that work and then end up with a dozen homemade blankets and a dozen gravy boats. It's tacky for you to pimp it, but the moms and 'maids can shamelessly push it on your behalf!


Princess of Ales November 24, 2008 at 8:55 AM  

Ditto on all the previous comments. But I would add, don't stop there! Register for fun stuff, and for things that aren't "house" related. Though I know this doesn't apply to you, we registered for tons of camping and outdoor gear. Register for a trip, set up a honeymoon fund people can contribute to. The sky is the limit.

And not to burst the fun registry bubble, but lots of people will ignore the registry, assuming they know you SO well, and then give you crap. The nice on the outside part says it's the thought that counts. But the bitch on the inside wants to slap people! So I can promise to stick to the aforementioned registry. MUAH!

Anonymous,  November 24, 2008 at 9:31 AM  

Another thought...this sounds odd, but register for some tools. I know they have drills and all those knick knacks at Target and you have no idea how many times they will come in handy now that you're in a house!


Sister,  November 24, 2008 at 11:32 AM  

Well, I feel like I HAVE to put my two cents in now, as an old married spouse.


GIFT CARDS baby! Gotta love the checkbox for Target (and Macy's? not sure) that allows gift cards - AND you can write a cute little note to the guests too.

And p.s., you would make a lot of young people smile if you register at Best Buy. Think of NavyGuy, he would go crazy! And how else are you going to register for your missing seasons of the Wire and Mad Men?!

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