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How to Create a Well-Rounded Wedding Registry

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When planning a wedding, you and your future spouse will have to really evaluate what exactly you will need for your life together. Ana Pierce gives some advice on this.


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You’re engaged! Welcome to one of the most exciting, busy and—sometimes stressful—seasons of your life. Whether you’re inviting 20 people to your wedding or 200, you’ll suddenly find your to-do list full of items to tackle before your big day. But if there’s one item that should be stress-free and fun, it’s creating a gift registry. While it’s completely up to you and your future spouse what you put on your registry, following a few guidelines will ensure that you—and your guests—are happy with the result.

1. Evaluate What You Already Own

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Photo by Ana Pierce/Shelearnsthings.com

Take notes on what you and your future spouse already own—this way you can prioritize the areas of greatest need on your registry. First, make sure to include any necessary kitchen, bathroom and laundry items that you don’t already have. If you have hand-me-down plates or silverware from an old apartment that you would rather not bring into married life, register for a new set and donate the old ones after your wedding.

2. Make a Plan

Before you run to the nearest Target and ask for a registry scanner, do some research. Consider what you most want and how it will match what you already own. For example, if you already have a big-ticket appliance, consider registering for other appliances in the same style or finish. That way, your new items will have a cohesive feel with what you have already invested in.

And on the topic of investments, make sure you include a variety of price points on your registry so guests can have a wide range to choose from.

3. Register Online

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Photo by Ana Pierce/Shelearnsthings.com

With options to buy from sources like Amazon and Zola, consider registering online for web-savvy wedding guests. Many will appreciate the ease of shopping online and having the option to ship a gift straight to your house. This is also a good way to ask for select “dream items” from stores that may be higher end or out of most people’s budget.

Make sure you include a variety of price points on your registry so guests can have a wide range to choose from.

If possible, though, I recommend visiting the stores you are registering from to make sure you really like what you’ve seen online. For example, if the silverware you’ve asked for doesn’t look quite as nice in person, you’d rather discover that before you receive it as a wedding gift. In addition, many shop assistants who work in common registry stores like Williams Sonoma or Crate&Barrel will be able to give you information on specific items, and even guide you through what is best to include on your registry.

4. Register in Store

Even if you complete most of your registry online, I recommend registering at a brick and mortar store, as well. For you and your fiancé, this can be fun. Clear your schedule and make it a date day! Out of all the pre-wedding decisions that you have to make, walking around a store together and dreaming about your future home can be the most exciting. And for guests who prefer buying locally, or others who need a last-minute gift, having an in-store option is a plus.

5. Don’t Forget the Little Things

While it’s easy to dream big for a wedding registry, make sure to add some smaller-ticket items to your list. Pizza cutters, ice cream scoops, even supplies like dish soap or surface cleaners are affordable things your guests will appreciate you including—and you’ll thank yourself for remembering them later!