In theory, creating a wedding registry is a fun and easy breezy day trip to the store. But, if you're as clueless as me (who knew you needed to register for more than four place settings in a household of two?) it helps to have an insider to walk you through the process. Enter the wedding experts.
As planners and etiquette experts, they often act as a stand-in friend and confidante to hundreds of brides who are unsure of how to navigate different aspects of the bridal experience. Here are their tips for navigating it all like a pro.
Remember when I mentioned needing to register for more than four place settings? Candice Coppola, owner of Jubilee Events, explains why: "Your wedding china, flatware and glassware will hold sentimental value and meaning for a lifetime. Plates break, they get loaned and never returned or patterns become discontinued. This may be the only time you receive the patterns you've selected. Make sure you have enough. It comes in handy when you host a big dinner party like your first Thanksgiving."
For that reason, she encourages clients to register for dinner service for at least 12, but 16 is ideal.
Streamline your registry.
"These days, our clients are all about expressing their personal style in their homes," says Shannon Leahy Rosenbaum of Shannon Leahy Events. "They find that many of the big box registries are a little too "one size fits all" for their tastes." As a result, Shannon says many couples are hitting Pinterest for ideas and registering via third-party sites like Zola, My Registry, and Blueprint.
The upside of these vendors is that they pull from multiple vendors, but sort everything in one portal, making it an easy, one-stop shop for guests to purchase gifts from. Eliminating the nuisance of visiting multiple sites and having to submit billing information more than once.
Keep in mind some things may be out of stock if you immediately register but your wedding isn't for more than six months, says Amy Spears, owner of Socials in the South event planning. Be sure to visit and update your registry regularly to avoid out-of-season items, particularly if you have a long engagement.
Pick items that are pretty and practical.
Modern couples are saying hello to everyday fine china. "Heath Ceramics creates high-quality ceramics I love," says Shannon. "Their table settings feel high-end and timeless enough that they can still be special family heirlooms." For a fancy dinner party, she recommends dressing them up with festive linens, placemats and silverware. However, they are versatile and durable enough to be used daily (aka, they're dishwasher safe!).
Register for experiences.
Etiquette experts agree that it's more than ok for couples to register for date night ideas. Since many people are getting married later in life, it's possible they already live together and have already furnished a home. If you fall in that category, use a registry like Honeyfund to register for activities to do your honeymoon.
"There are plenty of sites that offer options for guests to gift couples with everything from rafting trips to car rentals," says Amy. Not going on your honeymoon immediately after the wedding and still prefer an activity versus a product? Use a site like Zola to register for a cooking class in your city.
Style Me Pretty - Ximena N. Larkin is a writer and publicist. She lives in Chicago with her husband and dog. More at ximenalarkin.com