Anyone planning a wedding knows a million details need to be sorted out before the big day. Registering for gifts is one of them. While it’s typically one of the more fun aspects of wedding planning, deciding what to include can be time-consuming.
Generally, couples should begin about nine months out, ensuring that most everything has been chosen in advance of any shower or other pre-wedding events.
Couples should dream big when they compile their registry, said Leah Drill, senior associate for public relations at Bed Bath & Beyond.
“From the smallest kitchen gadget to the biggest bedding ensemble — even fine china and luggage — this is the time to get everything you ever needed and wanted.”
Drill suggested that couples register for two-and-half times as many gifts as the number of guests at the wedding.
“Guests will appreciate having lots of choices in a wide range of price points and categories.”
What goes on that list often depends on what couples already have. If they already live together, it’s likely that they own many start-up items like measuring cups and dishes.
But even when that’s the case — as with Molly Lawrence and her husband who got married in Madison 18 months ago and now live in Boston — those basic are sometimes what couples still want.
After using a hodgepodge of mismatched items they’d either collected or been given through the years, they were more than ready to update.
“My sisters gave me a package of Target plates when I graduated from college,” said Lawrence, “and I think I had an old pot, pan and I hadn’t really thought about getting new stuff in the seven or eight years after I graduated, so we had no problem upgrading those items.”
They also requested other, more distinctive household items and accessories, but because they live in an apartment, many of the gifts they received are being kept in storage until they have a house.
It will be exciting to use them, Lawrence said, when they do.
“My husband and I both wanted to create a warm and comfortable home that we could come home to, and that would one day be memorable for our kids, family and friends.”
Along with the excitement, choosing items for a current or someday home can also be overwhelming, said Becky Hall, who recently married in Western Connecticut and lives in Manhattan.
For their registry, Hall and her husband visited a lot stores. But they also did much of it online, which Hall said was occasionally stressful.
“There are so many more products on a website than in a store, and that can be overwhelming because you’re thinking, ‘Do I need that?’
“When you’re picking things out for yourself, for the future, it’s hard to determine because of all the products being shown to you on the website. You can second-guess yourself about what you’re picking out.”
From customary choices like Crate & Barrel, to the more unique, like the I Do Foundation, where in lieu of gifts, couples request donations to their favorite charity, there’s not much that you can’t register for.
Even Domino’s has a wedding registry where couples “passionate about pizza” can register to receive something they love “as much as they love their partner.”
Attempting to streamline the process are a variety of online aggregators, allowing couples to compile their wish list on a single, centralized registry.
Among some of the most popular are Zola, MyRegistry.com and Blueprint Registry, which gives couples the ability to shop for the items they want, room by room, using virtual blueprints.
Founder Lizzy Ellingson explained how it works.
“It’s not only combining the room-by-room experience — you’re shopping with visual blueprints to help see what you want, need and desire — but also the ability to aggregate things into one location. So we aggregate the top retailers into one place, so instead of going to six stores to register, you can do it all in one place.”
A group gifting tool makes it easier for family and friends to go in together on bigger ticket items, and there also are options for cash and honeymoon gifts as well.
“What we’ve seen in the market, especially over the last two or three years, is that people are living together before they get married, so people already have the registry essentials like the dinnerware or glassware set,” said Ellingson.
Instead of requesting those items, some couples opt for monetary gifts that can be put toward other wishes, like a honeymoon or even a down payment on a house.
And while to some, asking for money is still taboo, Ellingson said that it’s becoming much more commonplace.
“To give context to your friends and family, we have a description section that you can write a long description of what you’ll be using those funds for, so then they have a better idea of what they are contributing towards.”
What’s most important in putting together a wedding registry, is remembering what you’re doing it for.
“You’re registering for more than your big day,” Drill said. “You’re registering for the rest of your life.”