Don’t feel embarrassed! As long as you don’t mention it on the wedding invitation and just discreetly refer to it on your wedding website or by friends’ and family word-of-mouth, you will be ok.
It is quite acceptable to start your registry as soon as you become engaged; it gives friends and family chance to get you something for your engagement and time to budget for the gift they want to give.
DO A COUPLE’S INVENTORY
Before you consider your wedding registry, you need to do a couple’s personal inventory. If both of you have lived independent lives or lived together for a while, chances are you may already have a lot of the items usually requested on a wedding registry. By taking a sharp inventory, you can work out what you have two of, what you have none of, what needs upgrading or replacing and what you want rid of!
MAKE TWO LISTS - A ‘NEEDS’ LIST AND A ‘WANTS’ LIST
Now make two lists: one to cover things you actually need and another to cover things you would like. Try to be realistic about hobbies; are they still a part of your life? Will they be or do you just a dream of starting your own home brewery or film making? Consider items that will multi-task instead of one-offs; ten pans or three good Le Creuset ones that can double as ovenware?However, do put in some fun items you haven’t got but would like: a goldfish bowl, an ice cream maker. Generally, get baking pans, pans, a blender, kitchenware, silverware, china, a trash can, knife sets, a juicer for the kitchen, coffee table books, coffee tables, lamps, cushions, rugs, vacuums for the living room, towels, soap, cleaning supplies, scents and candles, linens, pillows, bedsheets, nightstands, an iron and steamers for bedroom and bathroom. If you are an outdoor couple or have a garden you have to cultivate together, consider rakes, shovels, weeders, a toolkit and gardening supplies.
NOW RESEARCH REGISTRIES!
Different stores have different ranges and products. Try to select two or three to give your guests a range to choose from: one high end, one medium and one low end store. Look at the range of goods and brands each carries and make your selection at each.
VISIT THE STORES IN PERSON AND GET A PRINT OUT OF YOUR EXACT REGISTRY FOR EACH
Get a personal assistant to assist you. Once your main list and (back up list - see later) is done, get a print-out and carefully re-read to ensure there are no mistakes - asking for 22 fruit bowls instead of two. Make sure you have the business card of the assistant who helped you initially so you have a real contact if any revisions or later questions.
VISIT YOUR REGISTRIES EVERY COUPLE OF DAYS
This is so you can ensure that purchased gifts have been removed and updated with new items as gifts are bought. Do have a back-up list.
ASK ABOUT COMPLETION DISCOUNTS AND PERKS
Ask how long your registry will be active after your wedding date; it should be up to one year after the wedding but double-check. Also, most stores give completion discounts to couples who wish to purchase items that weren’t purchased for the wedding or discounts on wedding rings.
FIND OUT HOW LONG THE EXCHANGE/RETURN PERIOD IS
You need to find out about this as soon as possible. You don’t want to get back off honeymoon to find you have only ten days left to exchange or return items.
IF YOU NEED ITEMS FOR YOUR HONEYMOON…
ask your Maid of Honor to arrange some travel theme for your bridal shower so the gifts are focused towards supporting your honeymoon requirements.
WRITE YOUR THANK YOUS!
Do ensure you write personal thank you notes for each and every gift. Traditionally, it should be two weeks after your wedding if you received the gift then and a month afterwards if you received the gift after. The great thing about online registries is that it is easy to track who sent what!