Wedding Registry 101

Martha Stewart Weddings, Volume 8 1999

Many couples register as soon as they become engaged so friends and family may purchase engagement gifts. If someone is throwing you an engagement party or a bridal shower, register at least a month before the event, and include appropriate gifts on your list. You should complete your registry four to six months before the wedding. Choose a shop whose merchandise you love, and consider its accessibility to your guests. Many shops offer easy-to-use registries that are regularly updated on their websites. Also consider the store's level of registry service. Full-service registries offer highly trained consultants to escort you through the entire process and may require an appointment, but this ensures that you will have the consultant's undivided attention.

At the Shop
Register for more gifts than you have guests, so there will be plenty of items to choose from. Think about who your guests are, and register for gifts in a wide range of prices, or choose individual items rather than sets, as with pots and pans, for instance. It is fine to put a few very expensive items on your registry, but balance them with equally lovely options that are more affordable.

Once you have finished, obtain a master list and the card of your contact person at the store. Check that your registry is complete and accurate: Examine all item listings and corresponding information, such as your wedding date, your names and addresses, and the gift-delivery address. Report errors to the store immediately, and recheck the information once corrected.

Informing Your Guests
Once you have registered, give the information to immediate family and the wedding party, and let them spread the word. If you are asked where you have registered, it is fine for you to tell, but it is not proper to include registry information in a wedding invitation. Registry information can be included on a wedding website, as long as the actual name of the store is not included on the same layer; organize your website so that guests must click down one level to find the details.

Gift Notification
If your registry doesn't automatically notify you when a gift has been purchased, review your registry every few weeks, and more frequently as the wedding approaches. This is also a good time to see if there is anything you would like to add or delete, and to make sure there are still gifts for various budgets. Use your updated registry to help you keep up with writing thank-you notes.

If you don't receive everything you registered for, don't fret. Many stores have a completion program, which offers a discount on remaining items, or will keep the registry active for anywhere from a few months to a few years, so friends and relatives can continue to purchase gifts from it as other joyous occasions arise.

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