Expert Advice from a Registry Insider
When Should a Couple Register?
Think about registering no later than four to six months before your wedding day to allow enough time for guests to browse and get ideas. Within that period, there also tend to be an engagement party and a shower, which are typically covered in the same registry.
Any Tips for Choosing a Store?
Brides usually register at two or three retailers: low, medium, and high end. You want to make sure you represent different price points to give your guests something to work from.
How Many Gifts Should You Register For?
We suggest you register for three gifts per person, but consider that if you want 12 plate settings with 12 pieces of flatware to go along with it, that's 24 gifts right there. You also have to remember that people will be buying you shower and engagement gifts as well, so you may want to come back and add a few things.
What Benefits are There to Registering with a Store That Has a Nationwide Presence?
Besides having an informed staff to field questions and help you get started, having stores across the country makes it easier for guests to shop and for couples to return items. Plus, we host engagement parties, where experts do demonstrations with new products and give brides-to-be ideas for creating their registries.
How Can You Tell Guests About the Registry?
Sometimes it will show up in a separate note within the shower invitation. A lot of young brides and grooms put it on their Facebook profiles, their websites, or in text messages. Of course, there's always word of mouth as well.
Where Do You Begin Compiling a Registry?
It's much more fun to start out with the things you've always wanted. Sometimes couples don't want to appear greedy, but this is wish-list time -- the one time in your life when it's okay to ask for splurge items. People want to celebrate with you; buying a gift is a material expression of their commitment to the couple, and an opportunity to share a lasting part in your home.
What's One Knockout Item That Should Be On Every Couple's List?
You need a durable white porcelain dinner set, because it's the little black dress of dinnerware. It's great -- you can dress it up for a special occasion or dress it down for everyday.
What Are Some Trends You're Seeing?
The groom loves to cook now, so gourmet items are big. People are also asking new questions about eco-friendly items, like water filtration systems, bamboo towels, and juicers.
What Do You Say to People Who Claim That Registries are Impersonal?
Registries are inherently personal. A couple chooses things that have meaning in their daily lives, and years on, they'll remember who gave them that gift each time they use it.
Is Anything Off-Limits for Registries?
Not in this day and age. This is a generation of active, well-traveled, cultured people -- their whole world is open. That's the real difference in registries today. There used to be a prescribed list of crystal and china for every couple, across the board. Now people register for camping equipment, honeymoons -- the boundaries are all down, so almost anything goes.
What is Your Top Tip for Couples Registering?
"Don't think just about your lifestyle as it is today. You'll be entertaining more in the years to come, so create a wish list of items: a platter for your first Thanksgiving dinner or champagne glasses for a New Year's toast. Keep those special occasions in mind; it's a wonderful way to include loved ones in those important milestones."
Meet the Expert
Mary Rose Gearon, a registry insider in Chicago, Illinois is known for curating a well-edited selection of quality furnishings and home goods for Crate & Barrel stores nationwide.