As we enter the height of wedding season with bridal showers already in full swing, the giving and receiving of wedding gifts is happening more now than any other time of the year. Here are some big registry mistakes to avoid so you don't spend your first few months of marriage waiting in the return line at your local department store.
MISTAKE 1: Not registering at all
While not registering at all sounds like a good idea if you have already been living together for years, don't want guests to feel obligated to send a gift, or are thinking if you don't register then everyone will just give you cash, I can't stress enough how much I would encourage you to rethink this plan. If any of your family or friends are gracious enough to plan an engagement party or bridal shower, you must register for SOMETHING or else you run the risk of getting all sorts of gifts you neither need, want or appreciate.
If you really don't need anything, then check out sites like Honeyfund or Hatch My House where you can set up a registry for honeymoons, house down payments or even charitable gifts if the idea of another toaster does nothing for you.
MISTAKE 2: Registering for everything
At last count, The Knot.com's wedding registry checklist included almost 150 separate items, many with quantities up to 12 each! Unless you are inviting your entire town to your wedding, there is a good chance you won't receive this many gifts - no matter how many showers are thrown for you. These lists are helpful but be sure to prioritize. If your favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations, then you can probably skip the citrus zester and the rice cooker. Take an inventory of what would be a great addition to your current lifestyle and register accordingly.
MISTAKE 3: Registering like it's 1977
Traditionally brides and grooms spent a LONG Saturday afternoon at their local department store selecting their china, crystal and silver patters for the next 50 years. I know, because my parents did this back in 1977 and my father still talks about it and how he wasn't sure why my mother was selecting teal Lenox china with Asian-inspired birds on it and how he didn't dare voice his opinion or he might be there even longer. He still brings it up when she takes out all the silver to polish and crystal to wash - a process that takes about 3 hours each holiday. While my mother loves the pomp and circumstance of preparing for holidays - even though she traded in that set of china about five years ago for a simpler design - I think I would rather poke myself in the eye than go through that process, but to each their own.
If you are okay with the idea that you might cry if someone breaks a wine glass or you can already picture a stately china cabinet in your dining room, go for it! However, if your idea of a dinner party is inviting friends over for the game and eating off your everyday plates, your registry might be better suited for something else.
MISTAKE 4: Registering at only one local or obscure store
I find this happens more in the South than I ever saw in the Northeast, but if there is a local store where everyone in town has been registering since the beginning of time and they keep all the registries printed in a binder, of course can register there, but for the sake of your guests, please also register at a national store with an online registry.
It is often a Southern status symbol to register in these beautiful boutiques where the owner knows your mother and grandmother's china patterns, but the only way to shop the registry is to come in to the store or at best case order over the phone. This is rather inconvenient for your guests who live out of town and it feels extremely outdated. The reverse is true as well. If you live in the United States and you only register at Harrod's of London, you will look like a snob and all of your guests will incur international shipping charges and pay the exchange rate if they even purchase items off your registry at all.
MISTAKE 5: Failing to research modern registry options
Just because your BFF loved her department store registry when she got married five years ago, doesn't mean it is always the best option for you. Recently, a new registry site Zola was created as the ultimate one-stop shop registry that allows for group gifting and lets you control your shipment dates if you are taking an extended honeymoon or are in the process of moving while planning your wedding.
Also, be sure to check if your favorite store has a registry capability with gifts that excite you more than coffee makers and muffin tins. For example, when Anthropologie launched their gift registry late last year, you could almost hear the angels rejoice as you can now register for both unique products and more classic finds in the same place.