Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bridal Registry Best Practices

My husband Greg works in retail management for Bed Bath & Beyond. As a manager, part of his job involves overseeing the store’s bridal registry program. The irony of this situation is that when we were planning our wedding a few years ago, Greg was a classic example of a disinterested groom. He would roll his eyes whenever I’d talk about the wedding (which was pretty much non-stop, so I can’t really blame him). Needless to say, I find it rather amusing that his days are now often spent explaining the benefits of fine china versus everyday china to engaged couples.

I recently sat Greg down and picked his brain about bridal registry do’s and don’ts. Below are his words of wisdom, along with a few tips of my own.

Don’t be afraid to splurge.
This is your chance to “shop” for items you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself, such as high quality cookware and cutlery, so go ahead and register for pricier items. Groups of guests will often go in on a gift together and split the cost.

Don’t do all of your registering online.
Nothing beats registering in your pajamas from the comfort of home, but keep in mind that some stores carry merchandise on their website that is not necessarily sold in stores. Guests who prefer to shop the old fashioned way may become frustrated when they arrive at the store, only to find out that the majority of items on your registry have to be purchased online.

Do fill your registry.
Couples who hope to receive cash gifts are often hesitant to add a lot of items to their registry in hopes of discouraging guests from making a purchase at the store. However, keeping your registry lean doesn’t necessarily mean that guests will opt to give cash. Instead, they may take the liberty of selecting a gift item on their own, which may not suit your taste.

Do keep your registry up to date.
If you’re planning to have an engagement party, you may decide to register shortly after you get engaged so that guests have some gift ideas. However, don’t do the bulk of your registering until a few months before the wedding. Stores rotate their inventory throughout the year, and items you may have registered for a year ago when you first got engaged may very well be discontinued by the time your shower invitations go out.

Do consider seasonality.
If you register in June for your October wedding, resist the urge to add a patio set or outdoor grill to your registry. Chances are, these items will no longer be available in the store when your guests are shopping for a gift in the late summer/early fall.

Do take advantage of the bridal registry associate.
I realized that didn’t sound quite right after I wrote it, but what I mean is, take advantage of the associate’s knowledge. They have been specially trained in the registry program and know exactly how many bath towels, hand towels, and wash cloths you should include.

Don’t do all of your registering in one place.
Give your guests some options. This is especially important if you have guests traveling from out of town. Make sure the geographical locations of the stores you’ve chosen to register at are convenient for everyone to get to. (This one obviously came from me, as a Bed Bath & Beyond employee would never advocate registering somewhere else.)

Don’t rush the process.
Registering is not a quick errand you can run on your way home from work one night. Plan to spend a good two to three hours getting your registry set up initially. And don’t think that you have to complete the whole thing in one day. Couples often make a few trips back to the store to finish the job.

Do you have any other registry tips to share? Let us know by leaving a comment and we’ll donate a dollar to the Alzheimer’s Association as part of our Comment for a Cause initiative.

[Image source: www.ksfy.com]

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