Photo Courtesy of Kuhl-Linscomb
Building your wedding registry is sort of like building a home with your future spouse—except on someone else’s dime. Which is why it’s so important to create your registry with consideration and mindfulness, making sure to include a well-rounded mix of everyday items, things you’ll use for special occasions, and a few special keepsakes that will be cherished for generations to come. Turn to these insider tips to assemble a registry that meets your needs today, and sees you through a lifetime together as a married couple.
1. Take inventory
Before starting to build your registry, take stock of your stuff. You are combining two lives, after all, and if you are not living together already, there may be overlap in some of the things each of you already owns.
As you’re going through each room, make a mental list of the bedroom and bathroom items you already have between the two of you, and jot down the things you absolutely need. A little organizing now (before the gifts start rolling in) could save you a ton of time—and money—after the honeymoon is over.
2. Register together
It’s easy for one spouse-to-be to take the reins with registry details, but don't forget that you are shopping for the two of you, together, as a couple.
Julie Shuford of iconic Houston hardware-and-gifts retailer Bering’s, offers this helpful advice: “Going into the wedding registry process with a ‘we do’ mentality rather than ‘I do,’ and keeping in mind the idea of registering for the future that you two will be sharing, will make the experience much more fun and meaningful.
3. Think ahead
The registry team at Upper Kirby design-and-lifestyle emporium Kuhl-Linscomb is used to working with couples to create their dream registries, and they recommend thinking not just about what your life looks like now, but what it might look like 10 years from now. “Remember, families grow!” they say. “Someday you’ll want to host Thanksgiving and other family celebrations; you’ll be happy you have enough china, crystal and silver."
4. Bigger is better
Giving your guests a wide range of gift options at different prices is crucial to building a solid and gracious registry. “Guests do not buy things that they do not like themselves,” says the Kuhl-Linscomb team.
Building a bigger registry than you expect to fulfill is key, as well. After your bridal showers and other pre-wedding events, but before the big day, your wedding registry can become sparse. Having plenty of gift choices “will ensure that there are still special, unique pieces available to purchase from your registry” before and after the big day, they add.
5. Go for the good stuff
Don’t be afraid to ask for the things that you will need in the future and will appreciate having, but that you don’t want to break the bank buying yourself. For example, if you plan on traveling as a married couple, but don’t want to spend your income on quality luggage because you’d rather save up for a new washer and dryer (which obviously are not practical wedding gifts), make sure you pick out a reliable brand.
“We are loving White Wing Label’s new line of waxed canvas luggage,” says Shuford. “Brides and grooms alike can’t get enough of this ruggedly classic, Texas-based line.”
6. Take a few chances
“Over the last year, coolers and grills have become regular registry items,” Shuford says. These days, Bering’s sees “Big Green Egg Grills and YETI Coolers on the majority of wedding registries.”
The team at Kuhl-Linscomb agrees that YETI products are quickly becoming the hottest registry items. “The Tundra Coolers and Rambler Tumblers are the light at the end of the tunnel for a groom who is a bit of a wary shopper—whether he’s a backyard kind of guy or avid outdoorsman.”
Just because an item doesn’t seem particularly registry-worthy, don’t be afraid to add it to your wish list. If it’s something you’d consider buying as a wedding gift for a friend, it’s fair game.
7. Get organized
With so many gifts, givers and registry retailers to keep track of, it is vital to document your registry.
Shuford recommends: “Keep an Excel spreadsheet of gifts you and your future spouse have received, along with thank-you cards that you have or have not written. Maintaining an organized list of gifts also helps you determine exactly what you still need to close out your registry.”
8. Combine old and new
Those treasured heirloom china pieces that you may have inherited still have a place in your collection. Blending older pieces with newer items is a perfectly acceptable way to honor the past while shaping your future.
“Brides and grooms are mixing and matching fine china more than ever,” the Kuhl-Linscomb team notes. “Style is always evolving, and it’s fun to update family heirlooms by mixing in new and interesting pieces. Mixing brands, patterns and colors helps couples to express their own style while using special family pieces.”
Another fun way to mix things up? Put your name on it! According to the experts at Kuhl-Linscomb, personalized products are now on everyone’s registry wish lists. “Sasha Nicholas’s monogrammed tableware is a perfect addition to any couple’s inherited china for an updated look, and a great way to show off your newly shared initial!”
9. Don’t get stuck on dining
Don’t assume that the dining table and kitchen are the only rooms to register for. Your bedroom also has amazing potential for beautiful, unique gifts that your guests would love to buy.
Non-kitchen registry items may include decorative pillows, luxurious throws, monogrammed towels, ornate picture frames, vases, candleholders and more.
10. Choose with love
You aren’t settling for anything but the best when choosing your life partner, so look at your registry the same way too: Only register for items that you are drawn to and absolutely love. Otherwise you will end up with a household full of items that don’t reflect the love you have for each other.
Take your dinnerware, for example. A beautiful table will enhance the atmosphere of any future holiday gathering or romantic dinner party, so choose one you and your future spouse will treasure for years to come. “Whether it’s used for special occasions or nightly dinners with your spouse, good quality china and flatware make each meal feel truly special,” notes Julia Hernandez of Celebrity China & Cookware. “Most couples use items they’ve had since college or during their single years, but it’s nice to have a set for your new home that is the both of yours.”
Shuford recommends Juliska’s new Puro pattern for simple yet chic dinnerware. “Juliska continues to be our Number One registry line and we are certain the clean and simple pieces from Puro will be the next top pattern,” she says.
11. Use what you receive
When building your registry, remember that most of your tabletop items aren’t meant to be stored away or used for display only, like museum pieces.
“It is no longer about using formal settings on holidays only, but instead pulling pieces out for hosting a wine night or a small mixer with friends. Fine china can be fun and is surprisingly functional,” Shuford says.
12. Have fun
Creating your registry should be an occasion for fun, not a source of stress. “Go with the flow, and remember that this step in your life is a fun adventure,” the Kuhl-Linscomb team says. “Registering for your wedding is all about you and your spouse for the rest of your life—and that is something special and magical. It’s not about what your mother wants, or your grandmother or your best friend. It’s your special time, so do what you want.”