Expert Tips

Registry Rules: What to Consider When Creating a Bridal Registry

By: Camille Davis

One of the most enjoyable aspects of preparing for married life is assembling a gift registry. Choosing items for a registry allows engaged couples to choose household items that will contribute to the preparation of a comfortable and attractive home. Although the focus of the registry are the needs and wants of the bride and groom, the bride and groom must refrain from using their gift registry as an opportunity to make unrealistic requests of their guests. Below are tips for compiling a registry that simultaneously reflects the preferences of the couple and the appropriate consideration of the couple’s guests.

1. Begin with items that are needed for everyday use.

Think about you and your fiance?e’s lifestyles. What items do each of you use daily?What items will you continue to use daily after you are married? Examples are dishes, sheets, blankets, towels, and appliances. Although these are not the most exciting gifts to receive, you should place them on your registry if you and your fiance? need them. You will be frustrated after your wedding if you and your fiance? are without basic items that you need to function daily.

2. Place items on your registry that you will use for entertaining.

After registering for items that you will use daily, register for items that you need for entertaining guests within your home. This is the time to add china, bar glasses, punch bowls, serving trays, and other items that are similar. More than likely, you will not need these items on an everyday basis, but you will need them during instances when you invite guests to your home. You want to be prepared for such occasions by possessing the necessary materials.

3. Order items for your registry in sets.

Most items for your registry should be selected in sets. Sets are even numbers (i.e. 2,4,6,8) of an item. When choosing a set, always consider the number of people you plan on entertaining at one time, and select a set accordingly. For example, if your dining room table holds 12 people, then order enough dishes, forks, glasses, etc. for 12 people.

4. It’s okay to choose a charity in lieu of gifts.

If you and your finance are already living together, you may already have most of what you need and want for your home. If that is the case, consider choosing a charity with a cause that is important to you, and ask your guests to consider contributing to the charity.

5. Do not place electronics on communication devices on your registry.

A registry is not a Christmas list. It is not an opportunity to insist that guests purchase anything you desire. Gadgets such as phones, cameras, and speakers should not be on a wedding registry. If you need these items, list them as additional items on your wedding budget, and plan to pay for them. You will lose the respect and possible goodwill of your guests by placing items on your registry that seem disconnected from marriage preparation.

6. Do not place items on your list that are cost prohibitive.

If you know that most of your guests won’t be able to afford something, then don’t put it on your registry. Your intention should not be to present a lengthy list of items to your guests of items that they cannot afford. Instead, your intention should be to present a variety of items that will be useful to you that are within your guests’ price range. By opting to do things this way, your guests will know that you are not attempting to take advantage of them, and they will be more likely to purchase more items on your list.

7. Create a separate registry for lingerie.

If you would like to receive lingerie or other intimate items, create a separate registry. This registry should be disclosed only to those you invite for a lingerie bridal shower or to those who are closest to you. Your underwear preferences should not be disclosed in your general wedding registry that is distributed among all guests.

8. Consider creating a trousseau.

A trousseau is a collection of items that are collected in preparation for marriage. These items are purchased by the bride and/ or groom and put away for safekeeping until their wedding day. Even if you have created a registry, it is okay to continually purchase items that you prefer not to place on the registry and to keep them in a special place until you are ready to use them.

9. Don’t ask for money.

If someone offers to give you money, then graciously accept it. However, you should rarely ask for it. The only time when it is acceptable to request money is when close family members and friends offer to help you with wedding expenses, honey moon expenses, or funds for a down payment on a home.

10. Remember to show gratitude.

When you open a gift, immediately record who gave it to you. If possible, say “thank you” in person or by phone call or text. Additionally, send a “thank you” note no later than three months after receiving a gift.

Your wedding is one of the most important and joyous events of your life. However, do not let the excitement of the occasion cause you to behave in ways that show a lack of consideration for those who are celebrating your special moment with you. Put what you need and some of what you want on your registry. Just remember that the purpose of the list is to get you started in your new season of life. The registry should never be a “wish list” that places unsuitable demands on your guests.

Camille Davis is the owner of Oh Behave Etiquette Consultation in Dallas, TX. She provides consultation on modern manners and writes about them on her weekly blog. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a Master’s degree in history and is working on her Ph.D. Her website is entitled Follow her on Instagram @camillemarie_davis.

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