Registering for gifts can be one of the most enjoyable parts of your wedding planning. It is a socially acceptable way to let your guests know what gifts you want or need.
Traditionally, couples registered at department stores for china, silverware, and crystal. Today, couples may register at sporting goods stores, home improvement centers, discount stores, specialty cooking shops, art galleries, and other places. Most couples register at two or three stores. A discount store is a good place to register for small appliances, garden and camping items, and small kitchen items. Department stores are still the preferred the place to register for dishes of all kinds, flatware, pots and pans, bedding, and towels. While you are at it, you might even register for lingerie. An increasing number of stores are posting registries on their web sites, making it easy for guests to view your list and even order on-line.
More etiquette problems occur with registries than just about any other wedding issue. Many stores provide small cards and suggest that couples include them with their wedding invitations. Including them is a breach of etiquette, since it is not proper to mention gifts in any form in a wedding invitation. (It is particularly bad manners to ask for money instead of gifts or to have a money tree at the reception.) It is acceptable, however, for a shower hostess to include a list of registries or registry cards in a shower invitation.
In some areas, couples may register for the down payment on a house or for a honeymoon. Be sure to read the fine print in the contract to find out if you will be responsible for paying for the item if you don’t receive the hoped-for funds. Again, it is a breach of etiquette to mention these registries in your invitation.
Not all guests like or use registries, particularly older people and those who live in rural areas where registries aren’t readily available. Therefore, you may want to check your guest list to determine whether your guests will use your registry or if registering will be a waste of your time.
If you do decide to register, spend some time with your honey thinking about the items that you can use most, then plan on spending several hours cruising your favorite stores and picking out just the right items. Registering can be fun and create a nice break in the hectic wedding planning process.