It’s weird…before the ‘Bee I never even realised that people had such strong opinions about registries.
Apparently a registry should be spread via word of mouth, and it should be for only household gifts. You should never expect a gift, and you should be thankful for that plastic flower that your great aunt gave you that says “do not display in direct sunlight” on the label, even though you’d never display it anywhere where light could get to it because it’s so hideous. (That didn’t happen to me…OK, it did.)
We’re not doing a household registry. We’re doing a honeymoon registry. We will be putting the registry details on our website and app, and we can pretty much guarantee that everyone will be thankful that we did.
You see, registries just aren’t a big deal. Not with my circle, anyway. We’ve had household registries, honeymoon registries, and even little poems about how it’d be nice to get cash. And it never offended me. Not one bit.
Let me get this out of the way—I hate receiving gifts. It makes me feel really awkward and I don’t usually react well, even when it is something I genuinely love. I am getting married, though, and getting gifts is just something about the experience I need to get over. Hey, at least we probably won’t have to open our gifts in front of our guests, aside from maybe at my bridal shower. I do not expect anyone to give us a gift—especially since everyone has to travel for our wedding—but if our friends and family decide to be extra generous, I wanted to make sure they have some direction of what we can use.
I knew I wanted one nice-ish store and one everyday store, in addition to a honeymoon registry. The everyday store was a no-brainer—Target! There is one in almost every town and they have great values. The higher end store wasn’t quite as easy but we eventually narrowed it down to Williams-Sonoma or Crate & Barrel. We ended up picking C&B because we liked their options the best and they just introduced a great flat-rate shipping policy.
We’ve had a list going for a while of what we wanted to register for in order to avoid picking things because they caught our eye (although that did happen!) or missing things we didn’t think of. At C&B we are registered for a lot of our basics.
Aspen Salad Plate / Image via Crate & Barrel
With our wedding less than 40 days away (holy crap), it’s felt like Christmas over at the Mongoose house for the past two months! We’ve gotten boxes full of awesome registry gifts that have been sitting in the kitchen for a while. So this past weekend, we decided to do some spring cleaning around the apartment—which meant getting rid of house stuff we no longer want/use (for example, tons of old glassware that we’ll be donating to the Salvation Army) and making room for all of our new fun presents.
The biggest surprises in terms of registry gifts (so far) have been the big ticket items that we were convinced no one would get us. Turns out we were wrong! In no particular order, here they are.
Wusthof makes the most amazing knives, and this is a set we’ve wanted for years! Courtesy of Groomsmen K and his fiancee / Image via Amazon
Today, I set out to accomplish a task—find. my. wedding. shoes. If you’ve been keeping up, you know that wedges are not easy to come by. I expanded my search to every corner of the internet, and found a few that I actually may like. But not before I went to Macy’s, Dillard’s, Belk, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Anthropologie, TJ Maxx, DSW, Off Broadway Shoes, Nordstrom Rack and Target. In one afternoon. Piperlime has a few promising options and I’ll be taking full advantage of their free shipping and free returns. Put a pin in that.
Anyway, I wanted to accomplish something wedding-related, so Cam and I went to Crate & Barrel to
move in update our registry! We registered at C&B on January 1. Something about the new year made us want to get a move on!
Problem was—all the winter stuff was out on display and all the spring/summer items were still months from showing up. We registered for a bunch of basic items and decided to visit back again later, which was today!
We have the ultimate hodge-podge of stuff from when we moved in together—plastic cups with college logos and mismatched chipped plates galore! We decided the registry was a spot we should try to be more grown-up. We had that conversation in the barware section of Crate & Barrel in January.
Here are some of my personal highlights from the registry:
Our second outing to register was to Crate & Barrel at Sommerset Mall in Troy, the only C&B in Michigan. We chose C&B mostly due to the fact that they have our “everyday” dishes and because a large part of my family is from the Birmingham/Troy area, so it is easily accessible to a fair number of guests.
A few select days a month, C&Bs nationwide host registry events for engaged couples. They allow guests to come in before the store opens to the public, hand out scanners, and let us go wild!
(Side bar: Apparently no one told the security officer that this was going on. When we walked up to the door at 8:50, this guy yelled, “Doors don’t open until 11:00!” As I was opening my mouth to reply, Mr. Plane yelled back, “OK, thanks!”…and then proceeded to pull the door open and walk in. This guy must have been pretty stunned to see 30-plus couples walk in before 11:00 because he sat in front of the store the en-tie-er time. Paranoid much, new guy?)
Anyway, it was a great time and so cool to just get let loose on the store. While there were some instances at B3 that it was nice to have a consultant, the hands-off approach at C&B was more our speed. There was always someone standing by to answer any questions, and Mr. Plane finally got to hold the scanner he was deprived of at B3!
I think the second thing we did after we got through celebrating/announcing our engagement was start our registry. We got engaged in late December and registered in early January.
I told you, folks: I don’t mess around with this stuff. Besides, we knew we were moving in April and thought that maybe it’d be better to let people know the stuff we need ahead of time, just in case they wanted to play the housewarming gift game (and play they did—I’ll explain below).
We decided to register only at Bed Bath & and Beyond because of our guests. While there are multiple and easily accessible BB&Bs in Pittsburgh, the closet one to our hometown (where a significant chunk of our guest list will be traveling from) is about 30–45 minutes away…in fact, every major store except for Walmart and Sears is about a 30–45 minute drive. We wanted to make it easy for our guests, especially the ones that would be going in on a gift. Plus, we’re realistic: We live in Giant Eagle land, meaning that our guests have the option of purchasing gift cards and getting fuel perks (discount on gas, per gallon) in return.
Last month we went to begin the bridal registry process. In considering where we would register, we took into consideration the store’s inventory (do they have things we would buy for ourselves?), accessibility for our guests (are there store locations near where the majority of our guests live?), and registry perks (do we get a discount if we decide to buy any unpurchased items on our registry post-wedding?). I had heard some horror stories about certain stores that will remain nameless (baby items popping up randomly on a wedding registry?!—no thanks!), so I knew I wanted to avoid those places. Thinking about all of this led us to our first stop at Bed Bath & Beyond!
The local B3 / Photo via Panoramio
B3 is a great store because there are always coupons available and they have locations absolutely everywhere.
Before we went to our registry appointment, we sat down and made a list of all of the things we wanted to register for. Because we have lived in our condo together for five-plus years, we had a lot of the big-ticket items that couples normally register. (For example, I bought myself a KitchenAid mixer as a gift for completing my first semester of graduate school!) And, because we are hoping to move into a new place shortly after the wedding, we also couldn’t register for any décor, knowing that our interior design might be completely different once we get a new place.
Miss Lemur recently mentioned how confusing it is to navigate the world of registries—how do you choose among 50 different toasters? If you haven’t lived on your own for long, how do you know what you’re going to need in the future? What stuff is worth it, and what isn’t? Now that I qualify as an Old Married Woman (hah! we just celebrated our three month anniversary), I thought I’d share with you our actual registry list: our favorite items, what we’ve regretted, and stuff we’ve purchased or wanted since. This is a monster of a post, so bear with me.
And please, puh-lease keep in mind: every single household is unique. My BFF is Mexican and uses her tortilla press allllll the time, but I would probably never take one of those things out of the box. We are tea drinkers, so a coffee maker didn’t make the registry cut. You get the idea.
Anyways, here’s our top eight favorite things we registered for:
Being a sugar fiend, I love to bake anything and everything. But I am only a few years out of college and haven’t invested in a whole lot of bakeware. I’ve been loving the two cookie sheets, loaf pans, oven mitts, steel cooling racks, and covered muffin pans we received as wedding gifts. These get a lot of mileage in my kitchen. It’s easy to get carried away in the baking department, though, so be wary of gadgets and specialty pans that you may never use. It’s easy to buy a new novelty-shaped cake pan down the road.
Nordic Ware Covered Aluminum Muffin Pan / Image via Williams-Sonoma
2) High-quality pots and pans
I mean, say you want to register for a toaster. You go to the Bed Bath & Beyond site and look up toasters—and get this.
Image via Bed Bath & Beyond
Four pages of toasters—and with 15 on each page that’s over 45 toasters. For people who have really specific tastes, this is probably awesome. Lots of choices! Customize your toaster! Heck, if you want you can get this toaster at $339.99.
So I probably should have posted about our registry a long time ago—we put together the various registries wayyy back in September, about a month after we sent the save the dates. But we’ve had to do some major updates to the registry since mailing out the invitations last week. Now the registry was a bit of a challenge for us. See, FH and I have been living together for three years now, so we pretty much have most household items that we need. But even though we already have most things that people typically add to registries, we still wanted to partake in some scanning goodness.
KitchenAid Martha Stewart Blue Collection / Image via Squidoo.com
We ultimately decided to register at three places—Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon. As a fourth option, FH was also adamant about adding in a charity registry, so we opted to support a charity that helps with various relief efforts in Haiti (particularly after the devastating earthquake three years ago). The charity we chose is Partners in Health—we heard about them through our favorite band Arcade Fire who has partnered with them for many years now. I know adding a charity to a registry isn’t necessarily for everyone, but again, since we don’t really need much, it seemed like a good option.
We made a very small registry, full of stuff we really want or need and we will eventually buy either way.
We registered at a kind of fancy-pants national store. One of the main reasons for us to register there were the advantages the store gave us. Every time someone buys something using our registry number (no matter if it’s in our list or not), we get 10% of that purchase in store credit, which will be very useful along the way. So we figured, even if no one gets us anything from the registry, we might buy them ourselves and get a very nice 10% credit we wouldn’t got otherwise.
We made a small registry, just a few things we want (and think we need), but it didn’t start that way. Mr. Toadstool wanted to have fun with the scanner, and knowing I could erase all the crazy things he’ll scan, I let him go crazy:
Miss T: Why would you get a boat?
Mr T: It’s a cool boat.
Miss T: Where will you put that boat?
I have to admit, registering for stuff is one of my guilty pleasures. In the middle of the night, I love poring through Amazon, just window shopping, and dreaming about a time when I will have a slow cooker or a pizza stone. I just absolutely love going through lists of kitchen things and thinking, oooh I would looooove to have one of those one day. All of the joys of shopping, but without the crazy bills.
Source: IMDB / Confessions of a Shopaholic
Mr. PBear and I are currently only registered on Amazon, mainly because I can window shop online constantly. At some point, we will probably add Macy’s on there so I can register for bedding and towels, but for now, it’s just so easy to shop online. I have to admit, I started dreaming about our wedding registry about the time we moved in together—so yeah, about two, three years at this point. It probably would be cheaper and easier to just buy all of this stuff for ourselves (instead of throwing a gigantic wedding), but what’s the fun in that?
OK, just so you guys know, my birthday was a few months back. But, not unlike our favorite Miss Sword, I, too, received a wirthday gift! I had been lusting after this particular pair of somethings for what felt like FOREVER, and my dear, sweet Mr. A somehow picked up on it. Needless to say, when I opened up my present from him on my birthday, I was elated with what was inside!!! Need me to give you a hint?
Still don’t have a guess? OK, I’ll cave!
When Mr. Wallaby and I began wedding planning and our families asked us where we wanted to register for gifts, we were unsure about how to proceed. Our first idea was to ask our guests to gifts us trees and plants for our garden—that would help offset some of the emissions from our out-of-town guests traveling to Houston for the wedding, it would help us grow our garden, and it would keep our home clutter free. However, Mr. W’s yard is pretty small, so I’m not sure we’d have enough free space to plant ~150 new trees and shrubs. We also thought about asking our guests to have trees planted in the Amazon rainforest preserve, again to off-set the carbon emissions from wedding travel, as well as to help preserve the incredible biodiversity in that region. But, many of our relatives and family friends still want to give us something to start our new home together. And although Mr. W and I are adamant about minimizing waste and clutter, we are pretty short on kitchenware and serving dishes for entertaining. We don’t have enough place settings to serve dinner for his whole family. We also don’t own a single wine glass—we keep it classy and drink our wine out of coffee mugs So, we somewhat hesitantly agreed to register for a few things from “green living” companies. Our new standard was to find products that are made from renewable or recycled materials, and if possible, manufactured in the U.S.
From some pretty exhaustive research into green living stores that offer plenty of options for kitchenware and entertaining, I decided on two online stores: VivaTerra and AreNaturals. Mr. W and I browsed through the products listed on their websites and created online registries. We are still a little bit shy about the registry process, and we would be perfectly happy if everyone came to our wedding empty-handed—we are just excited to be surrounded by the people we love on our wedding day!
In case you’re curious, here are some of the items Mr. W and I picked out. We registered for a set of ceramic dinnerware:
Le Marais Dinnerware from VivaTerra
We also registered for a set of hand-blown glasses made from 100% recycled glass:
It’s complicated to talk about the etiquette of gift giving at weddings. From what I learned on Weddingbee, it’s not correct to include your registry info in your invitations; guests are expected to inquire about it themselves, but it’s also not acceptable for guests to show up without a gift. As an outsider this is a bit complicated, but hey, if it works…
Gifts were not something Mr. Toadstool and I had in mind at first; it took us a few months to realize we might get something out of this wedding.
Registries are not that common around here. There are only three stores in town that offer registries, and two of them are Walmart and Sam’s Club, which, let me tell you, are not that convenient. They don’t have the same kind of stuff they have in the US and are mainly grocery stores, so it is not like they offer a lot.
The third option is a department store, with a lot of variety and, sadly, huge prices. It’s the fancy-pants store in town and, although not everything is expensive, some people think it is, so it’s widely known some will not even look at the registry, thinking they can’t afford anything you ask for; they’ll just gift you anything they want.
There’s of course the convenient and, though controversial, quite common option around here, asking for money gifts.
Image via The Wedding Planning Institute