During our planning, I spoke to friends and family, and did some of my own research. Gift giving for a wedding can be stressful for guests and it can be stressful for the bride and groom. Here are some of my tips on making it simpler.
First of all, you need to register. And do it early. People will want to buy you gifts and selecting gifts without a suggestion is stressful. AR and I went for our first registry round about 5 months out. When we went back this weekend (3 months out), some of the items were already purchased. If you are having parties and showers, you may need to reregister closer to your wedding.
Select store thoughtfully. At first, I was in love with Crate & Barrel, until I realized there were not any in the state of Louisiana, where many of our friends and AR's family live. It didn't make sense to do the bulk of our registry there. While online ordering is an option, many people prefer to go into the store. Chose stores that have broad geographical availability.
We selected three stores: Macy's Pottery Barn, and Target. Bride's Magazine says to do no more than five stores and Emily Post says to do no more than three. It is absolutely okay to do something non-traditional, but do a traditional registry as well. Consider completion discounts and return policies with you are selecting your stores - this can make a huge difference, especially if you get 8 out of 12 wine glasses.
Register for a variety of gifts. Traditionally, the thought it one gift per person. Emily Post, etiquette expert, recommends giving your guests options so that they can select something they want to give you. Select a variety of price ranges so that your guests have options for their budget. Pick items that you will love and use - things that you actually want.
If you register at a department store, like Macy's or Nordstrom's, they will supply a list of suggested registry items. The woman who assisted us at Macy's was fantastic. She gave us tips about selecting things, and she had many ideas for things we never even knew we needed. The Knot also has a sample registry checklist here.
Finally, your wedding is not about the gifts. It is about celebrating your love with others. Some people won't send a gift, other people will be extravagant. Don't let that determine relationships and friendships.
Where did you register?
As a guest, what do you like to see on a wedding registry?