Family & Lifestyle

Smart wedding registry tips and etiquette

Popping the question and getting a ‘yes’ is the easy part. After that, you’re going to have plenty of big days planning for The Big Day. Here are some wedding registry tips to help you sort out what’s right for you and your betrothed’s wedding day.

Planning a wedding is a big deal. There are venues to book, parties to cater and organising a registry can be one of the last items on the checklist. To set you up for married life, we talk you through the etiquette for doing your wedding registry right and offer tips on avoiding raising the hackles of irritable relatives. Enjoy your wedding day with family and friends, and don’t end up with a houseful of gifts you didn’t ask for.

Getting the word out

In general, asking people to give you presents is a bit rude, and so it’s considered taboo to provide your wedding registry details on your save-the-date. There are a few different ways you can let people know you have a registry without rubbing them up the wrong way.

Traditionally, it was all word of mouth and a bunch of “they would love a decanter” from those close to you. Today, we have the internet, so creating a web page (sites like WordPress and SquareSpace make this super easy) for your wedding with details of the registry – and then popping the URL on the invite – is a good workaround. Including details with bridal shower invitations is okay as well, because someone else usually hosts the event.

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Put some thought into what to include

With your partner, make lists of what you have, what you need and what you’ll be replacing in the future. Talk through and agree on the styling of your home. There’s no need to choose traditional, ornamental homewares if they’re not you and will forever take up cupboard space. This goes for aspirational gifts as well. You might like the idea of using a pasta maker but don’t actually have the patience and passion to do it. Owning the appliance probably isn’t going to suddenly inspire you.

Theme it

My friend and her partner share a deep love of books – even the table settings at the wedding were stacks of old classics. Since they had lived together already for several years (and felt they already had everything they needed for their home) they extended their bibliophilia to their registry. Their bookshelves could never be too full and the registry became a reading wishlist – perfect for their small guestlist. (It was also an opportunity to write personalised messages in the front covers that they can look back on.)

Plenty of websites – like Not Another Toaster - allow you to set up registries centred around a theme, or to include gifts like honeymoon activities.

The asking for cash debate

Another wedding registry taboo is asking for money instead of a gift. Older generations dislike the idea, yet many people are gravitating away from even having registries altogether. It’s more tasteful to ask for contributions toward big ticket items like a Thermomix, setting up a nursery or a travel fund. It’s best to give people the option and only suggest a contribution to a Wishing Well than make it a directive. That way they can give you a present if they prefer and everyone saves face.

Cater to your guests needs

It’s pretty nice that your friends and family are buying gifts, so make it simple for them to do it. Open up your registry early (after your engagement is acceptable) and close it late so people have as much time as they need.

Making it online is great for those who prefer shopping online, but it’s also a good idea to provide some options in bricks and mortar stores. Not everyone on your guestlist will be web savvy. Fit every guest’s budget by offering choices at different price points and update what’s on there as available gifts start to dwindle.

If your guests are travelling great distances to be there for your nuptials – and potentially at great expense – let them know they don’t need to get you a gift.

The final word

When you’re unwrapping wedding presents, keep notes on who gave you what. It’s good manners to thank them for the specific gift with a personal, hand written card no later than eight weeks after the wedding.

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