We all know wedding planning has its ups and downs. But one thing that everyone looks forward to is registering for all of those "necessities" (and some "excessities") for your new life together. Sure, you both have stuff from your single lives, but now you can change that from "mine and yours" to "ours!" As fun as it sounds, the process can work a lot better if you do a little planning and prepping in advance. Mike and I decided that I would be the "Planner" and he would be the "Scanner."
I like to strategize and plan things out (no surprise), so before we ran into a store and grabbed a scanner and started pulling the trigger, I did a little work in advance (which I know drove Mike a little nuts since some guys just like to get things done). To me, these were the wine glasses we are going to toast with when we host dinner parties at our house, and the towels we are going to wrap our future kids in when we get them out of the bath (and then chase them around the house because they will probably be wild). A girl goes to the store imaging her future with her husband and how these items will play a role in their life, and I am not sure what the guy thinks, but I am pretty sure Mike just likes scanning! He definitely gave his input, but was a pretty easy sell if I had different opinions (maybe I am convincing?)
My planning involved us going to a few stores to "pre-shop." Where did we like the dishes, towels, cookware, and camping stuff the best? I also looked online at stores (such as Target) and read reviews on different products to see which brands and models got the best reviews. Once we picked our stores, we brought a checklist of items to make sure we didn't miss anything. Some stores have wedding registry events (Macy's, Crate and Barrel, etc.), which can be really helpful since there are vendors as well as store employees readily available to answer any questions. We went to the Macy's "Sip and Scan" event, which was helpful since the Mikasa china dinnerware vendor showed us that our place settings also came in a 40-piece set (which basically meant we could get eight place settings for the price of six or seven).
Overall we had a great time, but came away with a few tips that will hopefully help you:
1. Check your registry often. Store departments reset multiple times a year and often in the spring, so if you registered more than a few months before you wedding it is likely that things are discontinued and may not be available for your guest to purchase. There is nothing more frustrating than printing a registry and everything left on it says "clearance" or "limited quantities available" (which means good luck, you probably won't find this), and it leaves you without something you wanted!
2. Look at the online websites for your stores well. Don't be scared if something is available online only. There is a large assortment out there, and since many of your guests will be shipping their presents, it is a great option. (Also, store assortments can vary based on store location, size, sales volume, etc. so online has a wider range for you to choose from).
4. Manage your registry online. In addition to reading reviews on products, you can easily update, add, delete from the comfort of your couch!
5. Think outside the box. What other items do you need that may not be available at the "traditional" registry stores. Buying a new home? Maybe you want to register at Home Depot, Lowes, or Menards to get tools, organizers, etc. Love camping? Maybe register at REI or Cabella's.
6. Beware of cramming it all into one day. It is a lot to do and even though it may sound like fun, it is a lot of ground to cover. A friend of mine did a marathon registry day and it ended with her having a toddler-like meltdown in the mall and actually crying and throwing her registry at her husband-to-be because she felt he didn't care about the housewares they were registering for! I can imagine that I may have done the same thing if she hadn't given me the great advice (and let's face it, guys eyes do start to glaze over after looking at table linens and towels for a few hours) . . .
There are a lot of decisions to make when planning a wedding and sometimes it feels like you are forming a lifelong commitment with your china dinnerware (like your groom), and that can get a little daunting!
Hopefully that helps and please share any other tips that you have as well (or stories of meltdowns I love too)!
Wedding Invitation Update: We went to Paper Depot in Minneapolis and designed our invitations and have all the paper. Now we just need to print and assemble them! (I hope Mike is good at attaching eyelets!) Pictures to come soon!