i-do.com.au members asked and we answered. Here are the most commonly asked questions about setting up a bridal registry.
1. When should I start to set up my bridal registry
Think about setting up your bridal registry at least 3 months before the wedding date or a couple of weeks before the wedding invitations go out. Setting up a bridal registry a little earlier allows for guests attending pre wedding parties such as bridal showers, kitchen teas or engagement parties to use the registry for gifts or gift ideas.
2. How do we find a gift registry that's the right one for us?
It's really important to start by considering what you both like, dislike and need.
Are your tastes more casual, traditional, modern or elegant?
What colour scheme are you working with, or what is one you would like to start with?
Are you looking for bold colours, black or white, pastels or intricate patterns?
Do you prefer everything to be matching, or are you more into having a range of different items?
Are you big entertainers. Do you usually entertain by having stand up BBQ's or do you have guests seating in a formal setting?
Once you've answered these questions you can then start looking for a bridal registry to register your gift list with. Many online registries offer assistance and will be able to offer advice on ranges and gifts that suit your tastes and environment.
3. What kinds of gifts can I register for?
The sky is the limit when it comes to what your bridal registry can be, it's just whether you can find a registry for what you want. There are honeymoon registries, renovation registries, art registries, furniture registries, garden registries, 'cash' registries and of course traditional registries.
When you register, either in-store or online, you'll find bridal registry checklists that contain every conceivable item you could possibly want. Although you may not need every item listed, these checklists can help you avoid overlooking key items you might otherwise forget.
Add things that you need for your home, or items you would love to have. Start with tableware, cutlery sets, salt and peppers mills, glasses, napkins, chopping boards, even good quality knives. Also look at cookware such as woks, and steamers and decorative items that you will cherish.
What gifts should I put on my bridal registry?
It's always good to have a variety of gifts at diffferent price points and always include some higher priced items. People may club together, or someone may want to give you something really special.
As a rough guide, for 100 guests you would want to include around 50 gifts at $100 or more and 50 gifts at smaller price points.
Include more gifts than guests as it allows your wedding guests to browse a suitable gift that they know that you will love and that they will enjoy giving you.
It's a good idea to keep adding to your wedding gift list so that wedding guests who leave purchasing the wedding gift to the last minute don't feel like they are scraping the bottom of the barrel for choice.
Decorative pieces like picture frames, vases, and candlesticks are beautiful yet can be relatively inexpensive registry additions. Kitchen items are great to add particularly for guests who want to get you something for your bridal shower.
Most people buy as couples or families and not everyone will buy off your list.
Don't feel that because it's on the bridal registry's checklist you need to include it.
Only put down things you really love and need.
What do wedding guests like to buy?
When registering for gifts be mindful of what your guests would like to buy. Many guests would rather buy something that you will have for a long time i.e. china or stemware, silver or crystal, as apposed to kitchen utensils, toasters or towels.
There are some very contemporary crystal glasses, silverware and decanters available which could suit your style rather than leaving them to buy you a silver sweets dish you may never use.
Groups of friends may want to pitch in to buy you a single more expensive gift, so include bigger ticket items such as BBQ's, furniture or a divine piece of art you both love.
Can we register with more than one bridal registry?
If you only want homewares then one is enough otherwise you will create too much work for yourself and you have enough to do already. If you want to include an honeymoon, hardware or garden registry then adding 2-3 different kinds is acceptable.
Most major registries offer online and in-store ways of purchasing gifts. Online wedding gift registries are convenient and will help out-of-town wedding guests, where as department stores and specialty stores that offer bridal registries will suit wedding guests who prefer to shop for wedding gifts in person.
Some online bridal registries send an email to let you know when new stock arrives or as your wedding gifts are purchased making it easy to update your bridal registry and add or delete items.
How many settings and what accessories should I include for a china set?
Include a full selection of china to cover guests and family visits. If it is a formal set it is best to have enough settings for when you host the family Christmas lunch (which you will have to one day in years to come!), or in Jewish families for Shabbat dinner.
As a general rule China is best bought in a minimum of 12's - not only does this allow you to cover medium sized dinner parties but also means if one or two plates do get broken you won't be stuck for plates. Include co-ordinating accessories and imagine serving a roast dinner. What will you put the potatoes and vegetables in that will go with your gorgeous new formal dinner setting?
Keep in mind that guests may buy part of a present, so you need to check that your registry can supply you with items to make up for the shortfall. For example, you may request 12 dinner plates and end up with 9, your registry should allow you to buy 3 extra plates to make up the 12.
When selecting tableware, always start with the dinner service, the china. Your glasses and cutlery will be easier to co-ordinate from this.
What if we already have more than enough homewares?
Couples have lived together before the wedding find that traditional bridal registry gifts such as homewares may not be necessary. The sky's the limit these days when it comes to what you can register for.
You can find gift registries at art galleries, hardware stores, book stores, music stores, garden stores as well as honeymoon registries where guests can contribute to your honeymoon buy purchasing massages, room upgrades and side trips.
Isn't it cheeky to have a bridal registry?
Not at all. Wedding gift registries have become 'the norm' in recent years and for very good reason: they're the only way to assure both you and your guests that their wedding gifts will truly be treasured. Some people find buying gifts stressful, and an online bridal registry makes buying gifts really easy.
Should I include the notification card with my invitation?
This is a personal decision. Some guests will be looking for the gift registry card in their wedding invitation others may be horrified to find one.
A good idea is to include the registry card in the wedding invitations of guests whom you know will expect it and leave it out for those who don't. If you don't include a gift registry card with your wedding invitation, ask close family, friends and bridesmaids to discretely spread the word to wedding guests where the bridal registry is.
How do I write a gift registry card?
A bridal registry card is usually supplied through the store you register with, if not include a personalised gift registry note that reads:
"A list of gift suggestions has been placed with xxxx.
Or for something a little less serious:
We've made our list and checked it twice,
To help you decide which gifts will delight.
Please don't feel obliged- these are just suggestions,
Designed to be helpful, and so worth a mention.
The (name store where the registry can be found) is where you will find,
Our choices of goodies, all colours and kinds.