Secrets from a Wedding Registry Consultant
As a former Registry Consultant I’ve counseled many newly engaged couples down the hectic retail aisles. Trust me when I say you get to know a lot about a couple while walking the floor, scanner in hand, as I explained the benefits of high thread count and cutlery blade balance. On any given Saturday during the busy months of early January through late March there would be 10 to 20 couples wandering the store compiling the perfect registry.
Living in Music City I’ve had the opportunity to offer suggestions to quite a few celebrity soon-to-wed couples. (Sorry I can’t divulge names as I’ve been sworn to secrecy, but if you were guessing female country music artists or Bachelorette personalities you wouldn’t be far off.)
When I say counseled, I’m not kidding. Rare was the bride who was eager and ready to register. I was taken aback during the getting-to-know-you phase of our time together. Some brides were terrified with no idea what they needed— I’m talking rather-be-in-the-dentist-chair type of dread. Others, after a season of living together, didn’t see the reason for registering because they didn’t feel they needed anything else. A few couples viewed registering as a box to check just prior to the bridal shower, and several scoffed at the research and planning involved allowing confusion and exhaustion to set in.
This left only a handful of genuinely excited couples eager to begin their registering extravaganza.
It’s likely you will see your wedding registry scenario in one of these categories, or if not registered yet, hopefully you’ll glean a thing or two and begin to add romance to your wedding registry experience.
During my time as a wedding registry consultant I received “thank you” cards offering sincere appreciation, witnessed tears once frustration was replaced with confidence, and multiple hugs during return visits. Then it occurred to me, I could share with you what I shared with them.
Add Romance to Your Wedding Registry
1. Dress it up
You are a gift to each other, therefor dress the part (comfortably) for this occasion. By making it special you are encouraging more fun to be had after the shop. Registering is a date not a quick errand, so make it memorable.
2. Plan to Dine
Make reservations for dining out after your wedding registry meeting time. This strategy not only supports a date-like outing but also allows more time to talk over the specifics and speed bumps you encountered while they are fresh on your mind.
Looking forward to a brunch or dinner date after registering offers a romantic occasion to celebrate the planning of your future home together.
3. Allow ample time
Nothing is fun if it’s rushed, so allow 2-3 hours to register. Likewise, take the pressure off by scheduling two to three separate visits to complete your wedding registry. I think it’s helpful to tackle your wedding registry one section at a time, leaving you feeling successful instead of overwhelmed. Try dividing the wedding registry by category and tackle each in the order you are most excited about. Example:
Tabletop & Dinnerware: fine and everyday dishes, flatware, glassware, linens, and accessories for entertaining
Kitchen Essentials: cookware, small appliances, cutlery, and utensils
Home Decor: bed, bath and the other stuff
4. Do your homework
While this doesn’t sound like a romantic tip, let me help you see it as one. Snuggle up by the fire, grab a favorite beverage and your laptop. You’re researching for your future life together! This is an opportunity to dream sidexside.
Where do you see yourselves in five years? Do you want to become a grill master, sushi chef or wine connoisseur? What do you need to get you there? Compile a list of color swatches, specific measurements you’ll need to consider, and product reviews to have with you at your registry appointment.
5. Take a break
One of you may not be as enthusiastic about shopping as the other. After all opposites attract, so plan a refueling break. Grab coffee or tea halfway through, or head to lunch. Go into the registry shop knowing what the other needs to keep going strong. Some time outside the store will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and help realign your goals.
6. Bring the Energy
Let’s face it, everyone has an off day, however during the registry shop both of you need to be rested, engaged and in an enthusiastic mood. To make the most of it, consider what’s going on in and around your calendars when you schedule your appointment. If one of you is more excited for this day, know what this means to the other and be intentional about showing up.
7. Listen for clues
Respect each others opinions and listen well for “must-haves.”
How does this become romantic? It’s an opportune moment to learn more about each other, or in other words—why he wants a toaster oven? Find the time to listen and explore the “why” it matters? You might discover a fond childhood memory or get a sneak peak into the kind of home she hopes to create.
8. Do-Overs are okay
If it’s just not working, don’t force it and let a negative moment taint what should be a sweet memory. Simply reschedule for another time. Agree to come back and try again at a later date, then discuss what went wrong and how to approach it differently next time.
9. Say “No” to guests
This is tricky because a well-meaning family member or the dearest of friends may want to attend this outing with you. If you’re inclined to invite them along because they have more knowledge or (dare I say) better taste lean toward caution because all too often the “guest” tends to take over. Their opinion is valued more leaving one of you feeling unheard. Savor and share this new beginning with each other. After all, you’re building your home—together.
10. Celebrate the milestone… a new life together!
If you’ve been living on your own or with your betrothed and have a well established kitchen, enthusiasm for registering may be at a minimum, so try envisioning this as an opportunity to upgrade or add to what you currently have. The registry shop is also a chance to explore new areas of the kitchen and table together. Do you dream of becoming a barista? There’s a Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine.
Want to surprise her with breakfast in bed on Sunday mornings, or host intimate fondue parties? You’ll need the accessories and appliances to make it a success. Here’s your chance to do what you need to make it a reality.
Registering isn’t about “adding stuff,” it’s the beginning of a new life together, a fresh start with fresh things. Celebrate your romance with a pic and a post and let others know your dreams are about to become a reality. And don’t forget to tell them where you are registered!
Find these and other tips in my book, Our Newlywed Kitchen: The Art of Cooking, Gathering and Creating Traditions. Place it on your registry as a keepsake of the newlywed years to keep the romance going year after year.
Hugs out! Laura
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