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Time To Make our Bridal Registry Choices

Updated on March 22, 2014

Wedding Gifts

Time To Make our Bridal Registry Choices

How Do Bridal Registries Work

When a guest gets invited to a wedding, they are expected to get the wedding couple a gift. Many wedding guests are looking to get the wedding couple the perfect wedding gift. This is where bridal registries come in. Many times at weddings, wedding guests have no clue on what to buy the wedding couple. They don't know the couple's needs and wants and very few people on Earth can read someone's mind, but woolah, a bridal registry is just the thing to help wedding guests find a perfect wedding gift for the newlyweds.

The first bridal registry was started way back in 1924, a fellow in a department store called Marshall Fields in Chicago, came up with an ingenious idea, what if we had a wedding couple picked out gifts that they wanted, the guests then know what gifts to buy the couple, the store picks up business, the couple gets a discount if a gift buying threshold is met. The idea became a hit and over ninety years later, bridal registries are still very popular today.

In just about every city and town, gift shops, department stores, service stores, and travel agencies have established bridal registries at their place of business. An engaged couple makes an appointment with a store's registry associate set up on a particular date and time. At the designated time, the couple meets an associate at the store that runs the registry, gets signed up for the registry and makes gift choices for the couple's registry and the items are put into the couple's store list, often put into the store database for the couple. The couple's wedding list usually is maintained by the store's customer service desk.

Many stores run their bridal registry differently, sometimes the registry is set up under the wedding couple's name, sometimes the registry is setup using a stores coding scheme. The store will inform the couple how guests can access the couple' registry. The couple needs to forward what stores are in their registry and how to access the registry in each of the stores.

The stores also have their own ways of building a bridal registry. Some stores have the registry associate accompany the wedding couple and mark down the wedding gift items the wedding couple's choose for the registry. At other stores, the wedding couple is given like an inventory sheet and mark down items that they want for their registry. Some stores have the couple fill out the registry online, either at a computer screen station at the store or access a website to enter items for their registry. In recent years, in some stores, a wedding couple receives a bar code scanner and scans the items they want for the registry.

The items go into a wedding list and into a database, some stores put the items into a database that the wedding couple as well as wedding guests can see what's in their bridal registry. Sometimes items are currently out of stock, wedding gifts that may be of interest to the wedding couple may be housed at a warehouse or distribution center and mentioned to the wedding couple, to see if additional items may be of interest to be added to the couple's gift list.

Once a bridal registry is set up, a guest can access a wedding couple's registry two different ways, a guest can stop by the customer service desk and be shown the couple's registry gifts or a guest can access the registry online. Once an item is selected from the registry, the item is deleted from the wedding couple's registry list, thus when the next guest accesses the registry, gifts not chosen will only show up on the list, thus preventing duplicate items to be chosen from the list. Guests that don't have access to a computer can call into the store and the couple's list can be reviewed over the phone. Most stores these days have the bridal registry online as well as at the store. A few smaller gift stores, don't have have registries online.

Bridal registries have different ways items may be picked up, some require items to be picked up at their store and some items can arrange for deliveries to a location at a specific date. Most registries allow gifts to be put on their credit card, store card, cash or take certified checks or pay using Paypal. A few bridal registries will take personal checks, but most do not. Some stores only take certain credit cards, most likely VISA and Master Card and their own store card and might not take other credit cards.

It's been found that most of the older wedding guests travel to the bridal registry stores, the younger wedding guests often order bridal registry gifts from the stores online website. It's a good idea to have bridal registry gifts available at the price range the wedding guest was planning and willing to spend, or the guests may look for another registry or buy a gift not on a wedding couple's registry.

Another option for wedding guests, is to buy a store's gift card that can go toward the couple's bridal registry. Couple's love getting gift cards from their favorite stores, the cards also can be used against the store's threshold of gift buying to get a significant discount or for a free gift depending on how the store runs their bridal registry.

Wedding Registry Tips

How a Wedding Couple Should Run Their Registry

A wedding couple should hunt for a registry stores in which they like the style of the gifts in the store. Wedding experts recommend only signing up for 2 bridal registries if the wedding guest count is less than 150 wedding guests and sign up for only 3 bridal registries for over 150 wedding guests. Maybe 4 or 5 is fine for weddings with over 1000 wedding guests. The reason a couple should not sign up for too many registries, if a gift buying threshold is not met, wedding couples may not get a significant discount or a free gift from the store. By not spreading out to too many registries, the wedding couple increases their chance of picking up a really nice gift at their favorite store.

Wedding experts also advise that at least one of your bridal registries be from a national brand company department store. Some good national brand companies are Bed Bath & Beyond, Belk, Bloomingdales, Crate and Barrel, Dilliards, Home Goods, Kohls, Macys, Neiman Marcus, Pier 1 Imports, Pottery Barn, Target, and William-Sonoma. Some of your wedding guests will only pick up a wedding gift from a bridal registry if they are familiar with a brand store name.

What the experts also say to do, when investigating bridal registries to sign up with. Check the bridal registries out both online and in person. First identify the style you see that are common in department stores and gift shops you like. Next you want to identify 5 or 6 higher priced items in a category in which you see in each of the stores. For example, note the major brands of fine china which could be Lenox, Mikasa, Noritake, Waterform, and Wedgewood. Identify which store's registry gives you the lowest price for fine china.

You might do the same exercise for brand name cookware. The major brands of cookware might be Caphalin, Cuissinart, Kitchenaid Gourmet Essentials, and Rachel Ray. Do the same exercise with flatware. The major brands of flatware might be Cambridem Dansk, Gorham, J.A. Henckell, Oneida, and Wallace. Compare prices of the higher end products you plan for your registry. Whatever registry offers the better pricing, is the registry you should more consider signing up with. Your wedding guests will be more appreciative of you for helping to find items you want that are a little less expensive for them to buy.

Once you have identified which stores are going to be in your bridal registry, you want to check out items both in person and online. You want items in your bridal registry in a number of different price ranges. For example, identify items in the $20, $40, $50, $60, $100, and $400 ballpark price ranges. You want gifts available in all your price ranges from the low end to the high end. You want any gift a wedding guest chooses be available in the store, so more things are purchased for your registry allowing you to get more discounts and free gifts from your registry. Remember, when you select gifts for your bridal registry, you select gifts as a couple so you both are in agreement on gifts you want and need.

If a store has a bridal registry online, register online before going to the store, this allows you, when you get to the bridal registry, you won't have to wait like 30 minutes until the bridal registry associate is freed up to register you and get you set up in the store's registry, you can focus on finding gifts for the registry, you have registered already.

Wedding planners recommend that you make your bridal registry appointments between 10:00 to 11:30 in the morning or from 1:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon, from Monday through Friday. You are better to avoid setting up a bridal registry on Saturdays or Sundays or in the evenings, the stores are just too busy and sometimes not fully staffed for registries in the evening. Don't go to registries when the stores are busy, you want the registry associate focused on you setting up your bridal registry.

Always choose your bridal registry as a couple, don't let it become your first fight, and leave mothers, family members, and friends behind or you will likely be putting items onto your registry that you really don't want. You could have your mother or friends to go with you for registry ideas, just don't have them along the day in which you are selecting items for your registry.

When you first go to check a bridal registry store out, notice how the store runs their registry. Observe how the registry associates run the store's registry. See if it takes time to look up items on the store's computer. Notice are people complaining around you. Do you see bridal registry associates yelling at the help? Do you see registry associates running around and not writing down what they told the customer verbally? These are signs of a bridal registry not run well, if you see disorganization around the registry, you might be better off finding another bridal registry.

Many bridal registries are run well. However, there are a few bridal registries run by scrupulous people or have very inexperienced registry associates that operate it. Ask a lot of questions about the items you are choosing for the registry, take notes, and anything quoted to you should also be written down. If anything is quoted to you and not written down, is a sign of a not well run registry. Many stores show a MSRP "Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price". Much of the time this figure is a sales gimmick to get you to think you are getting a great deal. Disregard any MRSP figure, the important figure is, how does the price of the item, compare against the same item sold in other stores.

As you go through the store and select items for your bridal registry, understand what items are included and what items are not included in a set. Fox example, if you look at a few china place settings, you should ask how many pieces are comprised in the place setting. A place setting should be comprised of at least five items. Many stores will have a number of fine china displays out and add a bunch of items in their display. Only some of the items in the display are with the true place setting. Some of the items displayed are a-la-carte and not part of a place setting. You need to verify with the registry associate what pieces comprise the place setting.

Some items in a bridal registry are negotiable. You can suggest, I am interested in the place setting if the soup bowls are included in the price, or you may request a lower price for a place setting. Just don't try to negotiate prices on everything at the registry, just a few items significantly higher in price. Especially try to negotiate on items when you are picking gifts from your registry after the wedding.

Table Place Setting

Checking on Your Bridal Registry

A couple should start looking at stores they like for their bridal registry about 6 months before their wedding. They should sign up with all their bridal registries they have chosen about a couple of weeks before sending the wedding invitations out. This is generally about 2 and a half to 3 weeks before the wedding. You should supply bridal registry information along with your wedding invitations or you can point wedding guests to check your bridal registry information at the couple's wedding website. Some couple's create a contact business card to include with their wedding invitation, the business card can fit into a wallet or be hung on a refrigerator. Other couple's will include a note, stating what stores are in the couple's bridal registry and information on how to access the registry.

Beginning, about 3 weeks before your wedding, the bride or groom should check in on their bridal registry each week to make any adjustments to it. The best days to stop by are on a Thursday or Friday of each week. You need to be sure all items selected in your registry are on hand. If any items in your registry have been bought, find a replacement gift item in the same price range. If any item is sold out or no longer in inventory, also replace that item with a comparatively priced item. Most of your wedding guests tend to buy wedding gifts 2 weeks before the wedding and a few stragglers might buy gifts up to 2 weeks after the wedding. Keep your bridal registry open to about 3 weeks to a month after your wedding or when you know all wedding gifts have been bought.

Most bridal registries are well run, but beware there are a few unscrupulous bridal registry stores out there. Some stores don't notify you if gift items are no longer stocked. Some stores quote you one price on gift choices and then jack up the price a few days later. The wedding couple should try to get all quoted prices down on paper. The couple might mention they are planning to put the gift choices online on their couple's wedding website, this may encourage the store to perform any monkey business with pricing.

The better bridal registries put your bridal gift registry online. This allows both you and your wedding guests to verify prices on wedding gifts. Believe it or not, some of your better deals from a registry are found online. What you see for an item is what you get. If you see a place setting online, all the items in the online display better be available, should an online item not be available, the store could land itself in a heap of trouble. Sometimes you might find the same item cheaper online than what is priced at the store.

To protect yourself, anything agreed to verbally by the bridal registry should also be put into writing an signed. The wedding couple should get a copy of the bridal registry's store checklist guide and policy. The couple should pick up a business card from the person that was their bridal associate and their manager's card as well if it's available. You want to know who the responsible managers were should an issue come up.

If you have setup your bridal registry well, and have chosen a pretty good store, lots of good wedding gifts will come your way and you will be able to go back to the store and pick up some additional nice wedding gifts with a significant discount or get them free.

Tips For Your Wedding Registry

Ralph's Sodamix Sample Variety Pack

Buying Wedding Gifts for a Wedding Couple

Usually wedding guests can get an idea of what a wedding couple wants or needs by checking out what the couple has on their gift list at the bridal registry, even if they don't choose to buy a gift from their registry, just be careful if a gift is chosen elsewhere a duplicate gift is not being bought. Some items such as a table place setting or decorative pieces such as decorative pillows you might want to check out the couple's decorative scheme, get feedback from family members or stop by and visit the couple weeks before the wedding to check out their wedding decor.

You should find out, does the wedding couple need gifts of need or gifts of want. Some wedding couples starting out needs wedding gifts for the home, the best gift to buy for them is something they can use in the home. Other couples have already have their home needs taken care of, for this type of wedding couple, it's best to buy a decorative piece for the home or some type of gadget. Get them a nice decorative piece, something unique or a piece from a gadget store or an antique shop.

Good wedding gifts are gifts that stand out and a gift a wedding couple will remember who they got the gift from when they see the gift or the wedding guest. You might think of buying gifts for a kitchen, bedroom, accessories for a bathroom, or a living room. Other good gifts would be a gift for a couple's hobby, a sporting good gift like a volleyball set. A group of ex classmates might pool their resources together and get the couple a patio set, a grill, something for their pool, or if the couple is into camping, some sort of camping equipment.

Gifts not to give for a wedding, gifts for everyday living, such as storage boxes, containers, hampers, any gifts that would not likely be remembered to be received from a wedding guest, a gift that is pretty vanilla that would not stand out. Also giving clothes as a wedding gift is not recommended, the gift should be a gift the couple should share, clothes are more of a personal gift.

How much should a wedding guest spend on buying a wedding gift. The gift buying should take into consideration of three things. An appropriate gift would be to buy a gift of a comparatively priced item the couple is paying for the wedding reception. A close family member should spend a little more on the couple, an associate should buy a wedding gift worth a little less. The third consideration is the wedding guest's affordability, if it's sorority sisters that aren't established with a good income, a wedding gift such as a can opener, toaster or bottle opener, a nice inexpensive wedding present that a couple needs is a good wedding gift.

Antique Shop

Thank You Notes for Wedding Gifts

A wedding couple should always send out thank you notes for wedding gifts received and be sent out no later than one month after a wedding. A couple would leave a bad impression if thank you notes aren't sent out, wedding gifts are paid by hard earned money and guests would feel unappreciated if a thank you for them is not received in a timely manner.

The gift opening is usually the bride's duty. When the bride opens wedding gifts in front of family members or wedding guests, the groom or maid-of-honor should take notes on every gift received, from whom the gift was from and what was the gift received. When the thank you note is sent out, the thank you note should be handwritten, not typed and the gift received should be mentioned in the note.

There is no formal etiquette of when wedding gifts should be opened. Some couples will open their gifts the evening of the wedding. Some couples open their gifts at a day after at a wedding brunch and some wedding couples open their gifts after returning from their honeymoon.

It's up to the couple when to open their wedding gifts, but they should take into consideration some relatives such as Aunt Sue and Uncle Charlie and family friends who would love to watch a wedding couple open their wedding gifts and see the expressions on the wedding couple's faces. To watch the couple open their wedding gifts you will have added enjoyment to their day also.

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