How to plan your wedding gift register

Dreaming about your future home with your new hubby—surrounded by all those fabulous furnishings and kitchenware—can send any bride into a blissful state of domestic euphoria. Registering for your wedding gifts can be one of the most exciting times during your wedding preparations, especially for dreamers, shopaholics, and those on a tight budget.

Although it’s tempting to select only the highest quality items—we all know those are the ones with the price tags that sting the pocketbook—choosing gift selections across a large cross-section of price points will satisfy both your gift-givers and yourself.

Gifts at Varying Price Points

To give all of your guests a chance to select something from your wish list, you need to include some less expensive items that may be needed in the household.  Try to register most gifts within a price range of $30 to $150. You also should include a few items that are $25 or less for frugal shoppers as well as higher-priced ones for those wanting to splurge, or for groups who want to chip in to buy you a big gift.

Be Mindful of Over-Registering

When the store manager hands you a registry wand to scan your items, try not to hit the trigger in every aisle. You don’t want to overwhelm your guests by making them sort through hundreds of items. You don’t want people to get bogged down between the monogrammed napkin holders, candy dish, and silverware you’ve requested when they could be soaring over to the cooking section for that non-stick frying pan you’ve been pining over.

The number of items chosen for your registry should be more than the number of guests you have invited, but not exponentially so. A good rule of thumb is to tally one gift for every person invited to the shower in the price range of $30 to $50, and at least one gift priced up to $150 for every couple invited to the wedding.

Separating Registries

One key point in keeping the number of items your guests sort through low is by separating registries. Many wedding consultants suggest you choose up to three favorite stores to host the “wants” on your wish list.

You should consider signing up with national chain stores and online registries to ensure out-of-state friends and family can easily find your selections. An added benefit for your local guests may be for you to register at one of your favorite in-town retailers or specialty stores. Including a variety of establishments like these allows those who prefer to buy your gift in person or over the Internet the option to choose their favorite shopping method.

A secondary benefit in separate registries is that it helps filter certain non-traditional items from those who you’d rather not see them. For instance, your lingerie registry may not sit well with your great aunt Martha, so you may not want to mention that specific one to her. One approach is to register all the more traditional items, such as china, silverware, housewares, etc., at one store, and less traditional ones at another.

Non-Traditional Registries

More and more, couples are adding non-traditional items, such as lingerie, to their wedding gift “wants.” In today’s world, some couples are also thinking about long-term investments and other financial commitments as an option for their gift-givers.

Banks and other industries have established programs and websites for couples to register for stocks, their honeymoon, a down payment on a house, or a favorite charity.

You need to be careful when signing up for some of these alternative registries, as they may include service charges or deduct a percentage of the gift for handling expenses and other fees.

Spreading the Word

One major faux pas that couples make today is sending their registry information in their wedding or shower invitations. The reasoning behind this is that you want your guests to join you in order to celebrate your special day. Weddings are meant to be a celebration of the couple’s announced union. Sometimes the gifting announcement causes undue stress for guests and you don’t want that to determine whether they RSVP “yes” or “no”.

Etiquette rules do allow, however, for registry information to be added on your wedding website. Gift information should not be a prominent feature, though. You may want to have it appear at the bottom of the first page or as a tab or link to another section on the site.

For anyone hosting a shower or party for you, it is fine for them to include the specifics on where they can find your registry. Otherwise, this information is often given through word-of-mouth.

Keep in mind that most guests want to share in your wedding day by giving a gift. Any way that you can make the process fun and easy for them will please everyone involved!