Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: The Registry

So...we've registered!

We are 6 months out from our wedding, so it seemed like the right time frame to try and get the whole registry thing completed. I had heard everyone tell me how fun it is and how their fiances' got really into it, and I was really beginning to think there was something wrong with us- we weren't giddy at the idea of registering, in fact, it was stressing me out! It wasn't until after we completed our registries that people started opening up to me that I wasn't alone in realizing what a big challenge this was.

Now that it is over, I will say, it was fun, and it is nice to think about the cool things that we will hopefully be receiving for our wedding, but there was A LOT of research and work that went into putting this together that people kind of forget to tell you about. So I want to share my experience and things I learned so that hopefully someone else out there who has this on their to-do list won't be as overwhelmed as I was.

My Registry Experience:

So the first thing I did was have to decided where we were going to register. EVERYONE and I do mean everyone who spoke to me about our wedding seemed to have an opinion of where we should register, and they all usually had valid arguments for their stores, but let me tell you, there are TONS of options:

There were so many stores to pick from I had to think about which stores would have the most items we were looking for, so that I didn't look like some greedy kid registering at 5 different places. I also had to think about accessability for our guests- while there are plenty of people out there who prefer online shopping, there are also a few who will only buy something once they can put their hands on it, so I wanted to make sure there was something that everyone could easily get to.
We ended up going with 3 different stores, but were able to encompass a store we each wanted that the other didn't, plus 1 mutual location. With a guest list as large as ours we can get away with it I hope without looking too greedy.

Once we had our locations picked out, then began what I will call "pre-registering". I started by making a list of the things I thought we would need and want to make sure we wouldn't forget the important stuff. Then, I did some searching into other registries seeing what other couples have asked for, what typically got bought, how much they registered for based on the size of their wedding, etc. After I felt comfortable with the trends and my starting list, I started doing research.

I spent hours researching different items and browsing reviews. I didn't want to ask for some kitchen electric that based on all reviews would brake after a year of use, or something that was so difficult to use and clean that it would likely just collect dust rather than help me in the kitchen. I wanted to make sure that I was asking for quality products that would last and that we would use. I will tell you the one thing that I never thought about that I now can't imagine not having is a hand blender.

Obviously we have this on our registry, and I am really hoping someone buys it!

So this might seem like a lot of work for something that is supposed to just be fun and like a mass shopping spree, but to me it seemed almost reckless to walk into a store and pick things based on just price or how pretty they looked. Pots and Pans were a big one for us- I originally thought I wanted a non-stick set, I have always used non-stick, I mean how else do you cook eggs? And I really don't like cooking with excess oil, so I figured teflon was the way to go. After some reserach, I learned that even the expensive "high quality" non-stick sets still have their teflon surfaces start to flake off at some point, and the life expectancy of those pots/pans would be no more than 10 years...10 years, that's it? I wasn't about to ask someone to spend several hundred dollars on something that might last 10 years. In the end, all the work I put into researching our big ticket items and reading the reviews really paid off, and I feel confident about every.single.thing on those lists right now.

My other big stressor was space. While I know we won't be in our current apartment forever, we are now, and everything that comes into our house need a place. And since we don't know exactly how much space our next home will have, I have to make sure I have a plan to store everything. Part of this process will be getting rid of old things we are replacing, but there will also be a lot of new. This was probably the biggest thing stressing me out, but we do have a plan for storage right now that I feel goood about.

John also wasn't uber-excited about walking around a few home stores for several hours each to pick out things that he didn't necessarily care about, so we did like a pre walk-through and looked at the big things that I wanted his opinions on- electrics, dishes, silverware, sheets, and towel colors. He could have cared less about what chip and dip bowls I picked or what color kitchen towels, same with the baking dishes, so I let him off the hook and once I had his opinion on the big stuff, I went back later when the store was almost empty- I think this was a God send for us. No rushing for me, no boredom for him, and it worked great.

I walked into the store with a list already made- proper names and pictures included. I was able to breeze through the store pretty easily since I already had most of my items picked out. Sure, there was more I added, but it didn't overwhelm me and I didn't have to stand around trying to decide between 2 different options for an hour, because you know, spatulas don't get that intense. However, I did get really hung up in the shower curtains, and I was glad that John wasn't there because he would have gone crazy at how long it took me to decided between 2 for our bathroom.

The nice thing, now that the registries are complete, John and I can change anything we want online and that is amazing! At the end of it all, I did have fun, but I was glad I went about it the way I did, because if I had just walked in and started gunning things down I think it would have ended very badly.

What I learned:

-Do it your way.   Everyone told me to stop thinking and just go to the store and go nuts, I knew that wouldn't work for me. I am a researcher and a planner, and the thought of that reckless abandon gave me hives. I also knew John and I could not "shop" for multiple hours together in 1 store, so we didn't. I made 2 trips, 1 with him and 1 without, and it worked better for us. Don't let anyone tell you you have to do it one way.

-Research!   This was SO helpful! I was glad I knew what I wanted when I walked in, and had taken the time to learn what products were reputable and worthwhile.

-Consider Space.   What you want and need is great, but if you don't have anywhere to put it, its kind of a waste.

-Break it up.  Break it up into multiple stores and mutiple trips. It keeps it from being overwhelming, and it allows you to keep options open for your guests.

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