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Wedding Wednesday

I Don’t: Out of the Box Wedding Registries

We share why an out of the box registry is an I DON’T in our new series: I Do/ I Don’t, where we split the pros and cons between the hottest wedding trends.

Is there anything more fraught with emotion and other people’s unsolicited advice than wedding planning? Not really. So when it comes to the Big Day, brides experience the dual advice of “It’s your day, do what you want!” and “Well, coming from experience [insert why your great idea is really terrible here].” Moreover, eve well meaning loved ones tend to project their hopes and dreams onto your wedding day – your wedding is important to them to. And while no you cannot make everyone happy, chances are you’re taking into consideration as much as possible the wants, needs and opinions of your guests.

Said opinions are why Out of the box wedding registries are an I Don’t. Exhibit A: A bride innocently asks the opinions of other brides on a Honeymoon Registry to test the waters. The answers are opinionated, to say the least. Unfortunately, many guests also are extremely opinionated, and may give their two cents even if you aren’t soliciting their input. Some guests feel that out of the box registries – namely those for honeymoons and life goals – are greedy, inappropriate, and (every bride’s nightmare) tacky.

To some guests, the thought of you not registering for china you’ll never use is too horrifying to bear. Others simply want to give you a physical something. Others believe that such a registry is akin to printing “cash gifts only” on your formal invitations.

Some suggest that not having a registry at all would be better than a honeymoon registry or a house fund registry; let the record show that we think this is a terrible idea. Yes, some of your guests will understand that this is a desire for cash or checks, but many, many more will interpret this as their one opportunity to buy you the perfect toaster. Or perhaps knit you a heartfelt and painstakingly made 4’x4′ portrait for you to hang over the mantle (and they can’t wait to see it every time they come for a visit!)

Does this mean you’re confined to a traditional registry? No. Should you register for things you don’t want, already have or find impractical? Absolutely not. Consider a more technologically advanced version of the traditional registry (Alexandra mentioned a few that compile your traditional and online registries from various stores in one convenient place!) This way, Aunt Susan won’t scoff that you registered at Target instead of Neiman Marcus – she can purchase you the cut crystal bowl she just knows you need, even if its’ the only thing you registered for there.

If the Honeymoon/ House fund registry still appeals to you (and there are infinite reasons to choose these practical gifts over that ice cream maker), just take some precautions.

1. Research the registry service to ensure that there’s no fee for your guests. This may mean that the fee is passed along to you, but under no circumstances should your guests be asked to pay that 5% processing fee.

2. Register for “concrete” goals. Don’t set up a honeymoon registry and say “location TBD.” Dream big, post pictures of the resort you’ve got your eye on, or a link to the menu of that amazing restaurant you’d love an evening at. Let your guests visualize the beautiful memories they’ll help you create (and be sure to write an incredibly descriptive thank you note).

3. Have a Back-up. Create a smaller registry for useful things you wouldn’t buy yourself, or upgrade items, especially if you’re being thrown a bridal shower. This also lets the guests who just aren’t comfortable with the idea of the non-traditional wedding registry do things “the old fashioned way.”

4. Know your audience. You know your guests best (except for those extra 3 Grandma added), think about letting the older generation stick to your Macy’s registry and letting your awesome bridal party spread the word to younger guests about your modern registry.

5. Do what you really want. This time we mean it – you’ve heard your Mom’s thoughts, your MIL’s thoughts, probably the internet’s thoughts, but just go with your gut on this one.

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