The Southern Weddings ladies are quite giddy these days thinking of all of the belles who have gotten engaged over the last few weeks and months. It does seem like a lot of rings get presented in December, January, and February, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome the newly engaged gals to our gaggle! Aside from securing your Planner, one task you’ll likely turn your attention to early in the process is creating a wedding registry. We’ve teamed up with our friends at Target to share a few of our best tips as well as a fun, interactive quiz to help determine your registry style!
Take the quiz here and read on for our tips below!
PREPARING TO REGISTER
Start the process early. There’s no need to rush out to the stores as soon as you have a ring on your finger, but we recommend starting at least one registry early in your engagement if there’s an engagement party in the works. Aside from engagement gifts, make sure your registry is open at least two months before your first bridal shower or six to nine months from your wedding date.
Decide where to register. For a well-rounded registry that caters to all of your guests, register at two to three shops. At least one shop should be a larger chain retailer with an online presence, such as Target. There’s no need to register at each store all at once, so start with your top pick and gradually add additional stores as time allows. Managing registries at more than three stories can quickly become overwhelming, so if you’re looking for maximum variety, choose a universal registry like Amazon.com or MyRegistry.com that will allow you to add items from any online retailer.
Consider your lifestyle. Prioritize the items that align with your values and the life you’d like to live (not necessarily the life you think others expect you to live!). If you and your groom plan to cook and entertain frequently, then by all means, consider adding a full 12 place settings of fine china and monogrammed silver. If you prefer traveling and spending time outdoors, register for a nice set of luggage and camping supplies. Target has an amazing selection of items for every type of couple!
Check store policies. When narrowing down store options, return policies can make or break your decision. Returning a few gifts is inevitable, so make sure the store has a return or exchange policy that’s agreeable to you. You may also want to check if the store offers a completion program, allowing you to purchase any leftover items at a discount. We know of many couples who opt to register for larger items, like a bed frame or sofa, not because they expect to be gifted them, but simply so they can take advantage of a completion discount post-wedding.
Shop together. Create your registry as a couple. The gifts are for both of you, so it’s important that you’re both happy with the selections. Make a date of it, and enjoy shopping around and dreaming of your newlywed life together! Warning: this step sometimes sounds more fun than it actually is. If control of the scan gun turns into a tug of war over the aesthetic of your future home, take a break and return another day. And may we recommend starting with our Newlywed Style quiz? It will help you hone in on the items that are most important to you both!
Add a variety of items. Be sure to include items that accommodate a range of budgets. As long as you include several affordable gifts, don’t shy away from picking more expensive items, too: your college friends may choose to go in together to purchase a pricier gift, and what is expensive for one person may be considered quite affordable for another. A good rule of thumb is that many couples will be looking for something in the $50-100 range.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
Communicate with your guests. Heaven forbid you include your registry information on your wedding invitation, but you’ll still need to pass along the word. Linking to shops on your wedding website is acceptable, as is word of mouth (be sure your parents and bridal party are up to date on your registry details, as they’re the folks most likely to be queried!).
Follow up. Registries are not a one-and-done thing, so don’t abandon yours after your initial trip! As guests begin to purchase gifts, check in every few weeks to make sure there are still a variety of items and price points from which to choose.
SAYING THANK YOU
Write every note. Yep, it’s true — thank you notes should always be handwritten; no emails allowed! The art of the handwritten note is alive and well, especially in the gracious South, so while it may seem tedious, your guests will expect and appreciate your heartfelt gesture of gratitude.
Be timely. Thank you notes should be sent promptly — within two weeks of the date that the gift is received for those that arrive before the wedding. If the gift is given at your celebration, send a note within one month of your wedding date. We recommend writing a few notes every day, if you can, so that the task doesn’t become too much of a burden.
Get everyone involved. While notes for bridal shower gifts should always be written by the bride, there’s no rule that says you have to write every thank you note for the wedding gifts. After all, they were given to both of you, and you’ll both enjoy them! Split the writing duties — if you choose to write to each other’s families, it can be a great way to introduce yourself!
This post is brought to you by Target–thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!