Metro Man & Metro Home

By Stephanie Williams

Navigating, Communicating, and Building Registries Like a First-Class Fiancée

What to Register & Where

It’s entirely your choice how to outline your requests. If you decide on the typical route, keep in mind when choosing your retailers that gift registries are merely suggestions, not demands. It’s acceptable – in fact, encouraged by most experts – to register at two or three stores. So if you and your man plan on staying in Manhattan upon saying “I Do!” but your family’s many ties remain in Fargo, choose at least one convenient national chain such as Target or Macy’s in consideration of your guests.

Choose your gifts based upon your priorities as a couple – if you’re envisioning home-cooked dinners and endless entertaining to be the tent-pole of your life together, look no further than Williams-Sonoma or Michael C. Fina. Fastidious interior decorators may consider Crate & Barrel or even Jonathan Adler as a supplemental registry.

“Remember the bottom line about wedding gifts is that it’s ultimately up to the guests,” says Peggy Post, co-director of the Emily Post Institute and author of Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette and Emily Post’s Wedding Planner. “They don’t have to select a gift off of a registry.”

It is worth mentioning to choose a monogrammed or customized gift request with reasonable caution. “The only drawback of monogrammed gifts is if the wedding is called off, as customized items are often not returnable,” says Post.

Announcing Your Registry

While customary wedding gifts have evolved from solely china patterns and money to the department store wish list model most commonly used today, it has remained constant that the only universally acceptable time to mention gift requests is when asked. It’s been a mini-trend for department store registry attendants to steer couples in the direction of announcing registries alongside the wedding date. It may seem practical, but a move like this appears to family and friends as though the couple values presents more than the company they’ve kept.

“What turns people off more than anything is enclosing a list of registries in the invitation,” says Post. It is important to note, however, there is a smidge of wiggle room when linking online registries discretely on an online wedding page.

What to NOT Register For

This is not a Christmas wish list for your parents’ eyes only! There’s a fine line between choosing items you wouldn’t normally go out and buy for yourself and appearing unrealistically demanding. “It can be very tasteless if a couple only registers for outrageously expensive items,” says Post. Even if your social circle is economically blessed, Post discourages an extravagant wish list of Hermes china patterns, Tiffany stemware, and nothing else.

When done appropriately, a gift registry reflects a well-rounded selection of practical items for the happy couple to begin their new life together, and curtails any potential Carrie Bradshaw-esque confrontations. When you begin receiving pings from invitees announcing their personal registries at Manolo Blahnik, you’ve more than likely overstepped.

Acknowledging Your Gifts

If you have the time, acknowledgement cards are a traditional prelude to a formal thank you note. “Historically, acknowledgement cards were sent because the couple went on an overseas honeymoon,” says Jessica Sick, Crane & Co’s etiquette editor at large. “They wouldn’t get to opening their presents until they returned. It’s a very ‘classic’ thing to send and is a nice touch.”

This should go without saying, but whether you had 50 or 500 guests at your wedding, handwritten thank you notes are a must (Sick can only hope that your husband will be gracious enough to chip in for half). When the time comes, Sick recommends using monogrammed folded note cards as a nod to your brand new status. “Having the cards printed and ready to go right after the wedding makes a nice keepsake for your friends and family to have once you are married.”

Originally published June 2012
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