Since we know so many of you are newly engaged (congratulations!!), we’ve been tossing around ideas about how best to get you gals on the right foot to wedded bliss. To that end, we’re featuring engagement sessions (most recently here and here), and giving you primer courses on the design behind some of our chicest weddings (here, here, and here). Up next? Registry tips! We couldn’t think of anyone better to turn to than our friend Amanda at NewlyWish. Read on for our interview and her expert advice!
Q: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about NewlyWish?
A: Sure. NewlyWish is an online registry and wedding-related gifting service that brings together engaged couples with our network of shops and service providers all in a single, easy-to-use website so that you can create a registry that includes everything for your home, from kitchen equipment, to tabletop items, bed and bath linens and home décor, as well as a range of unique experiences and non-traditional items such as food and wine, cooking and dancing lessons, artwork, museum memberships, and even tickets to the theater and sporting events.
Our goal in creating NewlyWish was to provide a registry service that offers to-be-weds with the choice, convenience and personalization that they’re looking for in every other part of their wedding, so that they can truly love their registry (which eventually became our tag line!).
Q: How do you suggest couples get started creating their registry?
A: There are two things I tell our clients to do to get started. First, really think about what you want and what you need. Have a look around your house and take an inventory of what’s missing, what needs an upgrade, and what you’ve always wanted but don’t have. At the same time, think about your lifestyle now and how you want it to evolve. If you plan on entertaining more after you get married, make sure you include enough dishes and serving pieces to handle all of your guests. If you have a hidden chef inside of you waiting to get out, think about a full set of high quality cookware and knives, and so on.
Second, after you have a general idea of the types of things you want to add to your registry, do some homework. Spend a little time thumbing through design magazines and websites to get ideas on the actual items you want, just like you do for other parts of your wedding. Make a scrapbook or save photos to your computer. I always suggest doing this before you go to the store, because once you’re there, you’ll be limited to the items and brands that they’ve selected and rather than what you inherently love and want. I registered for a china pattern which was my favorite of the ones available in the store, but once we received a couple of pieces, we realized that we really didn’t want to live with this pattern for the rest of our lives and ended up returning it all.
Q: We’ve heard some registry reservations from readers with reluctant fiancés. Do you have any tips for making the process more fun for both partners?
A: We always say that registering is a team exercise. Planning out what you want to put in your registry is the perfect opportunity to spend some time talking with your fiancé about your styles and how you want your home together to evolve. Ultimately, your registry is a reflection of you as a couple, so make sure you both have plenty of input. This may mean including a few items with a bit more ‘testosterone’ than that pressed glass cake stand you’ve always wanted, but some of the most popular items on our site are tickets to sporting events and steak of the month, which, of course, you can enjoy together. So be flexible and creative (two traits you’re going to be relying on for years to come!).
Q: How many stores would you suggest couples register with?
A: I don’t think there’s a hard-and-fast rule on the number of stores. The most important thing is to make sure you have a good range of items that covers price points that are manageable for all of your guests and that your registry includes things that can be purchased online and in-store. While people are increasingly comfortable with making purchases online, it’s probably good to make sure there’s at least one store where people can actually go and make a purchase if they wish.
In the same vein, be sure to manage your registry: make sure that there are always enough items in a range of price points for all of your guests who want to purchase a gift for you to find something – there’s nothing worse as a guest than to go to purchase a gift from a registry and find that the only items left are far outside of your price range. And, don’t be afraid to include more items than you think your guest will purchase – not only does this give people plenty of options, but it gives you the chance to take advantage of the store’s completion program. Many couples find that their parents will check back in with the registry to find gifts for a housewarming, birthday, anniversary, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.
Q: What about gifts beyond household items?
A: At NewlyWish, one of our mantras is Embrace Traditions…and Create your Own. Weddings are full of all sorts of wonderful emotions, traditions, and symbolism, and this extends to the registry. When creating your registry, you will, of course, be mindful and respectful of the traditions (old and new) that are important to you and your family. But, I would urge couples not to do something just because it’s what’s expected or the way it’s always been done. The most popular registry items are household goods, and with good reason: yes, they’re the most traditional, but they are also the items that couples generally need when moving in together. However, if you really don’t need a new set of cookware, don’t register for it. Don’t be afraid to think outside of what others have done. Do register for that piece of artwork, camping equipment, or cooking lessons. Guest can choose whether to purchase these items, and more than likely, they’ll recognize you when they browse your gift list and happily choose from it, knowing that their gift is special and will be appreciated and remembered in the spirit that it was given.
Q: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
A: To me, the most important part of the registry and much of the wedding can be summed up in two little words: Thank You. After all of the planning and decisions, the last thing you need to remember are your thank you cards. Make sure you keep track of who sent you what. Most major retailers will keep a list for you somewhere (we send you an email with the name of the purchaser and the item when purchased and keep a master list if needed) but you probably also want to keep all of your gift receipts together just to be safe. While it can be tough on your hands, the thank you notes are such an important part of the whole event, and we really found it fun going through our gifts and making sure that everyone knew how much their gifts, encouragement, and support meant to us. Have fun!
Thank you so much for the advice, Miss Amanda! Readers, you’ll be happy to know that Amanda practices what she preaches — as a thank you for being invited to Southern Weddings for the day, she’s offering up a $100 gift certificate to Bowery Kitchen (redeemable online through NewlyWish)!
To enter: There are two ways to enter this giveaway, and you’re welcome to try your hand at both.
1) Sign up for a newsletter on NewlyWish (click here, then scroll to the bottom right!) then leave us a comment below saying you did so.
2) “Like” NewlyWish on Facebook (click here!) then leave us a comment below saying you did so.
That’s it! We’ll announce a winner next Tuesday. Good luck, and happy registering!