Posts in the 'Registry' Category

Real Bride Elissa: Don’t Kill My Vibe

Is it Saturday yet?

How about now?

You guys, my wedding is THIS WEEK. Like, when someone asks “So, any fun plans this weekend?” I can say “Yeah, I’m GETTING MARRIED on Saturday.” As one does.

Oddly enough, I’ve had countless people tell me how miserable this week is going to be: “Oh wow, congratulations! Get ready for the worst week of your life!” Ummm, what? Since this is my wedding, I’m embracing love, not negativity, and I’m going to take any issues that crop up in stride. What’s the point of the last year of planning if I can’t enjoy myself this week? I think a lot of DIY brides (myself included) get overwhelmed with the details, since we’ve had to think of pretty much all of them at this point in the process. I made a list this weekend of literally everything, walking myself through each day, just so I could cross it all off and see that IT’S ALL DONE. I left three items on the list, though: to be grateful, to be in the moment, and to take lots of photos.

To be honest, I’m the most relaxed I’ve been in months. My amazing, wonderful lady friends treated to me a fabulous bachelorette party in San Diego two weekends ago — we went to the County Fair (two words: baby goats), ate some seriously outrageous food, and visited the gorgeous (and budget-friendly) Balboa Park, though my favorite part was just laughing in the hotel room with my girls and some peanut butter stout. But while I’ve certainly had little moments of “OMG this is really happening” during the planning process, it wasn’t until I relaxed and let my friends love on me that it really sunk in that I was a capital B, imminent Bride, and that YES, this is a really special time in a person’s life.

Real Bride Elissa's San Diego Bachelorette

As a very independent woman who has never particularly liked being the center of attention, this whole wedding process has put me a little outside of my comfort zone. On top of that, I can feel pretty uncomfortable when people spend money on me, since I know that – especially for my generation – a lot of times money is tight, and I don’t want anyone to feel put out or obligated. I even put off creating a gift registry until about six weeks ago, feeling like it was materialistic to ask for gifts. After enough people asked about it, my family finally convinced me that this is a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime thing; your loved ones want to help you build a home, if you just let them.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far then is to Embrace the Love. As stressful as coordinating visitors’ schedules and nail appointments and last minute rental additions seems, it’s all boiled down to the fact that family and friends are all gathering in one place, traveling from places like New York and New Orleans and Missouri and Montana for no other reason than that they love Nick and me (and, I hope, tacos). That’s such an overwhelming feeling, so much so that just typing this is making me a little emotional. I’ve vowed to remember that when things start to get crazy this week, and I’m so happy that we’ve made a lot of plans to spend time with loved ones who are coming in from out of town, even if that means we had way too many errands to run this past weekend. And – I’ve seen this time and time again from other Real Brides – people love to feel like they’re helping you, so let them!

Our parents have never met, so tomorrow night we’re having an intimate dinner with just them before the chaos of Friday’s rehearsal. I’ve also set aside the morning to show my Boston-based bridesmaid around town and get some brunch. Friday, the day before the wedding, my mom is hosting a Ladies’ Lunch since I didn’t have a traditional bridal shower, after which my girls and I are going to get pedicures for a little bit of relaxation before we head to the venue for our run-through. Finally, I’m so thankful we were able to find a rehearsal dinner restaurant with a small private room – that means we had to limit the dinner to just parents and the bridal party, but I think will be a great bonding experience for everyone. Plus it’s BYOB, which equals big savings and better booze. Then I’ll spend the night in a hotel room with some of my bridesmaids, with lots of sleep on the agenda.

Real Bride Elissa: Don't Kill My Vibe

I can’t wait to run down the big day for my Real Wedding post, and share some of the DIY projects we did (stressful, but I regret nothing!). Until then, Happy Wedding Day to my fellow June brides. Don’t let anyone kill your vibe — you got this!


Ask Heather: What Are Our Other Registry Options?

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Image courtesy of cb4me

Dear Heather,

I’m helping my daughter with her wedding details. She and her fiance are 31 and 40 years old and have been living together for several years, so they don’t need the normal registry items like a toaster, a blender, towels, etc. They are hoping to buy a home together and maybe some larger pieces of household furnishings. Is a money tree an option? If so, how do you set it up and does it need to be attended at the reception? What about cards, or a gift basket? How do you address this issue in an invitation? Are there other options? I look forward to your input. Thank you.

Jlee (older generation mother-of-the-bride that got toasters!)

Dear MOB Jlee,

I’ve somewhat addressed this issue in a few previous columns, but I think it’s worth it to tackle it again, since it seems to be an ongoing issue with BAB readers.

When it comes to registering for a wedding, there are many, many options. Speaking of not getting a toaster, BAB did a post a while back about PresentValue, which is a way to ask for monetary gifts rather than more traditional items. Other options include Hatch My House and Traveler’s Joy, a honeymoon registry. Even with these types of registries, though, I would still have a more typical registry, since there are some guests who simply prefer to give an actual gift rather than money. I have faith that your daughter and her fiancé can come up with some material items they could use. Personally, I’m of the opinion that one can never have too many towels, and spare bedsheets are always useful. They could also register for upgraded versions of items they already have.

In regards to letting folks know where you’ve registered, it’s typical to include this information with shower invitations, since the whole purpose of a shower is to “shower” the guest of honor with gifts. You can also have a wedding website and include registry information on it, with the URL for the website printed on the wedding invitations. And simply letting close friends and family members know where the couple has registered also works.

As far as having a money tree, I’m not a huge fan of setting one up at the wedding reception. It looks a bit too “gift grabby” in that setting. Instead, I would have a basket or box for cards, and a table for those folks who bring the gift to the wedding rather than sending it to the couple in advance. Doing a money tree at a bridal shower, though, would be far more appropriate.

Are you planning on doing a money tree? Did you use a cash registry website? If so, what was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!

Real Bride Jess: Registries … aka Buy Us Presents

Wedding registries are hard. Everyone’s telling you “don’t forget anything!” “register for more than you need!” “don’t forget China!” “you can always return it!”

Why can’t I just register for the things I want? Neither Michael nor I drink coffee so we really don’t need a coffee maker. My parents have used their wedding China maybe one time, so I probably don’t need wedding China, can’t I just get regular cute dishware? I do see the use of those “things most brides forget to register for” lists, I like to look at those lists! But I don’t think I’m a bad bride for ignoring the item Espresso Machine or Fondue Pot.

What I love about this day and age is you can basically do all of your registering online. The one thing I did want to do in person was register for sheets. I wanted to feel them & make sure that I wasn’t going to receive some thin sheet sized cardboard, but rather cloud-like perfection.

Now I thought this was going to be easy: go in, say you have a registry & would like to add to it, they give you a scan gun, boom. False. You have to sit down, they have to give you paperwork, they discuss your registry & why you don’t have certain things. I felt like I was being interrogated by undercover cops. And THEN (this part was actually the most scarring) someone has to go with you and scan what you want! You’re not even trusted to handle a scanner. The reason for this, I’m sure, is to make suggestions as to what else you should register for and drive up the amount of money guests will hopefully spend. I did succeed in only shopping for bed-related things, but she did win and get me to register not just for sheets but also for fancy pillows,a comforter and a quilt.

Will I be glad to possibly have these items: yes. After I recover from my bitchy resentment will I be glad I went to the store to feel the sheets: yes.

Ok, whining over.

I do have a confession: I am a registery-o-holic. I have four registries. I just like options! I registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel, Target and Anthropologie. You want to know something else? If four registries is wrong, I don’t want to be right!


Ask Heather: Bridal fee/greenback showers?

Photo by Teddy James

Dear Heather,

Hi! Love your website. I just got engaged this past Christmas and have been enjoying wedding planning our upcoming December wedding. Have you done a post on “bridal fee showers” or “greenback showers,” as they are referred to in different areas? I would love to see a post on this! I have heard this sentiment shared by other brides too. There is not much on the internet, only a few comments here and there on some wedding blogs. It’s a very heated debate. I saw your recent post on PresentValue, and I think this is a great idea, but I know some (especially older) guests might shy away from using a website for a cash gift. A “fee shower” is usually advertised as such on the invite, but I have heard a lot of negativity and comments such as this is tacky, tasteless, rude, etc. Although, IMHO, it is tacky, tasteless, and rude to register for $200 crystal candlesticks or new dishes to replace the perfectly good dishes we have, especially when I have 100k in student loan debt that could be paid off! :) The suggestion with having a fee shower is that it makes clear that you do not want gifts and people can just give cash/checks in the card. I hate the word “fee” though. Do you have thoughts on this? Would love to hear them! Thank you!!


Present Puzzlement

Dear Present Puzzlement,

In a way, you sort of answered your own question. Having a bridal fee shower is controversial, and if you decide to go that route, be prepared to take some flak (either to your face or, more likely, behind your back) for it. Traditionally, the whole idea behind a shower is to “shower” the guest-of-honor with presents, which is why a lot of guests would prefer to bring something tangible. To cater to those guests, I suggest just going ahead and setting up one “normal” registry. And you don’t have to register for fine china if you aren’t that sort of couple! Go ahead and ask for towels (trust me, you can never have enough) or sheets or board games – whatever suits your fancy. A registry doesn’t necessarily have to be just things you need; it can also include wants, and it can be as esoteric as you desire. In addition, you mentioned our recent post on Present Value. For those guests who would prefer to give cash but don’t just want to fork over a wad of money, this is a great option! Plus, having a registry on Present Value might make some guests realize that you’d prefer cash to physical gifts, so it’s a win-win!

Have you ever gone to a bridal fee shower? Or would/did you have one yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

{Real Bride: Mellzah} Macy’s VS. Sur La Table Wedding Registry DEATH MATCH

Proof of cooking enjoyment. Also visible: our wonderful new knives and handpainted sasquatch spoonrest.

Before we mailed out our Save the Dates (and thus, our website info), we decided to register so that we could include that information on the website as well. We took one Sunday and registered at two different places: Sur La Table and Macy’s, the former because we enjoy cooking, and the latter because there’s a location just about everywhere our extended families live.  (Granted, gifts are not something we’re entitled to, and *if* someone chooses to give us a gift, it’s a nice bonus on top of the main objective of the day, which is getting married. Disclaimer complete.) That being said, Jason has one solitary, butt ugly plate from his single days in the cupboard and I hate it with a loathing beyond what you’d believe any inanimate object could possibly inspire, and on the day we receive a set of all new matching plates, I will celebrate by destroying this plate with a hammer. Maybe I’ll even rent a sledgehammer.

We started at Sur La Table, and they helped make the experience top-notch by opening the store an hour early for us, making us breakfast, demoing their products, and answering our questions, all without other people crowding around or talking loudly on their cell phones or doing those other distracting things that people do when you’re trying to concentrate because you’re handling a knife that can cut through bone. Like many stores, they have registry incentives that you can earn if you register for X products or receive X value of specific products, but none of them really appealed/worked for us.  For example, if you register for a KitchenAid stand mixer, attachment, and blender, you’ll receive a small gift card…and if you receive them all, you’ll get a second, larger gift card–but we already have a KitchenAid stand mixer, so that one was out. They all seem to be most applicable to people starting a household completely from scratch, but we’ve already been co-habitating for almost two years, so we’ve been acquiring many of these things piecemeal for ourselves and no longer require an entire set of knives or $1,500 worth of pans. Still, we found plenty of things that we did love, and walked out of the store happy with our experience and loaded down with a bunch of Le Creuset cookware in “Caribbean” as I love the color, and they’re removing it from their store stockline – so it will be long gone by the time our wedding rolls around (which is the big disadvantage to registering as early as we did).

About a week after we registered, the woman who helped us called and told us that the knives we loved were also being discontinued, so we ended up going back and purchasing them ourselves, and we joked with her that this must be a ploy on the part of the store to get us to buy our entire registry item by item before the wedding.  Some time later, as we were browsing through our registry list, we noted that some items were missing, which is how we learned that Sur La Table doesn’t notify you if items are discontinued–they’re just unceremoniously deleted from your list. An email or a section of discontinued items or suggestions for replacement items would go a long way toward making it easier for the couple to refresh their registry with currently available items.

Our second registry experience at Macy’s wasn’t as positive. They also offer registry incentives, but again, they’re for things above and beyond what we’ll ever need, and I don’t feel compelled to ask for four additional china place settings just so I can get a free vegetable plate. The saleswoman was up our collective butts nearly the entire time we were there, freely offering commentary about all of the things she felt we were doing wrong–not registering for enough gifts, not registering for towels. “People look for towels on the registry, and what if someone wants to buy you towels but you haven’t registered for any?” I didn’t realize towels were such a hotly contested item, but if I need towels, I’m going to buy some damn towels, not put them on a wishlist and hope that I get some a year from now!. She was also pushing us to add those extra place settings even after we told her we didn’t want to.  While I’m deeply in love with the Kate Spade china we registered for, and I’m looking forward to having matching flatware instead of a mishmash of Ikea and my dad’s old wooden handled college cutlery, Macy’s overall may have been too fussy a place for us–all I see when I look at crystal goblets is “hand wash” which means either I have to resign to doing dishes by hand every day, or, more likely, they’ll get shoved in the back of a cabinet for something I can plunk in the dishwasher on the regular, in which case, what’s the point of having them?

They’re a bit better than Sur La Table when it comes to discontinued items as the item in question will remain on the registry list with a note reminding you that it will be gone soon, but their website is glitchy as all get-out, sometimes accepting my login credentials and sometimes not, sometimes immediately asking me to login again after logging in, sometimes popping up a mandatory “add a security question” prompt which leads to an error page if you fill it out, and all around being as difficult as possible. They also email me constantly, reminding me about discounts on items on my registry, as if I was going to purchase them for myself or call up my relatives and say “If you’ve been thinking about buying me ____,  you’re in luck, because it’s currently on sale!” Not likely.

In addition to products being discontinued, the other downside to registering so early with our relatively few needs is that one of our relatives has been buying items from our registries rapidfire, sending us nearly a third of the items we’ve indicated we’d like to own…and it’s incredibly generous and thoughtful, but we’re struggling finding anything else to add, and many of the lower priced items are already purchased, leaving things like the ostentatious serveware we added for fun and high priced electrics as the remaining options, which I fear will make us look like douchebags to our friends, who don’t necessarily want to buy us a $600 espresso machine. Or maybe it’s just another way for me to prove that there’s nothing I won’t complain about, including people being nice to me. Probably the latter!

Where did you register? What were your favorite items? Any upsides/downsides to registering where you did?

{Sponsored} Get everything you (really) want with SimpleRegistry!

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Admit it: limiting your wedding registry to one big store is just that… limiting. Well now you can put any item from any store into one convenient registry, thanks to SimpleRegistry! AND – in the event that you should end up with the dreaded double-toaster conundrum, you can redeem that redundant toaster (or ANY gift) as cash…. without having to ask for cash. SWEET ACTION for the broke-ass bride! Will you be using an online registry?

{Sponsored} Traveler’s Joy – Register…for a honeymoon!

Traveler's Joy Honeymoon Registry
Let’s face it – you don’t really want another set of monogrammed napkin rings, what you really want is an amazing honeymoon vacay, and now you can forgo the traditional bridal registry (or supplement the one you have) with a Honeymoon Registry from Traveler’s Joy! Whether your only prerequisite for maximum relaxation is a beach or mountain getaway, or you have a very specific destination in mind (Thailand, anyone?!), Traveler’s Joy allows your wedding guests to treat you to a bottle of champagne, a night’s stay at a B&B, a lavish evening on the town, or even a new digital camera!