Once you've gotten engaged and set a date, your friends will want to celebrate you with engagement parties and bridal showers. As etiquette goes, your family and friends should be planning those fetes for you – but those who'll attend won't do so empty handed. As your loved ones look to shop for gifts they'll immediately turn to your registry (which you can list on your ) – so it's best to get yours together sooner rather than later.
Don't let the idea of a registry overwhelm you; yes, you can register at multiple places and for items in a wide range of price points. And, the process of compiling all the items you'll list is one of the few wedding planning tasks that grooms prefer to participate in, so you shouldn't have to go it alone. Look at it as a wedding planning activity that can bond you as a couple, whether you are updating the home you already have together, moving into a new space or planning to cohabitate for the very first time.
To sort out the challenges that can arise when you are asked to quickly decorate, furnish and adorn the spaces you'll enjoy together in your next chapter, we tapped of , one of , who has been designing events for decades and helping couples customize the ultimate registries to suit their lifestyles. Here, the registry and decor guru let us in on her top ten tips for relieving registry stress.
1. Be Honest. Do You LOVE It?
Register only for items that you will use and love. If that gravy boat doesn't fit your lifestyle, find something else you will use with greater frequency. Just like planning your wedding, never choose something you think is what you are supposed to do but that doesn't actually feel right .
2. Opt for Heirlooms.
Couples should register for items that will stand the test of time in style and in quality, and hopefully that they can one day pass on to their children. This isn't a time for disposable products or impulse purchases. This may mean combining a registry of many items into a smaller list of fewer at a higher price point – and that's okay. These products will endure and live with you over time (long after the blender you registered for has died) but register with a place that lets you shift your credit (or group gifting) to give you the ability to make adjustments to your registry along the way.
3. Create a "Hold" Registry.
I strongly recommend a "hold" registry (one that sends you a notification each time you receive a gift but doesn't ship it until you are ready). This way you can control what you receive and when. Receiving gifts throughout the wedding planning process is chaotic; things can get lost, because during that time you are juggling so many wedding planning details. Also, since each gift is technically just an amount of store credit (considering that you can always return items from your registry should you later decide against them), you can decide to exchange certain gifts before they've ever been sent to you, which makes it easier to control which items you ultimately end up with.
Marie Daage dinner plate, $134/each; Hermes Carnets d'Equateur Large Salad Bowl, $825; Jung Lee NY salt and pepper shakers with mother of pearl, $50; MF Cristal de Paris blue highball glasses, $260; Ercuis Nil 5-Piece Silber Plate Flatware, $644, all available at .
4. Mix & Match.
The best registries are a collection of products that work together and serve as the foundation of your new home together. Review your selections and edit them as a collection.
5. Don't Go At It Alone.
Find a place to register where they guide you properly. They can help you to better understand which products will match your aesthetic and how you live your life. If you aren't excited about your selections, something is wrong. My couples are almost as excited about their registry as they are about their wedding.
Christofle "Vertigo" ice bucket, $710; Match glass pitcher with pewter handle, $305; LSA "Savoy" red wine glasses, $64/set of 2; LSA "Savoy" champagne glasses, $58/set of 2; LSA "Savoy" white wine glasses, $60/ set of 2; Gabriela Seres "Diamant" water glass, $35, all available at
6. Change Can Be A Good Thing.
Think about products you'll want when your lifestyle changes. Couples tend to entertain at home much more as they get older. Think about hosting your closest friends, what drinks or wine you will be serving and what glasses and stemware you will want to use when the time comes. Even for casual gatherings, you'll also likely serve simple cocktail foods, but arranged nicely on a platter or in a bowl – so consider servingware as well.
Anna Weatherley "Simply Elegant" platinum bowl, $52; Georg Jensen Alfredo bowl and salad servers, $160; J.L. Coquet "Hemisphere" white large porcelain dinner plate, $98; Raynaud "Odysse Platine" porcelain dinner plate, $464; Match "Luna" oval footed centerpiece, $510, all available at .
7. Play with Prints. And Color. And Texture.
Mix and match your dinnerware. Select four place settings, each of four different patterns, which will give you 16 sets in total when you mix them all together. You don't have to commit to just one style; inject variety into your dinnerware. An assorted, layered tabletop is far more interesting and visually captivating for both you to enjoy and for the guests you'll impress and entertain.
8. Get something customized.
I love customizing flatware for a registry. Monograms and motifs can be etched on each piece of flatware, a symbol that reminds you of when you began your life together and reflects who you are as a couple.
9. Go for Items You Can Use In Multiple Ways
Register for products that are multi-purpose. A footed glass isn't just for drinks; it can hold a single stem or be a vessel for cheese sticks when entertaining. The more uses an item has, the more value it will have for you in your home.
10. Don't save china for special occasions.
Beautiful china should be used every day! Nothing is too precious. Every single one of your registry items should be accessible all the time and not be stuck in storage. And, like with fashion, you can mix high and low so to ensure a sophisticated look still feels casual when the occasion calls for a laid-back feel.
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